What makes someone want to run for President? The last two have been savaged by their opposition so severely, it is hard to comprehend that anyone would want to put themselves in that place. Clinton was relatively popular with the public, but the Republican Congress and the media made his presidency hellish. Bush, who was the darling of the right, is now considered a traitor by many of them. And they like him lots, compared to the left.
We all know the answer, of course - ego and ambition. If we were less cynical, we might add love of country, but it gets so hard to believe that as they all cleave towards party lines once elected. Has anyone since Eisenhower been everyone's president?
Since my last piece on the 2008 race, another name has popped up -- John Edwards. There are reasons why he might feel confident. He performed well last time as a Democratic candidate, and did a credible job as second fiddle to the worst candidate since Michael Dukakis in 2004. Kerry's pathetic performance did not cast a shadow over him. How could it -- he is so light and sunshiney, he must float over anything dark and negative thrown at him.
Why is John Edwards so smiley and happy all the time? Call me cynical, but I am always suspicious of anyone who smiles so much. In my limited experience, they often turn out to be very unhappy. But, you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just has a great life.
Edward's chances in the nomination -- That's hard to decipher right now because we don't know if Obama is running. If he does, he will siphon off from Edward's people who want to vote for someone good looking, youthful and cheerful. Frankly, either of them would make Hillary look dour and tough by comparison. Although she has a reputation of being charming in private, too many people would not give her the time of day if she asked for it. Edwards is nothing but likeable, and he will benefit from the comparison. People would give him the time, and some their watch. However, as suggested above, Obama would draw some of these possible voters away from him.
I give Edwards a chance in the nomination, because there has to be an anti-Hillary candidate, and it might be him. He has actually tied in one Iowa poll with Obama so far (see below). He has the name recognition and the personality.
I give him much less of a chance in the general election. If the candidate is McCain or Guliani, they will bury him in terms of relevant experience. Edwards brief turn as a Senator does not seem sufficient to get him past that experience hurdle, particularly as his term was not stellar. He looked inexperienced in his debaes with Cheney and hasn't really done anything since then. Frankly, Dan Quayle's Senate experience looked deeper than Edwards' does.
Here's some quick advice for many of the candidates:
John Edwards. Don't smile so much. If you dye your hair, time to stop. Go grey. You look like a kid, and unlike JFK, you have no war record to balance your seeming youth against. Poverty issues will not win the election for you, because the poor people aren't voting. Just saying "security is important too" is not sufficient to convince anyone who doesn't think 9/11 was just a fluke.
John McCain. Careful in your tilt right. It may be necessary, and people understand that. But go to far, and you will lose the moderates who love you. Remember that people like you because they believe you have integrity. The recent Iowa poll put you on top, although just barely. A good sign, given how conservative Iowa is, but Guliani was breathing down your neck, and he's a socially liberal conservative.
Hillary Clinton. Although I cannot conceive what would make you do this, given how much you are hated by your enemies, here's my advice. Never raise your voice or get passionate in public, even if the crowd wants you too. You don't do it well. Its hard to listen to. Every shrill word out of your mouth will be repeated over and over by talk radio.
Joe Biden (who announced on Meet the Press yesterday). I don't know where to start. Take a breathe. Let other people speak. One thing people can't stand is a politician who hogs the mike. Don't be such a know-it-all. Limit yourself to ten words per sentence, and ten seconds an answer or question. Don't ask a question and then keep talking when someone tries to answer. Get staff who will tell you the truth about your faults and give them a buzzer for when you can't control yourself.
Rudy Guliani. I don't think he needs any advice from me or anyone else. He is very good at this, although I still think McCain (I have admitted my bias before) will win. I would not like to vote for him because I believe he has a mean streak ten miles wide which he demonstrated as a prosecutor and a mayor, but he has already convinced many people that he has changed. His speeches are the most conversational of all of the likely candidates.
John Kerry. Did you not read my first election blog? Go home, be rich, ski, sail or be Senator again. You are never going to get the nomination again unless the E.U. and America merge, and we all know the chances of that happening. OK, if you would not listen to that, how about this. Never make a joke in public again, and stop acting so professorial. People actually don't think you are that smart anymore.
Tom Vilsack. You just finished 3rd in the Iowa poll with 10%. Don't think it means anything. Both Edwards and Obama more than doubled your score, and you are from Iowa, for crying out loud.
Dennis Kucinich. I didn't include you in my last blog, so I will here. Everyone knows you are against the war. Many people agree with you. But they are not going to vote for you. Know why? Well, for one thing, you are short, and people care about that. Sorry. For, another thing, your trophy wife sort of ruins the whole man of the people thing. Look at the two of you in the mirror. See what I mean.Last thing -- you remind everyone of Dukakis and Paul Simon. Remember, how they did?
Here's a portion of the recent Iowa poll so you can see how your favorite's did:
DEMOCRATIC SECTION ONLY (400 DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS VOTERS)
QUESTION: If the 2008 Democratic Caucus for President were held today, which of the
following candidates would you vote for? (ROTATED):
ALL MEN WOMEN
John Edwards 22% 21% 23%
Barack Obama 22% 21% 23%
Tom Vilsack 12% 14% 10%
Hillary Clinton 10% 9% 11%
Al Gore 7% 7% 7%
John Kerry 5% 5% 5%
Wesley Clark 4% 6% 2%
Dennis Kucinich 4% 3% 5%
Joe Biden 1% 2% -
Evan Bayh 1% 1% 1%
Bill Richardson 1% 2% -
Undecided (NOT READ) 11% 9% 13%
REPUBLICAN SECTION ONLY (400 REPUBLICAN CAUCUS VOTERS)
QUESTION: If the 2008 Republican Caucus for President were held today, which of the
following candidates would you vote for? (ROTATED):
ALL MEN WOMEN
John McCain 27% 30% 24%
Rudy Giuliani 26% 27% 25%
Mitt Romney 9% 8% 10%
Newt Gingrich 7% 9% 5%
Condi Rice 4% 2% 6%
George Pataki 1% 1% 1%
Jeb Bush 1% 1% 1%
George Allen 1% 1% 1%
Sam Brownback 1% 1% 1%
Rick Santorum 1% 1% 1%
Duncan Hunter - - -
Undecided (NOT READ) 22% 19% 25%
Why Pataki, Brownback, Santorum, Biden, Kucinich, Kerry and Richardson are even thinking about it, is a mystery to me. Gingrich practically lives in Iowa for the last two years, and can stop kidding himself.
What about an Al Gore revival? You never know, although I wouldn't want to see a Gore-Clinton war. That would make Antietam look antiseptic in comparison.
- I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .