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Cuomo Will Not (And Must Not) Be the 2016 Democratic Nominee

[ 208 ] November 20, 2012 |

To follow up a bit on Dr. Black, I agree entirely with Alex’s substantive take on Cuomo. I don’t agree, though, that the Evan Bayh of New York politics will be able to “retain[] a progressive reputation,” at least among Democratic primary voters. (For that matter, I don’t think he has one to retain.) I’m frankly not sure why he gets so much talk as a potential Democratic nominee in 2016, when he’s at best the third most viable candidate in New York. The nomination is probably Clinton’s if she wants it, which I’m ambivalent about. And then there’s Kirsten Gillibrand, who has both a more proven appeal to rural upstate voters and a more progressive record, in addition to what I’m guessing will be a strong (and justified) presumption that if the 2016 Democratic nominee isn’t a woman there had better be a damned good reason. Cucomo isn’t even a colorable reason. I don’t know if she wants it, but if she does barring something unforeseen she’d beat Cuomo easily. And there should be any number of candidates you can say this about.

Liberals may not always have the power in the Democratic primaries to get a preferred nominee, but they do have veto power. If you think Cuomo’s act will play against a decent candidate in national primaries, here are a couple of cases you may want to look at: Joe Lieberman 2004 and Al Gore 1988. (Gore got the Democratic nomination only by running if anything to Clinton’s left in 2000, and he wasn’t more conservative than Bradley.) Even when relatively conservative candidates have one, they have been acceptable to liberals. Clinton was the most liberal viable nominee in 1992. 1976 is more complicated, but again Carter’s opponents were mostly as bad or clearly worse — Brown, Scoop Jackson, Wallace, ugh. If Cuomo has any chance it’s because progressives can’t find a better candidate to run, and in 2016 there’s no excuse for that. We won’t be looking at a context in which Democrats have suffered repeated defeats and are looking for the safest choice.

None of this is to day that Alex is wrong to worry — I think Cuomo can be stopped pretty easily if he runs, but progressives will need to make this happen. Still, I don’t think Cuomo will be a remotely strong candidate.

…also, I should mention another point in Gillibrand’s favor — her support for filibuster reform.


Comments (208)

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  1. afeman says:

    Is it 2015 already?

    • No, but apparently it is 2005 again:

      “The nomination is probably Clinton’s if she wants it”

      Even if Clinton does run, there’s going to be an awful lot of resistance and fatigue, even before you get to things like how old she’d be. And if there are other viable women in the race (and there is no shortage of potential candidates) she’ll lose a lot of the dogged support that kept her in it in 2008 after Obama had pulled decisively ahead in the delegate math.

      Cuomo is dead on arrival for all the reasons cited above. Baldwin 2016!

      • Erik Loomis says:

        I wonder if it is on Baldwin’s mind? She’s certainly ambitious.

        • Greg says:

          Tammy usually does run for the next highest open seat the first time it becomes available, whether it’s the state Assembly, the House or the Senate. And each time, it’s been accompanied by people kvetching about it being too soon or her being too liberal. The streets of Madison are littered with the bodies of politicians who underestimated Tammy Baldwin.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            It’s an interesting thought. Plus, as a Senator you have to act quickly.

            • Hogan says:

              Before you have a record.

            • cpinva says:

              hows this for a possibility?:

              a gillibrand/baldwin democratic ticket, for 2016? not only a first, but a first with two proven, legitimate liberal/progressives on the same ticket. one also a true blue military hero, though i’m sure the republicans will mount some type of “swiftboat” style attack against baldwin, claiming her injuries are all fake, or something equally as idiotic.

              personally, as a white, middle-aged guy, i wouldn’t have a problem voting for two accomplished, qualified women, in both slots. now if only one of them could be an african-latina-asian-american, single, lesbian mother on food stamps, with a special needs child, we’d have a trifecta!

              clinton is: a. too old., and b. i’m not convinced she even wants to, at this point. if i were her (which i’m obviously not), i’d be looking forward to retiring, and being available to bounce the grandkids on my knee. frankly, i expect the “baby bump” rumors on chelsea any day now, mom & dad aren’t getting any younger, you know.

        • MAJeff says:

          Ya know, I really doubt all the polls saying a majority of Americans would vote for a gay presidential candidate. While overwhelming majorities may say they oppose workplace discrimination, there are still a shitload of anti-gay bigots in this nation. We’re a long way from a viable queer presidential candidate.

          • Erik Loomis says:

            You might well have said the same thing about a black candidate in 2004.

            • GeoX says:

              Cursorily googling around, I see that she had a long-term partner with whom she split in 2010. Forget gay; I’m wondering what the impact would be of having a single person running for president (assuming she doesn’t meet someone else in the meantime), given how prominent candidates’ partners always are in campaign optics. Not necessarily saying it would be a detriment; I really don’t know what if any impact there would be. But it would certainly be different.

              • Greg says:

                The other interesting thing is that, regardless if she meets someone, she’ll still be “single” in the eyes of her home state.

              • tonycpsu says:

                Booker also fails the “has a spouse” test. Perhaps we can set them up in a sham marriage and have Baldwin do the presidentin’ and Booker do the tweetin’ and the superheroin’.

              • Warren Terra says:

                Newt Gingrich can always be assumed to be, if not precisely single, at least on the market, and he did pretty well last time, considering he’s an overweight blowhard has-been with nothing to say.

              • Bill Murray says:

                Being single didn’t hurt Buchanan’s election chances.

                • tonycpsu says:

                  It’s not 1856 and there’s not going to be a Know-Nothing Fillmore taking 20% of the popular vote. If a bachelor gets to the West Wing as long as the modern theocratic GOP exists, I’ll eat my hat.

                • tonycpsu says:

                  And it’s still weird that that wackadoo is the only President ever to come from my beloved Pennsyltucky.

                • Bill Murray says:

                  I don’t know Tony, a splitting of the Republicans would give us a new Know-Nothing Party and would get ca. 25% of the vote. Sure Mallard Fillmore won’t run, but it could happen if there is a god

                • Jim says:

                  Pat Buchanan’s single? Do you have his number?

                • John says:

                  Also not married at the time of their election were Thomas Jefferson (a widower), Martin Van Buren (a widower), and Grover Cleveland (a bachelor; he got married while president the first time). Plus Jackson was a widower at the time of his re-election, and Arthur was a widower when elected VP.

                  Common feature of these men: they have all been dead for over 100 years.

            • MAJeff says:

              Honestly, if we’re going with a black parallel with gay folks, we’d probably be in the 1988 Jesse Jackson campaign stage and not the 2008 Barack Obama stage.

              • Greg says:

                If she hailed from Massachusetts or California, you might have a point, but she was just elected in Wisconsin, which only six years ago banned gay marriage, and defeated the most popular Republican in the state. She did better in Wisconsin than Kerry did in 04, for example.

                • MAJeff says:

                  You mean Wisconsin, the first state in the country to enact a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation….seven years before Massachusetts did so?

                • Wisconsin is a more of a light blue state. It sometimes elects Walker-types, but it has some of the most liberal rural voters in the country. A lot of GOP strength is concentrated in suburban/exurban Milwaukee.

          • Kalil says:

            And, as in 2004, any voter whose mind is likely to be changed by that isn’t going to be voting D anyhow.

      • Clinton’s polling has dramatically improved since 2008. I remember polls showing nearly half of New Hampshire Democrats having an unfavorable view of her before the primary, there was a lot of mistrust and dislike of her for many reasons. At this point, that sentiment is a token levels so far as I can tell. Her campaign and service at State has rehabbed her image to such an extent I can’t imagine a single obstacle to her getting the presidency if she wants it.

      • ploeg says:

        The nomination is probably Clinton’s if she wants it AND if she doesn’t give any position of responsibility to Mark Penn.

        As things stand, she can probably afford to take off some time to think about the future and still be viable for a run in 2016. She probably shouldn’t wait too long, though.

  2. If progressives “make this happen,” it’s going to take a better job of defining minimum standards, red lines, and not splitting our own vote than has happened in the past.

    Cuomo’s just one among many pseudo-progressives out there – O’Malley’s another one, potentially Corey Booker, etc.

    On the other hand, I don’t think there’s as clear a bench of progressives out there.

    • Kalil says:

      Corey Booker frightens me.
      He’s got the whole ‘hero’ thing going – there’s a diary on dKos today that mentions how he’s going to be taking the food stamp challenge – but he’s enough of a corporatist that he tried to fight back against the Bain Capital storyline.

      • John says:

        That was pretty unbelievable, because there’s no upside in terms of votes for that kind of bullshit, even in New Jersey. It shows either how much influence those assholes have through donations and such, or that Booker actually believes that garbage.

        O’Malley doesn’t seem that bad. My parents, who live in Maryland and are, generally speaking, liberal Democrats, don’t like him as governor, but most of their problems with him don’t seem to arise out of his being too conservative in the context of national politics. They don’t like that he’s building a big highway and is pro-development, that he legalized gambling, that he raised upper-income taxes, that he is generally “pro-Baltimore” (a common complaint in Montgomery County, where they live). My dad also is a homophobe, so that doesn’t help. But while the guy doesn’t seem a great liberal hero, particularly, he doesn’t seem to have the kind of “clearly an obvious sell-out to right wing economic interests” problem that Cuomo and Booker suffer from.

        • Sharon says:

          I hit both parts of Martin’s bio. I grew up in MoCo and have lived in Baltimore for the last 25 years.

          Martin was a good mayor. He made city government less cumbersome and gracefully rode the wave of a declining murder rate. (thanks national trend) when the city’s unofficial motto was, “Welcome to Baltimore, duck mother fu*ker!” fewer murders helped his local profile.

          Born and bread Balto. Folks can’t stand him because he’s obviously ambitious and “not from here”, still, he had enough juice to win a state wide race twice..

          Maryland governors have been pretty mediocre in my lifetime, so his cave on the ICC and slots aren’t total deal breakers. Compared to bob Erlich, he’s a genius.

          I don’t think he has much of chance in 2016, but he’s not as toxic as your Nd my parents think he is.

      • tonycpsu says:

        Booker’s the one guy out there in politics today that I can imagine sucking on the corporate/Wall Street teat for campaign dollars and telling them to go take a hike when it comes time to hand out favors. Maybe he’s just done such a good job selling his persona that I’m being hoodwinked, but if so, it’s that same ability to make the sale that could get money from the captains of industry without making any firm promises of goodies.

        • John says:

          “But the last point I’ll make is this kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” Booker said. “It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough.”

          “Stop attacking private equity,” Booker continued. “Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop, because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.”

          • tonycpsu says:

            I haven’t forgotten that embarrassment, but I still could see it as a strategy rather than a heart-felt love for Wall Street. Maybe believing that makes me a rube, but he’s so fucking slick as a politician that the Wall Street guys could be the rubes, too.

      • he tried to fight back against the Bain Capital storyline.

        I loved watching that fall flat. The Scarborough show was pushing that concern trolling for weeks, and nobody gave a damn.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      I’d second the people above me: O’Malley seems pretty good to me based on a casual review, and he’s a really good politician.

  3. Erik Loomis says:

    Given that I don’t think Elizabeth Warren is a viable candidate, I am really hoping for Gillibrand at this time.

    • Jameson Quinn says:

      Also, Warren is probably more liberal than her hypothetical Senate replacement would be. Wouldn’t stop me from voting for her against almost anyone else in the primary, but I won’t cry if she doesn’t make the attempt, and I do NOT want to see her as VP.

      • Jameson Quinn says:

        I’d drool for Warren to SCOTUS, though. To replace Scalia. Excuse me, I have to go change my underwear.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        I really don’t see how Warren would be a viable VP candidate. It would be the equivalent of the Ryan pick–something a rightist Democrat would do to pacify the progressives. Except that rightist Democrats don’t give a shit about the progressives.

        • charles pierce says:

          Can she please be our senator for one goddamn term? Jesus, you people…

          • tonycpsu says:

            Don’t blame the rest of the leftosphere for seeing an actual real-life liberal and wanting bigger things for her. I want her in the Senate, and she was obviously born to lead the Banking Committee, but if she wanted to throw her hat into the ring for 2016, I’d certainly listen.

        • Holden Pattern says:

          They do so; they go out of their way to shit on us all the time.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          I continue to believe that VP candidates don’t make much of an electoral difference, unless they are absolutely disastrous (like Palin) or extremely well placed in an incredibly close election (like LBJ). Those are the two examples of candidates who some think made a difference…and even then there are real disagreements. I certainly don’t think McCain would have won had he selected a less unqualified VP.

          Dick Cheney can be elected VP, so can Joe Lieberman, so can Henry Wallace and Dan Quayle. However, once they’re elected VP, they don’t make much difference (other than Dick Cheney, that is!).

          I think Warren would do fine as a VP candidate. But I don’t want her wasting her talents as Vice President.

    • Greg says:

      My question mark about Gillibrand is her tendency to adjust her stances based on the constituency she’s representing. She was a Blue Dog in the House, but a liberal in the Senate. Which Gillibrand will run for president?

  4. Erik Loomis says:

    Also, I don’t think Cuomo’s support of gay marriage is going to matter one iota, which is important because he’s going to run on it to distract attention from his economic policies. The reason it won’t matter is that every single candidate will support it in 2016. It just won’t be a distinguishing feature.

    • rea says:

      Maybe I misunderstand NY politics, but hasn’t he given lip service to supporting gay marriage, while backing the Republcian takeover of the state senate which was, in essence, punishment for the state senate passing gay marriage?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Right. That’s one actual effect of Obama’s endorsement — it makes Cuomo’s attempt to make SSM make up for everything else a non-starter, since now that it’s the official party position it will be irrelevant in the 2016 primaries.

      I also agree with you about Gillibrand; I hope she’s running.

    • He won’t even be the only candidate who signed a law either if O’Malley runs. And that’s all Cuomo has.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      Has Clinton come out in support of gay marriage yet? I thought she was still “evolving” and supported civil unions instead.

      One of the things that always annoyed me about Clinton was that a lot of LGBT activists seemed to assume she was really good on LGBT rights when, in fact, she wasn’t that different or superior to other democratic options, such as Obama. Of course, she still has plenty of time to “evolve” on this issue before the primaries, but until she does, I don’t think we should assume that she will.

      Also, I was relieved to see that all my gay PUMA friends (I live in DC, there are a fair number) finally came around to Obama after he came out in favor of gay marriage. They still didn’t love him (I’ve heard over and over that Clinton’s speech at the convention was the best part of Obama’s campaign), but at least they finally got on board.

  5. Sherm says:

    I’m surprised by the Gillibrand love here. She has always struck me as a moderate and as a bit of lightweight. Perhaps I’m jaded by her familial connections with a certain former US Senator from New York and her big firm, corporate law background.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Well, somebody who was really liberal by New York standards wouldn’t be a viable national candidate. She’s more progressive than Schumer. I’m not saying she’s an ideal candidate, but the point is that she’s far better than Cuomo. If Baldwin proves to be viable I’m happy to revisit the question.

      • Erik Loomis says:

        Right. She may not be as liberal as Warren but I need a lot of convincing Warren can really speak to national audiences. Among realistic viable candidates, who is better than Gillibrand? She has both liberal cred and moderate cred. She’s well-connected and can raise money. Schumer loves her. She seems like a superb politician.

        I’m not saying I would choose her if I could choose who I wanted. But against Biden, Clinton, Cuomo, Warner, and Patrick, etc., she seems the best choice at this time. If Baldwin or Klobuchar runs that could be different. And of course it’s an eon to 2016.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          And also, once you’re significantly more liberal than the median vote in Congress — which Gillibrand obviously is — how much more liberal doesn’t matter a whole lot, and might even be counterproductive. It’s hard to see a President Warren having an easy time getting blue dogs to vote for things. It’s hard to see Warren’s greater liberalism having policy payoffs that would justify running a candidate who would have a lesser change of winning, which it seems to me Warren clearly would.

          • Murc says:

            And also, once you’re significantly more liberal than the median vote in Congress — which Gillibrand obviously is — how much more liberal doesn’t matter a whole lot,

            … for reals?

            Being more liberal than the median vote in Congress DOES matter a whole lot. Maybe not in terms of getting legislation passed, but in a lot of other ways. Siccing the Justice Department on the banksters and war criminals, for example. Staffing the executive branch with people who don’t have long, proud pedigrees of being corporate sellouts. That sort of thing.

        • MattT says:

          Baldwin I see, but what’s so great about Klobuchar? Nothing against her, I’d obviously voter for her if she was the nominee, she just seems kind of like Generic Democratic Senator. This seems like the Democratic equivalent of people talking up John Thune.

          • Erik Loomis says:

            I’m not really making a case for Klobuchar. Just hearing her name and saying I’d have to give her a second look.

            • AR says:

              Klobuachar has been fairly solid on most issues, though as a former State AG she has shown some affinity for disregarding warrants for wiretapping (and issue that every Democrat who ran for President since 2004 disregarded except for Dodd). She also is quietly a very canny legislature. She has been attached to more bills passing than any other Senator this past Congress.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          Among realistic viable candidates, who is better than Gillibrand?

          Sherrod Brown.

          However, I think that in 2016 it will be very difficult for a white man to contend for the nomination if there is a viable woman running…and I think there most likely will be.

    • Thers says:

      As a general rule, all Senators have backgrounds and connections I dislike.

      She’s moved pretty far leftwards — supports Medicare buy-in for everyone, is solid on immigration, and was good on gay marriage. And she dropped the gun nut pose like a grenade the second she needed to appeal to downstate voters. I don’t much care about her connections as long as she is doing the right things.

    • Ed says:

      I’m surprised by the Gillibrand love here. She has always struck me as a moderate and as a bit of lightweight.

      She’s a woman and she’s not Hillary.

      I thought Gillibrand was initially regarded as something of a hack. She seems to have performed better than expected. She has shown a certain Romneyesque flexibility and it will be interesting to see how that develops.

    • Anonymous says:

      “She has always struck me as a moderate …”

      I’m one of those DFH’s that Harold Ford tells you turns off the real ‘merkins; A firebagger, a comsymp, a purity troll, and a naïve dreamer who dosent understand how politics work

      But the thing is, being moderate isn’t a problem for me, that’s why I volunteered for and voted for Obama. And I would happily do the same for Gillibrand
      Cumo isn’t moderate like Obama or Gillibrand, he’s “moderate” like Erskine Boles or Blanche Lincoln

      “…and as a bit of lightweight”

  6. Alan in SF says:

    Carter’s opponents were mostly as bad or clearly worse — Brown, Scoop Jackson, Wallace, ugh.

    History demands that I mention the campaign of genuine economic progressive Fred Harris, which I was fortunate enough to participate in and which consistently scored in the high single digits, finishing 3rd or 4th, all the way through Illinois. Mo Udall and Jerry Brown were also getting a lot of progressive votes, but the Beltway had annointed Carter before the campaign even began.

    All in all, quite a spread of primary choices — sure beats your average Hillary – Cuomo contest.

  7. KBNC says:

    Why have we decided Warren is not viable? Is she “too liberal,” or is it because she has already been made a GOP bogeyman (bogeylady)? Or is it just the fact that she is a New Englander which is scary to many in the flyovers?

    It could be all these things, I’m just wondering what is the conventional wisdom on the left.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      In my case, it would be that she ran way behind the president in Massachusetts. I think she’ll be an excellent senator, but as a candidate (granting that she was facing an unusually strong opponent) she wasn’t terribly impressive.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not sure how much you can really tell from this one election, though. I think if the Republican had been anyone other than Scott Brown (Nice Guy With A Barn Coat And A Truck who had a big head start because he was the incumbent), she would have been much closer to Obama in Mass.

        • tonycpsu says:

          While we’re on the subject, how goddamn stupid are Masshole Republicans, independents, and conservative Democrats for buying Scott Brown’s schtick? And, after all of his epic fails (“Kings and Queens”, the Native American attacks, etc.) how is he still considered a viable candidate if Kerry takes a cabinet post?

          • Holden Pattern says:

            Um, not any dumber than all the people who voted for professional heir and drunkard George Bush, brush-cuttin’ rancheroo?

            • tonycpsu says:

              But Bush never carried Massachusetts, while Brown was able to win there. Granted, it was a special election, and those favor the GOP, but I don’t know that a generic liberal would be a lock to beat Brown in a normal election, and that makes me wonder what’s going on up there in MA.

              • John says:

                Paul Cellucci managed to win a statewide election in Massachusetts in the not too distant past (1998), and Scott Brown is a much better politician than him.

                (I still remember Cellucci’s tenure as Ambassador to Canada, which was noteworthy largely for his embarrassingly thuggish threats to the Canadians for not supporting the Iraq War. If that guy could win, it’s not so surprising that a Scott Brown did.)

          • UserGoogol says:

            My guess it that Massachusetts voted for moderate Republicans for a long time, and although true moderate Republicans don’t really exist anymore, there’s still a solid base of voters who really want to vote for a moderate Republican, and is open to voting for someone who only approximately seems to fit the bill.

    • Richard says:

      She was a mediocre candidate. She has little charisma. She’s from Massachusetts. She’s too far identified with the left. She’s Dukakis again.

      • Sherm says:

        She’s not lacking in charisma at all. Her problem is that she can be too readily caricatured as an intellectual.

        • Kalil says:


          …unfortunately, you might be right. But I don’t really want to take that lying down…

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            It’s not that she’s smart (or even obviously smart). That’s true of Obama, too. It’s that she comes across as an intellectual…and she was a longtime PROFESSOR at HAHVAHD.

            I actually think she was a pretty good candidate. Early in the campaign, she received a lot of very unfair criticism for not being a good candidate. But things really turned around at the convention.

            However, pretty good candidate is not usually good enough to win the presidency…especially if you’re a progressive.

            It’s entirely possible to win the presidency if you’re far to the right (or, in theory, the left) of the American public. But you need to win despite your politics. And that means you need to be an excellent candidate. And I agree that Warren is not that…at least not yet.

      • witless chum says:

        Curious. I was only 10 in 1988, but was Dukakis facing some sort of favorable situation where he really should have done better versus Bush? The conventional wisdom is that he was a uniquely bad candidate, so I just wondered whether that was for real or if it’d be like blaming McCain for losing in 2008.

  8. In the absence of Clinton, I’m pulling for a Sherrod Brown run. A solid, populist progressive who keeps Ohio safe. Good enough for me. It’s interesting that Cuomo is much more in line with Pataki’s politics than his own father’s, though moderate Republicans pretending to be Democrats is very much the future of blue state politics where Republicans can no longer win statewide, I think. There are clear signs that business is going to start strenuously supporting Jerry Brown after Dems hit 2/3 in the legislature here, FWIW.

    As for the history, I think the key takeaway for Carter’s 1976 campaign is that his lack of connections to key Democratic constituencies helped him win–probably the only time being a right-to-work state governor was an asset to a Democratic candidate since memories of Meany selling out McGovern were fresh in peoples’ memories back then. Carter was just kind of lucky to be in the right place at the right time. But not having those connections also destroyed his presidency. The liberal veto was used some years into his presidency, turns out.

  9. charles pierce says:

    Mo Udall ’76, goddammit!
    (///former wounds reopened…)

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Yeah, I suppose he was probably the best viable candidate that year? I don’t know enough of the era to judge, but he certainly seems to have been more liberal than Carter, and it’s hard to imagine he could have been less effective.

      • Of all the counterfactuals involving someone running for office, Ted Kennedy running for President in 1976 is easily at the top of my “damn I wish it had happened” list. Carter’s term was mostly about watching helplessly as the New Deal Coalition dissolved all around him, helpless to do anything to stop it because he thought politics was a sin. Kennedy knew the political process (which Carter didn’t) and had the at that point unique stature to heal a lot of the wounds of ’72. Don’t know if the South was still salvageable at that point–probably only Carter could have brought them back one last time–but Kennedy, and only Kennedy, could have been able to put the rest of the pieces back together. I could understand his hesitancy considering what happened to his two brothers, but a successful two-term Kennedy presidency ending in 1985 would have made for at least a somewhat different political equlibrium going forward.

        • Craigo says:

          Fuck, sometimes I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better for sane people (GOP and Dem) to let Reagan have the late 1970s if he wanted them so badly.

          • Jameson Quinn says:

            I like counterfactual worse-is-betterism much better than the real kind, but it’s still a very guilty pleasure.

            • Josh G. says:

              How is this “worse-is-betterism”? Considering that the actual outcome was two Reagan terms, a Republican cult of Reagan, and the destruction of the New Deal coalition and the union movement, it’s hard to see how things could have gotten much worse, unless Reagan actually started a nuclear war. Had he been elected in 1976, Reagan would have faced much tougher choices and wouldn’t have been able to engage in a lot of the repositioning and triangulation he did in the 1980s. As it was, Carter did a lot of unpleasant but probably necessary things (Volcker, trucking and airline deregulation, rebuilding the military in a post-Vietnam era) but these took time to take effect and Reagan wound up getting all the credit. Even now, many people (and not just movement conservatives) think Reagan defeated inflation and rebuilt the military. But Carter set this stuff in motion.

        • Richard says:

          He never could have won the general election. Chappaquiddick.

        • Greg says:

          Sen. Kennedy from 1976-2009 was a much greater asset to the country than a one-term President Kennedy would have been.

      • CJColucci says:

        I don’t know enough of the era to judge

        Making my own fucking life — I voted for the guy, damn it — sound like ancient history. Thanks a lot.

  10. Cols714 says:

    I could easily see Sherrod Brown being the VP for Clinton.

    I don’t see anyone beating Clinton if she runs, and I also don’t understand why she wouldn’t. As long as the economy is in good shape, I think she would win the presidency.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      No way in hell there are 2 white people on the ticket.

      • Greg says:

        I was about to write a post complaining about how there weren’t any really good choices for non-white VPs, but then I remembered Gary Locke.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          Deval Patrick, Antonio Villaraigosa, Julian Castro, Cory Booker.

          • Greg says:

            VPs without Washington experience are very rare. The only governors to run as VP in the last 60 years are Spiro Agnew and Sarah Palin, and they’re two of the biggest disasters ever.

            And I’d have severe reservations about nominating someone whose highest elected office was mayor, especially if it was for a city as small as Newark.

            • Erik Loomis says:

              Except that VP nominees are almost totally meaningless outside of perhaps rallying a very particular constituency or state. I just don’t see it mattering. It’s a media narrative for awhile and then we move on. That said, Democrats are not going to nominate two white people because there are constituencies they need to turn out.

              • Greg says:

                It matters a lot if the president dies. It also matters quite a bit when the president retires and her VP is running for President in their own right. One of the chief virtues of a drawn out primary process is that they produce a nominee that is a strong candidate simply through a Darwinian selection process. The incumbent VP would have such a huge advantage over the rest of the field that they wouldn’t be tested the same way, but they didn’t earn those advantages through any significant political skill.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  OK, but that stuff doesn’t matter in the election itself. Which is the point here.

                • John says:

                  The modern incumbent VP candidates – Gore 2000, Bush 1988, Nixon 1960 – have all been perfectly competent candidates, I think. Not obviously worse than candidates who had to go through tough primary processes. Humphrey, who, in spite of his incumbency, was nominated by a brutally divided party, still managed to almost win. And competitive primaries certainly don’t have a stainless record.

              • Greg says:

                I guess what I’m most leery of is a VP who’s an heir apparent to the nomination in 2024, who, except for the fact of being chosen as VP, would not be a plausible candidate for president.

                I’m fine with an all-white ticket, so long as it’s not an all-white-man ticket.

            • John says:

              I assume Booker will be running either for governor next year or for Lautenberg’s Senate seat in 2014. Probably the latter, since Christie looks kind of unassailable.

          • Anonymous says:

            Villaraigosa has a bit of an ethics problem and was caught by the media having an affair with a news reporter, ending his marriage. His political stances are fine but his personal issues make him a nonstarter.

            • Warren Terra says:

              Also, it’s shallow of me, but I suspect his name is too long and too oddly spelled and sounding for many Americans … though I said the same thing (except the length) about Obama’s name, and I didn’t let that stop me from backing him.

        • Kamala Harris (California’s Current AG) would be a shortlister even if Moonbeam seeks another term. That’s one impressive (and impressively connected) woman.

    • Johnny Sack says:

      Veep is not a stepping stone position. I would never take VP unless I had failed at presidential bids and were in the twilight of my career. See, e.g., Biden.

  11. ploeg says:

    Successful presidential campaigns are built on:

    1. Money.
    2. Smart managers who know the rules.
    3. Support from an extensive number of county chairs and state representatives (typically obtained through an infinite variety of small favors).
    4. Enthusiasm.

    Assuming that Cuomo has sufficient money, and that the money will go some way toward getting smart managers, Cuomo would still need to get people to support him and vote for him. And nowadays, it’s pretty hard to get support from Democrats if you don’t support the Democratic Party.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Right. It’s not just liberals who won’t support Cuomo; he’s busy losing the support of a lot of mainstream party people too. If he’s serious about running for president what he’s doing doesn’t make any sense.

  12. Rob in Buffalo says:

    Gillibrand will have to do a lot of work to get national name recognition in the next two years. Does anyone outside of NYS know who she is?

  13. ezra abrams says:

    When he was state AG in NY, he used the scarce resources of the AGs office not to prosecute rapists, or other scum, but rather, some poor souls who had been swindled by the person who sold them insurance; these poor helpless victims had paid more then they should have, and bought insurance that was not appropriate to their needs.
    And who were these hapless people ?
    The richest, most powerful corporations in the world, corporations like Exxon.

    Thats right , A Cuomo, instead of tracking down rapists, or crooked judges and pols (and lord knows, NY has enough of those), spent his time and energy helping poor helpless exxon.

  14. dewces says:

    President-elect Al ‘Fucking’ Franken

  15. teraz kurwa my says:

    I had the vague impression that Scoop Jackson was a liberal on domestic issues, unlike Carter who was pretty conservative by the standards of mid seventies Democrats.

    • rea says:

      Scoop was as corporatist as they came. They called him, “the senator from Boeing”

      • John says:

        There’s lots of otherwise relatively liberal senators who have been shills for the big industry in their state – for more recent examples, see Harkin re: big corn, Biden re: credit card companies, Dodd re: the insurance industry, etc.

        My sense is that Jackson was seen as somewhat more liberal than Carter on domestic issues, although not as liberal as the actual liberal candidates (Udall, Harris, Bayh). He almost immediately endorsed Carter upon withdrawing, iirc.

      • Warren Terra says:

        Once upon a time – before the merger with Mcdonnell, before that asshole CEO moved the headquarters to Chicago – Boeing wasn’t quite so hated, and had relatively decent relations with its workers and the broader citizenry.

        Funneling money to Boeing was pro-corporate, but it wasn’t as inherently anti-worker as it would be now.

    • Jackson was a Democrat on domestic issues, a foreign policy hawk (the godfather of neoconservatism, incidentally), and conservative on social issues. Anti-abortion, anti-busing, basically. He would hardly have been a prize in the Oval Office.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How progressive is Deval Patrick, and would he stand a chance of winning the nomination and the presidency?

  17. burnspbesq says:

    I am not a Cuomo fan (FWIW, I agree with you about Gillibrand), but Pareene’s piece is a joke. He utterly fails to identify the source of Cuomo’s supposed power to keep conservative Dem senators from crossing the aisle. Which is unsurprising,because no such power exists.

    The Slatecommenter who called Pareene ” the Limbaugh of the left” wasn’t far off.

  18. Norsecats says:

    No one’s mentioned Brian Schweitzer (Governor of Montana), who would be my favorite dark-horse candidate. He’s surprisingly liberal, given that he’s from, y’know, Montana, and he might peel off some libertarian-leaning Republicans. My only concern about Schweitzer is I suspect his environmental record’s pretty poor.

    • tonycpsu says:

      “Surprisingly liberal” white guy doesn’t do it for me in a field with so many strong and solidly progressive candidates, some of whom could bring much-needed diversity to the oval office.

      • Optics says:

        The only “solidly progressives” mentioned so far a both mid western white guys

        • tonycpsu says:

          Tammy Baldwin was mentioned, and I’m more bullish on Gillibrand than most — I think she’d at least run as a solid progressive in the primary since there will probably be several more centrist types (see also, Edwards, John, and, yes, I remember how that worked out.)

    • Murc says:

      Schweitzer apparently loathes DC.

      I don’t mean the faux-loathing you get from candidates who want to paint themselves as outsiders. I mean he actually hates the city, hates the Beltway class, hates dealing with them, etc. So it seems unlikely he’d run at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      He is very big on alternative energy, which could be useful in coming years. I’ve heard much more about him in the context of a national position working on energy than in a POTUS or VP role.

  19. Akin/Cain 2016 says:

    Ron Wyden, anyone?

    • tonycpsu says:

      Your namesake ticket probably has a better chance.

      Wouldn’t mind seeing him in the administration at HHS or something, though.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Doesn’t Wyden have a bit of a problem with his being a massive sucker for Republican narratives and rather more than a bit of a tool in their efforts to destroy healthcare reform, with his enthusiasm and repeated gullibility for their Lucy-and-the-football tactics?

  20. Joe says:

    Chris Hayes in his closing remarks in a recent show (Saturday? maybe not) targeted Cuomo. I love the Liberman wannabe who ran on the “D” ticket but who will caucus with Republicans with the state senate in the balance. Still, others forewarned the possibility.

    As to Kirsten Gillibrand, unless some here at the start, I liked her when she was chosen to fill in Clinton’s seat, but she doesn’t really seem presidential timber quite yet. She’s fine as a senator and maybe even a v.p. (like Biden, she has value as a pol and her views are generally fine) but a woman will need to be strongly qualified with more than a few years in the Senate and then House.

    Clinton as senator and Secretary of State would be my model on that level though I’m not really gung ho on her personally. I wasn’t in ’08 and am not really now. Can’t we find anyone other than children and wives of recent presidents that supported the Iraq War?

    • Erik Loomis says:

      How is Gillibrand less experienced now than Barack Obama was in 2008?

      • Joe says:

        Well, yes, she really isn’t, though Obama’s big speech in the ’04 convention alone made him into more of a national figure. But, that’s another matter, so I’m not denying your apparent point really.

        Obama used his ’04 moment, opposition to Iraq and political and rhetorical (which I see more in him than Gillibrand) skills to beat Clinton (with her missteps) in a close race. Then, he beat McCain/Palin in an election after the nation was tired of eight years of Bush. Same experience w/o such benefits would have made it much harder for Obama. Clinton easily could have been more favored, for one thing, as might a good R. ticket.

        So, again, I think after 8 years of a Democrat etc., a first woman candidate might need more experience in ’16. Unlike Clinton, Gillibrand won’t be deemed a lock in the primaries & can have a tougher general.

  21. Johnny Sack says:

    Can we add Booker to the 2016 (and beyond) Must Not list?

  22. Johnny Sack says:

    Is Biden really not viable? Wasn’t Reagan older?

    Also, following up Obama, for all his faults, with Cuomo, would be an embarrassing shitstain on Democratic history. And just embarrassing.

  23. Johnny Sack says:

    I’ve participated in some Greenwald/Stoller burning myself, but shit if we get a Booker/O’Malley/Cuomo, I just might vote third party.

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