David Broder Continues to Push a Bloomberg-Hagel Ticket

David Broder apparently doesn’t believe Michael Bloomberg’s denial of plans to run for president, and realistically it is possible he could change his mind should he believe he has a chance to win after seeing the nominees of the major parties. Broder brings up once again the idea of Bloomberg running with Chuck Hagel as running mate.

Should Bloomberg run I could see him picking Hagel to balance the ticket with someone with his experience, but I’m not sure why anyone would actually push for such a ticket. The two have such diverse views that calling for such a ticket is more an act in support of a third party for the sake of a third party as opposed to fill a specific need. This is also my objection to the Unity ’08 measure. Should I be unhappy with the candidates from the two major parties and should Unity offer a better alternative I might consider voting for them. However I see no advantage at present in backing an organization which plans to choose candidates but has no clear policies which it plans to advocate.

As I discussed after Bloomberg’s interview on HDNet, there may still be a need for an alternative viewpoint to be represented regardless of whether Bloomberg decides to run. I’m not certain if Bloomberg would be a satisfactory alternative without a closer look at his record and views, but if there should be a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket I’d decide primarily based upon the top of the ticket. I am concerned about Bloomberg’s reputation as a supporter of the nanny state, but also recognize that more regulation is inevitable in a densly populated area such as New York City as opposed to somewhere like Montana. It also appears that in choosing between candidates in 2008 it will be necessary to vote for someone who I do not agree with on all issues and will have to weigh the importance of areas of agreement and disagreement.

Broder considers the forces changing American politics:

So it really comes down to a question of the strength of those tidal forces moving out there in American politics. Hagel’s sense, reinforced by a recent trip to California, where Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger is providing a demonstration of the powerful appeal of “post-partisan” politics, is that “the tide is really moving fast.”

It is not so certain that we are really entering a new “post-partisan’ era. Schwarzenegger won under unusualy circumstances and probably could not have won a Republican primary for Governor in a normal election. The Republicans have greatly increased the level of partisanship in politics since they took control of Congress, which intensified with the election of George W. Bush. Voters might reject partisanship, or they might just reject the Republicans unless they change their ways.

The internet does create a unique situation where a candidate could organize and get out their message more easily in the past without the traditional party machinery. It remains doubtful that the internet can substitute for organized grass roots politics. If the internet was all powerful, Barack Obama and Ron Paul would be the leading contenders for their party’s nomination, and Howard Dean would currently be president. Perhaps a well financed third party could win in a general election where advertising and mass mailings become more important than the retail politics of Iowa and New Hampshire. If a third party requires that the campaign be self-financed as in Bloomberg’s case, this would represent more of a fluke than a real changing tide in politics.


Fox News is Right For Once in Calling Richardson Number Three in Democratic Race and Romney Number One in GOP Race


I’ve criticized Fox News so many times here that I feel, in the spirt of being fair and balanced, I should defend them after seeing a liberal blog attack them in a rare case where Fox is right. Newshounds criticizes the Political Derby segment (video above) because their assessment of the horse race differs from the national polls. Newshounds particularly protests that Bill Richardson and not John Edwards is placed in fourth place despite Edwards being third in the national polls, and that Mitt Romney is placed first in the GOP race despite ranking between third and fifth in most national polls.

During the segment, Jason Wright explains that he looks at factors beyond the national polls. This is a perfectly sensible thing to do. National polls this far before the primaries begin have had very little predictive value historically unless there was a clear and undisputed favorite such as an incumbent. During the fall of 2003, John Kerry even trailed Al Sharpton in some national polls. The nomination is determined by a series of state events and, as we saw after Kerry’s Iowa victory, early victories have considerable influence on the subsequent national polls. Most voters do not even make up their minds until the final couple of days before voting, as was seen in Kerry’s move from fourth place to first place in Iowa over the final ten days in 2004. Besides, there would be be little point in having a segment predicting the race if they were required to stick to the rankings of the national polls.

Not only is Fox correct in looking at factors beyond the national polls, there rankings are quite reasonable. I’ve considered Richardson to be the number three candidate in terms of chances to win for quite a while based upon factors including fund raising and the trends in the polls. Edwards has benefited from name recognition but the more many voters see him the less they like him while the reverse is true of Richardson. Edwards is also relying on a risky strategy of following John Kerry’s path of gaining momentum from an Iowa victory. As Edwards has virtually lived in Iowa since 2005, anything less than a landslide win is likely to give more momentum to whoever comes in second. Even if Edwards wins in Iowa, he is not as likely as Kerry to be able to follow this with a win in New Hampshire where his populist platform is not likely to be received as well as in Iowa.

Fox News and I are hardly the only ones to note this trend. James Boyce recently picked Richardson as the number two candidate. Some predict that Richardson will even win the Iowa caucus, which would not only establish Richardson as a major candidate but also eliminate Edwards from the race. The Concord Monitor has also noted that Richardson is on the way up while support for Edwards is falling.

The Republican race is very difficult to predict right now, and Fox certainly has a case for believing that Rudy Giuliani will not win the nomination, especially as more Republicans discover his past statements on abortion and gay rights. Romney is well positioned to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, which could easily lead to victory. Placing Giuliani second also runs counter to recent suspicions of a bias in his favor due to his ties to Roger Ailes. With Thompson not even officially in the race it is even harder to predict how he will do, and a third place ranking at this time looks reasonable.

This is not to say that my rankings or Fox’s rankings will correctly predict the outcome. Such predictions are based upon conditions and trends at present and a lot can change between now and January. Edwards could still wind up in third place, and possibly even win, and Giuliani might win the Republican nomination. However, if forced to predict now I agree with ranking Edwards fourth and Romney first in their races.

Wright also expressed the view that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama might be harming their husbands and that “the more Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards run their yappers, the better Hillary looks.” I agree with him with regards to Elizabeth Edwards following two serious gaffes. Not long after pondering whether John is at a disadvantage for being a white male, Elizabeth hurt John’s chances of getting the support of all us voters who do not meet her definition of an “actual Democrat.” My only real disagreement with Wright is over his belief that Michelle Obama has harmed her husband. I can hardly find serious fault with a commentator who I agree with on three out of four controversial statements.

Primary-Creep May Have Unanticipated Consequences

The recent primary-creep has resulted in a number of deleterious effects. In order to keep their caucus before the New Hampshire primary, Iowa might be forced to move their caucus to either just after New Year’s Day or even into December. This could create havoc as the final days of the campaign would then be over the holidays when voters are less interested. Pollsters also dread having to take polls at such times when less people are home, possibly causing the final polls to be taken a week before caucus. Primary-creep is also creating battles between the Democratic National Committee and the states which are moving up their primaries.

If Iowa winds up moving their caucus into December there is yet another potential consequence. As election law is written assuming an election cycle takes place during the same calendar year, candidates might be able to raise money for any December 2007 events and then start over with a new $2,300 limit for the 2008 primaries.

Under federal law, candidates can raise up to $2,300 from donors for primary elections and another $2,300 for the general election. Because the presidential nominating process requires numerous state primaries and caucuses, federal law states: “All elections held in any calendar year for the office of the president of the United States (except for the general election for such office) shall be considered to be one election.”

In short, a strict reading of the law means the contribution limits apply only to primaries and caucuses held in 2008. If a state moves its primary or caucus to 2007, it could mean a whole new cycle.

This will certainly keep the lawyers busy. It is unclear if the FEC has the authority to issue an interpretation which would consider a December caucus to be part of the 2008 election cycle or if Congress would be required to act.

Posted in Politics. Tags: . 2 Comments »