Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pondering the next wave of candidates

Political lamp is lit....

Off the top -- preliminary thoughts about 2008. It’s not too early to start examining the Democratic alternatives.

(Some other time we should look into some of the non-neocon and non-insane Republican alternatives, such as Senator “no pork” Coburn. Or John “I’m reasonable 90% of the time -and jibbering nuts 1% - care to risk it?” McCain. Or Barry “I’ve been dead for years but please dig me up so I can rescue conservatism from control by the demon-undead” Goldwater.

Feel free to weigh in here. At this point, left-right doesn’t matter to me anywhere near as much as feudalist antifeudalist. I will listen re: ANY candidate who will issue subpoenas, rescue the civil service and officer corps, unleash special prosecutors and return America to the 20th Century.

(A genuine and modern 21st Century is clearly too much to hope for.)

Among the Democratic choices, of course Senator Clinton is the front-runner. She will get big-gun support from her spouse, and she is a formidable politician by any standard, worthy of respect, her position as heir presumptive is just a bit too regal for my tastes. Count the number of times in our lifetimes in which the candidate of one or both parties was not crowned as a matter of rightful inheritance. Generally because of a Vice Presidential slot (a disastrous criterion, as it led to defeat in all cases but one) or because of a shared name with an earlier president. Actually, this may be the first time since Eisenhower vs Stevenson! (And Ike really was a “royal”appointment because he was... well... Ike.) Conclusion? We have deeper monarchial tendencies than we admit.

I’d much rather Senator Clinton earned it, on the basis of policy and ability to reach beyond 16 Blue States, giving America a chance not only to eject mad neocons. I am much less interested in a candidate who will wage “culture war” than one who will end it.

What are the alternatives?

Well. For a lengthy and in-depth appraisal of former Virginia Governor Mark Warner - who left office in that “red” Southern state with a whopping 80% approval rating, see:

Then there is the fellow who John Kerry should have chosen as his running mate, retired General Wesley Clark, whose outrageous competence in leading our successful Balkans Intervention should have won contrast points vs the devastatingly incompetent mess in Iraq. See:

I am sure we’ll be discussing this further. But for now - one piece of advice for all Democrat candidates and officeholders, at all levels, preparing for elections in 2006 and 2008. Have your staff prepare cogent and agile reaction sets, strictly on contingency, for you to use in case America suffers a major terror attack, or some other provocation, coincidentally during the run-up to election day. Yes, there is always talk about an “October Surprise.” But never was the situation more inviting for this sort of thing than right now. Especially with the prospect of one chamber or another suddenly becoming enlivened with a new majority, eager to unleash its power of investigative subpoenas. There are gigantic interests who are terrified of that prospect. Interests who might stop at nothing.

Does that sound paranoid? Look, even if a scenario sounds over-the-top, these days a reasonable person might at least prepare a little, just in case. Should something like this happen, do not stand there, stunned, like deer in the headlights! If and when such a blatantly obvious scenario begins to unfold, be ready - for example - to call upon the men and women of our intelligence communities to step up and save our Republic. Surely some of them will have the knowledge and patriotism to do what must be done. Blowing the whistle.

Finally.... Is there a chance that the Miracle of 1947 might happen again, only this time American Conservatives seeing their duty to address madness on their “side”?

Look up It Didn't Work” by William F. Buckley in The National Review, Friday 24 February 2006 Another arch conservative and conservative archetype reporting that BushCo’s venture in Iraq has been a calamity. Sayeth one correspondent about this: ”Admitting “Game Over,” is the first step to getting real, obviously; and not a moment too soon when you consider that we have more time left with BushCo than Kennedy’s entire presidency. May the True Conservatives keep hammering away at these very scary fascists masquerading as Republicans. Next week, I’d like to hear John McCain and Chuck Hagel stage an “Emperor has no clothes.”

Buckley: “Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.”

Reminder about recent postings!

About the yin/yang of a coming “technological singularity”:

About "human adaptability" vs cynicism:

A political rant about solving the problem of gerrymandering: American Democracy: More Fragile than we think

Another at re-appraises Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract With America, considering how that masterful piece of political polemic might be used by the other side.



Charlie said...

I think that Gov. Bill Richardson would make an interesting Democratic candidate in 2008.
Chuck Hagel would be an excellent choice for the Republicans. He's one that I think many Democrats would be willing to vote for. He's been an opponent of the Iraq war from the start, presses for balanced budgets, and rejects neo-conservative foreign policy.

fpoole said...

As a Democratic alternative, I'd like to see a viable Green (not the Nader-joke party) or social democratic party. One thing I would like to see, but would never happen, is Aaron McGruder as a Green candidate for the presidency. Of course, it would probably start riots in all segments of North American society, because he thinks so very differently from the public. (And he would only be 34)

We can dream, though. If we had a system which allowed for coalition governance, we might see a McCain-Obama front. Once again, though, this pipedream simply won't be happening.

Anonymous said...

Hagel tried to ban the iPod. Other than that, though, I suppose he does count as "not crazy."

Rob Perkins said...

Has Ms. Clinton reneged on her avowal that 2008 will not be her Year?

(Better 2012 for her anyway, in my opinion. Gives her a solid two senate terms to look back on, and noone can call her opportunistic (much) after a decade in the Senate.)

I guess Joey L. is out of the running. *sigh*.

On the Republican side, are there any opinions about MA governor Romney, the guy who took the Salt Lake Winter Olympic committee and basically made roses grow from a pile of corrupt crap? And I agree that Chuck Hagel sounds good.

Of course, I'd vote for McCain, as well, if for no other reasons than that his policy positions have not been uncompromising, and he honks off my rightist relatives just by breathing in and out. ;-)

Obama might be interesting, but there is definitely something off-putting about freshman Senators running for President in my mind.

And, of course, the man knows just exactly how the Senate works.

As far as the tendency towards crowning leaders, I have to say I see it, certainly, in the nominations of Washington, Grant, T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, Dole, and Kerry, just to name eight. In the cases of the latter four, it was "their turn" to be the nominee. I think I even recall Dole saying so...

I dunno. I'll take an interest of course, but the honest truth in my State is that both parties are owned at the local caucus levels by the fringes, and the King County area's political machine is provably (though not proved) corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Rob, you said...
"As far as the tendency towards crowning leaders, I have to say I see it, certainly, in the nominations of Washington, Grant, T. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, Dole, and Kerry, just to name eight. In the cases of the latter four, it was "their turn" to be the nominee. I think I even recall Dole saying so..."

I must object to claiming T. Roosevelt... He took the presidency after the president was assassinated, and he was offered VP in a effort to get him out of the govornership of NY... the fact he became president caused the kingmakers of the Republican party much grief, since he was so much of a progressive compared to thier fuedalism. T.R. crowned? More like snuck in while no one was looking...

As for Senator Dole... he had run for President HOW many times before they made him the standard bearer? His turn, indeed.

Julia said...

Here's a link to the Buckley column. Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't hold out much... well, any hope for the Republican candidate for President. At least in the halls of power, the "moderate Republican" has proven to be a myth, as they've all continued to vote in lock-step with the leadership on everything important. Even the much-lauded John McCain has backed down from Bush and his crew on everything important. Most likely because he wants to be President, and doesn't want to have Karl Rove's ire directed at him again, like in South Carolina back in 2000. Even on the torture ban bill, he agreed to the Graham Amendment, which made the bill basically toothless. The government claims the ban on torture doesn't apply to Guantanamo detainees. And the sad part, legally, they're probably right.

"Unfortunately, I think the government's right; it's a correct reading of the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The law says you can't torture detainees at Guantanamo, but it also says you can't enforce that law in the courts."

(Of course, given that torture is ALREADY illegal, under both US law and UN treaties we've signed, I don't know what another bill was supposed to do anyway.)

(And as another aside, yes, I realize that by using "caves to Bush" as a disqualifier, it disqualifies many of the Democrats too. That's one of the most frustrating things about out "opposition party", they haven't been doing any opposing!)

(And as a third aside, I harp on "the torture thing" a lot, yes. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like not approving torture is kinda a really low bar to set for ethics in any civlization, especially in the modern world.)

Honestly, I've kinda written most of the elected officals in the national Republican Party off as corrupt, autocrats, or just plain crazy. As for the Democrats, I live in Virginia, and we have had good years under Mark Warner, though I don't know how much of that is really his credit. But he's been competent and not done anything mind-breakingly stupid, so that's a plus. Hillary... I'm actually not sure what to think about her. I'd rather she didn't win, just to avoid the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton pattern, I think that'd be a bad precedent. On the other hand, just be existing she drives some people crazy, people I approve of driving crazy.

But frankly, anybody who's actually competent and will stand up to (and fight back against) the neocons, theocons, and Karl Roves of the world will get my vote, at this point. (Okay, well, assuming they're not fighting against them from even FURTHER into insanity.)

Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

I want to see the Dems run governors and not senators.

Governors are in a position rather closer to the presidential job than that of senators... and at least they haven't been able to prove themselves utterly spineless.

Anonymous said...

The primaries on both sides are going to be interesting to watch.

Will Republicans be able to shed themselves of crooks and ideologues? The re-nomination of Tom DeLay suggests that they are not off to a good start, but as more and more of Bush's crew, AHEM, "resign to spend more time with their families," honest Republicans may have a chance to differentiate themselves by outright rejecting ties to Bush.


David Brin said...

Read my "Contract" suggestion again. Among the most important promises the Dems could make in such a proposal would be to vow that they will, upon retaking Congress:

1) dare GWB to swear NOW to pardon no more than the total number of people pardoned by BOTH previous administrations, combined.

It's a great no-win situation to thrust upon him. First, it turns public attention to this vital issue and second, he loses if he says yes OR no.

2) Pass a bill DEFINING the process of Presidential pardoning, so that it includes a required day testifying, under oath, before a "truth & reconciliation commission" giving all details about whatever it is you've been pardoned for. The pardon is defined as applying only to things you discuss in detail on that day!

Especially relevant for people who are "pardoned in advance."

Imagine how many guys are out there, currently confident and relying utterly on that "get out of jail free card" they were promised in 2008. How they would plotz upon seeing that bill pass! The rats would start diving overboard in January 2007. (Or else, of course, it might trigger the coup early.)

Notable... this bill does not actually forbid the President from issuing pardons, so it might pass SC muster. But even if it doesn't, the theater of the bill, starkly drawing attention to the expected pardon tsunami, can only be overwhelmingly effective.

Don Quijote said...

If you voted for the Iraqi war & the Patriot Act, you do not deserve to be President. Those two votes show that you are either a coward unwilling to stand up and fight or that you are a clueless idiot.

Now Senator Feingold looks pretty good to me. Vice President Al Gore would also be a candidate I can support.

Yes, there is always talk about an “October Surprise.”

Worry more about these idiots starting a war with Iran.

Anonymous said...

Sotek is right, more presidents have been ex-governors than have been anything else. Problem is, they tend to be kind of an x-factor for most voters until the actual elections cycle.

On the Democrat side, Hillary seems like an obvious choice at first glance, and I think she'll end up being the Howard Dean of the 2008 cycle: the media will be fawning all over her until the first caususes come in any everyone realizes that nobody wants her to be president. Then she'll get dropped like a hot potato.

It'd make the most sense to run a red-state democrat governor. Somebody like Bill Richardson of NM, who has some experience on the hill. (Only name that springs to mind, offhand.)

I think it'll be more interesting to see what happens on the Republican side of the aisle. The only political scion they have to run is Jeb Bush, which I wouldn't rule out, and there's been talk about running Condoleeza Rice, but she simply hasn't mastered the 30-second sound bite to the point where she could run effectively, IMO.

Looking again to the state governors, John Hoeven of ND would seem to have the appropriate kleptoracratic background: Ivy League education, former bank manager, and he's in a safe seat in '06. I'd put five bucks on him making a run, anyway.

Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Dems: Gore or Schweitzer. David, I too was a Wes Clark supporter in 2004. He'd rather be sec of state or less so sec of defense than president.

Reeps: Lindsay Graham is the dark horse I think everyone should watch. The compliant DC based national reporters love him. He is bat shit crazy on public policy issues most of the time, but sounds reasonable and more moderate in tone, thus fooling college educated Republicans who often vote against their social tolerance for a tax cut. Plus, he served in the military as a JAG. There will be no swift boating of him either. Other than that, the Reeps have little to offer any emotionally based voter. There is not much likelihood of Hegel (too much an apostate) or anyone else who is not a Republican version of a Stalinist. In short, the Reeps NEED Hillary to win the Dem nomination in '08.

Finally, there is no love for me anymore for John McCain. He is now 90% cynical in his policy choices and 100% whoring for Dear Leader and his Rootin, Tootin, Shootin VP. McCain has proven himself something I would not have expected from him after all these years: A cynical, calculating cowardly politician giving in to the worst impulses within the modern Republican Party.

Rob Perkins said...

"Politics and sausage", in my opinion. By that I mean that there's less one can divine by a single vote ("for the war in Iraq", for example) than by a track record, so I won't rule out a nominee just because he voted for a measure his constituency also wanted.

Personally, I'd love to see a President in office who is capable of conceding points, publicly, and of past repentance. And I have little idea who meets those criteria.

opit said...

don quixote said the fear I think most likely ; except add Korea to Iran for all sorts of problems. If you've never read the sidebar "Blame Bush for North Korea's Nukes" at Mahablog you might not understand that the "War President" might be at least as likely to be following Crisis Management theory in a way suggested by propaganda: create crises faster than they can be managed.
Hey, the effect on domestic politics is complete confusion to your enemies. They're never on top of the game.
Maybe you have another theory to explain something like giving up on ports and Dubai and going to outsourcing the Secret Service to them almost in the same heartbeat.

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

Buckley: “Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem..."

That might be the understatement of the century!

Anonymous said...

Okay, enough with the Bill Richardson. I live in New Mexico, and I have yet to hear any resident of the state- Democrat, Independent, or Republican- say anything to recommend the man. Every analyst goes, "hey, there's a hispanic Democratic governor in a red state, let's put him on the list" without knowing much of anything about him. Add that to the executive accounting scandal a few months back, when it turned out that a few of his aides embezzled millions of dollars from the treasury, and you've got one candidate that it would probably be best not to touch with a ten-foot pole. On top of all that, there's just something about him that doesn't seem presidential; he lacks the "feel" of a presidential politician.

That said, he did a nice job bringing the civilian spaceport to NM.

Anonymous said...

Actually, having a few scandals under your belt works in your favor. If you look at Clinton's '92 campaign, he came off as a corrupt lecherous hillbilly with more than a few puzzling corpses in his wake.

On that basis, I wouldn't discount Richardson just because he's neck-deep in an embezzlement scandal. Indeed, that sort of thing is easily brushed aside as the work of "overzealous underlings", and yeilds one some cachet as an experienced politician.

Kagehi said...

So.. Which of them are refusing to pander to this sort of BS:

Because it seems the Democrats are trying to cut off another limb, while chasing more imaginary percentages of voters that don't normally vote for them. We badly need to get past this, "Poor Christians! Everyone panders to their every whim, except for all the whims they want more pandering for and that just isn't respectful of them.", bullshit, otherwise anyone we elect from either side is going to have the same insane mind set at Bush. Mandates from God, fear and hatred of secularism, imaginary solutions based on faith, instead of reason, the whole bloody mess we already have now, only next time they will be wearing a different animal on their tinfoil sheriff's badge. Picking a candidate is meaningless, if they start out by kissing the feet of the true nuts on both sides, because they don't respect reason enough to tell the nuts that they swore to defend and protect "all" of this country, not just the ones that insist on playing at pharisee, or even only those willing to say, "Gosh, its just so neat you have an imaginary friend. I wish I did!".

jomama said...

Any successful candidate for President is the perfect example of the Peter Principle in action.