By Paul Goldman
1. George Allen as Mark Twain
Anyway you slice the bologna, former Senator and Governor George Allen caught a huge break today with Senator Webb’s decision not to run for re-election. To get to the Senate, Allen would have had to become the first person ever to defeat to two different incumbent Senators. Moreover, re-matches generally don’t come out any differently unless the previous winner has really screwed up. Take Virginia, there have been several rematches between statewide candidates. The first race was close, the second a blow out, the same winner each time.
Allen was Dead Man Walking against Webb. But as Mark Twain wrote, news of my death are a little premature.
A known product like Allen matches up poorly against a maverick like Webb. Unless there was some disaster at the top of the DEM ticket, Webb had 53% in the bag.
Allen gets a new lease on political life. But so does a condemned man on death row when a court agrees to hear is motion for a new trial at the last minute.
2. UNKNOWN NERVY DEM
A never unknown DEM, looking to 2013, gets a chance to run in the 2012 DEM primary for the Senate. He or she doesn’t have to win, just exceed expectations. A bold reform program will make that person a name worth a lot in 2013. If Webb runs for re-election, this is option ain’t there. But it is now. Some Democratic out there just got a huge gift. But does he/she know it?
3. Tim Kaine gets a Get Out Of Jail Free Card
Tim Kaine received a Get Out of Jail Free card from the thankless job of DNC chair. Assuming he wins the DEM nod, he gets a shot at the Senate. If he doesn’t win, and the President gets re-elected, he gets a Cabinet post. If Tim stayed at the DNC and the President loses, there is no cabinet post. So even if runs and loses in 2012, he is no worse off.
So logic suggests Kaine will run, indeed try to get an uncontested primary if not a convention. He should the President, the Vice-President, Senator Warner and others pushing for him. That’s a lot of heavy artillery. But Democrats need to be committed to a primary as a matter of principle.
4. Terry McAuliffe Is Now Officially Driving The Pace Car
Terry is bringing his China electric car, made in the US. to the J-J Dinner. Until now, there was always a chance that Tim Kaine might come back and run for Governor again in 2005, But since we expect Kaine to run for the Senate, this takes the Timster out of the 2005 sweepstakes. Terry now owns the pace the car. But can a green car go fast enough to lead the pack around the track?
5. Tom Perriello Being Pushed Into a Race He Isn’t Ready to Run
If Kaine doesn’t run, then it is likely that Tom Perriello will. Given the former Congressman’s relationship with the President, it is hard to imagine him running against Tim Kaine, since the Timster is only going to run if the President gets behind him.
But Kaine might not run., If that happens, the Tomster will. But that is a big mistake. A 2012 Senate race is a huge trap for Perriello. Based on his 2010 narrow miss for re-election, a 2013 statewide run for LG makes a lot more sense unless he thinks the DEM nominee will do as badly as Creigh Deeds did.
Last year, Perriello showed an ability to organize his vote and appeal to some conservative voters. This is due to the lower voter turnout in a non presidential year. But in 2012, the race is going to be very ideological with super max turnout. Thus Tom’s best assets are lost. But in 2013, you are back to a low vote environment. I can see him running strong in places that he will not carry in 2012.
So Tom would be wise to encourage Kaine to run.
My gut says 2013 can be a good year for the right Democratic ticket.