Wow. What a bunch of stiffs. They sure make Gore look charismatic. All of them have a serious uphill battle.
Right now, there are serious doubts about the viability of the Democratic Party. Everything that was linked to Clinton / Gore in any way has faced embarassment and ignominious defeat over the past few years. It spread like a cancer from Bill to Al, and then, by proxy, to every former Friend of Bill who dared to run for office.
Strangely enough, the only people connected to the Clinton White House who are still highly electable are the Clintons... so long as they never run for any office in Arkansas or Washington D.C. ever again. It just goes to show that you can never go home again... at least not without scandal, shame, disbarment, and potential lawsuits.
But wait. Perhaps there is some potential talent amongst the Democratic candidates. Admittedly, all of them are stiffs compared to Clinton, but some of them seem to have, if not electability, then at least some degree of respectability.
The obvious name that is going to be bantered about is Joe Lieberman, Gore's running mate, and the man everyone thought would be a better president than Gore himself. I suspect that Lieberman will run... not so much because he has a chance in hell of winning against Bush - he doesn't - but because he will have money and support, in part due to the DLC. The DLC were instrumental in Clinton's rise to power, and represent the "New Democrats"... which is to say, they represent the Republicrats... those Democrats who have no problem whatsoever with giving President Bush the right to do pretty much whatever he pleases in the name of "national security".
The DLC like Lieberman. They also like Kerry and Gephardt. Expect to see them all chasing the DLC's support... and the money that comes with it. One of them will almost certainly get it...
None of them has any chance of winning, however.
The reason for that, of course, is that you couldn't bribe the public enough to care about any of them. They're all boring, they all have boring messages, and none of them have anything real in their repertoire to use to combat Bush.
So, who does? That narrows down the list greatly...
Russ Feingold is "the other half" of the McCain / Feingold campaign reform act. He's also a one-trick pony until people hear otherwise, however.
My favorite potential candidate (and the man on the list who is probably most qualitied to be president) is Robert Reich. He was the Labor Secretary under Clinton, and also served in the Ford and Carter administrations. He is a very skilled economist, and yet he also has liberal beliefs based not on what is popular or would get him elected, but what is fair and rational.
Some of his beliefs include:
- legalization of marajuana
- civil unions and partner benefits to homosexuals
- opposes the death penalty
- strongly pro-choice
- raising cigarette taxes to help subsidize health care
- raising the minimum wage
- reforming welfare so it is fairer for single mothers and their children
- creation of an "opt-in" universal health care program
- believes in creating limits on the sales of handguns
- supports a worldwide campaign against child labor
- believes in greater amounts of foriegn aid, linked to human rights
- believes that the U.S. should work harder to create a Palestinian state
- Believes in encouraging low-emissions and hybrid vehicles, renewable energy sources, worldwide emissions rules, and greater protection for open spaces and "Smart Growth" limits on development.
Reich is keenly aware and critical of the Democratic Party, and realizes that it has lost touch with the grassroots of the party and those who are disenfranchised, disaffected and generally fed up with politicians. Despite his connection to the Clinton White House, Reich doesn't mince words, and has been outspoken in his criticism of Clinton for betraying his agenda and for going too far to placate the Republicans. He also supported Bradley, not Gore, as the Democratic nominee in the last election.
Which, of course, leads us to Bill Bradley, who ran before, nearly beating Gore, despite the fact that Gore had all the support. He's tall, lanky, and perhaps a bit awkward and dull, and his politics are a bit dull as well, somewhere to the left of Gore's. Still, if he chooses to run, he may do very well indeed in the first few electoral contests, where he gave Gore a run for his money in the past. Given the relative lack of exposure nationwide for all of the Democratic candidates, this might be all he needs to win.
As much as I would rather see Reich win the nomination, I suspect that Bradley's white, tall, all-American image would do better in the South and Midwest. It may very well be that Reich will stay out of the election, choosing to support Bradley again, but frankly, I would be happier if he tried to win the nomination, no matter how hopeless it seemed.
Hell, if it doesn't work out, perhaps Reich should be encouraged to be a candidate for the Green Party...