One of the many embarrassing things about the 2012 Democratic party is its lack of bench strength in national politics. There are very few Democratic Senators or Governors who appear to be Presidential material. While Republicans have a young and enthusiastic group of would-be national leaders (the ‘would be’ being in their own mind, not because of their credentials) Democrats just do not have many potential national figures.
The popularity of the idea of Hilary Clinton for President in 2016 shows just how barren the cupboard is. This is not to disparage Ms. Clinton, who despite tremendous odds has had a long and accomplished career in public service. But Ms. Clinton is, to be as polite as possible, not young.
California’s Gov. Jerry
Brown is not a potential White House aspirant for many reasons, and as for the
sitting Vice President, even Mr. Biden probably does not entertain the idea of
running. . . again.
The most popular and likely choice at this time for 2016 for Democrats, assuming Ms. Clinton retires from public life is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Mr. Cuomo won a landslide in 2010 against an inept and somewhat unhinged Republican opponent and appears likely to win a landslide re-election bid in 2014. This sets him up nicely for a 2016 run.
The fact that Mr. Cuomo is already running is evident from his publicity campaign, as documented nicely in the New York Times.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is making history.
How can New Yorkers know for sure? Mr. Cuomo says so — and has almost every week since he took office 16 months ago.
On his fifth day in office, he challenged lawmakers to “write a new page in the history book of New York State government,” and his administration has done just that more than 80 times, judging by the number of press releases issued by his office that described one of the governor’s actions as historic.
Ok, Gov. Cuomo has done some good things, like getting budgets approved without huge tax increases and getting legislative approval for marriage equality. But he has also done a lot of other good things which are not necessarily historic.
But the governor has called a loan program for energy-efficient home improvements historic, as well as the creation of a new application process for economic development grants. The establishment of a Medicaid spending commission? That was historic, too.
So why all the ‘historic’ pronouncements? It is really pretty obvious.
George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, said Mr. Cuomo, oft-mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, is trying to project that “he realizes that the country has ‘historic’ challenges, and he has met them in New York and can meet them in the country.” “If he’s going to run for president,” Professor Lakoff said, “he can’t just be the so-so son of a great former governor. What he has to do is make his mark on his own.”
And yes, it is too early to speculate on Mr. Cuomo’s choice for the Vice Presidential slot in 2016, (put your money on a female, that's about the safest bet you can make these days); maybe next month would be better.