In my article yesterday, entitled “John Kerry for 2008?”, I discussed the possibility of Kerry running for President in 2008. It was my opinion that he couldn’t win, or at the very least, he’d have a very hard fight on his hands. I also discussed the possibility of three Republican candidates, plus Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean for the Democrats.
Now I’m going to take a look at several possible Democratic candidates. I tried to find four candidates that could win the Democratic nomination, though not necessarily the Presidency.
The first is General Wesley Clark. Clark ran an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 campaign. Clark was unsuccessful for several reasons. One, he started late. He was the last candidate to announce his intention to run for the nomination. This left him straggling on policy issues, although he later made up for this. Secondly, and probably more damaging, Clark seemed inexperienced with the media. He just couldn’t use the media effectively, and this, his supporters claimed, was the reason that he seemed indecisive about war issues. General Clark has had plenty of time to learn how to utilize the media since then. Still, I believe the impression of being indecisive about the war will haunt him. He will be fighting an uphill battle.
The second potential candidate is Barack Obama (junior Senator, Illinois). While he’s popular with Democrats, Obama is seen as too liberal by many Republicans, including moderate Republicans. And, as one commenter to my earlier article so clearly stated: “he’s only a Junior Senator.” (Thanks uao, whoever you are.) He needs to prove himself. He has the potential to take the nomination at a later date, but I just don’t think he’s ready now.
The third possible candidate is Michael Easley (Governor, North Carolina). While Easley has been plagued by fiscal problems throughout his administration, it is telling that he was elected governor by a large margin in a state that otherwise voted Republican. He definitely has bipartisan appeal. In the national scheme of things, he’s a relative unknown, which might work to his benefit rather than be a detriment. His major problem would be fund-raising, and without a significant war-chest to make him a household name, he would have difficult acquiring the nomination, but it is possible.
Finally, there’s Mark Warner (Governor, Virginia). Warner seems to be the best choice for the Democrats in 2008. He’s certainly one of the most popular governors Virginia has ever had, with approval ratings near 75%, and this is in a state that is primarily Republican. He has broad appeal, and is popular with Independents and moderate Republicans. Like Easley, he isn’t well known at the national level, but he is known by Democratic political insiders, thus making it possible for him to raise a substantial amount of money to support a campaign. He has been criticized for being too low-key, but this is simply a result of him choosing his battles carefully.
And so, as 2008 slowly approaches, here is a potential map for the Democrats: nominate Warner and throw every dollar available into his campaign. He may very well be the best candidate for the Democratic Party, and for the nation.