BOB GRAHAM, REDUX
ChrisÃ‚ Suellentrop assesses the Democrat nomination field:
Although the cast of the 2004 Democratic presidential campaign is pretty much set, the members of the troupe are still auditioning for the leading roles. Who will play the Front-Runner? The Populist Insurgent? The Serious Candidate Not Slick Enough To Win? But while the starring roles remain up in the air, the supporting players have settled comfortably into character. Al Sharpton has dutifully taken up the role that Alan Keyes played in the 2000 Republican campaign, that of the wisecracking sure loser whose entertaining attacks on the other party are more likely to garner him a cable TV show than a presidential nomination. Dennis Kucinich has signed on for a primary season as Gary Bauer (“little fellows, who pack a powerful punch but have no chance,” as the Washington Post’s Terry Neal put it). And Carol Moseley-Braun is the obvious choice for the year’s Quixotic Female Candidate. Now that Florida Sen. Bob Graham has formally declared his candidacy, to that trio you can add a fourth quadrennial archetype: The senator who enters the race with respect, then blows it all by running for president.
He goes on to say that Graham squandered a meteroic political career by becoming the “Floridian Al D’Amato,” essentially an alderman for the state, and becoming known as one of the weirdest men in the Senate. The piece concludes,
It’s too bad. Bob Graham is knowledgeable, likable, and smart. But so’s Orrin Hatch. There’s a place for politicians like them. It’s called the U.S. Senate.