With Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson indicating their intentions to run for president in recent days, I have been thinking a bit about their chances. While noting Mrs. Clinton’s missteps, Dick Morris thinks that if she gets “used to the pace of politics in 2007,” she has a good shot of becoming the nation’s next chief executive. Ed Morrissey thinks that “Richardson could be ’08′s most dangerous candidate” (Via Instapundit).
Noting Richardson’s experience as U.S. Ambassador to the UN as well as a governor of a state, Morrissey believes he’ll be formidable candidate. Not only that. Richardson worked “with President Bill Clinton on bolstering the party’s credibility with centrist voters.” That line made me realize that success in 2008 may well depend on a candidate moving to the middle without losing his party’s base — as Clinton did in 1992.
Given that the past two presidents (either by design or default) have been polarizing figures, I think the American people will opt for a less divisive candidate next year. That attitude could really help Richardson. Whenever I see him on TV (he frequently appears on FoxNews), he comes across as a level-headed man of the center-left, occasionally willing to praise the president, never baiting, always civil in tone. He seems to prefer argument to attacks.
But, will his reasonable attitude sit well with Democratic primary voters?
By the same token, should my man Rudy prevail in the GOP primaries, he’ll be a strong candidate for the general election. A Republican Mayor of one of the nation’s most liberal cities, he has shown the capacity to reach out beyond his partisan base. But, he’s going to have a challenge winning over that base.
Let’s hope that the next president will be better able to unite the nation. And that one party, preferably the GOP, can choose a candidate who can hold on to his party’s base and reach beyond it.