Open Field Politics

Michael Barone has some comments about the wide open shape of the 2008 election that are worth reading.  My own thoughts revolve around the way both parties are set to pick a nominee long before most voters will even start thinking about the presidential race.  Is this truly a smart political move in a nation that likes to have a wide variety of choices for everything from entertainment to ice cream flavors? 

I worry there will be too much time for voters to become dissatisfied with the major party nominees between when the early primary dust settles and when the filing date an independent run for president closes.  We have made a lot of fun about the "brand management" of the Democrat's antidote to cynicism, Barak Obama, but the same applies to the Republicans in the field.  

In 1998, Minnesota's wrestler/actor turned politician Jesse Ventura only had to run his unconventional campaign strategy from the mid-September primary to the November election.  Sixteen months could be a long time for politician turned actor Fred Thompson to carry off his unconventional strategy without running the risk of appearing coy, not straight shooting.   

In 1992,  Bill Clinton won the Democrat nomination largely because more widely known Democrats had opted out of running, based on Bush 41's popularity a year earlier. Before the voters really knew what had happened, a major segment of the electorate found that their choice was between a man they found far too slick and one who seemed clueless about the economy and who had lied to them about taxes. 

Barone discusses the possibility of NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg's potential as the 2008 version of Ross Perot, largely based on Bloomberg's money and expressed interest in a run.  I think a different type of third party candidate than New York City's nanny of a mayor may ultimately emerge, largely because a big part of Perot's appeal was that he wasn't a politician.  

I also see an issue that Barone barely mentions, immigration, as possibly playing a role in the shape of the field.  Immigration touches on national security issues, economic issues and cultural issues.  Consider how many members of both parties seem out of touch with large parts of their base on the matter and then factor in how many people all across the conventional political spectrum cannot even discuss the matter without foaming at the mouth. Conditions may be ripe for one or more third party demagogues to emerge sometime after the nominees are in place next year.      
Michael Barone has some comments about the wide open shape of the 2008 election that are worth reading.  My own thoughts revolve around the way both parties are set to pick a nominee long before most voters will even start thinking about the presidential race.  Is this truly a smart political move in a nation that likes to have a wide variety of choices for everything from entertainment to ice cream flavors? 

I worry there will be too much time for voters to become dissatisfied with the major party nominees between when the early primary dust settles and when the filing date an independent run for president closes.  We have made a lot of fun about the "brand management" of the Democrat's antidote to cynicism, Barak Obama, but the same applies to the Republicans in the field.  

In 1998, Minnesota's wrestler/actor turned politician Jesse Ventura only had to run his unconventional campaign strategy from the mid-September primary to the November election.  Sixteen months could be a long time for politician turned actor Fred Thompson to carry off his unconventional strategy without running the risk of appearing coy, not straight shooting.   

In 1992,  Bill Clinton won the Democrat nomination largely because more widely known Democrats had opted out of running, based on Bush 41's popularity a year earlier. Before the voters really knew what had happened, a major segment of the electorate found that their choice was between a man they found far too slick and one who seemed clueless about the economy and who had lied to them about taxes. 

Barone discusses the possibility of NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg's potential as the 2008 version of Ross Perot, largely based on Bloomberg's money and expressed interest in a run.  I think a different type of third party candidate than New York City's nanny of a mayor may ultimately emerge, largely because a big part of Perot's appeal was that he wasn't a politician.  

I also see an issue that Barone barely mentions, immigration, as possibly playing a role in the shape of the field.  Immigration touches on national security issues, economic issues and cultural issues.  Consider how many members of both parties seem out of touch with large parts of their base on the matter and then factor in how many people all across the conventional political spectrum cannot even discuss the matter without foaming at the mouth. Conditions may be ripe for one or more third party demagogues to emerge sometime after the nominees are in place next year.