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August 24, 2007

Kerreymania

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

It looks like he's making noises about a comeback. I know Bob Kerrey has an awful history of statements on Iraq, and likes to push his "maverick" image in a very Lieberman-esque manor. But Nebraska is very unfreindly territory; Kerrey's voting record is really quite good; and as awesome as Scott Kleeb or the Omaha mayor may be, I have to believe Kerrey would have a better shot at the seat than either of these two. If he can bring himself to tamp down on the kick-the-base schtick, and not join Lieberman's descent into paranoia when it comes to Middle East policy, he'd be worth fresh consideration.

August 24, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

nooooooooooooooooo. one Liebercrat is enough.

pasture time for Bob Kerry (in NYC Central Park) as he's eligible for Social Security now (1943 birthdate).

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Aug 24, 2007 3:45:13 PM

"...If he can bring himself to tamp down on the kick-the-base schtick, and not join Lieberman's descent into paranoia when it comes to Middle East policy, he'd be worth fresh consideration."

Those are two mighty big "ifs". Lieberman promised the same thing during the general election campaign back here in CT. We now know that he lied - repeatedly.

If a man says something often enough, believe him. On that basis, what should we realistically believe about Kerrey. I would say that he's not to be trusted - period. Sorry, but that's my assessment, from a very POd CT Democrat who watched people like Kerrey openly support a rogue Lieberman in 2006.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan | Aug 24, 2007 3:46:05 PM

I know Kleeb has never held electorial office, but what about the mayor of Omaha? Why can't he get elected to statewide office? Are you telling me a Jon Tester-like Democrat can't get elected in Nebraska?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Aug 24, 2007 4:00:41 PM

Actually, wouldn't it be better to have a more juniorish benchwarming conservative Democrat who makes very little public noise and sort of just hangs around and boosts the party's numbers in the Senate so people like Ted Kennedy can run committees, like Blanche Lambert Lincoln, rather than someone like Bob Kerrey, who has the type of background (i.e. prior Senate experience, an ego large enough that it compelled him to make a run for the presidency) that would make him inclined to feel entitled to a "leadership" role, thus transforming himself into a real media and legislation whore who'll just screw things up for the party as a whole, a la Lieberman.

Posted by: hill staffer | Aug 24, 2007 4:10:38 PM

Because the Mayor of Omaha is the big city mayor ... he won't have any credibility outside of Omaha. It's difficult for Democrats who represent the Big City to win statewide. O'Malley did it in MD, but name another.

And Praha, I admint that they're very large "if"s. On the plus side, if Dems take the Presidency, Kerrey's preening will matter an awful lot less.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Aug 24, 2007 4:18:06 PM

If Kerrey really has by far the best shot, then it's probably a good idea. Nebraska's pretty conservative state. Lieberman hasn't done nearly as much harm as many people make out, except to egos, and Kerrey wouldn't either.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 24, 2007 4:21:25 PM

"It's difficult for Democrats who represent the Big City to win statewide. O'Malley did it in MD, but name another."

Ed Rendell went from Mayor of Philadelphia to Governor of Pennsylvania--and did pretty well even in some of PA's reddest counties.

Posted by: jbd | Aug 24, 2007 4:24:49 PM

It's difficult for Democrats who represent the Big City to win statewide. O'Malley did it in MD, but name another.

Douglas Wilder. Neil Goldschmidt.

I like trivia games.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Aug 24, 2007 4:26:44 PM

Wilder is the reverse direction, right?

I'll grant Rendell and Goldscmidt ... those are good ones. But it's a rarity. County officials (McCaskill, Gary Lock) do better.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Aug 24, 2007 4:57:53 PM

Schaefer in Maryland.

Posted by: Herschel | Aug 24, 2007 5:16:32 PM

Kerrey in Nebraska, Jerry Brown in California -- who's next, Mike Dukakis?

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel | Aug 24, 2007 5:16:34 PM

Yeah, Wilder went from VA-Gov to Richmond Mayor.

Whenever I think about who I want in the Senate, I keep thinking in terms of getting 60 so Republicans can't filibuster ambitious Democratic proposals. But that assumes that we have a president who's interested in pushing ambitious Democratic proposals through.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 24, 2007 5:21:08 PM

And if he brings me a pony for my birthday we can have ice cream and cake!

Um.

Is one more vote in the Senate really worth having another go-to guy for Kick the Democrat? Part of this is that the media will come to him looking for just that sort of rhetoric. It's not just about him seeking out the spotlight, he'd have to resist being pulled into it...

Posted by: tatere | Aug 24, 2007 5:23:50 PM

Wilder went from VA-Gov to Richmond Mayor.

Oops.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Aug 24, 2007 5:27:13 PM

No more Lieberdems.

If Hagel retires, then you have a non-incumbent GOP candidate (presumably one of the congresscritters) and a chance for a non-hawk social conservative Dem who runs as Hagel's ideological successor.

If Kerrey runs, then he whores himself all over the national teevee, and the mixed message bleeds over into other campaigns, particularly the very real prospect of knocking off both Susan Collins and John Sununu.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Aug 24, 2007 5:32:23 PM

I can't see how Kerrey would hurt Democrats in other races.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 24, 2007 5:42:02 PM

"If he can bring himself to tamp down on the kick-the-base schtick, and not join Lieberman's descent into paranoia when it comes to Middle East policy, he'd be worth fresh consideration."

These are two very big "if"s. And both of them are based on the asumption that a person can fundamentally change, and not only present a 'sunny side up' image for the duration of the campaign, falling back into old habits after the election (which I think is much more likely). Do you usually bet on such slim chances?

And what exactly would be the advantage for the Dems to have yet another Lieberman? The difference to a real republican is only marginal. I think it would be a much better idea to gather all liberal forces behind Kleeb...

Posted by: Gray | Aug 24, 2007 6:03:43 PM

The difference to a real republican is only marginal.

Only people who hate Lieberman so much they can't see straight would believe this. Having a solid Democratic vote on most issues is very important. See here (discussed here) to get a more objective idea how Lieberman stands with Democratic policy. Also notice at the first link that there is no overlap between Rs and Ds in these rankings. No R is going to be as good as Kerrey, or even close.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 24, 2007 6:31:19 PM

I know Bob Kerrey has an awful history of statements on Iraq, and likes to push his "maverick" image in a very Lieberman-esque manor. But Nebraska is very unfreindly territory; Kerrey's voting record is really quite good

Ummm ... voting records don't tell the whole story. Bills don't just reach the Senate fully written, and Senators don't get paid what they do to simply sit around, wait for a bill and then vote on it. There is a lot of sausage making involved.

Lieberman's record in terms of final roll-call type votes is, over the course of his Senate tenure, "really quite good". Certainly Lieberman is far to the left of Reid, for example, when you look at their voting records per se.

It was sad (but not shocking) when the media didn't get the animosity that those of us in the base had toward Lieberman. But a liberal blogger like yourself, Young Ezra (I'm feeling like a total alter-kocker today), should get it. It isn't that we in left blogostan are a bunch of moonbats who are intolerant of ideological impurity. The problem with Lieberman was not his moderate voting record but that, in terms of sausage making, he did nothing but set up the GOP for victories and everything to undermine the Dem. party -- even in the cases of bills where he ostensibly was very much on the liberal side (e.g., his support of procedural motions that helped to push forward a hella awful bankruptcy bill which he eventually did vote against and which he claimed to strongly oppose)!

Liberal voting record or no, if Kerrey pulls Lieberman-esque stunts, he'll be as bad as Lieberman. If he doesn't, he could be a regular Harry Reid in terms of his voting record and it would be neither here nor there (in most cases) ... he'd be good for the Democrats.

So why the ignorance of what goes on in the Senate and statements about "well, his voting record is ok"? Have people simply, c.f. Robert Putnam, forgotten how deliberative bodies work 'cause they don't bowl in leagues anymore?

Posted by: DAS | Aug 24, 2007 6:32:39 PM

The difference to a real republican is only marginal

Not true. It would be one more reliable vote with which to defeat filibusters of various sorts. Plus the psychological bonus. This is nebraska, after all. If we were talking about a race for the Connecticut Senate, I'd feel differently.

By the time he enters the Senate, someone else will be president-- likely a Democrat -- and he will be less of a problem. The problem with Kerrey and Lieberman is that they take the side of a Republican president. Without that Republican president to side with, they can do far less damage.

Posted by: Tyro | Aug 24, 2007 7:01:07 PM

The problem with Lieberman was not his moderate voting record but that, in terms of sausage making, he did nothing but set up the GOP for victories and everything to undermine the Dem. party -- even in the cases of bills where he ostensibly was very much on the liberal side (e.g., his support of procedural motions that helped to push forward a hella awful bankruptcy bill which he eventually did vote against and which he claimed to strongly oppose)!

If that's your best example, it's not all that strong. Why did he support the procedural motions? How often did he do this? Maybe you have other examples.

Lieberman's voting record is "moderate" only in the context of the Democratic Party, where he usually fits in the middle, and last year was among the leftmost dozen.

It's Nick, not Ezra, by the way.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 24, 2007 7:05:46 PM

I can't see how Kerrey would hurt Democrats in other races.

What a surprise.

Following 'hill staffer' a Nebraska Senate candidate with exactly the same positions, but without Kerrey's profile, would likely pass under the national radar, since 2008 is a presidential year.

If Kerrey does announce, he probably does so on one of the national talk shows, or even on the fracking Daily Show, where he's been a regular guest. If he runs, he gets national face-time, because he is a well-demonstrated media whore, and that carries over into other Senate races, and perhaps even the presidential race. Heck, wouldn't it be fun if Lieberman shows up at the Republican convention when they nominate Rudy and Kerrey is asked about his support in 2006?

No more Lieberdems.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Aug 24, 2007 7:17:25 PM

Sanpete, that is a highly misinformed and ignorant attack on DAS, who is correct about Lieberman's penchant for use of procedural motions to cover up a somewhat more conservative voting record.

Lieberman has, for example, voted against Alito, which gave him "credit" for the voting scorecards put out by pro-choice groups, but voted FOR cloture, which had the effect of allowing Alito's nomination to ultimately pass. However, using the metrics that you mention, he still manages to come across as "liberal." DAS is correct on this one. Your attack on his argument was unwarranted.

Posted by: Tyro | Aug 24, 2007 7:32:00 PM

Maybe you have other examples.

Maybe voting for cloture on Alito, then voting against his confirmation when it was meaningless? Maybe his merry kabuki with the 'gang of 14'? Gosh, it's not that hard.

Tyro: you're forgetting that there's the small matter of the campaign season, during which Bush remains president. Where, on the national map, are the big chances for Senate pickups in 2008? Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Oregon, possibly Virginia, possibly New Mexico. The way to take those seats is by tying the GOP candidates to Bush and Iraq.

A relatively unknown Dem in Nebraska with Kerrey's hawkish positions would be a blip on the national map: after all, it's Nebraska. If Kerrey enters, he turns Nebraska into a big-name race, and coverage of the entire Senate campaign gets re-shaped to fit.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Aug 24, 2007 7:37:09 PM

If he runs, he gets national face-time, because he is a well-demonstrated media whore, and that carries over into other Senate races, and perhaps even the presidential race.

How, pseudo? How would it be harmful? You're still just waving your hands. Lieberman isn't going to show up the Republican convention. Lots of Democrats besides Kerrey supported Lieberman in 2006.

Tyro, what I said wasn't misinformed, ignorant, or an attack on DAS. The cloture vote on Alito was part of the "Gang of 14" agreement, to avoid the nuclear option. Had there not been that agreement, Alito would still have been confirmed. You may disagree with the Gang of 14, but it wasn't something that masked Lieberman's true feelings about Alito. Lieberman has a solid liberal voting record, and the evidence that his votes on procedural matters vitiates that is weak.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 24, 2007 8:01:21 PM

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