August 31, 2004


Sources: Democratic leaders urge Kerry campaign changes: Campaign refutes reports of shake-up (CNN, 8/31/04)

Democratic leaders, increasingly concerned that John Kerry's presidential campaign is adrift, are urging the presidential nominee to make changes in his staff before Labor Day, according to some party sources.

If not, said one party strategist, "it could be too late." Sources say major changes could come at the campaign's highest level.

Given the Torricelli precedent, they could mean the candidate himself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2004 8:14 PM

But who would the replacement be? As the Lautenberg case demonstrates, only a previous holder of the office in question is suitable for a late-campaign bullpen call. And Clinton is constitutionally barred, so it will be - James Earl Carter.

It makes sense, too, given the Dems point of view. What better candidate to resolve the war on terror without warfare than a Nobel Peace Prize Winner?

Posted by: pj at August 31, 2004 8:21 PM


Yes, I've sent several and they are bouncing back. Yours get through.

Posted by: Peter B at August 31, 2004 8:22 PM

Strange. Let me see if I can fix it.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2004 8:25 PM

No - no matter how dimly the party faithful may look on Kerry, there can't be many who'd consider Jimmy Carter to be an IMPROVEMENT on Kerry. And if you find such a person, I wouldn't be getting any stock tips from them.

The Toricelli Option is worth doing only if the racer in question is considered winnable by the party in question. Hillary would not be a good fit because if she were to lose, her star would be tarnished for 2008, throwing THAT race wide open. (Besides, as a polarizing figure she is at least the equal of Kerry, if not more so.) Among the other possibles, Al Gore has the same personality problem (i.e. needs one) as Kerry, Andrew Cuomo (who briefly considered running in 2000) has scandals in his past and isn't famous enough, no one really sees Daschle or Gephardt in a national office, and Barrack Obama is nowhere near ready, regardless of what his fan club thinks. The scary part is, when you look at the Democratic political landscape now and in the near future, John Kerry may well BE the best option they have. I suspect the party brass knows this, and they can't be too happy about it.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at August 31, 2004 9:27 PM

I say, bring back Dean. At least we will get some comic relief from now to November.

Posted by: sam at August 31, 2004 9:32 PM

The advantage of Clinton-Rodham would be that she wouldn't be losing through sheer ineptitude, or at least that would be the rationale behind her selection.

The real problem is that you start running up against state filing laws. Remember how Bush had problems in Illinois because the GOP convention ends after their deadline? Not every state has a Supreme Court as pliable or reliable as Mass. or New Jersey.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 31, 2004 9:39 PM

Actually, Dean WOULD be a decent choice - at least better than the others I've mentioned. The problem with him, though, is the same polarizing image that seems to haunt many Democrats: is Dean going to win any votes Kerry wouldn't have already gotten? Dean would make the anti-war types happy but they're already in the Democrat column - and will Dean bring African-Americans to the polls? The chief asset Dean has now would be his personality ... it is also his chief liability.

As stated before, I don't know what the Democrats can do, now or in the next election.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at August 31, 2004 9:46 PM

Jimmy Carter?!?!?!?!


Yer killin' me here.

Bush'd win 60 states, and we only HAVE 50.

Jimmy Carter! That's great satire.

Posted by: Andrew X at August 31, 2004 11:17 PM

OK, everyone, admit that I called it correctly on the Kerry resignation sweepstakes. No way was he ever going to quit the Senate seat, he needed it as the fallback. I WIN!!

Posted by: John Cunningham at September 1, 2004 1:43 AM

Hillary is polarising, but she would bring out millions of women who never voted before, just to support the first woman to be candidate for a major party. I don't think anybody could stop her, either now or in 2008, unless the Reps nominate another woman (Condi ?).

Posted by: Peter at September 1, 2004 3:15 AM

Peter - No one is tougher on a woman than another woman. Don't panic.

Posted by: pj at September 1, 2004 8:55 AM

I have two doubts about Hillary's inevitability: 1) the "must vote for the first woman on a major ticket" factor did wonders for Geraldine Ferraro, and 2) the appeal of a Hillary candidacy assumes major coattails/nostalgia for Bill Clinton, but that proved not enough to elect Al Gore.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at September 1, 2004 9:39 AM


The Democrats are the women's party--they'll happily vote for a woman.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2004 9:50 AM

This idea is a complete non-starter.

Kerry won't quit, because:

1) Kerry's ego won't let him.

2) The polls are too close. He'll believe he can still pull it out, like he did against Bill Weld.

3)As John said above, you've got to have a replacement capable of winning.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at September 1, 2004 10:02 AM

Jimmy Who?

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Actually, it might be the most amusing thing they could do...his promise to bind up the wounds of Vietnam and Watergate would have new resonance with the Kerry-Swifties flap and the rehabilitation of Nixon. He knows how to lose credibility in the Middle East by letting an ally slide into theocratic dictatorship, he could bungle the economy and gut our military again to the point where we'd have another 12 more following solid years of Republican administration, except this time we control Congress too.

Posted by: cornetofhorse at September 1, 2004 10:24 AM

Ferraro was a running mate and even worse, the running mate of Mondale, the only man who came back from retirement to lose the one state he didn't lose in 1984. But in fairness to Ferraro, she couldn't predict Mondale's "glorious" come back in 2002.

Posted by: Peter at September 1, 2004 10:45 AM

Funny how the Village Voice was writing about this back in April. When this race is analyzed after the election, people will just begin to assume that Kerry was always 15 points behind (i.e., the media will spin their spin).

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 2:27 PM