November 16, 2002
THE DEEP BENCH:Move Over Miss Cleo!: Have we gone from a political tie-game to a blowout? (Dick Meyer, Nov. 15, 2002, CBSNews.com)
[I]f you keep putting theory aside and simply look at the two parties' stables with a cold handicapper's eye, the Republicans have the better horses for the races ahead.
First off, the Republicans have a stud, George W. Bush. The Democrats, simply put, don't. They don't have anything like a pack leader.
And if, for the sake of argument, Mr. Bush were to lose a battle with a pretzel, think about the horses the Repubs could run in '04 - not counting Dick Cheney. From the Cabinet, there's Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Tom Ridge. (I'm not including the hungriest of them all, John Ashcroft.) And there's John McCain.
The bench is deep too. Even though senators never become presidents, a few of them have potential, including Bill Frist and Chuck Hagel. Governors are better candidates. George Pataki and Mitt Romney, the handsome Olympic savior just elected in Democratic Massachusetts, will be nicely groomed. And for fun, toss in Condy Rice and Rudy Giuliani.
Few owners would trade that stable for the '04 Democrats. Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle look pretty tarnished right now. John Kerry is cursed with being a senator, among other things. John Edwards is handsome and 'a natural', but he's a senator too, and an unknown one. Howard Dean is unknown and, well, unknown. Gore and Lieberman have been adequately dissected. And Hillary, I suppose, should be listed.
How about the back bench? The Clinton Cabinet produced more convicts than contenders. The most attractive are Republicans or ersatz-Republicans, Bill Cohen and George Tenet. The current corporate crime wave has taken Bob Rubin out of the game.
Among sitting governors, Mark Warner and Tom Vilsack are the most buzz-worthy and that's not saying much. The consensus best new face of '02 is Jennifer Granholm, elected governor in Michigan. But she's Canadian, aye.
Of course, among the governors on the GOP bench he left out the 800 pound gorilla: Jeb.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2002 6:09 AM