The 2008 presidential election contest has already begun. Insiders (including those insiders who like to call themselves outsiders over at Daily Kos) are focusing their attention on that great indicator of leadership potential in a presidential contender: who can buy the most influential friends by raising money for those friends’ campaigns. Kos himself writes:
…as I assess candidates next year, one big factor will be how well these candidates have helped build their local state parties and helped deliver victories at both the state and federal levels. Warner got his chance and delivered in 2005. Hillary has a ton of great pickup opportunities in New York at all levels. NM and WI have at least one hot House race, in addition to state-level races for Richardson and Feingold, respectively….
Now Bayh has been the stingiest 2008 hopeful currently in the Senate. Senate rules allow senators to pass on unlimited funds from their campaign accounts to the DSCC. While Hillary has transferred less than what she should be able to pass on ($1 million, which is the same as some far less cash-rich senators), Bayh has refused to transfer a single dime to the DSCC despite having over $10 million in his Senate reelection fund.
We need our 2008 nominee to be a team player. Those who don’t ante up in the effort to take back the Senate should get a big demerit.
Gee, I’m guessing Feingold won’t be his go-to guy. Meanwhile, the rest of us who aren’t players in the game of electoral power politicking, and who stand on the outside of the process with more interest in the actual policies a president would pursue, are looking for someone who stands up for the values we cherish, someone whose mission we believe in, and someone we can trust not to go woolly. Ignoring all that financial favortrading by the elite players, who has inspired the rest of us?
Over at Vote Democrat 2008, we’ve been offering Election 2008 bumper stickers, buttons and t-shirts in support of a pretty long list of various possible Democratic contenders — inside favorites and dark horses alike. Weâ€™ve been keeping track of trends in the sale of Election 2008 stickers, buttons and shirts since the debacle of November 2004. With another month past us now, hereâ€™s an update with results for the most recent month of September 2006:
Percent Share of Sales of Presidential Election Gear for 2008 Democratic Contenders: Data for September 2006
Al Gore: 30.7%
Barack Obama: 28.4%
Hillary Clinton: 13.6%
Joe Biden: 7.8%
Bill Richardson: 4.0%
Wesley Clark: 3.6%
Russ Feingold: 2.2%
John Edwards: 2.0%
Mark Warner: 2.0%
I won’t overinterpret these results, except to note
1) Barack Obama’s leapfrogging of Hillary Clinton from third to second place, most likely on the heels of a well-placed article speculating on Obama’s presidential aspirations,
2) Russ Feingold’s lowering in the ranks from a consistent member of the top four over many months to a second-tier contender, and
3) Wes Clark’s second month in the second-tier after a consistent performance as a third-tier “other” candidate.
We’ll take another look next month, as we do at the beginning of every month.