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I liked Barak's convention speech as much as the next guy, but I must say that I'm a bit taken aback but some of the Obama '08! excitement I'm hearing from otherwise sober-minded folks. Can't we let the man serve, say, one day in the US Senate before we proclaim him our new king? After all, impressive as his political skills seem they haven't exactly been tested in a rigorous way. I, too, could beat a carpetbagging Alan Keyes in my liberal home state which is currently undergoing an unprecedented meltdown of its Republican Party.

In other random Senate specuation, isn't Minority Leader Harry "Who's That?" Reid going to be a bit, well, overshadowed by the presence of Sens. Kerry and Clinton, Barak O. notwithstanding?

November 3, 2004 | Permalink


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I agree with you. We should make Barak senate minority leader rather than Harry Reid. Go Barak.

Posted by: Joe O | Nov 3, 2004 8:41:02 PM

Agreed that Obama isn't the man for 2008.

Matthew, what do you know about Mark Warner?

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Nov 3, 2004 8:44:33 PM

reid's a solid dude. kind of has the smiling assassin thing daschle has going on, but is a little more aggressive.

warner's interesting b/c governor's can only serve one term in va, he took va in the first election after 9/11 and nova will make va more swingy, but you still have to contend w/ richmond, lynchburg, norfolk to get elected statewide. apparently allen has designs on the presidency and john warner's not getting any younger. mark warner could be in the senate soon.

Posted by: bradley | Nov 3, 2004 8:55:40 PM

Obviously, it's totally premature. But I think the thought being gestured at here is that our future depends on bringing in a "game changer." The last two elections have shown that simply having a candidate show up and say: "I'm a smart, competent democrat, and will do a good job of running the country." doesn't work. When we do that, we lose because, apparently, we're the wrong kind of people, even if our candidates our smart and competent. Obama wouldn't have to run that way. He gives off the hint of magic, and, therefore, might be able to change the losing equation.

Posted by: PJS | Nov 3, 2004 9:02:13 PM

Jeez, do I have spell out everything? Here's a reason why Barak is unelectable as Prez: he's black. None of the Southern states would vote for a black man so the democrats would be stuck in the same predicament as Kerry. It's so obvious.

Posted by: Dan the Man | Nov 3, 2004 9:06:26 PM

"None of the Southern states would vote for a black man..."

Let's see what happens with the Harold Ford Senate race in Tennessee in '06 before jumping to conclusions.

Posted by: Maureen | Nov 3, 2004 9:13:28 PM

Barak Obama really does need to serve at least one senate term before being nominated as our candidate. Hillary showed that it is possible for a freshman senator to make a splash, so Obama has do at least as well. I still believe that a southern governor is the only way we will win in 08, unless Bush has screwed us over so badly even the faith based voters can't swallow another Republican.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Nov 3, 2004 9:19:52 PM

well, this might be kind of an unfashionable notion, but given what we know now, wouldn't gephardt have been the most broadly palatable candidate? i mean, yeesh...if you could get people behind kerry, why not opie?

Posted by: bradley | Nov 3, 2004 9:27:22 PM

Heck, even JFK got re-elected to the Senate in 1958 before he ran- and he had to fight off being a lightweight.

Reid as Minority Leader? Haven't I seen this before, with Daschle? Yes, Nevada's a swing state, not deep red like SD- but Reid's had 2 close elections before this one, and you can bet someone like Porter (Nevada R congressman) will run against him in 6 years. Chris Dodd or Dick Durbin, please.

Posted by: eponymous coward | Nov 3, 2004 9:30:26 PM

Vaughn, I would disagree. Looking at the map it's pretty obvious 1 thing. If the democrats can win Ohio or Florida, the democrats will win the Presidential election. Both Kerry and Gore show that. So rather than nominate a Southerner, the democrats could nominate a midwesterner. In fact, if the democrats ever came to consistently win Ohio, they could flip the electoral college to their advantage.

Posted by: Dan the Man | Nov 3, 2004 9:30:52 PM

I can't believe we're discussing this, but here goes...

Hillary needs to stay out of the negative limelight. She needs a friendly figure to spar with in the party, to make it look like she's a mover and shaker; defending policies that make political sense, and quash those that don't. We need someone like Barbara Boxer, who's good for another 6 years, is bright and bouncy, and can take a punch or two. Hillary needs to get ready to take on her next senatorial candidate.

'Sides, do you know how much national GOP money would go into a defeat-Hill campaign if she was the minority leader? Considering what glee the bastards got out of unseating Daschle? She's going to take enough hits as it is.

The only hope for my home state (NY) is to get Pataki and Bloomberg the hell out of office. It's time to take back our state and make it the liberal bastion it's dying to be.

Posted by: epoh | Nov 3, 2004 9:32:18 PM

None of the Southern states would vote for a black man

none of the southern states will vote for a Democrat, period - look at the map from last night! at this point, carrying just one more state, say... Ohio, would've been enough.

Posted by: cleek | Nov 3, 2004 9:33:13 PM

I think the former Confederacy is a lost cause for the dems (with the exception of Florida). Write it off like the Republicans have written off the NE.

The midwest is still in play. Get some midwesterners on the ticket damn it. Someone from Michigan or Illinois. If the Ohio democratic party wasn't nonexistent, someone from there.

I'm also starting to think the democrats can't win the presidency unless they can find a sui generis charistmatic political genius like Bill Clinton. At least for the next 20 years or so while the "values" stuff (= we hate homos) is still a viable strategy.

So that plus midwest = Obama. But probably not 2008.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 3, 2004 9:42:34 PM

Dick Durbin is the best choice.

Posted by: Michael | Nov 3, 2004 9:46:08 PM

I think Obama enthusiasm is best summed up by Fafblog:


"But the most important thing ever to happen ever in this convention or in the news in general is Barack Obama who spoke last night an who is just some state senator right now but who is gonna be senator an president an space pope some day an I will vote for him over an over an over again because he speaks so so good an even though I dont know who he is or what his policies are or what he wants to do I am sure he is the biggest thing to happen to anyone since God at least! An even though I do not remember exactly what he said I think it was about unity an goodness an the beauty of beautiness an how America is made of candy an how we will triumph over adversity even though bad non-candy-comprised people may try to stop us because of HOOOORAAAAAAY! An then he ascended into the skies."

Posted by: Julian Elson | Nov 3, 2004 9:46:31 PM

I agree that we need to see what kind of senator Obama is, particularly with the Democrats not in power. But hey, we have to look positively at something.

As for Warner, it's interesting that people keep bringing him up, myself included. If this persists, perhaps the media will pick up on it. I have a question, though: aren't Virginia governors only allowed to serve one term? If so, doesn't that leave him two years with nothing to do once he leaves in 2006?

Posted by: Brian | Nov 3, 2004 10:11:55 PM

The plain states and the northern rockies are redder than almost all southern states.

Posted by: David Weman | Nov 3, 2004 10:22:37 PM

Weighing the pros and the non-trivial cons, I believe Kerry should be minority leader. He isn't well-respected as a legislator, but if the base made its clear that it wanted it to happen, the caucus would go for it. They need him. If any meaningful resistance to the Bush Administration is to be made, they need a national spokesman. Kerry's favorable/unfavorable balance isn't great, but what better way to improve that with the running exposure that the leadership would require?

I doubt this will happen, but it should.

Posted by: Sean Flaherty | Nov 3, 2004 10:32:07 PM

yeah, one term. i dunno, a couple years might not be so bad to build the profile a la dean (whatever you may say about the end result).

Posted by: bradley | Nov 3, 2004 10:32:19 PM

Oh come on people! Didn't we learn anything with W? Obama is a pleasant, just folks, sort of guy. Let's get him in the presidency before he has any sort of record that can be slimed.

Posted by: Bender Rodriguez | Nov 3, 2004 10:48:27 PM

Messages and Messengers in 2008

As expected, Democrats rending their garments in anguish over yesterday's debacle are already turning to potential nominees in 2008. It would seem that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards head the list.

While all good and admirable Democrats and public servants, each would be a recipe for yet another defeat in 2008. John Edwards opportunity has come and gone; Obama's time will not yet be right, and for Hilary Clinton, the time will never be right.

Why? Because Democrats badly need to offer a nominee with the following traits:

1. Charismatic, Approachable Messenger

Kerry and Gore were good men, but Democrats paid a price here yet again in 2004 as Bush got a free ride on "likeability." Democrats do not seem to understand that in an age of cable news, the Internet, and reality media, politics IS entertainment. This was Edwards' principal strength and also key to Obama's appeal.

2. Public Policy, Thought Leader

Ideally, the Democratic nominee would be a thought leader in some area of public policy. Gore at least had the new economy and the environment; Kerry very little. Edwards was not and Obama will not yet be viable on this score.

3. Not a Polarizing Figure

This rules out Hillary Clinton from the get go. She can win the Democratic nomination, but she will never become President. She is simply too polarizing a figure and would never escape the Republican attack machine. She's a cultural icon for good and bad; Hillary in '08 ensures that the South, the heartland and white males remain firmly in GOP hands.

Democrats clearly will need to look elsewhere for a messenger. Two to watch are Governor Mark Warner of Virginia and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. Warner, a one-time venture capitalst, has gotten high marks in turning around Virginia's budget disaster while working with a GOP legislature. And Bayh has emerged as a centrist, polished leader in the Senate and does not carry partisan baggage.

A compelling candidate, however, is merely the necessary but not sufficient condition for electoral success for Democrats in 2008. More than a messenger, Democrats need a message. Until Democrats coalesce around a coherent philosophy, articulate positive, universal programs and communicate them in succinct 21st century sound bytes, they will remain in the wilderness.

Posted by: Jon | Nov 3, 2004 10:55:08 PM

Politics is entertainment? Quick, get Brad Pitt into office immediately!

Posted by: Ryan | Nov 3, 2004 11:14:00 PM

Pitt/Affleck in 2008!

Posted by: fyreflye | Nov 3, 2004 11:56:51 PM

I'm not sure that either Warner and Bayh can be characterized as charismatic and approachable. Maybe on the same scale by which George W. Bush is considered likable, but still.

Posted by: Ramar | Nov 3, 2004 11:57:15 PM

Let's start spelling Obama's name correctly: It's "Barack."

Posted by: Paul Smith | Nov 4, 2004 12:29:03 AM

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