Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bayh the way ... I love to talk politics.

OK - simmer down. I know many of you are into politics and if you aren't, what the hell is wrong with you??? It's better than any soap opera or reality TV show. You want a good Survivor?? Lock up some of these Senators for a while without air conditioning and food and a bill that needs to be dealt with. NOW that would be just awesome. Although, Hillary in a swimsuit isn't going to get good ratings.

So here's a quick take on 2008 from a Democratic side. Hillary has all the money and name recognition. They love her in Los Angeles and New York, but I doubt she could do more than that. She sure as heck is not going to get the South to rise again and vote for her. One poll already stated that 46% of the voting population would NEVER vote for her. With that in mind, she to me is going to be the power broker in the group. She is a very smart woman and I think she knows that she is a polarizing figure and a great choice for the Republicans to win no matter who they run. Therefore, she can threaten every four years to run, raise a ton of money and stay the most powerful woman in Washington D.C. as a Senator from N.Y.

BTW - I was at the last Democratic Convention in Boston and let me tell you, if Bill Clinton could run again, he'd win by a landslide. Could you imagine him as the First Husband?? God help us all.

That to me leaves five people in the race. One is the former, or should have been former President Al Gore. Can't see him running after doing so well in the movie business and on the lecture circuit. Seems like he can get a lot more done out of office than in office. I mean c'mon... the guy did invent the internet, just ask him. More on why he can't win below...

The next two were losers from the last election: John Kerry and John Edwards. The best thing to come from these two was the JibJab stuff. Kerry is, was and is always going to be to stiff and too upper class for the people of this country to put him in the Big Seat. As Michael Douglas said in the American President about Bob Rumson in his great rant with the press at the end of the movie, "I always operated under the assumption that Bob Rumson didn't get. Well, I was wrong ... it's not that Bob Rumson didn't get it ... it's that Bob Rumson CAN'T SELL IT!" Kerry is Bob Rumson - he just can't sell it to the majority of voters.

As far as Edwards goes (and this goes for Gore as well), he should be disqualified from running. Why, may you ask, do I say that? Very simple. I'd like to pass a constitutional amendment banning all people on the top two slots of a ticket from running EVER again IF their home states don't vote for them. If your home state, who sent you to DC to represent them in the first place, doesn't go for you, why the hell should I??? They know you better than anyone else. I know people start with the garbage that Al Gore was really raised in DC not Tennessee because of his dad's job. That's all well and good - BUT they still had to vote for him to go to DC to represent them and they did. So they had to know something about the man and his opinions and choices.

That narrows it down to two people I have had the pleasure to meet and get to know: Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana and former Governor Mark Warner from Virginia.

Two younger men with great drive and vision. Both are great speakers and really come across as if they get it and give a darn.

Bayh, the son of former Senator from Indiana Birch Bayh, was the state's youngest Governor as well and knows what it takes to run a state. He spoke at AIPAC's policy conference this year and was just spectacular. He spoke for about 35 minutes and did it all from memory. Not one note was up there with him nor a teleprompter. What made the speech so memorable was that part of the lights in the room went out in the middle of his speech and he never faltered or stopped. Nevermind that his content was just great. If you get a chance to hear him speak, please go see him and tell him that I sent you, seriously. Look at his website - Evan Bayh.

Mark Warner is a self-made millionaire. He's the only man I know of that begs you to keep your cell phones on when he speaks. The reason? He helped start Nextel. He's a very sharp man and he knows what it takes to win. You really should read his bio. He's a man with a vision and what he can do is something I don't think many people can do in the Democratic party: be competitive in the South.

What's incredible about the two of them is that they are moderate Democrats that have been successful in Republican states. Look at the history of their states and neither is great with Democrats - but they did vote and support these two men and still do.

If there was ever a time for the Democrats to turn things around, the opportunity is going to hit them in the next two elections. If Howard Dean can stay out of harm's way and the party can unify behind a message. They cannot be against everything the Republicans stand for and not stand for something on their own. If they get a platform and the right ticket, they can take back the White House.

But there's a ton of time between now and 2008. And as we all know, Osama has to show up sometime. I still bet it will be about two weeks before one of the next two elections.

If you want to watch two races for 2006 that will tell you which way the world is turning. Watch the Pennsylvania Senate race between Republican incumbent Rick Santorum and Democrat Bob Casey. Casey is up as of now, but he had a big lead against Ed Rendell for the Governor's race a few years ago and lost that. It would be a big pickup for the Democrats. If we were in Vegas, I would bet on Santorum to hold his seat.

A race in the House to watch is a battle in John Nunnally's world of Ashville's 11th district. Republican Charlie Taylor has a tough battle to keep his seat against Democratic challenger Heath Shuler. That's right, it's not a typo or mistake, it's the same Heath Shuler (who is originally from the Ashville area) who played quarterback at Tennessee and the NFL.

I met with Heath when he came down to Atlanta and I asked him, "why after the way the folks in Washington treated you when you played there do you want to go back?" His response was priceless, "I just want to be able to go back and get things done right. Unlike the first time." I also asked if it was true Norv Turner would be his campaign manager and he chuckled heartily at that one.

Polls show that he has a lead at this point, but it's early in the game and anything can happen. If Shuler can pull out this race, it's also a good sign for the Democratic party.

For those on the other side of the aisle, well, you'll have to wait until next week for your answers and hopefuls.

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