John Hickenlooper

Joe Biden Moves To The Forefront As Michael Bloomberg And Sherrod Brown Decide Not To Run For President

With moderates Michael Bloomberg and Sherrod Brown deciding not to run for President in 2020, Joe Biden moves to the forefront as the best moderate centrist Democratic Presidential candidate, at least on paper in and polls.

We also have Senator Amy Klobuchar, former San Antonio Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, former El Paso Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, plus possibly John Hickenlooper, former Colorado Governor, who has just announced for President as possible moderates who might compete.

With Klobuchar apparently the only candidate from the Midwest “battleground” states that Hillary Clinton lost, and Castro and O’Rourke from Texas, which could conceivably go “Blue” and make it unnecessary for a Democrat to win the Midwest, and Hickenlooper from a critical Rocky Mountain West state, any of them could be the person to replace Joe Biden, if he falters, and any of them could also be the Vice Presidential running mage with Joe Biden.

At this point, these five listed above are probably those with an edge to win the nation, rather than further left nominees, but it is clear that the race is wide open, and all candidates will have to be vetted, and many will fall short, and none will be perfect in their backgrounds and records in office.

Hillary Clinton’s New Memoir: Will It Destroy A Possible Future Candidacy Or Promote It?

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir on her Presidential campaign is out, and the question is whether it will destroy a possible future candidacy for President, or promote it.

Clinton certainly blames herself for some of the actions and statements that doomed her, but also places a lot of blame on others, including former FBI Director James Comey; her rival for the nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Today Show Host Matt Lauer, who moderated a debate that she feels was poorly handled by him; and of course, Donald Trump.

She points out her belief that there was definite Russian collusion for Donald Trump; makes clear her disgust at Trump’s tactics during the campaign; makes clear her belief that Trump was and is totally unqualified on experience and judgment to be our President; and tells us she is not going anywhere into the distance, but will continue to speak up on issues and personalities, including on Donald Trump.

Clinton recognizes that millions love her and voted for her, and gave her a 2.85 million popular vote margin, but that millions others hate her with a passion, and that sexism played a major role in her defeat, along with disgust by many at her husband, Bill Clinton, even though millions of others admire and support her husband and his Presidency in the 1990s.

Clinton informs us that while she will continue to be part of public discourse, she will NOT run for President again, which seems totally sensible and rational.

While she has run twice already, there is no desire to match Henry Clay and William Jennings Bryan, who ran and lost three times; or Thomas E. Dewey and Adlai Stevenson, who ran and lost two times.

It is indeed time for fresh leadership, and so the idea of Bernie Sanders at age 79 in 2020 running for President is a terrible idea, and even Joe Biden, who this blogger loves, and believes that he would have defeated Donald Trump had he been the nominee, running again at age 78 in 2020, is not a good way to go.

Rather, we need YOUNGER leadership, such as Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Senator Kamala Harris of California; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro of Texas; Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom of California (running for Governor in 2018); Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Senator Mark Warner of Virginia; Senator Al Franken of Minnesota; Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia; and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, among others.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is also talked about, as with Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but being in the 70s by 2020 makes her NOT a good choice, and she is also extremely controversial, and would be unlikely to gain any more support in the proper places and states to be elected President, because if anything, she is more vehement and more controversial to many than Sanders or Clinton.

Again, we need NEW leadership, with a preference for the YOUNGER part of the above group.

If Hillary Clinton Flounders, What Then For The Democratic Party?

Behind the scenes, there is growing trepidation that Hillary Clinton might have damaged her candidacy over the private emails issue, and also, the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

So there are whispers about the issue: What then, for the Democratic Party, if Hillary Clinton flounders?

There are those who think it is time for Vice President Joe Biden to decide to enter the race.

There are those who think it is time for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to stop stating she will not run, and to enter the race.

There are those who think that former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who has been hinting he would run no matter what Hillary Clinton does, to do just that.

There are those who hope that the hints that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would run are going to lead to his actual candidacy.

There are those who think that former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will offer himself as the more conservative alternative within the Democratic Party, as he has hinted earlier.

But now there are other whisperings, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and or New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand thinking of entering the race, with women particularly looking to Gillibrand as the younger version of Hillary Clinton.

And, believe it or not, there is a “blast from the past”, with three former Presidential seekers thought to be considering getting back into the competition for the Presidency: Jerry Brown, John Kerry, and Al Gore!

Imagine a candidate who last ran in 1992 against Bill Clinton, running against his wife 16 years later, and having first run for President in 1976 and 1980 against Jimmy Carter!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 12 years ago choosing to leave the State Department and decide to run, possibly against the brother of the man, George W. Bush, that he lost to in 2004!

Imagine the Democratic Presidential nominee of 2000, who won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote in a Supreme Court decision, Bush V. Gore, that gave Bush the Presidency, now coming back nearly a generation, and possibly running against the man, Jeb Bush, whose state gave his brother George W. the Presidency.

Realize that only two Presidential nominees ran for and won the Presidency as long as 12 years after being on the national ballot–Henry Clay in 1844 after 1832, and Franklin D. Roosevelt losing as Vice Presidential nominee in 1920 and coming back to win the White House in 1932!

For history and political junkies, the possible scenarios are totally fascinating!

Imagine A Presidential Election Battle Without Any Previous Candidates In The Race!

The thought has crossed this blogger’s mind what it would be like if for once, just once, no one who had previously competed for the Presidential nomination of either party, nor had been a Vice Presidential running mate, became involved in the upcoming Presidential Election campaign of 2016.

Think of who would be eliminated from consideration:

Democrats (8)–Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Jerry Brown, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich

Republicans (11)–Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, John Kasich

Who would be left to compete?

Democrats (13)–Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Martin O’Malley, Mark Warner, Corey Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Jay Nixon, John Hickenlooper, Brian Schweitzer, Deval Patrick, Rahm Emanuel

Republicans (13)–Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Peter King, Mike Pence, Rob Portman, Scott Walker, Brian Sandoval, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley

One can wonder who would be competitive for the Presidential nominations, and who would galvanize support among the population and go on to be the nominees of the two major political parties!

We would have a true “donnybrook” situation, with anyone having the potential to be the nominees, “catch fire”, and go on to be the 45th President of the United States!

If this author was to venture an educated guess, one would come to the following conclusions:

Democrats–The major battle would be among Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Martin O’Malley and Mark Warner.

Republicans–The major battle would be among Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence and Rob Portman.

The final battle would be between Warren and O’Malley for the Democratic nomination, and between Marco Rubio and Mike Pence for the Republican nomination.

The two finalists would be Martin O’Malley and Marco Rubio, with O’Malley being the winner and the 45th President of the United States!

This is due to the reality of the Electoral College, which strongly favors the Democrats to win the White House in 2016 and beyond, as the Northeast, New England, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast are strongly “Blue”, and most of the “swing states” are favored to go “Blue” as well, including Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, Ohio, and Iowa.

Florida and North Carolina would be more difficult for the Democrats, particularly if Rubio is the GOP nominee, but the electoral vote would still be heavily Democratic, even without those two states!

Left In Democratic Party Not Comfortable With Hillary Clinton, Looking Elsewhere For Primary Challenge!

Hillary Clinton may be the runaway favorite in most polls for the Democratic Presidential nomination for 2016, but we have never seen a non-incumbent to compete without an opponent in their party’s battle for the Presidential nomination.

So we are starting to feel, see, and sense that there will be challengers to Hillary, and the speculation has become wide and deep that any or some of the following will, indeed, challenge the former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady:

Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia
Governor Jerry Brown of California
Former Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri (totally new to any speculation)
Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado

There is discontent with Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street; her gaining as much as $275,000 a speech before wealthy donors and groups; and the image of her as a “hawk” in foreign policy. She is seen as part of the “Establishment”, and as not sufficiently understanding of the plight of the middle class and the poor. Her husband worked against the left, sticking to a centrist viewpoint in his years in the White House, and while there are salutes for him as a former President, the Left is looking for someone more in the line of doing more for the poor and middle class, and staying out of foreign wars, and regulating Wall Street.

So that is the appeal of Warren, Sanders and O’Malley in particular, but the idea of Brown coming back, mentioned in an earlier blog entry, is fascinating, and Dean trying again after 12 years is also intriguing! And imagine a “Nixon”, not related to the former President, running from the “heartland”, the state of Missouri, which was always on the winning side of every election from 1900 to the present, except 1956, 2008, and 2012, but close in the first two years!

And of course, Hillary could decide, ultimately, NOT to run, and then it is a true donnybrook in the making for the Democrats in 2016!

Could there be a surprise in the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes? After 2008, who can say?

Governors And The Presidential Election Of 2016

It has often been pointed out that more Governors have been elected President over the course of American history than Senators.

From 1900 on, the following Presidents were earlier Governors of their states—Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush.

The argument is that being a Governor prepares one better for the Presidency than serving in the national government in Washington, DC.

Whether this is true or not, the argument now is that the national government, and particularly the Congress, is so engaged in stalemate and gridlock, that the best choice in the Presidential Election of 2016 would be to go once again for a Governor or former Governor, as occurred four times of the past six Presidents, and seven of the past ten national elections.

So if that is the case, what is the market among Governors?

First, the Democratic side:

Martin O’Malley of Maryland
Andrew Cuomo of New York
John Hickenlooper of Colorado
Mark Warner of Virginia
Brian Schweitzer of Montana
Jerry Brown of California
Howard Dean of Vermont
Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
Dannel Malloy of Connecticut

Now the Republican side

Chris Christie of New Jersey
Jeb Bush of Florida
Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Rick Perry of Texas
John Kasich of Ohio
Jon Huntsman of Utah
Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Mike Pence of Indiana
Brian Sandoval of Nevada
Susana Martinez of New Mexico
Rick Scott of Florida

So, at least in theory, nine former or sitting Democratic Governors and twelve former or sitting Republican Governors are potential Presidential nominees.

Having said that, it is clear that some of these two groups are highly unlikely to be a candidate, or to have any realistic chance to be the nominee, including for the Democrats: Brown, Dean, Malloy, and Patrick, and for the Republicans: Scott, Martinez, Sandoval, Pence, Haley, and sadly (because he would be the best choice for the GOP long term), Huntsman.

For the Democrats, O’Malley and Cuomo and Warner (who has also served in the Senate), would be the best choices, were it not for the “800 pound gorilla” of Hillary Clinton and the slightly smaller version of Joe Biden. Were it not for them, these three listed Democrats would be a great term to compete for the nomination. Hickenlooper is also a good candidate, but would not be considered as likely to have a good chance, and Schweitzer might very well run, based on recent comments and activities, but the odds for him, especially against Clinton and Biden as things now stand, are extremely high of failure, and even of being mostly ignored by political pundits.

For the Republicans, Christie and Bush would be the most likely to have a real opportunity for the Presidency, but with the Tea Party Movement, neither is very popular, to say the least. Walker might be a better bet on that score, with Jindal seeming less attractive as time goes by, and Perry a real long shot based on his past performances. The “dark horse” to watch would be Kasich, who had a long career on Capitol Hill and knows how Washington works, and despite his mixed record in so many areas, is personally appealing, unlike any of those listed In this paragraph, in many ways the most appealing personally other than Huntsman.

If one had to bet which of each list would have the best chance, all things being equal, one would say O’Malley for the Democrats and Kasich for the Republicans, but the odds are that it will be someone from Capitol Hill–Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden for the Democrats, and Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan for the Republicans, with the Democrats having the clear edge in the Electoral College, because of the support of the Atlantic Coast and Pacific Coast, and the likelihood of strong support in the upper Midwest and Illinois and Iowa, along with Virginia, an unmatchable scenario for the Republicans, as we look at the political situation as 2013 ends, but always subject to changing times that are unpredictable.

The Case For A New Generation Of Democrats For The Presidential Election Of 2016!

As the Presidential race begins, and it has started already, like it or not, it is clear that Hillary Clinton, who will be 69 in 2016, and Joe Biden, who will be 74 in 2016, are the frontrunners, and that Hillary is using up most of the oxygen in the room, way ahead of Biden in polls, with other potential Democratic candidates in single digits.

But despite the confidence and optimism about Hillary and even Joe as a backup, there is a growing case for the argument that the Democratic Party should bypass both Hillary and Joe, no matter how much one may love or admire either of them, and go for a new generation of Democrats, as was done in 1960 with John F. Kennedy, in 1976 with Jimmy Carter, in 1992 with Bill Clinton, and 2008 with Barack Obama!

All of these successful Democratic Presidential winners were young–43, 52, 46, and 47 respectively at the time of the inauguration. All were younger than their GOP opponents, although Richard Nixon was only four years older, but represented a continuation of Dwight D. Eisenhower, our oldest President at the time when he retired in 1961!

But Jimmy Carter was eleven years younger than Gerald Ford; Bill Clinton 22 years younger than George H. W. Bush; and Barack Obama 25 years younger than John McCain!

The fact is ONLY three Presidents were inaugurated at age 65 or older—William Henry Harrison at age 68 and dying a month later; James Buchanan at age 65 but only 50 days short of age 66, and rated by many historians the worst President in American history; and Ronald Reagan, inaugurated at just weeks before his 70th and 74th birthday, and judged by many to have deteriorated mentally, with early Alzheimers in his second term of office!

And we have seen Bob Dole defeated at age 73 in 1996; John McCain defeated at age 72 in 2008; and Mitt Romney, defeated at age 65 inn 2012, but also about 50 days short of age 66 if he had been inaugurated, the same exact age as Buchanan was when he won in 1856!

Meanwhile, the Republican Party future is clearly in the hands of young politicians, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and others, with these candidates being mostly in their 40s and 50s, and all younger than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden!

Historically, in most elections, the younger candidate wins, and the party of the President usually does not do well if it utilizes someone connected with the administration leaving office, no matter what level of popularity reigns when that President leaves office, as witness:

Richard Nixon lost after Eisenhower
Hubert Humphrey lost after Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford lost after Richard Nixon
Walter Mondale lost after Jimmy Carter
Al Gore lost after Bill Clinton

If Hilary Clinton runs, she represents Obama’s foreign policy record, for good or for bad, and also brings back the good and the bad of the Presidency of her husband, Bill Clinton.

If Joe Biden runs, he represents what happens to a Vice President under a President, that the negatives of that President harm the Vice President, as with Nixon, Humphrey, Ford, Mondale, and Gore.

Only George H. W, Bush was able to overcome this hex, and succeed Ronald Reagan in 1988, although then losing reelection in 1992, the greatest percentage loss of any President in American history, except William Howard Taft in 1912!

It is reality that Democrats will be heavily favored in the Electoral College in 2016, no matter who runs, but it would be easier for a “New”, younger Democrat to be the Presidential nominee, such as Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, KIrsten Gilllibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Mark Warner, John Hickenlooper, or Elizabeth Warren, all of whom are much younger than Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, with the exception of Warren, who would be 67 in 2016, which makes her a less ideal candidate based upon age!

It is important for Democrats to think carefully before they decide for a continuation of the Obama Presidency through Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, as nominating someone younger and separated from the Obama Administration would be preferable, and easier for the grueling campaign ahead!

The Democratic “Farm Team” Or “Bench” For National Office

When one looks at the Democratic Party, most of the attention for the 2016 Presidential Election centers around Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, both exceptionally qualified and popular political figures, with tremendous experience in government.

But both Hillary and Joe are getting on in age, with Hillary to be 69 in 2016, and Joe to be 74 in 2016.

Either would face a much younger Republican opponent in 2016, so one has to wonder whether it might be preferable to go for “new blood” for the Democratic nominee.

If that was to occur, there would be a fantastic “farm team” or “bench” for the Democrats, including:

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Future Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York
Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia

This list of nine potential President candidates includes three women; two African Americans; and four white men, with seven states represented, and five US Senators and four Governors.

Any of these nine would be preferable, by far, to any Republican nominee for President, with many of the potential Republicans being horror stories, including Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

The Likelihood Of Joe Biden Succeeding Barack Obama: Less Than 50%

With the second term of President Barack Obama beginning, already the news media is speculating on the likelihood of Vice President Joe Biden running for President, and the odds that he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, and become our next President.

Biden is certainly encouraging speculation, while saying he has not made up his mind. It is clear that he would like to run, but even he admits that the success or lack of success of the first two years of the second term of Obama, on top of his first term, will have a dramatic effect on his decision to run, and the odds of his having a good chance to become the 45th President of the United States.

Biden has a long record in public office, actually greater in number of years than any President of the United States having come to the Senate at the minimum age of 30, serving six terms (36 years), and now on his second term as Vice President, which, when he completes it, will mean he has served 44 years in national office.

Biden knows Washington DC like few know it. He also knows how to work with the opposition Republican Party in a manner unseen since Lyndon B. Johnson, although Johnson had a much more unorthodox approach to bargaining, and “wheeler dealing”, than the much more proper and mannerly Joe Biden.

But he also has a long list of gaffes, most not harmful, except to those who oppose him, and his liberal views have alienated major groups, as he has worked on issues highly controversial, including gun rights, women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights, foreign policy, Supreme Court nominees, and protection of the Great Society and New Deal programs, including the so called “entitlements”.

And his age, now 70, meaning he would be 74-78 in a first term, and 78-82 in a second term, is not a plus, as we only had one President beyond the age of 70, Ronald Reagan, who seemed to be in decline in his second term of office, finishing it at age 77 and about 49 weeks,

And there is the challenge of Hillary Clinton, whose public opinion ratings are higher than Biden’s, although there is much doubt that she will, ultimately, run for the Presidency. This author and blogger has already theorized, at the beginning of January, that Hillary will decide not to run. Her performance in testifying today at the Benghazi, Libya hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will be crucial in any plans she might have, after a good rest and recovery period, to run for President in 2016.

And of course, there is the “younger” or “newer” generation of political leaders who have interest in running—including Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Martin O’Malley of Maryland, both taking strong leadership on gay marriage and gun regulations in their states; plus others, including Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and even possibly others, including Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

So the likelihood of Joe Biden running, while good, is not, automatically going to give him an edge in a field of many likely challengers. And of course, even if many Republicans like Joe Biden personally, it is certain, and obvious, that they are building up a long list of issues to use against the Vice President, should he end up as the Democratic nominee for President in 2016.

Positive Campaigning Can Be Done: Patrick Leahy And John Hickenlooper As Examples!

The average American is disgusted by nasty, negative campaigning, where character assassination is employed! πŸ™

The effect is to discourage citizens from voting, and to make the American people cynical about politics!

But is it possible to run a political campaign and avoid negativism against your opponent? The answer is YES!

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont just won his seventh term in the Senate, and completely avoided nasty, negative campaigning!

Democratic Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver just won the Governorship of Colorado and completely steered away from negative campaigning, a major feat considering that his major opponent was former Republican and Constitution Party nominee Tom Tancredo, one of the most despicable, divisive, nasty campaigners of all time, making his career on the issue of being an anti immigrant nativist of the most venal kind! Hickenlooper’s other opponent was Republican Tea Party nominee Dan Maes, whose campaign collapsed in the face of Tancredo, therefore weakening the GOP image in the Rocky Mountain state, as both of them ran horrible campaigns of character assassination! πŸ™

But the tactic did not work, and Colorado is fortunate in having Governor-elect Hickenlooper, a man of principle and decency!

Another example of a politician who avoided negative campaigning in his Senatorial campaigns was the outstanding former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served as a Democrat for four terms from 1976-2000, and proved to be a man of both principle and intellect, a combination hard to find in the US Senate today!

This country desperately needs a return to civility in both political campaigns, and in the business of running the government on a daily basis, instead of the politics of personal destruction! πŸ™