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Monday, November 11, 2002

Just Add David Boren For the Kerry-Okie Ticket- Now that 2002 elections are over, 2004 is on deck and the Invisible Primary (as The Note calls it) is becoming visible. John Kerry seems to be this close to declaring, which would screw up the New Hampshire primary with a pseudo-native son from Taxachusettes. I don't think he'll win, but he'll get a good hearing, and if he's willing to spend his wife's inheritance, he could make a serious run at the nomination. I don’t think he’ll win, for I don’t think he’s got any large level of support nation-wide or a set of issues to run on that differentiates him from other Democrats. I try and use what I call the bumper-sticker test for a primary candidate: who will be sufficiently enthused by the guy to put a bumper-sticker on his car? I can see Gephardt and Hillary and Edwards having supporters that will stick their necks out for them, but Kerry seems bland and generically liberal. Who are the volunteers to staff the Kerry campaign offices? Who will head up the Kerry county operations in Iowa? That being said, Kerry might be a handy sacrificial lamb to Dubya in 2004. If the economy is not bad and Iraq went well, the Democrats would have little traction in which to get the White House back. In that case, they could use a low-risk standard bearer who would keep the base intact and not do something to cause a blowout in the Congressional election, allowing them to make a comeback in 2006 and 2008. Gephardt is a bit too much of an economic class warrior while not keeping the Green wing at home, while Edwards is a bit too southern for the classic liberal wing to swallow, despite his populism. Hillary is 2008, not 2004, for she’ll need her own political creds to make a serious run; she also knows that she won’t win in 2004, so she’ll hold off. Picking Kerry would be like punting on 4th and 2 at midfield; it won’t win the game for the Democrats, but will allow them not to embarrass themselves and not lose field position.

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