Was I wrong?

In my May 5, 2005 post, I suggested the Democrats were too late for ’08….was I wrong?
Gov Mark Warner could be the man:



Kerry lost by 19 electoral votes…with a strong moderate southern democrat, Warner would take VA’s 13 votes (as long as George Allen can be kept off the GOP ticket) and surely he could pick up three more from either Iowa (7 votes) or New Mexico (5 votes)…all things being equal, its Warner’s election….if he can get to the general election! If the Democrats want to win, we can not nominate a northern (liberal or not) democrat! In addition, Warner is from the state executive branch and not the Federal legislative branch that has been a curse for politician’s since 1960.

Va. Governor Hires Former Gore Adviser
By BOB LEWIS, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 10, 9:04 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Mark Warner is taking another step toward a possible presidential run by establishing a federal campaign committee and hiring a top political aide to
Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, two advisers said Friday.

Monica Dixon will begin working for the Democratic governor next month and will be paid through a federal leadership PAC Warner is setting up, said Mame Reiley of Alexandria, director of a state political action committee the governor controls.

Steve Jarding, a Harvard University political science professor who managed Warner’s 2001 campaign for governor, said Dixon will work part-time advising Warner on a possible run for the White House in 2008. Warner’s term as governor ends in January.

Warner, 50, has not said whether he will seek the Democratic nomination, but he has done little to quiet speculation about his future aspirations. He was in Iowa earlier this week to talk about high school education and prepare for a meeting later this year of the National Governors Association.

The Iowa caucuses are the traditional start of the presidential nominating process every four years. “I can honestly say, to quote my colleague from California, ‘I’ll be back,'” Warner said, a reference to the movie line often uttered by actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Warner was in New York on Friday and not immediately available for comment. A telephone message left for Dixon in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned.

Democrats too late of 2008?

About this time last year, I told a friend that I thought John Kerry would loose the election by fifteen votes. Part of the deal was that, if I was wrong, I had to publicly admit it. So this spring, I am writing to say I was wrong. Kerry lost by nineteen votes. Presumably had he been the nominee, Jonathan Edwards would have won his home state and its fifteen votes. Then the Democrats would be down only four electoral votes and the ambiguity of New Mexico’s results would have been a lot more interesting.

The point is that Edwards was always a more viable candidate than Kerry. In fact, Edwards actually came in third in the 2004 Presidential Election ahead of Ralph Nader: one Minnesota electoral delegate voted for Edwards (source U.S. National Archives). Perhaps Kerry actually believed that the selection of a Vice-President had an impact still?

Why does the national Republican Party have a better handle on Presidential politics than my Democratic Party? There are three key lessons which must be accepted: first, we are in a time of neo-sectionalism in which the Democrats tend to dominate the coasts and the northeast. Republicans dominate the south, the Rockies and the Plains while the Upper-Midwest is a toss-up. Electorally, that gives the Republicans the advantage and the Democrats must run a candidate from a GOP state in order to win (Clinton, 1992/1996).

Secondly, winning candidates have come from state governments (Bush 2004/2000; Clinton 1996/1992; Reagan (1984/1980; Carter 1976) and not from the Federal government (Kerry 2004, Gore 2000, Dole 1996). In that regard, we might explain why even with NC’s fifteen votes, Edwards would have been short.

Thirdly, the vice-president is meaningless. The only purpose of the office is to check the pulse of the president each morning and to break ties on the rare occasion they arise in the U.S. Senate. Did Cheney swing Wyoming into the Bush column? Did Quayle offer cover for Bush (41)? Vice-President Bush was so meaningless that, when Reagan was shot, Alexander Haige declared himself in charge. The last meaningful selection of a VP was Ford and that was only ex post facto. That is, if Nixon hadn’t resigned, Ford would not have been important. Truly, the last time a vice-presidential selection affected the outcome of an election was Lyndon Johnson in 1960.

So where are we now? One year out from the last primary season and about two or three years from the next primary season. Already the hopefuls are visiting Iowa and New Hampshire. Who is in the mix? U.S. Senators John Kerry (MA), Jonathan Edwards (NC), Hilary Clinton (NY), Joe Biden (DE), Evan Bayh (IN) lead the Democratic pack. Meanwhile the Republican nominee will likely be one of the following: MA Governor Mitt Romney, NY Governor Pataki, fmr. NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) or U.S. Senator John McCain (AZ).

Isn’t it interesting that the Democratic list is inundated with Senators? The very people that history has scorned? The only candidates that even make an electoral dent are Bayh and Edwards since they come from traditionally Republican states. If the Democrats have to rely on NY or MA then the election is already lost; there is no electoral advantage.

On the other end of the pendulum, the Republicans have mastered the strategy that the Democrats desperately need: the GOP list has three executives from two of the most Democratic states in the country!

The Democratic Party is the party of the people. It is the party that represents the greatest good for the greatest number of Americans, but its being out-maneuvered in Presidential contests. It is crucial that Rhode Island Democrats help like-minded candidates get elected in southern, Midwestern and battleground states. We can not sit by and concentrate only on local issues, however important they may be. In truth, it may be already too late for 2008, unless we can unite the country behind a Gov Easley (NC), an Evan Bayh (IN), or another Democrat from a GOP state.

For better or worse, the Democratic Party has done it again

For better or worse, the Democratic Party has done it again. Are we resurrecting “President” Dukakis or President Kennedy? Senator Edwards has dropped out of the Presidential race and John F. Kerry is the presumptive Democrat nominee. Sen. Kerry is a successful politician and a great American. He would make an excellent President of the United States, but can he win? Electorally, what does he offer as a candidate? Massachusetts would vote for any Democrat. (Remember when Massachusetts was the only state to stem a Nixon sweep in 1972?) Senator Edwards on the other hand would have offered the Democrats the chance to alter the Electoral Map: make North Carolina a “blue” state instead of a “red” state and swing 15 Electoral votes into the Democratic column. That would give the Democrat 275 to Bush’s 263. That would give the Democrats victory. Can a Democrat from the Northeast be elected? Sure, it’s been done before…. 44 years ago!

President Kennedy was the last Northern Democrat to be elected and, of course, he slipped in with a 119,450 vote difference. Why? Because we are living in times of party de-alignment and neo-sectionalism. In order to win the Presidency, the Democrats must run a candidate from an area Republican strength and/or sweep the Midwest and Florida (Carter/1976, Clinton/1992, Clinton/1996).

Similarly, it has also been 44 years since a sitting legislator was elected President. Since JFK, we have had four governors (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, G.W. Bush), two Vice-Presidents (Nixon and G.H.W. Bush) and four incumbents, (Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) elected President of the United States. Not one single legislator has been elected President in nearly a half-century. Why? Because legislators leave legislative paper trails; it is too easy to attack legislators voting record. Although President Kennedy was a legislator with six years in the U.S. House and eight years in the U.S. Senate, he spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. Furthermore, the Kennedy election was arguably the last of the old-style political machinery elections. And even Kennedy barely won…one of the four closest elections of all time (1824,1876,1960,2000).

John Kerry has been a legislator for 18 years, but there are no corpses from Cook County Illinois to vote for him; John Kerry does not have a Boss Tweed or a Tammany Hall to carry his campaign; and John Kerry does not have the South voting for him.

I hope I am wrong. I pray I am wrong. In November, I will vote for John F. Kerry to be the next President of the United States. He will make an excellent President and I wish him the best, but what color will North Carolina be: red or blue?