February 10, 2005


Commentary: The 2008 Dem Hopefuls Are At It Already: Why Clinton, Kerry, and others are starting so soon for the next Presidential run (Richard S. Dunham, 2/14/05, Business Week)

Only three months after the end of an exhausting, expensive, and seemingly endless campaign, an expanding group of Democratic heavyweights and relative unknowns is already testing the White House waters for 2008. If you think this is an extremely early start even for what seems to have become a perpetual pursuit of the Presidency, you're absolutely right.

So what has gotten into those die-hard Dems? For one thing, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean's run at a hostile takeover of the Democratic National Committee has jolted some contenders out of their post-election torpor. First off the starting blocks: Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Kerry. Clinton is charging out to shape her image before her enemies -- or the media -- do it for her. And much to everyone's surprise, 2004 nominee Kerry is acting more like battle-tested hero than washed-up loser.

In the early scramble, Clinton is hurrying to reintroduce herself as a common-sense, family-values centrist. On Jan. 24 she told family planning advocates in Albany that abortion was a "sad, even tragic, choice" and endorsed teen abstinence programs. While repeating that abortion should remain legal, she said Democrats should work to reduce the number performed. Since George W. Bush's 2004 victory, Clinton also has talked of the importance of faith in her life. And she has continued to remain hawkish on Iraq while backing anti-terrorism funding for projects ranging from port security to antimissile technology. But can she pull off an ideological facelift? "It's not easy to do when you have a long track record and product identity," says Raphael Sonenshein, a political scientist at California State University at Fullerton.

Still, should Clinton seek the nomination, she starts out as the prohibitive favorite. She'll have deep pockets, a cadre of enthusiastic supporters, and the Clinton political machine. Early polls give her a double-digit lead over any possible foe. "If Hillary's running, who's going to beat her?" asks Emory University political scientist Merle Black.

The Republican nominee.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2005 8:39 AM

Wasn't there a Fox News poll that showed Clinton getting trashed by just about everyone? That's the only one I've seen.

Posted by: Timothy at February 10, 2005 12:37 PM

Oh, I just noticed that they were talking about the race for the Dem nomination, not the actual race itself. But if you look at the probable candidates--Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, Gore, Bayh and one or two random Southern governors, plus who knows who else--I don't see how anyone just runs away with the nomination, even HRC. It's going to be a surprising reversal of 2004, with the same outcome. Instead of a whole bunch of inexperienced rubes running for a presidency they were never going to win, you'll have a bunch of plenty-experienced rubes running for a presidency they can't win.

Posted by: Timothy at February 10, 2005 12:43 PM


She appeals to the far Left of the Party, women, and blacks. And she has the Clinton machine. It's hers to lose.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2005 1:01 PM

"Kerry, Edwards, Gore, Bayh" are her rivals?

Not exactly the Fearsome Foursome, are they?

Posted by: Bob at February 10, 2005 5:04 PM
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