Hickenlooper speech at convention shows Dems lack future candidates
In sports, a team that has the best chance of winning over the long haul is the one that has the deepest bench. That is the talent coming up from the farm teams and practice fields, people who may eventually play in the big game.
Politics is exactly the same, which is why the announcement that Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper has been invited to speak at the Democrats’national convention in North Carolina caught my eye. It made me realize that, as far as candidates for national office go, the Democrats don’t really have a bench — they have a couple of folding chairs and a recycling bin.
Think about who the possible contenders for the president’s or even vice president’s position might be in 2016. If you say Hillary Clinton, then you’ve made my point. People have been talking about Hillary being president since Bill was giving an intern a come-hither look in the West Wing.
She floated enticingly around the campaign in 2004, got in and couldn’t make it in 2008 and has been trying to avoid damage to what remains of her reputation in the Outer Mongolia of the State Department ever since.
If this kind of work is burnishing your foreign-policy credentials, then she could join Cyrus Vance and Madeleine Albright as possible recipients of the Neville Chamberlain World Peace Award. Essentially if she were to run for president again, she should probably have the three green arrows we associate with recycling trucks on all of her campaign materials and possibly her forehead.
This brings us back to the barrel that requires national Democrats to seize upon the apple that is John Hickenlooper.
When he spoke four years ago, the convention was in Denver, he was the Democratic mayor of Denver, and there really was little choice but to have him speak. Now, there’s little choice again, but for different reasons. It’s not that he’s the mayor of the city where the convention is being held but that there are so few prominent Democrat speakers who won’t do more harm than good.
When you’re trying to find a politician who’s not going to have much of a negative effect — or for that matter, a positive effect — but is safe, this is your guy.
It seems the affable and hyperactive governor learned a lesson from his goofy and overzealous comments about global warming prior to the gubernatorial race, which, coupled with his lack of message about anything else, would’ve cost him the election had there been any effective campaign by Republicans for the office.
Since his election, plenty of people on both sides of the aisle would like to know exactly where he stands on, well, practically everything. It’s pretty hard to name anything that he’s taken an important leadership position on. Heck, I’m not even sure that Hickenlooper has officially endorsed President Obama for re-election yet.
I could paraphrase an incident involving another famous liberal, Dan Rather, in asking the question: “What’s the frequency, John?”
We’ve been experiencing what I refer to as rowboat leadership in Colorado. The analogy is of a small oarless boat that has somehow been unmoored by the gentle undulations of the lake on which it sits and has drifted away from shore, moved by the small eddies and currents within the large body of water. This analogy may portray too much direction for our subject but you get the drift (yes, puns are the lowest form of humor).
The closest thing the Democrats have to presidential timber is Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York, who has moved into a leadership position within the party by doing just a few conservative things to stave off financial collapse.
I suppose they could try Jerry Brown, who may have the distinction of being the last governor of California prior to the assumption of that state by a bankruptcy trustee.
The three senators of the apocalypse — Durbin, Schumer and Reid — are the best things Republicans have going for them in middle America. Perhaps they could get former presidential candidate Al Sharpton to join in and they could form a barbershop quartet to serenade the audience with their rendition of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.”
Doubtful, but that’s how you arrive at speakers like our governor.
Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.