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For the better part of a year we’ve been told how weak the Republican field is.You’ve heard it all: Romney is pale and uninspiring, Bachmann is enraged, Palin (the un-candidate) is supposedly beyond the pale, and Christie, Ryan and Rubio just won’t do it.
Perry seems to be the attractive flavour the week, but it’s too early to see how that what will play out.
Let’s turn the tables.
It seems ever more likely that as his presidency continues its free-fall, the increasingly listless Obama either won’t run or will get a visit early next year at 1600 Pennsylvania from the party’s wise men politely suggesting that he shouldn’t.
Who do they have in reserve, and will the media have as much fun deriding their weak bench as they have with the Republicans?
If Obama takes the early retirement deal that seems more and more likely to come his way, the effect on the Democrats will be the equivalent of a political big bang.
The anti-war left was happy on day one with the announcement that Guantanamo would be closed and thrilled to have one of their own in the Oval. That was their last good day. Close to 1,000 days later we’re in a new conflict in Libya, the war in Afghanistan has escalated although our purpose is murkier than ever, Club Gitmo is still open for business and there are still close to 50,000 US troops in Iraq.
If the field opens up, there will be a loud, raucous scramble for position from that corner. Dennis Kucinich, who always hears the dog whistle of political opportunity that most humans don’t, will undoubtedly step up. This appears especially likely because those zany Ohio Republicans have been making noise about disappearing his district altogether as a result of the fact that Ohio’s House delegation is shrinking by two seats because of the census results.
How about the “democratic wing of the Democrat party”? Can they adjust Howard Dean’s meds to tone him down and make him a viable candidate? Somehow, it doesn’t seem likely. Although popular with hard core party goers, he has no cross-over constituency outside of that thin slice of political aficionados and no broad appeal.
Governors are usually the best source of candidates. Have you seen the roster of Democrat governors? The 2010 elections thinned their ranks like the stomach flu at a retirement home, and they’re left with just 20 players on the field, titans like Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, the as yet un-indicted Pat Quinn of Illinois and Dan Malloy of Connecticut. Of course, there’s always Jerry Brown (who seems to hear the same signals Kucinich does), but he is still busy Californicating his own state, so he may not be available.
Let’s go to the Senate, the greatest deliberative body in the world. There the dems have… well they must have somebody. Let’s see, there is the somber and judicious John Kerry, but he already reported for duty once and was sent home. They could go with Frank Lautenberg, but he’s about 110 years old now, so that won’t work. Of course, as long as we’re making jokes, they could put up Al Franken, because he’s good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him… somewhere.
Maybe they could bring back Al Gore’s jersey. After all, there must be at least a few voters still worried and moping about the global warming crisis. Of course, it was reported in January 2006 that Al was on that we had just 10 years to take action to prevent the earth from turning into a total frying pan, so if he were elected in 2012, he would be in office to explain why humanity had survived and not been sautéed as he’d warned.
On second thought, the climate change panic business is just so lucrative that he’d probably be uninterested at this point. Plus there’s that whole massage problem.
Almost forgot! Joe Biden is still vice-president, and not long ago he made noise about being available in 2016. Surely he’d be willing to don the battle armour and go into the arena for the benefit of party and country. Of course, unless Obama leaves early and he’s prepared to give the “our long national nightmare is over” speech, he’d just be an unpleasant reminder of things past.
OK, let’s get serious. If Obama is … excused, the call will go out from every blue state mountaintop:
Hill-A Ree! Hill-A Ree! Hill-A Ree!
That might work. In retrospect, there is hardly anyone, whether Democrat or Republican that doesn’t think that we would have been better off with her in the Executive Mansion. By comparison, Obama has made James Buchanan and Jimmy Carter look good, so a second Clinton presidency would have been a vast improvement over what we have now. The website Hillary Is 44 never shut down or lost their enthusiasm, and there’s even a Hillary is 45 site all set and ready, so someone is plotting somewhere.
But then again, she is a Clinton, and there is a well known baggage train that comes with that crowd. Will the nation really turn their tired eyes to her? There is also the fact that she has stated somewhat emphatically that Secretary of State will be her last office, and for perhaps the first time since she entered the public arena lo those decades ago, she seems to be telling the truth.
So, there is really only one name that should be given serious consideration, and that is the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. He had been floated as a 2016 contender, and he’s only been in office a year, but he seems to understand the frightening magnitude of the crisis we’re in that most Democrats have turned a blind eye to. He’s scaled back government, battled with the unions in that very blue state, and delivered on the gay marriage issue. He is the one Democrat in the country that could make the case that he’s got the spine and mettle to rise to the challenge.
Expect to see the cadre of political reporters start circling the governor’s mansion in Albany very soon.
But hey, why not get the home game and play with your friends and family. It’s the end of August and there’s nothing more fun that settling into your $50,000 a week summer beach house and bringing out the board games. Especially if it rains, or if the world outside is gloomy.