As my dear, departed father used to say – and, hopefully, still does – it’s good to want.
Many Democrats would no doubt dearly love an uncontested primary amounting to the stately coronation of [Hillary] Clinton. It would spare them a spectacle akin to, say, the 2012 GOP primaries, in which another prohibitive front-runner came out on top, but only after a grueling process of fending off a seemingly endless procession of challengers. It may never get that bad for Clinton…
Yeah, it would get that bad for Hillary Clinton, and for a reason that Tod Lindberg doesn’t bring up until the last paragraph: Vice President Joe Biden. You see: I may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President. You may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President. The Democratic party’s base may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President. But Joe Biden doesn’t think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President, and he’s the guy with access to the state party organizations and leadership cadres and Rules Committees.
Here’s the bottom line: Hillary Clinton, as we saw in 2008, is not a good campaigner. She will be likely facing:
- VP Joe Biden, who is a pretty good campaigner. Not good enough, as an examination of pre-2008 American political history will reveal; but he’s better than Clinton. He’s also starting to show signs of… well, let’s just say that it’s no secret that Biden’s family history shows a increased risk for strokes.
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, assuming that he survives the next three years. Presumably he’ll actually marry his live-in girlfriend before that.
- MD Governor Martin O’Malley, who will survive the next three years. If you’re ever in DC/MD and actually dealing with Lefties/Democrats in a flag of truce situation, here’s a fun party game: ask ’em off the record what they think of O’Malley personally. The response is invariably a rolling of the eyes; O’Malley has got zero personal charisma – and is almost blissfully unaware of this. He got the job because the numbers favored a Democrat that year, and kept it because the numbers favor an incumbent pretty much every year.
- Various Flavors Of The Month, First-Timers, Dark Horses, and Get Y0ur Partisan Freak Ons**. We won’t know the exact identities until after the midterms.
If this does not look like a stellar lineup, it’s not: Cuomo and O’Malley represent the best of a bad lot of Democratic governors* (whose numbers have taken a beating in the states recently***). It is, however, just good enough to ensure a lively “spectacle akin to, say, the 2012 GOP primaries” (to quote the original article). Which would be normally not that big a deal, except that the party that’s having the spectacle is also the party that’s presiding over what promises to still be an epically bad economic recovery in 2016****…
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) April 5, 2013
*If you’re wondering why Deval Patrick isn’t on this list, given that he’s a governor who has some rhetorical similarities to the current President, it’s for this reason: while I do not expect that the American people are ready just yet to admit how much of a mistake they made in electing Barack Obama President, I do expect that they will quietly ensure that they do not make it again.
**”Where have you gone, Den-nis Kuch-i-nich? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo…” …OK, not really: but it scanned.
***This assessment will not change, even if the ’14 midterms result in a crop of new Democratic governors. It takes a couple of terms to grow proper Presidential fodder.
****This is the point where most Democratic optimists and certain Republican pessimists will start muttering the same message: It just doesn’t matter; the Republicans will lose anyway. Which is entertaining of the former and tragic of the latter, but after a certain point you have to stop enabling bad behaviors.