February 2, 2005

65 IN '08:

Romney vs. Kerry in 2008? (Scot Lehigh, February 2, 2005, Boston Globe)

Although US Senator John Kerry says publicly that it's too early to think about 2008, longtime Kerry watchers say he clearly wants to run a second time.

''There's no doubt in my mind that he wants to do it again," says one person who knows him well.

''I think he is likely to run again," agrees Democratic State Committee Chairman Phil Johnston.

Kerry obviously hopes to style himself as a leader on important Democratic issues -- so much so that his political advisers met last week to plot the themes the senator should stress on his ''Meet the Press" appearance last Sunday.

Kerry's reemergence on national television comes in the same week as the news that a political-action committee has been sprinkling tens of thousands of dollars about the country to sow good will for Governor Mitt Romney. And that Romney will speak in South Carolina, an important early primary state, next month.

Romney's team, which has long acted as though the governor's rising national profile was merely the happy confluence of coincidental currents of curiosity, courtesy, and charity, predictably downplays the significance of the Commonwealth PAC.

Still, advisers are no longer as coy as they were even a few months ago about the notion of Romney seeking the presidency in 2008.

''I think the leadership of the Republican Party sees him on a fairly short list of serious candidates should he decide to go," says Mike Murphy, the well-known GOP consultant who advises Romney. ''There is a lot of interest in him."

The main beneficiaries of a second Kerry campaign would be Hillary, whose campaign would get a boost from the illusion of knocking off a heavyweight rival, and the GOP, which would easily win his Senate seat behind Paul Cellucci or Bill Weld.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 2, 2005 8:35 AM

The media might hype Kerry-Clinton as a Battle of the Titans, but it's hard to see the Massachusetts senator getting past the New Hampshire primary, since he would have to explain how he could win in November 2008 after being drubbed by Mrs. Clinton in the state adjacent to his own.

However I do like the irony of the Bay State finally electing one of its own as president, only to have the candidate come from the Republican Party. It wouldn't drive the Democrats as nuts as seeing the first black and first woman president come from the GOP ranks, but it would set the sputtering and foaming at the mouth bar pretty high.

Posted by: John at February 2, 2005 8:56 AM

The notion of Hillary running against a series of Democratic has-beens and never-wases, like John Kerry, reminds me of Gerry Cooney's rise to the chance to fight for the heavyweight championship. Careful management had the utterly talentless Cooney fight Ken Norton, Jimmy Young, and a few other Social Security recipients and denizens of restaurants with early bird specials, pumping him up to be a valid contender for the championship against Larry Holmes.

A Democratic field of Hillary against Kerry, Bradley, Gary Hart, Dick Gephardt, Jesse Jackson, and perhaps Walter Mondale and George McGovern thrown in for good measure could have the same impact. By beating this over-the-hill gang(excuse me, distinguished, tried and tested public servants), she could create the illusion that she is a skilled politician with vast voter appeal.

One should keep in mind that Cooney was utterly demolished by Holmes in the championship.

I don't see Massachusetts electing a GOP senator. The GOP wins the governorship because a lot of Massachusetts voters are understandably afraid of what an unchecked Great and General Court would do. The grad school proletariat, the public sector unions and those people dependent on Federal largesse to the private sector, like construction workers on the Big Dig, will keep the Senate seat in Dem hands.

Posted by: Bart at February 2, 2005 9:12 AM

Kerry aspires to be Adlai Stevenson? Or Lyndon LaRouche?

Hillary's real problems will not be Kerry or the old crowd - they will be Edwards, Bayh, and the young crowd, who are smart enough to paint her as part of the geriatric set.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 2, 2005 10:29 AM

"Kerry aspires to be Adlai Stevenson? Or Lyndon LaRouche?"

It's obvious— Harold Stassen. The War Hero will be running every four years for the rest of his life, in order to recapture his past glories, (just as another 4 months figures so prominently in his life story) while unintentionally making himself a national joke.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 2, 2005 12:38 PM

I dunno... while Kerry certainly couldn't win a nationwide election, he came close enough to pretend he can. And plenty of rank-and-file Democrats bought their own rhetoric in this campaign, and really do like Kerry. If it's a crowded field of has-beens (Clinton, Gore, Kerry), plus a few semi-popular new faces (Bresden, Warner), Kerry may pull enough support to make it interesting.

At least I hope so. Because that would be stinkin' hilarious.

Posted by: Timothy at February 2, 2005 1:37 PM

If Kerry has a real go of it in 2008, I don't think it would mean anything other than the field of candidates being unusually weak, as it was last year. Nixon let some time pass before testing the waters again, so his '60 defeat wasn't on everyone's mind when he ran in '68. (Admittedly, the Vietnam War helped as far as bringing a different focus to the race.) But Kerry making noise about '08 this soon seems somewhat desparate to me; I've got a 45-rpm campaign record from '56 issued by Volunteers for Stevenson, with songs like "Adlai Is Gonna Win This Time". (For those wanting to sing at home, the tune for this gem was "Get Me to the Church on Time".) As you can imagine with a title like that, the song was more petulant than stirring; who knows, maybe it'll resurface as "Kerry's Gonna Win This Time".

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at February 2, 2005 2:01 PM

It will be fun to watch Hillary or Edwards (or, bless him, Al Sharpton) ask Kerry about Christmas in Cambodia, the magic hat, meeting with the Viet Cong and NVs, running guns to the Khmer Rouge, and all the rest (including Kerry's claim that he attended the signing of the truce in Gulf War I). And Al can get in his racial digs as well.

Plus, it will be fun to watch Larry O'Donnell defend Kerry again. Jon Stewart, Chris Matthews, and Imus have already given up on him.

Posted by: ratbert at February 2, 2005 3:22 PM

Kerry will slide back into the sloth that has characterised his public life so far. Tereza will throw him out and he will spend his sunset years in the bars of Georgetown hitting on lonely paralegals.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 2, 2005 9:52 PM

I am not Stassen or Stevenson! Their names start with "S" and mine starts with a "K". They were from out west, Minni-sowtah and Illee-noize. I am a New Englander. I was boarn to lead, my initials are JFK; just ask by band of brothers and read my official biography. I will return!

Posted by: Senator/Prez.wannabe at February 5, 2005 11:40 AM