January 12, 2007

"So why do respectable but obscure figures think they have a chance at the White House?"

A question raised on the occasion of Christopher Dodd declaring his candidacy.
Their patron saint is Jimmy Carter....

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

For Dodd, isn't it a money-making proposition? He's chair of the Banking Committee, so he'll raise a ton of money, which he can use for a variety of "campaign" activities that equate to a lavish lifestyle for many years to come. He knows he has zero chance, but it's a way of cashing in.

If someone out there is an expert on campaign finance, perhaps they can address how this works.

Steven said...

I imagine they look at people like Edwards and Obama and say, "What the hell did they ever do to get in the running for President? Compared to them, JFK and Dan Quayle were elder statesmen with vast experience. The only real competition is Clinton!"

That is, they're sane, and they expect the electorate is, too.

Revenant said...

Steven's pretty much got it. The three apparent frontrunners have nothing going for them beyond being, respectively, pretty, black, and married to Bill. When the front-runners are all B-listers and C-listers, what better time for a relative nobody to make a run at the Presidency?

Zeb Quinn said...

Respectable? Obscure? Dodd? You aren't talking about the same Dodd who, with Ted Kennedy, famously sandwiched a waitress under a table in a DC restaurant? That Christopher Dodd?

Mortimer Brezny said...

That is, they're sane, and they expect the electorate is, too.


Except...look at Obama, Biden, and Dodd in that hearing grilling Condi. Biden was surprisingly succinct and on-point. Obama laid out every single substantive issue in a plain-spoken, easy to understand framework. While Obama was more charismatic than Biden, both Biden and Obama stressed bipartisanship.

Dodd, on the other hand, was uncharismatic, a bit lost on substance when he had to propose unwritten questions to Rice, and tossed out partisan redmeat for the press. (Calling our troops "cannon fodder"?) It also seemed like he came prepared to read a speech to hijack the hearing, whereas Biden's opening statement was actually an opening statement to the hearing and Obama's comments prior to his questions seemed more or less extemporaneous. Even Kerry's comments and questions were succinct and substantive, though, not as good as Biden's or Obama's.

Dodd may have "experience" on Obama and Kerry. He may be able to raise more funds than Biden. But any of those three could shred Dodd in a debate. When John Kerry is more charismatic than you and Joe Biden is more bipartisan than you and a Senator with two years experience in the Senate has you beat on substance even though he's improvising and you're reciting a staff-written statement, you have problems: No one is gonna vote for Dodd if it means doddering.

Tim said...

"Respectable" but obscure Democrats must figure the field is more wide open than many pundits believe (i.e., internal Dem polling may consistently indicate Hillary! isn't quite the front runner most of us think she is). The test will be when a "respectable" but not so obscure Democrat, such as Mark Warner, announces he's jumping back in after spending a hundred or so days of "quality time with my family."

Regardless, I'll take that as good news; both that Hillary! may not be quite the sure thing, and the process might be more open than not. Niche marketing is burgeoning; why not niche politics?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it isn't for the Brass Ring, but the Copper coins surrounding it. Look at a few modern cabinets (post 1960) and you will see a few people who put together Exploratory committees. Edwards ran last time and got the second spot. Bush pere ran in 1980 and also recieved the Vice Presidency. Cheney put together an exploratory committee in 1996, but never made it to NH. Dodd is not looking to win, but a cabinet position or the second seat.

hdhouse said...

Ohh you republican children...always trying to define things to make you feel better about being the minority....

Dodd ads a voice to the debate. A different perspective and point of view.

You know what that is don't you? I mean before the Bushies with their choked off debate and mindless lockstep? You know what I mean? Have public rallys but only letting those who take an oath into your big tent? lol

And who may I ask is going to contribute to the Republican voice? Newt????? oh please...God make it Newt....or or 3wifeRudy? ohhhhh FlatearthBrombeck or whatever the heck he is called? Katherine Harris although looking like a corpse is probably as much alive as the rest of the neocons....oh oh oh Scooty Libby (nawww he'll be in jail) ohhh ohh Tom DeLay (nawwww he'll be in jail)....oh I know...that guy from Florida ....Foley?? he'll get the youth vote....

So many fools ... soooo much time.

Anonymous said...

More to the point, why do U.S. Senators think they have a chance at the White House? No sitting Senator since John F. Kennedy has been elected President.

It seems that they all go to Washington, get into the habit of sitting around giving grand speeches and doing pretty much nothing, and then expect that people would prefer them to a Governor.

Wrong. The Senate is where you send people when you want them to leave your state for the next six years.

The partisan moderate said...

There are a number of different reasons. Some candidates campaign to raise their profile either to futher their career (i.e. Sharpton), to champion a specific issue (Buchanan opposition to trade), to help with a future run, while others are just dillusional and actually think they can win (i.e. Forbes who dropped a great deal of his family fortune down the drain).

That said, I would guess in Dodd's case he is running to raise his profile and perhaps the remote chance that he can get the VP nod.

tjl said...

"Newt????? oh please...God make it Newt....or or 3wifeRudy? ohhhhh FlatearthBrombeck or whatever the heck he is called?"

More incisive political analysis, expressed in that uniquely lucid style that is hdhouse's signature.

"The rest to some vague meaning make pretense,
But [hdhouse] never deviates into sense."

(John Dryden's comment on a writer of comparable talents).

Mortimer Brezny said...

Dodd ads a voice to the debate. A different perspective and point of view.

Yes, and Kucinich does, too. No, wait. He doesn't. He just takes time away from serious candidates to discuss serious issues during the debates.