Friday, December 08, 2006

2008--who's out before they know it

  1. Evan Bayn. Dan of Kentucky Democrat and other Bayh fans will notice that I did not include him my ranking of Democratic presidential hopefuls. That is because is an afterthought, not just to me but to primary voters as well. Here is a telling example:
    "Both Senators Evan Bayh and Barack Obama will be in New Hampshire this weekend. While staff members for Bayh may have to scramble to find 50 people to show up for his three events, Obama has a guaranteed audience of 2,225," according to the Boston Globe.

    "Both Obama events are sold out, the organizers say. All 750 free tickets to attend a book signing in Portsmouth were grabbed up in just one day. In addition 1,500 people have bought tickets to see him at a rally celebrating Democratic victories in the state. People from 13 states have bought tickets to attend the rally."

    A book signing--of a number 1 best seller--versus a all but in name only presidential campaign event, and it is not even close. Sure Bayh was governor of Indiana, but that was because of his Dad Birch, who was beloved. He obviously wasn't a bad governor, otherwise he wouldn't have been such a landslide Senate winner each time. But still, have you read his presidential book? DLCers told me it was a terrible 'read,' and that they bought the book out of pity. Not too intellectual or charismatic a person either. Oh and being on some committee in the Senate does not count as "national security experience." Otherwise, Joe Biden would have a chance.

  2. Al Gore. I saw him on Oprah the other day...and he was the Al Gore of February 2001. Fat, tired looking, boring and uncharismatic/unfunny. I think people forget how great a job the filmmakers of 'An inconvenient truth' were. They made a long slide show by Al Gore interesting. And not just the slide show. The movie was about the man who nearly was president...about what it is like to find your purpose after suffering the most public loss in the history of mankind. Al, it seems to me, never wanted to be a politician. He loved learning about stuff, and really cared about the environment first and for most. There were other wonky things he loved, but clearly running for President wasn't one of those. Al Gore, Sr. wanted to be president and I believe that Al Jr. ran to fulfill his father's dying wish. After Al ran one of the worst campaigns ever, he was relieved of his duty to run.

    He still wants to be relevant and listened to, and he has some good things to say, but he is not going to run. Al would have made a great president. I volunteered for him the weekend before the elections in NH. I loved the movie. But I cannot and don't have to support him in 2008. Al Gore for EPA chair 2009!

The Biden's, the Gravel's, the Vilsack's, the Brownback's, the Kucinich's, they are too obvious and too fun to watch fall flat on their faces.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wes Clark 2008

That's right, I know it is a bit early, but I am fully behind the General. All signs point to Clark entering into the 2008 race soon. "I think it was clear that I got in too late last time," Clark told the Associated Press.

I do too, but what also hurt Clark was that a Senator for Massachusetts somehow claimed he was electable with foreign policy experience. Great work Iowa Caucus goers. He needed more money (although he did pretty well on that score), better staff (just say no to Gore 2000 staffers like Chris Lehane), and more experience with being in the public limelight of presidential politics.

Clark learned how the game is played: Iowa is the key normally in a front loaded calendar like this. But if Vilsack hangs on until January of 2008, he will moot Iowa. Some have said that he is just doing this for Hillary. That's gotta hurt. Anyway, if Vilsack doesn't do an 11th hour endorsement, the key will be 2nd and 3rd place in Iowa.

Those folks will have a leg up in NH. Since no New Englanders are running this time (it seems Kerry finally got the hint), NH should go to that 2nd or 3rd placer. Meanwhile, Nevada will happen. Look for the media to down play the Silver State because they know the best B&B's in the Granite State by now and have their reservations already set. Next, the calendar swings to SC. If it is still neck and neck, I would bet on Edwards winning this with Hillary/Obama (it is either one or the other in my book) and Clark on his heals.

I think Clark has a strong chance. Here is what I recommend: hire the veteran campaign staffers of Virginia, Montana, and Missouri, get on a plane to Las Vegas right now to protest along side those striking Nurses, do an interview with MyDD mid-2007 (not Josh Marshall), hire as many veteran IA and NH staffers as you can right now, speak out against the fetal pain bill in the lame duck, make a statement to the press that you don't like Democrats talking bad about straw men 'liberals,' have your son go on talk radio again and tell it like it is, poo-poo McCain's mythical 20k-more-troops-will-solve-everything plan.

If he does those things, he will shore up his weaknesses from 2004 (lack of support on Domestic Issues) and burnish his key strength (4 star general who WON a ethnic/religious based civil war involving Muslims with allies). Good luck, General.

Utah's 4th dead

No lame duck 4th seat for Utah. So says outgoing Majority Leader John Boehner (unfortunately pronounced "BAY-nor"). But California Republican Dana Rohrbacker has an idea that I would support:
Rohrbacker has introduced legislation, and will reintroduce it next year, [his spokesman] said, that would allow residents of the district to vote in Maryland federal elections and also give Utah a fourth House seat to balance another Maryland seat essentially for the district.
Some scholars have said the measure could violate the Constitution's directive that members of the House come "from the several states." Other Constitutional experts disagreed, saying that Congress has broad discretion over the district.

I like it...Retrosecession, but only for voting, since Maryland clearly doesn't want Washington in there state to deal with, but Maryland Democrats would love to have their statewide office seats secured. Of course, there would be that little problem of the Electoral College, and that constitutional amendment that gives DC three EC votes.

I guess D.C.'s representative would not count towards Marylands EC votes, D.C. voters vote for US Senator from Maryland would not subtract their EC votes either. Still a bit awkward. But better than nothing.

Maybe Pelosi will allow this as an Amendment to the Davis bill if it is revived in the 110th Congress.

making their moves on Utah's 4th

And the first politician out of the gate is surprisingly a Democrat: Sen. Ed Mayne, D-West Valley, head of the Utah AFL-CIO:
Mayne [], for example, had tried to get his hometown completely into the new 4th District, so he could run for an open congressional seat in the future. But his house stayed several blocks within the 2nd District.
Mayne [] said he is still seriously thinking about a run for Congress. That could mean a move, into the 4th District, or running in the 4th District while living just outside the boundary (which is legal) or challenging the lone Utah Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, in the 2nd District.
"I really wanted to be in the new district. I think I could win that," Mayne said, noting he would be able to raise a lot money for the race through his union ties. "I'm going to be a threat in any district if I choose to run."

Mayne previously called the Mathesons and my Dad part of the "white wine Mercedes set" But that doesn't necessarily mean he would challenge Jim in the primary. He probably wants Jim to clear the field for him. On the GOP side, I think Mayne's colleague Mike Waddoups (R-Taylorsville) wants in too, having tried and failed to get all of Taylorsville into one district or another. Meanwhile, another Republican played Constitutional Scholar:
On the House floor, Rep. Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, offered an amendment that would have adopted Plan L, but not place it into law until after Congress either gave Washington, D.C., back to Maryland (where its residents could vote as a citizen of that state), created a D.C. state or changed the U.S. Constitution to specially allow D.C. to have a voting member.

I shouldn't mock, I am glad someone is engaging constitutional analysis, but I doubt that is the real reason they voted no.

Utah's 4th, Iraq, and 2008

This will be a random collection of thoughts, as always. Sorry for not posting yesterday. I was writing an appellate brief and wanted to get a draft out.

  • Utah and DC's seat deal remains valid in theory. The New York Times picked up the story, which makes it seem more likely this is going to happen after all. But the local papers are the ones with the actual news. Buried in the first couple paragraphs of the Deseret News' article yesterday was this gem on the "bipartisan" bill:
    The map passed the 23-4 in the Senate without any amendments, even though several changes were discussed during a nearly three-hour, closed- door GOP caucus.
    Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City, said there was interest in the proposed changes, but no one wanted to jeopardize the bill's passage by tinkering.

    Did you catch that part about GOP only amendments in a closed door three hour caucus? Somehow, I have a feeling that Sen. Waddoups got what he wished for during that meeting [final passed map in PDF]. Meanwhile, Democrats and the rest of the public had no input on this process, let alone a record of what traded what for what, or how much support there was for various changes. This is why Jim Matheson and Roz McGee is right redistricting, especially of state legislative seats, needs to be done by an independent commission, not self-interested politicians who are salivating at the chance at running in the new 4th and fancy themselves a member of Congress. I sure hope Jim rains on their little parade.

  • Can you honestly tell me that you thoroughly read all the articles and books coming out daily about how messed up Iraq is? I wrote two papers in college about the Kurds and yet I can't stomach more than "X people died today in ___ when a ___ exploded" or "___ found ___ bodies ___ killed execution style" I can imagine that most Americans can't manage to read those articles or listen to the news in much detail about it either. Every day we are reminded how horrible life must be over there. Knowing the details just makes it all the more overwhelming and impossible to deal with in my book.
    That is not to say that we should whitewash the reporting. But don't expect everyone to read through all the extremely gory and depressing details.

  • We are mere weeks away from candidates announcing their candidacy for the 2008 presidential race. What's that you say, Gravel, Biden, and Vilsack have already announced? Don't worry, they will reannounce in D.C. events (Sunday talk shows, the National Press Club, etc.) over and over again before they drop out in a few months. Here's how it looks to me for the GOP side in order: McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Brownback, Huckabee. On the Democratic side, it is very fluid. I expect that if Obama is one of the first out of the box announcing (and has some serious staff/implied endorsements on his side) Hillary will NOT RUN. I still think everyone in Hillaryland but Hillary wants to run for president. Maybe she would like to be President, but she knows better than anyone of the candidates what it takes to win and how tough it is to run. She has lots of money (13.5 M) but money only buys you name recognition and maybe improves your image. Everyone who votes already knows who she is and already has a strong opinion about her. I see the race like this: Obama/Hillary, Gore?, Edwards, Clark, Richardson, Vilsack, Dodd, Biden, Gravel. On the Veepstakes, I see Romney, Giuliani, and Huckabee for the GOP and Warner, Obama, Clark, Vilsack, and Richardson for the Democrats. As always, my dream ticket is Clark-Warner, with Obama as AG and maybe as a Supreme Court Justice for the next opening.