John Kerry 2008
Democrat John F. Kerry plans to use his Senate seat and long lists of supporters to remain a major voice in American politics despite losing the presidential race last Tuesday, and he is assessing the feasibility of trying again in 2008, friends and aides said yesterday. Kerry will attend a post-election lame-duck Senate session that begins next week and has said he is “fired up” to play a highly visible role, the friends and aides said. Aides said Kerry is relishing the prospect of renewed combat with President Bush, fighting such measures as the president’s proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Kerry has spent most of the past two years on the campaign trail, meaning that his return to Capitol Hill will be something of a reintroduction to colleagues.
Kerry’s plans contrast starkly with the approach taken by former vice president Al Gore, who all but disappeared from the political scene after losing to Bush in the disputed 2000 presidential election. Kerry fueled talk about a 2008 bid during remarks at a Washington restaurant Saturday night. He provoked a thunderous reaction by reminding about 400 campaign aides and volunteers that Ronald Reagan twice sought the Republican nomination for president before winning it in 1980. “Sometimes God tests you,” Kerry told the crowd at H20, a restaurant on the Potomac waterfront, according to an aide. “I’m a fighter, and I’ve come back before.” Bob Shrum, Kerry’s chief campaign consultant, told reporters during a Democratic panel yesterday that Kerry “will not do what Al Gore did after the last election — he will not disappear.” “He will be active and vocal,” Shrum said. “He has one of the most powerful lists in the Democratic Party and one of the most powerful fundraising bases in the Democratic Party, and I think he intends to use it to speak out.”
Several Democrats expressed skepticism about Kerry’s plans, saying they believe the party needs a fresh face and must turn a corner. One well-known Democratic operative who worked with the Kerry campaign said opposition to Bush, not excitement about Kerry, was behind the senator’s fundraising success. “If he thinks he’s going to capitalize on that going forward, he’s in for a surprise,” said the operative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
My guess is that the well-known operative is right. Still, if Kerry and Shrum want to give it another go in 2008, bring it on. Given that George W. Bush is ineligible to run again, though, he’ll have to come up with a campaign theme other than “W is for ‘Wrong.'”
Update (1015): The story is everywhere:
Kerry run in ’08 called conceivable (Boston Globe)
Update (1224): Amusingly, I’ve stumbled upon this Slate story from Tuesday: Would Dubya Run in 2008? It’s more than possible if he loses this time out.