he talks about education, equality of opportunity, and rising above partisanship. His record supports this, as does his bio. That's coherent. You can dismiss this as "nonconfrontational" if you want. he's got a long standard riff about why he's a democrat that I've seen some on the net say is inspiring. So it works for some.
OK, how many nominees and Presidents were truly inspiring?
And subjectively you may not find it inspiring, but isn't it possible that some people other than you do? And that some people don't count "inspiring" as the most important factor to them?
Presidential elections are not about what some people "feel". We went thru this on the web last time. "Oh, so and so makes me feel good, and he's the one. The rest of you don't get it."
I agree these are the two next best....good point, but Warner ties it together in each stump speech consistently, concise
Yes, this is essentially a subjective call of mine, but I think he's currently lapping the field. That can change; I think Feingold may be well positioned re: message; but as of now what does he say about the U.S. as an idea, and how does that imply as to how he'd govern? We know about his stance on the initiation of the Iraq war, but does he trump the others in terms of articulating how U.S. power should be used?
This is his opening. Will he take it? He can combine that with domestic reform and be taken seriously by the media establishment. But if he doesn't find a way to be taken seriously by the media, I don't think his appeal will move out of the activist ranks.
In Warner's case he is very much copying from the '92 Clinton playbook in terms of domestic themes (think: importance of education and equality of opportunity); he'll have to adjust this play on foreign policy obviously. But domestically he's there.
Edwards is talking about poverty, and I think he's generally brilliant. But I don't think poverty will be an issue he can ride all the way in '08, much as I like him, unless he finds a new way of addressing the morality of the power structure in the country. Then he might get attention. But I think that he's a great talent with the wrong historical timing.
Whatever else you think about Warner, he understands message. He actually has one...it's early, but really nobody else has one.
By message I mean a composite story of who he is as a person, as a candidate, what that implies for his Presidency, what is needed at this time, and what the country is about. It's a "whole"; Clinton had it in '92; Reagan had it in '80. Not seen since. Ideally this is also fundamentally optimistic.
I don't mean taglines and basic positioning. I think Warner is very gifted.
Great point about Dem hand wringing, but that goes on on the other side, too. We just don't see it.
The Condi thing is I think not even remotely real. I think many R's in the South would "forget" to vote for her; I think all the talk about her is in the wonkosphere. The R's love to congeal around a front runner, and Allen has clearly leapt ahead, with Ed Gillespie and Rush on board. My question is who will be their 2nd choice? Huckabee?
I see McCain as serious only if the D's win one or both chambers back in November, and if his health holds up. It would take a lot for many R's to swallow him.
Chris, you've done a great job with the arguments. Here's my totally subjective take on Feingold.
He is an earnest and solid guy. Likeable. But too dour and . This, however, could change depending on what message he chooses, and if that message is in tune with the year.
Will '08 be an outsider year? A "somebody different year? Will Democrats feel like taking a chance on somebody not at all like previous recent nominees? Feingold will need these dynamics, and of course he'll have to deliver on performance....big picture Presidential messaging, defining himself in terms of character, and not making too many missteps.
In D voter's minds I think Feingold will be perceived as an outsider, "risky" since he's different and not conventionally warm (i.e. outgoing, smiley), and Dem primary voters will go to a perceived "safe" choice, like the guy from VA, or maybe the guy from Indiana, should he acquire a coherent message
I have heard my much less political friends start mentioning Bayh (who I'd be impressed with if he had anything approaching a coherent message and didn't constantly talk campaign process) and Warner.
That's a nonscientific guage of non wonkosphere buzz. I have no believing Hillary friends (they're all somewhat doubtful), and believe she D primary voters will conclude she isn't electable; I think she's very beatable in the primaries unless nobody runs a good race.
Re: messaging, that most important skill, we really don't have a taste of themes from candidates other than Warner (which of course can change). But I do see Feingold's positioning as likely to produce a message...I see him trying to run a very substance, reform and integrity oriented race, with little frills. But I don't see a precedent for a 'win', the stars would have to line up.
How about a thread asking people to report what their Non Internet, Non Wonk, Less Political Friends have to say? I think it's a perspective that is nice to toss around.
People often want specific pot shots to be taken in campaigns ("Just call Bush a piglicking liar and we win!!") and get insolent when they're not. I've seen Edwards weave the kinds of themes into his presentations before, sometimes as subtext.
At this point in the campaign, why go out on a limb for anything?
But I'm not automatically saying that it must have been a good appearance; I'm just saying that Edwards operates on a subtle level of skill sometimes.
regardless, I disagree with those who think Cheney won; seemingly people on the web who write about this think that Edwards should have produced a dagger and plunged it into Cheney's forehead and done a ritualistic dance.
regardless, VP debates are totally meaningless. Remember how Bentsen killed Quayle?
Edwards has great talents in creating messages. We can debate the messages he chooses, but I think you cannot debate his skill in communicating them.
I've maintained that HRC is a bad candidate not because of her numbers, but because of her talent. This is totally 100% subjective. It's purely opinion, and I don't disguise it as anything else.
Aside from all the points made in various comments above, I think she's not especially likeable as a Prez candidate (remember, I freely admit this is subjective) - I don't think much of her stump speeches and her voice. And I think she will remain so because she has never enunciated big themes, and never demonstrated big picture message skills. Name ID will carry her until campaigning heats up, I think.
at this stage nobody has any idea how a given candidate will fare as a Prez candidate....unless they've either done it OR have begun sketching out themes. HRC has done neither. (only ones who have: Kerry has tried, Edwards has, Warner does currently).
The NYS experience offers nothing, IMO. She can win big in a liberal unrepresentative state, just like Kerry can(I'm from NY, btw). That says nothing about appealing to outsiders.
At this point in 02, who knew who Dean was? It's fair to say that things shook out in such a way that he was a serious contender for a while, regardless of how he was doing in 02.
Scott, sadly at this time the activism you're demonstrating does not lend itself to a wide range of jobs.
My advice would be to broaden your portfolio in communications skills. Go to work at a public relations firm, or secure a paid internship at one (just walk in the door; scope out ones that would be friendly, and don't expect that all will be politically congruent with your views) or volunteer to do some PR projects for good causes in your area. (This is probably best.) Parley that into some paid work, and build from there.
From there, while staying on the web, you'd be very very well positioned to transition to DC or a large local organization as a communications person. Or to a campaign for a paid spot.
Another thing you could try would be to go work for a pollster. You might buff up your resume with some graduate courses in statistics and survey research, and then go for an internship as step one.
Jeff, this meta-strategy is great, but it has one fatal weakness: in the current system of campaign finance, you will need far, far, far more money than you can likely raise to carry out and win an "us vs. them" battle for the soul (my words) of the Democratic party.
I'd say that the cost of properly rebuilding the D party in this way is about the same as the cost of building a real third party. But I agree with your sentiments; this will take a long, long time and probably an extended period of economic circumstances worse than what we have now without the $1 billion or so I'm referring to.