Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bring out the Little Guns

I've been thinking that one of the problems with the Democratic Party is how they select candidates. The Republican leadership, in 2000, got together and selected Bush Jr. to be their candidate (more or less). But the Democrats are fractured--they rely on the whims and ambitions of individuals to throw their hats into the ring, and only then does the leadership try to take sides. As a result, only the big guns run, and after several losing election cycles, almost all the Democratic big guns are out of ammunition.

Who here would really be excited to see Gore run again? Or Kerry? Or Edwards, or Daschle, or Hillary Clinton, etc...? Maybe it is time for the Democrats to stop this pundit's guessing-game approach to choosing a nominee, and instead mount a concerted effort to find a relative unknown to be their standard bearer--someone who would have neither the fundraising ability nor the ambition to run on their own, against the field of big guns, but who would be a fresh, new face for the new century?

Here are some suggestions. I am eager to hear more ideas from the citizens.

1. Marcy Kaptur. She is the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives, completing her twelfth term (1982-present). She is from Ohio's 9th district--a swing state. She's a Catholic (member of the "Little Flower Roman Catholic Church" in Toledo, the town where she was born and has lived all her life). She voted against the war in Iraq, against the Patriot Act, and against the anti-gay-marriage amendment. She introduced the original legislation to build the WWII memorial, and fought for 17 years until it became a reality. She is a white woman and will turn 60 in June of this year.

2. Wellington Webb. He is a former three-term mayor of Denver (1991-2003), former regional director of the U.S. Dep't of HEW under Carter. He has been president of the U.S. conference of mayors, the conference of democratic mayors, and the National Conference of Black Mayors. He briefly considered running for the DNC chairmanship before withdrawing and backing Howard Dean. He's a baptist, was an all-conference basketball player in junior college, and a forklift-truck operator. His wife was a Colorado State legislator. He is a black man who has just turned 65.

3. Jim Doyle. He is the current governor of Wisconsin (2003-present); he was formerly the state atty general for 12 years (1990-2002). He's a graduate of Stanford university and Harvard law school. He and his wife spent 2 years in Tunisia in the peace corps. Health care is his top priority. He vetoed a bill that would have banned gay marriage and has denounced a current voter initiative (due in November) to do the same. He is a 59-year old white man.

4. Ed Pastor. He is a fourteen-year, seven-term U.S. representative from Phoenix (1991-present). He was born in the small mining town of Claypool, AZ, and has a B.A. in chemistry and a law degree, both from ASU. He is a Catholic, but has a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL. He is a former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He voted "No" on the war in Iraq, and Kosovo. He is a 63-year old hispanic man.

5. Jim Davis. (Not to be confused with the creator of Garfield.) He is a five-term congressman from Florida's 11th district, Tampa, (1996-present). He was elected head of the 1996 Democratic freshman class in Congress and he is running for Governor of Florida this year. He voted YES on Iraq, Yes on the Patriot Act, No on an amendment to ban gay marriage, and no on a bill to ban gay adoption in DC. He is a 48-year old white man.

My point is, maybe it is time for the DNC to search the nation and draft a candidate (or a few) to run in the primaries. Maybe 2008 is a time to bring out the little guns.


Anonymous said...

The term "little gun" probably encapsulates, in so many, many, ways, the image problems Democrats have, not only on security issues, but the wimp factor in general.  

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest Mark Warner - the former governor of Virginia. You can find his positions on the issues here .

I think the problem the Democrats have had is that they have been running members of Congress. Senators have numerous strategic but hard to explain votes that can be used against them (Kerry was particularly victimized by this). House Reps are usually "not ready for prime time." Also, they have spent their careers catering to very narrow, local interests that may not translate well out of their home districts.

For example, Representative Kaptur may be from a swing state but she's not from a swing district. Urban districts on the Lake Erie shore are as strongly Democratic as any district in the country.

Jim Doyle is a good suggestion. Governors are the best hope for the Democratic Party and a Governor from a "heartland" state like Wisconsin is a great idea! Governors can run as true "outsiders" - a powerful strategy in a "throw the bums out" atmosphere. Midwestern governors can't get elected with having substantial cross over appeal. Unlike house reps or governors from the Old Confederacy, California or New England/New York, Midwestern governors need to appeal to an electorate divided into three more or less equal shares of liberals, moderates and conservatives.

It says a lot about the internal politics of both major parties that in recent years the Republicans have been dominated by candidates appealing exclusively to the Confederacy vote and Democrats have been dominated by the "Bi-Coastal" types. The Midwestern moderates have been shut out of both parties. I think the Democrats have the best chance of coming to their senses. Jim Doyle would be a great idea!  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

RxR: I'm glad you like the idea of Doyle. I consider Mark Warner one of the big guns, since his name has been bandied about quite a bit and he was a governor. (I was thinking of looking at mayors and representatives mostly, but threw in Doyle because he was a fairly new and unknown gov.)

Does it matter that Kapture does not come from a "swing district"? Would it not still help Dems win Ohio to run an Ohioan?

At any rate, the "midwestern moderate" that RxR speaks of may be a good way of describing what we're looking for.

As for LTG's remark... very funny. But seriously, do you think the less visible status of a mayor or representative (or a little-known governor like Doyle) would be a serious problem, or perhaps--as I'm suggestion--a boon?

Dr. Strangelove said...

Call me psychic?

Anonymous said...

It might but Kucinich is a similar Democrat (from Cleveland) but did not win the Ohio primary. I don't even think he came in third. Ohioans who think about such things think of the Lake Erie shore as a kind of left wing stronghold - usually complete captured by "big labor." That was Kucinich to a "T."

My concern would be that Kaptur would have a record that looks a lot more like Pelosi or Waxman than like Bayh or even Gebhardt.

I think the governor of a swing state or "Red" state is the only way to go for the Demcorats. That means Doyle, Vilsack, Warner or possibly Bayh (former governor - current Senator from Indiana). 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

Kucinich just seemed weird, even to me. I mean, seriously, Americans are more likely to vote in a black, jewish, crippled woman than a vegetarian :-)

Dr. Strangelove said...

My only concern about some of the red state or swing state governors is this: in my heart, I believe the Democrats need to run a moderate but consistent liberal, not a conservative in Democrat's clothing, and not someone who has been inconsistent in their positions, or so compromised by their compromises that they look untrustworthy.

We need a candidate who is passionate and emotional, not cold and intellectual--someone who can connect with people and really show the "values" voters that Democrats are the ones on the moral high ground.

I think Gore understood both of those things, in the end, but his conversion came too late and his campaign was badly managed. If he had said in exasperation, "Damn it, count all the votes! Is this Florida or Russia?"... If he had mounted a broad people-power campaign rather than a narrow legal fight... might justice have prevailed? LTG has spoken of this far better than I can. He has said (I hope I am not putting words in his mouth) that Gore's reaction--or lack thereof--showed the inherent failings in his lackluster campaign and timid candidacy.

On a few occasions, Kerry managed to break out of the emotional chokehold and show some fire. But it was rare. And his compromises and inconsistency, especially regarding Iraq, dogged him at every turn. Would the candidacy of Hillary Clinton fare any better?

John Edwards may have a shot at it. He has shown he can connect better than most, and he is taking steps to undo the damage done by his vote in favor of Bush's war. For example, in a November, 2005 op-ed piece concerning that vote, he begins with three simple words you will never hear a Republican say about Iraq: "I was wrong."

Maybe Mark Warner has the chops too--I don't know. And maybe there is a big gun out there who can do the job (e.g. Edwards.) But a concerted effort by the Democratic leadership (Dean still has his grassroots organization, doesn't he? ) to find some potential candidates at the lower levels might find some diamonds in the rough.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right. The need is for a genuine moderate not a Lieberman style "moderate" who is really a conservative or Hilary Clinton sylte "moderate" who is really a left-progressive posing as a moderate for personal gain.

I think there are people who fit that bill. I've heard good things about Warner for example. I've heard mixed things about Vilsack. Perhaps roving Citizen can give a report on him (hint hint). 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

US West said...

Sorry guys, no women in the race. I want a woman president, but this ain't the time to try an break the glass ceiling. We can't do another 4 years with a Repub in the White House and Americans aren't going to put a female in the place with a war going on. Not one of the suggestions mentioned anything about wartime experience. Do we consider that a dead letter now?

OH, and no pretty boys like Edwards. That guy gives me the creeps and willies everytime he opens his mouth. He is too emotive to be real and he smiles like Tom Cruise which makes me cringe.

I'd also like to point out that we tried non-Congress people in the past election. We had a retired general, and a black baptist preacher. No, we need a good solid type from the Midwest who can steady the ship of state.

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