Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Timing is Everything: Tommy Thompson's Missed Opportunity

Timing is Everything: Tommy Thompson's Missed Opportunity

Now that Strawpollpalooza is over, the three no-shows -- Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain -- are coming to Iowa this week. Trying to pick up those legions of Tommy Thompson supporters, no doubt.

Speaking of the late candidate, Political Insider makes the Preposterous Claim Of The Day:
If George W. Bush had declined to run (in 2000), or had not defeated Ann Richards in 1994, Tommy Thompson might be president today.

Quotes T.T. as saying "I should have run in '96, and I should have run in 2000."

Still, there's a point. No guts, no glory, and the brass ring only revolves around every four years. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd must be having similar regrets about 1992.

Back in that early 1991 decision window, coming off Gulf War I, Bush the Elder was looking invincible. Biden and Dodd (among many others) were likely keeping their powder dry for 1996, when 41 was term limited and incumbent VP Dan Quayle would be especially weak. Only the second string Democrats were running, including the guy from Arkansas who gave that awful, endless nominating speech for Dukakis at the `88 convention...


Those with even longer memories will recall that Ted Kennedy was begged to run in 1972 and 1976, but made the mistake of waiting until 1980 when he had to primary challenge an incumbent president.

This may be part of why Barack Obama is making his move now, rather than waiting till he has "more experience." As things look now, the White House is the Democrats' to lose, and anyone who doesn't try this year may face a 12 year wait through the 2012 re-elect and the 2016 try by the incumbent vice president. Ask Bill Bradley and Bob Dole how much fun it is challenging a sitting VP. This pushes the timetable back to 2020, when Obama's fresh face of the 2004 convention keynote is reaching the end of its shelf life.

Meanwhile, Biden and Dodd, who would have been giants in the 1992 field, are asterisks in 2007.

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