Monday, January 28, 2008

What are the Democrats going to do with the Presidency?

The race for the Democratic nomination for President has rather clearly been narrowing down to a two person race between Obama and Hillary that leave John Edwards out of contention.

Damn. Edwards is still my preferred candidate. His vision of what America needs to be doing and becoming is, in my opinion, the best vision being offered. But the Democrats this year have an abundance of talent.

Hillary, in my opinion, is too trapped by the corporate-dominated past, but she clearly has the capability to get things done in Congress. Of course, once she gets out of the "window" of the election campaign in which every statement she makes will be carefully parsed and might lose her votes, she is very intelligent and quite educable. (This assumes that her aging 90's left-over advisers can be sidelined - not an assured process.) She is also probably the best "vetted" Democratic candidate and of the three remaining candidates for the nomination, she is the most likely to be able to deal with the expected Republican nasty and illegal politics which everyone knows will start as soon as the Democrats settle on a nominee.

Obama has clearly demonstrated an ability to draw enthusiastic voters who have not generally participated in the political process in the past, and at the same time his very candidacy promises to be another major step for America away from the curse of Racism that has bent our American politics and society in some very sick directions. Obama has shown the ability to organize the get-out-the-vote extremely effectively in both Iowa and South Carolina. I'll be looking to see if his ability extends to Super Tuesday. I have some (strong) doubts that Obama really understands what the Republican conservative movement means and what methods is is willing to use to get its way, and I don't think he is sufficiently Progressive to build the kind of effective America for the future that remains true to the dream of 1776 and which is embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Can he really repair the damage the conservative movement has done to America if he becomes President? I still have my doubts, but he certainly has convinced a lot of voters that he is the best person running for the nomination and may well get it. If he does, then all my quibbles go to the side and I support him 110% in the general election because there is no competent Republican running. Like Hillary, I suspect that he is very educable and is reality-oriented.

The real issue for November is not which of the three Democratic contenders gets the nomination. What really matters is that Democrats are appointed to fill the roughly over 7,000 Federal civil service leadership and support positions listed in the Plum Book. Those are the jobs that Dick Cheney was responsible for filling in the legislative
and executive branches of the Federal Government. They are generally subject to noncompetitive appointment (e.g., positions such as agency heads and their immediate subordinates, policy executives and advisers, and aides who report to these officials), and the people who fill those jobs are the ones who dominate the Federal government for the President's term of office.

It was Cheney's ability to fill those positions with his personal loyalists that has made Dick Cheney more powerful in many ways than George W. Bush himself. The result has been a federal government that is not only dominated by movement conservatives and religious nuts who ignore reality, but also one that reflects Dick Cheney's personal paranoia.

Whoever the Democrats elect as President (and they must elect the next President if any form of Constitutional American democratic government can hope to survive) needs to quickly strip out the authoritarian movement conservatives and Republicans from the "Plum book" positions and replace them with pro-American Democrats. That's what the election in November is really about.

To get there, it currently looks like Barack Obama is going to become the Democratic nominee. This is, of course, subject to the results of the primaries and caucuses held on super Tuesday, but the good bet today is that Obama will get more delegates than Hillary will. If the concept of political "momentum" has any real meaning, that will effectively give Obama the nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

So what happens to Hillary and Edwards is Obama gets the nomination? Matthew Mosk in today's Washington Post suggests that a President Obama appoint John Edwards as Attorney General. Not a bad move, but what if Obama takes Edwards on as Vice President? That would combine the ability of Obama to bring in younger voters, African American voters, and those of us who think he represents the best social vision of a great future America, with the Progressive policies championed by John Edwards. I think that combination would be a real win-win proposition.

But I don't want to leave Hillary out. She has shown that she is an effective Senator who is well-respected on both sides of the Senate aisle. I also understand that Harry Reid would like to leave the job as Majority Leader. That would be a perfect position for Hillary Clinton.

A real problem in the Democratic nomination race has been the abundance of talent. It's been hard to decide which single person to choose as the Presidential nominee. well, it looks like that problem is being resolved and will be resolved in the near future. Now, just imagine a President Barack Obama, Vice President John Edwards, Senate Majority Leader Hillary Clinton, and a Secretary of State Bill Richardson. Then I am sure that retired Gen. Wesley Clark would be a strong contender for the job of Secretary of Defense.

I'm not sure it could get much better than that.

Eggs. Yet to hatch. Counting Chickens. It's going to be a long, rough election this year. Still, a man can dream ....

No comments: