Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why John Edwards Should Be The Democratic Nominee For President In 2008

This post might also be tittled, "Why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should not be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008."

Hillary Clinton is accomplished and smart. The fact that she is female, I believe, is an asset to her political ambitions.

She can raise money.

As First Lady, she survived (even thrived?) the level of scrutiny that candidates for President endure from a international press corps. In 08', only McCain and Edwards have had their personal closets rooted through so thoroughly.

If Hillary were to run she would have the greatest Democratic strategist of her generation, Bill Clinton, as her campaign manager. No one is better than Bubba (but a few are equal).

It doesn't matter.

If Hillary 08' really makes a run for it, and I do not think she does (exploratory campaigns do not count), she would take the Northeast and West Coast states.

That does not take her to the 270 electoral votes that she needs to be President.

To crack 270 she has to pick up electoral votes in the Great Lakes-Mississippi River region, the near West and Southwest, Pennsylvania and/or Florida.

She won't.

Hillary, love her or hate her, has 100% name ID nationwide. In all 50 states her favorable/unfavorable are set in stone.

There is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that you, me, the guy walking his dog down the street will see/read/hear about Hillary that will make them change their mind about her. That goes for the people that love her as well as the people who despise her.

It does not matter who the Republican nominee is (sorry John McCain). Hillary doesn't get to 270. The electoral math just doesn't add up in the battleground states.

The Democratic Party would be foolish to let her run because if she runs, she will get the nomination and is guaranteed to lose the general.

She would even beat Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, which is a shame because I really like Barack Obama.

Not that it matters because Brack Obama isn't going to be President in 08'.

Not yet.

It's not that he's black. This country is most likely ready for a black President.

Its not that he's not smart enough. Obama is really smart. I mean, really, really smart. And telegenic and articulate, which are both key ingredients of the modern presidency.

It's because Obama doesn't really stand for anything. Not yet. He's too young.

We love Obama because he is fresh and so unlike 99% of our other politicians. We like him because he is honest (stupid land deals in Illinois aside). We like him because he seems to be the most like us.

Which is the problem. Obama-mania is really all about us (its always about us, we're Americans). We project our hopes and dreams upon him because, by standing for nothing in particular, Obama stands for everything. Like us.

Standing for everything is very dangerous under the white hot lights of a Presidential campaign. Standing for everything is not a winning campaign strategy.

And, as my very good friend Mark Halperin said, "If you animate forces who do not feel a strong enough bond with you, the mob that had your back can become the mob at your door."

Just ask Howard Dean.

Which leaves us with John Edwards. And, to be honest, he's not a bad choice for the Democrats in 08'.

In fact, he is a pretty cagey choice. If the Democrats would only wake up and smell the coffee.

Edwards is very smart, as smart as Hillary and Obama.

Edwards can raise money. Maybe not with the ease of Hillary and Obama, but he will raise enough to be competitive.

America already knows about his skeletons and Edwards knows that we know. He survived 04''s election scrutiny with his reputation relatively intact. This is a huge advantage.

Edwards is able to get to 270 electoral votes. This automatically makes him better than Hillary.

Edwards is already laying campaign groundwork in the key states. He is picking up staff, volunteers and endorsements so much so that he feels comfortable announcing his candidacy next week - well before Hillary and Obama.

But, what I like most about Edwards is his campaign platform - "The Two Americas".

Very cagey. Very kitchen-table oriented.

When Edwards talks about the gulf between the haves and the have nots, he makes people believe that he is going to do something about it.

Edwards' campaign is going to resonate.

Let's hope that the Democratic Party is smart enough to pay attention.