Interesting thoughts from Daniel Larison, at the American Conservative, on “Why the 2016 Democratic “Bench” Seems Weaker Than It Is“:
… Clinton’s candidacy is, of course, a major factor in making the Democratic “bench” seem much weaker than it is, but it is not the only reason why it appears this way. Any party that has controlled the presidency for eight years has already used up many of its once-promising rising stars as administration appointees, and because partisans support the president of their party there are strong incentives against speculating about a future presidential run. Speculating about the succession is often viewed as a criticism of the incumbent, and unless a president is remarkably unpopular in his own party this is discouraged. That inevitably makes the “bench” of the incumbent party seem weaker, because so few partisans want to be seen as openly promoting a new leader when the current one still has years left in office. Meanwhile the out-party can indulge its fantasies about every possible candidate that it can find…
The GOP differs from the other party in that it has a supporting conservative movement that is filled with activists and pundits that are constantly looking for the Next Conservative Hope. That means that conservative activists and pundits typically spend an inordinate amount of time identifying prospective candidates many years before the next presidential election, and they then go out of their way to promote and exaggerate their virtues. Walker’s presidential boomlet may appear to have just started in the last two weeks, but he has been promoted as a possible presidential or vice-presidential candidate for years. Conservative Republican would-be candidates usually don’t have to convince activists that they’re qualified to be president, since many of the activists decided long ago that they are…
This also means that there is a receptive audience when any Congressman, senator, or governor wants to raise his profile by hinting at a presidential run, and activists also welcome and even encourage long-shot campaigns by non-politicians and movement favorites (see Carson, Ben). With the rise of so many conservative media outlets in the last twenty years, there are additional incentives for people in the party to gain a following by launching a quixotic presidential campaign. There is simply nothing comparable to this on the other side. Democrats may occasionally have protest and single-issue candidates in their presidential fields, but on the whole they aren’t taken at all seriously. There may be a Draft Warren effort, but that is an effort to try to get at least one high-profile challenger to run against the prohibitive favorite. It seems that a lot of Democrats look at their top politicians and struggle to see them as potential presidents, while many Republicans see potential presidents everywhere they look and make a point of boasting about it.
The points about Democrats seems accurate. There can be no serious points about the Republican Klown Kar Kandidates however.
There hasn’t been a serious Republican running for president since 1992.
Even Dole in 1996 was strictly a sacrificial lamb.
Looking forward to the Larison pile-on here. Looking forward to seeing people disagree with the substance of his arguments, too. We’ll see a whole lot of the former. The latter? Read the man’s posts and tell me what you’d disagree with.
Agreed. We constantly tear down our pols and then are surprised when voters choose the other side.
The Gravy Train of Grift never stops for those who don’t put on some kind of show. And the Republican Klown Kar Of Fail is one travel method for getting to the station. Sheesh, just follow the dinero, it’s always about the dinero.
IMO, it usually comes down to a perspective about reality. Wingnuts look for the new crazy candidate for each primary/caucus. D’s look around and try to evaluate all the areas they disagree with the potential candidates on.
IOW, one goes for extremes that give them the Snickers ™ factor, and one looks for someone they think have an actual chance.
I’m not sure why I should take as credible any domestic political argument by Larison?
Can you delineate what he’s solid on that doesn’t relate to the killing of other human beings?
It also appears that different standards of viability are applied to the two parties.
There were post 2014 election analyses that basically wrote the obituary on future chances of any and all of the Democrats who were swept out of office or didn’t win the general election.
Yet we see Rick Santorum who lost his last actual election by near 20 points and is now an also ran for the President still being treated as a top tier candidate.
HOLY SHIT! Buckaroo Banzai on now ENCSU.
This is seriously a quality vs. quantity argument and, like her or not, Hillary is worth at least five upper tier GOP nominees and seven lower tier candidates. Martin OMalley is worth at least five lower tier candidates. Oh, and BTW, I see lots of Dems as possible presidential candidates.
To some extent, however, the media is simply reflecting how the partisans feel about their own parties.
I’m not a Jim Webb promoter or anything, but how come everybody pretends like he doesn’t exist?
Mainly because he’s an asshole with zero shot at national office.
How so? I’ve seen Webb discussed more than I’ve seen just about anyone else except Hillary and Warren.
You mean, the Jim Webb who believes the Democratic party should care the most about white people?
Mnemosyne (iPad Mini)
Because Webb seems to think he can discard the current backbone of Democratic voters — namely, the minority vote — and win solely with the votes of white people that he will lure back to the ranks. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney could tell him that’s a mug’s game, but Webb still seems to think it would work.
Almost all of the people discussed in this process have zero shot. Doesn’t stop anybody from talking about them.
Maybe I just missed it. Seems to me like he almost never gets mentioned.
Yeah, that one. Maybe he thinks he can get some early momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire. Not holding my breath, of course.
@Dolly Llama: Larson is terrific. I often disagree with him, but I respect him immensely. He’s an independent thinker with actual principles and consistent, coherent ideas.
@Mnemosyne (iPad Mini):
The thinking would be, do well in Iowa and New Hampshire where the minority vote is less important, then wing it from there. A longshot strategy to be sure.
Mnemosyne (iPad Mini)
A lot of Democratic politicians still seem to be convinced that winning white voters back to the Democratic Party is the best path to election, despite the evidence in front of them, like Terry McAuliffe’s election as governor of Virginia where he courted minority voters.
@Corner Stone: For once, I agree with you analysis.
@TR: Never heard of him till now, though if he continues on as such, he bears watching.
“Daniel Larison @DanielLarison – Feb 1 – Christie’s support for Arsenal is probably the only thing he could have done that would be worse than his support for the Cowboys”
I’ll wager a looney the Doily Llama is just DougJ trolling again.
@Dolly Llama: If out of the thousands of political writers, you decide to feature a proud member of a Neo-Confederate hate group, then I’ll assume that the membership in the Neo-Confederate hate group is what was most important to you.
There is nothing else distinctive about the fellow. And there is nothing to be learned from reading him that you can’t find in many other places.
All I know is, Hillary and ALL Dems better be prepared to do more than jaw-drop when the GOP comes at them with this nonsense:
I mean seriously, the balls on these people…
But they are definitely going to talk endlessly about how poorly the middle class has done ‘under Obama’, and describe the problem to a T. The issue will be, do the Dems and media call out shameless hypocrites like Cruz when they do this?
There is tons of money floating around on the right side of the aisle and a lot of those millionaires and billionaires want to get in on the ground floor with whoever ends up being the nominee. That means there are lots more opportunities for second and third string contenders to grift, and to go on what are basically “cattle call” like events.
On the Democratic side the democratic millionaires and billionaires seem to like to fund what they see as insurgents who they hope to control through personal contacts and money. But they don’t broadcast this support they narrowcast it, closer in time to the actual election.
Roll Call, by way of Booman Tribune: Democrats want to actually do the damn job:
I read that earlier. Great blog story.
@Corner Stone: Mr. Larison is a self described proud member of the League of the South. From the website of the League of the South:
“The LS disavows a spirit of malice and extends an offer of good will and cooperation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South. We affirm that, while historically the interests of Southern blacks and whites have been in part antagonistic, true Constitutional government would provide protection to all law-abiding citizens – not just to government-sponsored victim groups.”
Go ahead, roll around in this stuff.
The Democrats have plenty of contenders on their bench; it’s just that Hillary has scared all of them from entering. Whereas on the GOP side, EVERYBODY wants in (Jeb scares no one off, apparently).
It’s basically one side has an heir apparent chosen, while the other side has the fucking Hunger Games.
And yet, they keep coming up with duds like Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, etc. Amazing.
I’m making no guesses or predictions. 8 years ago I thought HRC had a lock on it, and boy was I wrong. Glad to be, too because I loved the actual outcome.
This time I want to see her lay waste to whatever cannon fodder the GOP pushes to the front of the line.
But I’m a jinx so I’m officially neutral.
@gf120581: There is also the dynamic of the party of a two term president having a deficit of unique voices during the next campaign season. Presidents, especially successful ones, tend to suck the air out of a party’s upper level operators – the class that tends to aspire to the Oval Office.
The opposition party, on the other hand, usually has no such “man/woman power” shortage – and recently we have seen that their problem is quite the opposite.
Soooo….Larison really has no point to make here.
Hillary walked into the perfect storm. Only a Barak Obama could have stopped her – even with the dilwads who were running her show.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
My eyes rolled so hard they got stuck.
There’s a *huge* raft of women who would be running for President if not for Clinton so that cuts the bench in half.
I disagree. There exists a non-zero number of potential candidates that have an actual “potential” path to a legit run for 2016. We talk about them here all the time.
Webb is not one of them. He can go fuck himself.
@lol: Warren, Gillibrand, McCaskill, Kamala Harris, Ruth Bader G. Who are you talking about?
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
We’re not discussing Hillary Clinton here, buddy.
Jim Webb has as much chance as Rand Paul. Go ahead and google “Rand Paul, Balloon Juice”.
Webb was also SECNAV under Reagan, and took a hard line on a six hundred ship USN, which was completely bonkers.
Which is to say, I bet you wouldn’t have to scratch too hard to get him to go all Captain Queeg on some stupid issue like un-retiring the battleship.
@Heliopause: I’m sorry. I lost the plot of what you’re arguing here.
They both have zero chance. If Rand Paul shows up on the radar (here) more it’s because he is a currently elected official doing stupid shit, and thus the scorn is more in the ether.
But, what exactly was your point there?
If? I assume you’re joking.
No, that’s obviously not it. There are thousands of elected GOP officials doing stupid shit. In fact, Rand Paul would probably never even reach the front pages of Balloon Juice if not for his possible Presidential run. As bad as he is, he’s just not nearly as goddamned insane as Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, etc., etc., etc. By modern GOP standards, in fact, Paul is relatively sane.
Just that Jim Webb hardly gets talked about. People with little/no chance get talked about ceaselessly on Balloon Juice, so that’s obviously not the explanation.
@Heliopause: You seem stupid on this. Good luck to you, Don.
Another Holocene Human
@aimai: Are you saying that our assholes are sneakier than their assholes?
Another Holocene Human
@Heliopause: Jim Webb got talked about plenty right here on this blog, here, let me help you:
Jim Webb Balloon Juice last 30 days Google search
It’s a pity, that site that sings “you are an idiot” is no more. It was made for annoying forum trolling like yours tonight.
Name a pundit, of any persuasion, who has been more consistently right on more foreign policy issues.
Hint: you can’t. He’s even better than the other J. Cole.
Larison is the paradigm case of someone who has one largely irrelevant fault that idiots latch onto as a foolish excuse for ignoring everything else about them. Predictably, you have fallen for it.
And yes, dickhead, before you try some silly and stupid semantic bullshit to escape the hole you’ve dug for yourself, foreign policy is part of domestic politics.
That 600 ship navy thing was total ass. They were spending bundles keeping pieces of crap afloat that were way past their life expectancy. And short handing most ships just to be able to move them all. DDG I was on for two yrs was nearly 20% undermanned, although to be honest there was no room for a full complement.
Webb as a man in charge strikes me as wrong. To go balls in when it is clearly wrong is not the kind of person we need in charge. We had the first 8 yrs this century under GWB, who couldn’t think with that gray matter in his head. He even claimed that he didn’t use his brain to tell him what to do, he used his gut. Don’t know about anyone else but the most my gut knows is when it’s empty and when it’s filled with too much and/or the wrong stuff.
That euphemism of the ‘in part’ is really nicely balanced by the generosity of the ‘affirm’.
Sorry. But what the fuck are you trying on here? This is one of the dumbest five things you’ve attempted here.
And, friend, that is fucking saying something.
The War Nerd?
US foreign policy has generally been “who do we bomb next?” for the past fifty years and “Who do we invade next?” the the fifty years before that. Dealing with non-Americans without the use of force is a very small part of the US’ approach to the rest of the universe.
@Robert Sneddon: I think what he is saying is that Mr. Larison has been more consistently right on more foreign policy issues than any pundit since Jefferson Davis.
I think it is a dangerous mistake to allow Clinton to run unchallenged. Even if she does wind up being the nominee, she will be much sharper if she has to earn it.
The Democrats do not have 2016 in the bag. Not by a long shot.
@C.V. Danes: Name one rethug that has a shot? They will have 15-17 dipshits running that all have a tiny constituency and no national relevance. Palin? Ha. Christie is a crook and probably won’t even run. Paul? whack job. Santorum? Bigger whack job. Fetal alcohol syndrome lips (a.k.a. Paul Ryan) put out the worst “budget” in the history of Congress and has zero cred. Is Alan Keyes running again? I hope so… nut job. Jeb? No shot. American’s are war weary, hence, Bush weary. Bachman? She may be the creepiest of all and is married to a fag (I’m a fag so I can say that). Romney? He’s like 70 something. There is NO candidate on the gop side that has even a modicum of broad appeal. This isn’t a white country any longer. Rubio? Bumbling idiot. Cruz? Creepy and not nearly as smart as he thinks. Fox will parrot the gop “contenders” 24/7 to make it seem like a close race and it will turn out just like last time… an ass kicking. They got punked by a brother in 08 and 12 so it seems like just deserts for them to lose to a chick. It will drive them crazy. As long as the “news media” does their job and challenges the gop pols on the bad “Obama economy” and rightly points out that the shrub is at fault for the 6 trillion or so we’ve spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, the demo will be fine. This will be the shittiest collection of repubs running for POTUS in history.
If Hillary croaked tomorrow, Martin O’Malley would have a better shot a POTUS that any republican.
@Heliopause: I don’t agree with him on some things (guns) but he has a way into the white working class. Problem is that he has O executive experience and is mainly an intellectual so probably an ineffectual Prez.