Thursday, November 09, 2006

Vilsack 08: That Didn't Take Long

Vilsack 08: That Didn't Take Long

Tom Vilsack is striking while the iron is hot:

Vilsack said he will officially launch his presidential campaign Thursday when he files documents with the Federal Election Commission.

The filing comes two days after his fellow Democrats scored overwhelming victories in state and national elections.

Vilsack heads the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group that former President Clinton used to help launch his candidacy. He has also traveled the country campaigning for Democratic gubernatorial candidates while considering a presidential run.

After the near sweep in Iowa he figures his stock is up.

Timing his announcement to the Democrats' gains this week will show national donors that Vilsack can take credit for victories, a key asset when soliciting contributions, Texas A&M University political science professor George Edwards said.

Does this kill the caucuses? Or did the caucuses get a bye, one last exemption, in 2008 because the nationals figured Vilsack will make them irrelevant anyway? I'm not convinced of that:

  • Sunday in Iowa City, Vilsack didn't get nearly the reception that Barack Obama, Chet Culver, and Tom Harkin did. Nobody started spontaneously chanting "Run, Tom, Run." They DID, however, spontaneously chant "LOEB-SACK! LOEB-SACK! LOEB-SACK!"
  • That's twice in a row I've seen him that his speeches have ended with the screaming thing. Worked really well for Howard Dean.
  • Tuesday's results were hardly a mandate for DLC me-too politics. It was unapologetic progressives like Dave Loebsack who picked up seats.
  • He's not going to be governor anymore, and Governor Culver will likely want to leave his own imprint on the state political scene, no doubt eclipsing Vilsack to some extent.

    Bottom line is I wish this wasn't happening. I was mostly proud of Vilsack as a governor; he did a good job playing defense on choice, but I never did get that totally nude dancing he promised. And he should have taken the hit and vetoed English Only - he might have beaten the hapless Doug Gross by a couple less points but he still would have won in `02. I feel no sense of enthusiasm like I did in 1991 for Harkin, and not even a sense of favorite son obligation.

    Press-citizen and Register look at the Loebsack win:

    His first order of business as a congressman will be to vote for a single-payer, universal health care plan, Loebsack said. He also wants to help pass a minimum wage increase and hopes to serve on the education and work force committee.

    "Now that we have control of the House of Representatives, Democrats will be in charge of the committees, and we will be able to put our agenda forth," he said. "We're going to have to compromise. I think it's really important that people know that."

    "People liked him, but they wanted change, and he was in the party that they wanted to see changed, so he had to go," University of Iowa associate political science professor Cary Covington said. "I think in virtually any other circumstance, Leach would have weathered the storm, but this was one where I think Loebsack made exactly the right argument and he hammered it home.

    "In a way, it was almost like, 'Vote against Jim Leach for a greater good that I stand for,'" Covington said. "I think (Loebsack) stands for a lot of things people like ... but I do think it was the opposition to President Bush that put him over the top."

    Loebsack and Leach ran what were seen as polite and civil campaigns, attempting to spell out their policy differences rather than engage in attacks. Leach was not viewed by national pundits as endangered until almost the last minute, when he made the national political tip sheet Hotline's list of endangered incumbents at No. 59.

    Leach raised $444,000 while Loebsack raised $368,000 for the campaign through Oct. 18, small sums compared with the millions raised in two other Iowa congressional districts with more high-profile contests.

    Not to bash Braley - and he was a great help to Dave Loebsack early on when almost no one believed - but the contrast is striking. Here outside the 1st District, Braley seemed to have higher name ID than Loebsack. It was TV, TV, TV to the north, and shoe leather here in the south. Number One Race In The Country vs. Dave Who. Dave won it the way it's supposed to be but all too rarely is.

    The Overrated One has some bullet point postmortems for the GOP:

  • Quit being a subsidiary of the religious right. This may be the toughest balancing act of all. Yes, religious conservatives are an important part of the GOP constituency. But they need to be told they aren't, or can't be, the only foundation.

    In Iowa, 35 percent of likely voters describe themselves as "fundamentalist" or "born again." That also means 65 percent aren't. Yet, too often, the GOP seems like a branch of some evangelical church, and it moves too far to the right on social questions.

    So, for example, when a little-known candidate is chosen at the last minute to run for secretary of state based on her religious views and not her electability, well, it just cedes the job to a Democrat.

  • Well, yeah... but it also kinda sorta a little helped that Mike Mauro was incredibly more qualified for the job.

  • End the Iraq war. It's politically smart for Donald Rumsfeld to leave as defense secretary. Other heads should roll, too. Bush could do worse than offer outgoing Iowa Congressman Jim Leach a job helping to fashion a new administration plan for the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

  • Sounds like a good man for the job and a good job for the man. (Though I'm stubbornly sticking to my U of I president theory, a rumor Leach is already having to no comment on in the Gazette (no link).

    Dance with meeeee, I want to be your congressman, can't you seeeee, my first term is just starting: Rep.-elect John Hall (D-NY). His politics are way better than Sonny Bono's, but "Still The One" is no "Needles and Pins."
  • No comments: