Who’s On The Democratic Bench For 2016?

If not Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, who might the Democrats have to choose from in 2016?

Regardless of whether President Obama is re-elected in the fall or not, the Democratic Party will have to decide who their nominee will be in 2016, and if the President does win re-election then we’ll have a replay of 2008 (and 2000 and 1988 as well) with contested primary fights going on in both political parties at the same time.  On the Republican side, it’s fairly easy to see who the potential candidates might be. In the Senate there are men like Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and (to pick a dark horse) Tom Coburn. Among governors there would be people like Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and Scott Walker. Among those who are out of office there’s Jeb Bush, Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee. Now, some of these candidates are more acceptable and qualified than others, of course, but the point is that, even more so than in 2008, in the event of a Romney loss in November the GOP would have a wide field to choose from.

A comment that Ed Morrissey makes in writing about yet another “Will Hillary run in 2016?” piece in The Washington Post, though, makes me wonder just who the Democratic Party will have on its bench in four years:

 The two Democrats most often mentioned for a potential 2016 run are Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and at 69 years of age, Hillary would be the younger of the two when Election Day 2016 arrives.  They belong to a different era of politics, but who else in the Democratic Party is ready for a national run in four years?  Andrew Cuomo might be the only one that leaps to mind, but his father rather famously played footsie with Democrats for years and never actually took the plunge; the son will be a tougher sell, although he’s getting good reviews in New York thus far in his first term as governor.  Their Senate leadership is too old, and Democrats lost so many gubernatorial elections over the last three years that their bench has almost run dry.

Off the bat, I’m not sure that I buy the idea that Joe Biden is really going to run for President in 2016. It would be his third run for the office, for one thing, and he’d be 73 when the campaign starts in 2015, and he’ll turn 74 just after  Election Day. While Biden himself has said more than once that he’s keeping his options open about running, and seems to be making moves that suggest he’s thinking about it, I think that this is more an effort on his part to keep up his political relevance, especially during a hypothetical second term. When push comes to shove, I think Biden will pass on a third run for office, thus opening the field up for anyone who might have been reluctant to challenge an incumbent  vice president.

Hillary Clinton has said that she is in the last government office she ever intends to hold, and she has repeatedly put the kibosh on the idea of running for President again. But, as more than one person will tell you, these are the Clintons we’re talking about and, if she did decided to run again it seems beyond question that the nomination would be hers for the taking. Any other “big dog” candidates would most likely take a pass on running against her, and she could potentially face at best token opposition (of course, in 2007 a lot of people considered Barack Obama “token opposition”.)  Would Hillary Clinton really be willing to pass all that up, even at the age of 69? That, I think will be a question that everyone will be asking for much of the time between 2013 and 2015. So, get ready for yet another round of Hillary speculation; it is, quite literally, the meme that cannot die.

Let’s assume, though, that neither Clinton nor Biden run in 2016, who else might run?

I think Morrissey is being a bit parsimonious in limiting the list of potential candidates to just Andrew Cuomo, although he’s certainly likely to be at the top of everyone’s list. Cuomo has gotten good reviews on his first year and a half in office, and made many friends in the Democratic Party with the manner in which he helped guide New York’s same-sex marriage law through the legislature. He’s also taken on New York State’s public employee unions over pension and benefit issues in much the same way his Republican neighbor to the south, Chris Christie have. Cuomo will be up for re-election in 2014 and, given the sorry state of the New York Republican Party, will likely easily win an second term. After that, the questions about whether he’ll run for the Presidency will begin.

Beyond Cuomo, there are a few other Democratic governors that I’d put on the list including Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Deval Patrick from Massachusetts. Things are a little thinner in the Senate, but I’d keep my eye on Mark Warner from Virginia, who may actually end up running for governor again here in 2013 according some of the rumors that keep floating around the Commonwealth. Among party outsiders there are former Senators like Evan Bayh and soon-to-be former Senator Jim Webb. As with the Republicans, some of these candidates are better than others, but it strikes me that the Democrats also have a pretty adequate bench of potential candidates for 2016.

Outside of a handful of these candidates, none of them seem right now like they could be President. But, it’s always worth remembering that presidential candidates never seem presidential until they actually become president.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Budgie93 says:

    Rahmn Emanuel?

  2. superdestroyer says:

    The bench is very easy to figure out for the Democrats.

    In January 2013, write down the names of all of the sitting Democratic Party governors and Senators. Scratch off everyone who does any a graduate or undergraduate degree from Harvard, Yale, or Columbia.

    Who ever is on that list will be the next president. The Democrats nominated nothing but Ivy Leaguers since 1988 and I doubt that will change soon.

  3. @superdestroyer:

    With the exception of Bob Dole (whose candidacy was entirely forgettable) and John McCain (who graduated from the United States Naval Academy, hardly a ‘low tier’ institution), every Republican nominee since 1988 has graduated from an Ivy League school as well.

  4. jan says:

    Andrew Cuomo.

  5. @jan:

    As I said, he’d certainly be a strong candidate. One thing about Cuomo, though, is that he’s currently a single divorced man involved in a relationship with a younger woman. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m guessing that if he intends to run for President he’ll be making a change in his relationship status with Sandra Lee

  6. superdestroyer says:


    Divorced, not remarried, not an Ivy Leaguer and does not have the best television personality.

    Look at Ivy Leaguers who have a full head of hair, are above 6 foot 2 inches and who look good on television.

    The Democrats have to remember that the winning candidate has to succeed in Iowa and New Hampshire. Does anyone believe that an Andrew Cuomo will want to drive around Iowa for three months.

  7. Jenos Idanian says:

    Let’s not forget that Cuomo had a very messy divorce… from a Kennedy. That’s just RIFE for dirt.

    And if he goes for the sympathy angle (he was the one cheated upon, apparently), then he’s the cuckolded guy — which tends to make a man look weak.

    Not saying I agree with it, but that is how it will likely be played.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Dammit, didn’t change the ID for the laptop…

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    And let’s try again. Editors, please delete these last two comments.

  10. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Cuomo, O’Malley and Patrick. Maybe Chuck Schumer. Warner is too moderate for the left-wing Democrat primary base. Same for Evan Bayh. Webb already is a forgotten man.

    Patrick would present a very interesting scenario. Recent history (Mfume-Cardin, Obama-Clinton) indicates that blacks vote first by race and then by party. Cuomo and O’Malley would need to be very worried about that.

    Just imagine if Hillary, Cuomo and Schumer all run. Start spreading the news, for it’ll be a bloodbath.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    Cuomo, Sherrod Brown, Tim Kaine

  12. I bet Ed Rendell makes a run in 2016.

    Oh god, I just threw up in my mouth a bit.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Beyond Cuomo, there are a few other Democratic Governors that I’d put on the list including Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Deval Patrick from Massachusetts.

    You can leave Deval Patrick off the list. Another liberal Dem Governor from Massachusetts? I doubt it. The caricatures paint themselves.

    I did read some (somewhat tongue in cheek) speculation that MO’s Jay Nixon might make a run, especially if he (and it looks like he will) wins re-election in 2012. It does make a certain kind of sense… A blue Gov who can win a red state.

    Then again, there is the problem of that last name…..

  14. Blue Shark says:

    Brian Schweitzer out of the increasingly relevant West.

  15. Bennett says:

    I think a big part of this is dependent upon who wins this November. Should we get a 2nd Obama term, Hillary sits out 2016, but if Romney wins, she’s in. The Dems will be desperate to win back the WH, and could ill afford to have a brutal primary campaign like the Republicans endured this year. Hillary running would pretty much make the primaries a foregone conclusion.

    Also, I see that Cory Booker is officially off any Presidential lists. How fast tables can turn, eh?

    I’d also throw out some info about the GOP candidates. Should Romney lose, I think you can write off Rubio, Christie and Lee. The Republicans are gonna go super-right in their pick.

  16. jan says:


    Should Romney lose, I think you can write off Rubio, Christie and Lee. The Republicans are gonna go super-right in their pick.

    The only way I see the above statement being applicable is if Romney loses, and one of the above guys happened to be the VP on the ticket with him. The public likes band wagons, not losers.

    However, if none of those guys are Romney’s VP, and Romney loses, all three have a future of going higher in the party. All three are young, articulate, attractive and popular. In fact, as I see it, the republican party, at this moment in time, has a far deeper, more diverse bench of candidates than the democratic party has, to shuffle through.

    I remember watching the televised HC conferance in Feb 2010 (Blair House?). As the camera shifted around the room, focusing on one speaker after another, I was struck by how old and rigid the dems looked in comparison to the republican members. The only ones that seemed to stand out on the dem side were, Xavier Becerra, Kent Conrad, and Ron Wyden. While, on the other side, you had Tom Coburn, John Barrasso (both physicians), Jon Kyl, Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn, Dave Camp, and Eric Cantor. Whether you love or hate the republicans, there seems to be many more new faces and energy coming up through the ranks, than the democratic partic, IMO.

  17. jan says:

    In adding names to the dem 2016 candidate possibilites: Martin O’Malley (already mentioned), Robert Casey and Ron Wyden.

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Davel Patrick is an Ivy Leaguer and is a product of David Axelrod. Voting for Patrick would just be voting for the third term of the Obama Administration but without the Chicago issues.

  19. WR says:

    @jan: That’s not “energy” — that’s psychosis.

  20. Tano says:


    The Dems will be desperate to win back the WH, and could ill afford to have a brutal primary campaign like the Republicans endured this year.

    How you figure that? The Dems had a brutal primary 4 years ago and went on to win. And, under your scenario – where Obama loses – the Republicans, who just endured a brutal primary, as you point out, will have won. Whats wrong with brutal primaries?

  21. al-Ameda says:

    After 8 years of Obama the next Democratic candidate will be cannon fodder for Republicans. Much like at the end of the Clinton years the public will be tired of the vitriol directed at the Obama administration and will vote for the Republican nominee (assuming it’s not space cadets like Bachmann or Gingrich, or a bozo like Palin).

  22. al-Ameda says:


    The Democrats have to remember that the winning candidate has to succeed in Iowa and New Hampshire. Does anyone believe that an Andrew Cuomo will want to drive around Iowa for three months.

    Unfortunately, every major candidate of either party feels that they have to go through Iowa. I think every major candidate should ignore Iowa and their bogus caucus system. This year was especially egregious and disgraceful – Santorum “won” the caucuses a week or 2 after the results were announced. Iowa should be ignored by everyone until Iowa implements an actual vote.

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Deval Patrick is Obama Lite — a lot of Obama’s flaws and few of his strengths. He’s been a totally ineffective governor, and his wife has not held up well under the pressure of being First Lady of the state. She would never survive the campaign, let alone winning. So scratch him off the list.

  24. Bennett says:

    @Tano: An election where there is a one termer in the WH is much different than when both parties have primaries.

  25. superdestroyer says:


    Iowa is allowed to be first because it has a caucus. If Iowa tried to have real primary, then New Hampshire would move in front of it. The real problem is that there are only three tickets out of Iowa and two out of New Hampshire.

    That is why the people who want popular vote in the general election would be better off trying to get the primary system changed so that more than the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire can have a say in who is president.

  26. David says:

    As a Massachusetts Democrat, I think it’s much more likely that Elizabeth Warren would run (assuming she beats Brown for the senate seat this time around) than that Deval Patrick would run (or get anywhere if he tried to run). Warren has vision, she’s a dynamic speaker, and she keeps her cool under pressure, as anyone can see by watching her take hostile questioning from Republicans during her quest to run the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Patrick is fairly mundane by comparison.

  27. David,

    Even assuming that she wins in November, the idea that a less than one term Senator would be considered qualified for the Presidency by the Democratic Party is absurd……

    Oh wait, you’ve already done that. And it’s worked out so well. And, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

  28. David says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Lincoln was a former one term congressman when he became president. But then Lincoln was extraordinary.

    I hear what you’re saying. I voted for Hillary in the primary, and I was skeptical of Obama until McCain’s vice presidential pick forced me to look more favorably on him than I might otherwise have done. (I still probably would have voted for him against McCain, although had there been a third party candidate who wanted to deal with immigration as Arizona has done, I might have voted for that person, and Holder drives me up a wall with his suit against Arizona but no suit against sanctuary cities.)

    I’m inclined to think that Warren may be extraordinary.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh.

  29. David,

    Yea, well, politics was very different in Lincoln’s day.

  30. David says:


    It certainly was very different in Lincoln’s day. With only one tenth as many people, the country was probably a lot simpler to run, in many ways. Still, the conditions under which Lincoln ran the country were probably more daunting than those of most presidencies since WWII. Lincoln learned pretty quickly, and in many ways he was masterful. Part of his success was due to the fact that he did not let his ego interfere with his decision-making. (I highly recommend Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals.)

    Honestly, I don’t know how Warren would do. Among Massachusetts politicians, I have no doubt that she’d be the best, and from the vantage point of 2012, among Democrats, I’d put my money on her if she gets the experience of being in the Senate.

  31. David says:

    I disagree with you. Gore was a lousy candidate. In contrast, Bush was very likeable. My intellect hates his policies, but my gut still insists he’s a nice guy.

  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    Also, I see that Cory Booker is officially off any
    Presidential lists. How fast tables can turn, eh?

    Not really. I dont think anyone seriously had him on a short list unless it was pure fantasy. A mayor’s office is not the place to launch your bid to be the leader of the free world, even if that office is in NYC, as Rudy taught us. If he runs for and wins the governorship or senate seat? Sure put him back on the list.

  33. Chris says:

    New York is a good place to look for the 2016 nominee – Andrew Cuomo or Kirsten Gillibrand

  34. superdestroyer says:

    Kirsten Gillibrand is an Ivy League graduate. Of course she is a good example of the elite in that she was born in New York but never went to college in New York.

    However, is the U.S. really going to vote for a woman. Since the taller candidate almost always wins in the television age, how do women overcome looking smaller during debates.

  35. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer: “how do women overcome looking smaller during debates. ”

    Here’s three dumb answers to this dumb question: High heels. Shoulder pads. Big hair.

    Yes, the US will vote for a woman. Probably not the previous president’s wife or an empty-headed sell out, but sooner or later, we’ll get a woman worth voting for.

  36. CarolDuhart says:

    @superdestroyer: Depends on the opponent, and voters are likely to take that in mind with a woman-man Presidential race. Gillibrand sounds pretty good so far: she’s a moderate from New York with a good education.

    For the Republicans, Chris Christie needs to lose weight and survive Cory Booker (I think he’ll run in 2014 against him) in order to get a real shot in 2016. Which is why he will want to stay off the Romney ticket. Win or lose, that would hurt him very badly.

  37. superdestroyer says:


    Christie will never be president. Fat, short, and not an Ivy Leaguer. Christie’s hair is also bad and he has too thick of an accent to win.

    Also, since the television age, the taller candidate generally wins. Women also seem to have the problem that PA systems work better for baritones instead of sopranos. An amplified high-pitched voice usually sounds bad. People have already forgotten had bad Hilary Clinton was on the campaign trail with her public speaking.

  38. Kylopod says:

    Should Romney lose, I think you can write off Rubio, Christie and Lee. The Republicans are gonna go super-right in their pick.

    What I want to know is when Rubio became “not super-right.” Was it his endorsement of a quasi-DREAM Act? Of course, with the way things are headed now, in a few years Michelle Bachmann will be considered a RINO.

  39. PD Shaw says:

    All I can add to this discussion is that my wife got a call to participate in a town hall discussion with Evan Bayh a few weeks ago where he was speaking and answering questions about the problems of partisan gridlock. The wife wasn’t home, so I listened awhile. Sounded like a man trying to expand his national name recognition for some reason, everything was platitudinous on the substance though.

  40. rudderpedals says:

    @Doug Mataconis: True. In Lincoln’s day the traitors were not seated in Congress sabotaging the works.

  41. Moosebreath says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Rendell will be 72 in 2016, and has every one of Clinton’s flaws (including the bimbo eruptions) with fewer benefits. Casey is a far more likely Pennsylvania politician to be on the national ticket in 2016, although one to make Doug’s head spin, as his views are the polar opposite of libertarianism.

  42. superdestroyer says:


    Casey is not an Ivy Leaguer. Maybe Casey could be the VP but not the president. Casey also has hair issues. I do not know how tall he is.

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: Sorry, David, Fauxcahontas has about as much chance as Marsha Coakley did.

  44. @Moosebreath:

    Oh I don’t think Ed Rendell is gonna win the nomination, I just said he was gonna run. You’re right about why he won’t win, but the thing is given his ego, I think he’s gonna run anyways.

    As for Casey, his big problem is that he’s generally pro-life, which probably won’t hurt him in the general, but is gonna make it hard to get through his party’s primary.

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: As for Casey, his big problem is that he’s generally pro-life, a woman-hating sexist oppressor in a love affair with the fetus, which probably won’t hurt him in the general, but is gonna make it hard to get through his party’s primary.

    Fixed that for ya…

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    As for Casey, his big problem is that he’s woman-hating sexist oppressor in a love affair with the fetus, running after 2 Obama terms , which probably won’t hurt him in the primary season, but is gonna make it hard to get through his party’s primary get through the vitriol of Republican attack ads in the general election.

    There you go …. you’re welcome.

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: What — did I miss some of the standard terms applied to pro-lifers?

  48. CarolDuhart says:

    @superdestroyer: Those are all fixable to a degree. He can lose weight-he could afford the best if necessary along with a personal trainer. Hair can be fixed. He can afford a voice coach. Height is another matter, but Truman wasn’t statuesque either.

    With fixable flaws, he could find himself in the mix in 2016. Right now there isn’t really a star on the Republican horizon. Romney is done, no matter what happens in November. Santorum has a ceiling he can’t exceed. The rest of the 2012 bunch have embarrassed themselves too much to make even a remotely viable comeback. Jindal, Bush? retreads at best. Rubio has his problems. Even Trump could run as a lark next time if his health is up to it. So Christie, if he wins re-election could be it next time, and if he sees he could be that one, will do whatever it takes to be that one.

  49. CarolDuhart says:

    @al-Ameda: With Casey, it could be a “agree to disagree” on this one. Since federal funding of abortion is off the table anyway, he won’t have to do much more than “status quo” as far as abortion’s legality. He would be allowed to have “private misgivings” about abortion.

    As others have said, Rendell is 72-the upper limit for a viable Presidential candidate and has personal scandals that would sink him.

    If Booker gets a senate berth, he may want to wait until 2020 as so not to be seen as an extension of Obama and to get time to create a national profile big enough to create national buzz.

    While I think Biden won’t run under normal circumstances, he might decide to run if the field was poor and uncompetitive in 2016 in order to make sure a teabagger wasn’t elected President.

  50. Greg Roan says:

    I’d like to make one correction to the above story. There is no “Democratic” party. It is the Democrat party, there is nothing democratic about it. They do NOT embrace thinking out side of party lines and don’t ask for your input because they think you (the people that vote for them) are too stupid to tell them something they don’t know.

  51. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    wrong. MarTHa Coakley was an abysmal candidate who acted like she owned the seat during the campaign, and who really didn’t do any campaigning. She deserved to lose. (Credit where credit is due: Brown did an excellent job of campaigning. His comment about how the seat did not belong to the Kennedys, but to the people of Massachusetts…)

    Elizabeth Warren is campaigning hard, and she’s a great speaker, and she is taking nothing for granted.

    Forgive me, but you obviously are not paying attention.

  52. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @CarolDuhart: Let’s take a quick review, shall we? Let’s look at nominees four years before they ran.

    Barack Obama: barely on the radar in 2004.

    John McCain: Previously ran for nomination, failed.

    John Kerry: Long-term Senator, known as ambitious, not really taken seriously as presidential timber in 2000.

    George W. Bush: Newly-elected Texas Governor in 1996. Hadn’t held office before.

    Al Gore: Sitting veep, prior candidate.

    Bob Dole: Long-term Senator, ran before, veep nominee.

    Bill Clinton: Speculative candidate in 1988, very successful governor.

    George W. Bush: sitting veep, prior candidate

    Michael Dukakis: Successful governor.

    Walter Mondale: former veep, longtime Senator.

    Ronald Reagan: former governor, long-time leading Republican.

    Jimmy Carter: Newly-elected governor in 1972.

    So there’s still plenty of time for a strong nominee to emerge. Going on precedent, three times since 1976 the president had been essentially a nobody four years prior (Carter, Bush 2, Obama).

    Anyone who can successfully pick the 2016 Democratic nominee now should be buying lottery tickets instead.

  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: Sorry, David, according to President Obama and Patrick Kennedy, it’s MarCIA Coakley. You correcting them?

    She’s a fraud, chum. She faked Indian heritage for personal advantage, and isn’t that much of a scholar, either.

    Scott Brown is one of the luckiest pols out there. In as deeply blue a state as Massachusetts, he keeps running against totally incompetent Democrats.

  54. superdestroyer says:


    Starting in 1988, if you would have written down sitting senators and governors who had attended Ivy League schools, you would have had the names of all of the Democratic nominees except Al Gore even though Gore was a Senator and an Ivy League graduate.

    The number of possible Democratic Party nominees is less than 15 names.

  55. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You bet I’m correcting them (if they really referred to her that way). It is Martha, not Marcia. (You can check with the National Review).

    My brilliant cousin who took Warren’s class says she was a terrific professor.

  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: Yes, I know it’s “Martha.” Thanks for stepping on the gag. It was just so damned funny — and emblematic — when two of the bigger names who backed her blew her name.

    And so she’s a popular teacher. That doesn’t conflict with her scholarship being seriously deficient.

  57. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re correct that Megan McArdle makes a good case in The Atlantic that that one piece of research is seriously deficient. But there is no evidence, and strong counter-evidence that she used the minority thing to get the job at Harvard. Also from The Atlantic:

    The head of the committee that brought Warren to Harvard Law School said talk of Native American ties was not a factor in recruiting her to the prestigious institution. Reported the Boston Herald in April in its first story on Warren’s ancestry claim: “Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, a former U.S. Solicitor General who served under Ronald Reagan, sat on the appointing committee that recommended Warren for hire in 1995. He said he didn’t recall her Native American heritage ever coming up during the hiring process.

    “‘It simply played no role in the appointments process. It was not mentioned and I didn’t mention it to the faculty,’ he said.”

    He repeated himself this week, telling the Herald: “In spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary, the story continues to circulate that Elizabeth Warren enjoyed some kind of affirmative action leg-up in her hiring as a full professor by the Harvard Law School. The innuendo is false.”

    “I can state categorically that the subject of her Native American ancestry never once was mentioned,” he added.

    That view was echoed by Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe, who voted to tenure Warren and was also involved in recruiting her.

    “Elizabeth Warren’s heritage had absolutely no role in the decision to recruit her to Harvard Law School,” he told the Crimson. “Our decision was entirely based on her extraordinary expertise and legendary teaching ability. This whole dispute is fabricated out of whole cloth and has no connection to reality.”

    And that’s the second arena where an absence of evidence should have some weight. If there’s no easily located evidence that Warren has Native American ancestry, there’s also no evidence Warren used her family story to boost herself into a Harvard job.

    A huge tell — beyond the flat denials of two of the men who brought her to the school — is that Warren’s ancestry was not touted in 1995 in the Harvard Crimson as the Law School’s first Native American hire, despite the ethnic studies movement’s gathering force on the college’s campus at the time and continued controversy over the lack of diversity at the law school (as highlighted at a protest involving Prof. Derrick Bell and law school student Barack Obama in 1991). The Crimson article on Warren was titled simply, “Woman Tenured at Law School.”

    For the rest of the article, go here:

    PS: liked your post on how nowhere some presidents were four years before being elected.

  58. al-Ameda says:


    “Elizabeth Warren’s heritage had absolutely no role in the decision to recruit her to Harvard Law School,” he told the Crimson. “Our decision was entirely based on her extraordinary expertise and legendary teaching ability. This whole dispute is fabricated out of whole cloth and has no connection to reality.”


  59. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @al-Ameda: What — did I miss some of the standard terms applied to pro-lifers?

    You forgot the “pro-life until birth” appellation.

  60. Jeremy says:

    I keep thinking Cuomo will be the one to top the list. There’s not many other Democratic candidates who I can think of besides him. Evan Bayh and Ed Rendell also come to mind. Part of me wants to say Cory Booker for some reason, but I don’t think he would be in a good position come 2016 (I mean, mayor of Newark is good and all, but I don’t see that being a launch pad for a presidential campaign.)

    Could or would Bloomberg run on the Democratic line? Doubtful, but I’m just wondering.

    Here’s something which is just idle speculation and is more about historical analysis, really: what if, on the off-chance, Obama lost reelection in 2012. Is there any possibility he could re-run in 2016? Would he have any support? Has any president done something like that before? I know Cleveland sort of did that.

  61. eric_d78 says:

    Mark Warner? Popular former governor of a swing state. Newly-elected Senator who is part of the Gang of Six.

  62. al-Ameda says:


    I keep thinking Cuomo will be the one to top the list. There’s not many other Democratic candidates who I can think of besides him. Evan Bayh and Ed Rendell also come to mind.

    I think Cuomo is an excellent long shot – he is relatively young, and New York should always be in play.
    Rendell might be too old.
    I’ve never caught on to the supposed appeal of Evan Bayh.
    Mark Warner or Kaine? A mirage, maybe VP material.

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: First up, thanks for the kind words on my little review there. My hunch is that 2016’s Democratic nominee is someone the average person is only vaguely familar with, at best — excluding those of us who live and breathe this crap, of course. The last time the Dems went with someone of true national prominence before they ran was Mondale, and that was a total disaster.

    Now, back to Warren… the quotes you cited are, to me, nothing more than pure CYA, spouted by people who know that they can’t be fact-checked. But the circumstantial evidence is fairly strong — both Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania prominently cited her as “Native American.” I’d also like to see Harvard’s reports to the government on its own “diversity” during her tenure in the 1990s; if they said she was Native American there, then that’s filing false reports to the feds, and that’s a crime.

    As I said before, I like one blogger’s theory that Warren played up the old family myth for the same reason Obama’s agent’s biography said he was born in Kenya — it added a bit of allure, of mystery, to both of them and gave them a bit of a professional advantage. It was a bit of identity politics, a subterfuge designed to help them succeed on something besides just their own merits.

    And that says something about both their characters that I don’t particularly care for. Toss in Warren’s shoddy work that I cited above on such a critical matter, and I think she’s a lousy candidate. In fact, at this point I feel that one more big gaffe or shaky revelation will basically kill her campaign.

  64. Chris says:

    I think you have 4 categories:

    1. Default options – Evan Bayh and Mark Warner

    Experienced (both have held both Senate seats and Governorships), both could have run in 2008. Dependable, predictable, a bit boring?

    2. The Governors – Andrew Cuomo, Tim Kaine, Martin O’Malley, Brain Schweizer, Deval Patrick, Kathleen Sebelius, Jay Nixon

    Safe options, at least some of them will probably run

    3. The Sentators – Kirsten Gillibrand, Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden

    Less likely to run than the governors, but generally decent candidates

    4. The unlikely runners – Hillary Clinton (she’ll be 69 and wants to retire in 2012), Joe Biden (he’ll be 73), Elizabeth Warren (she needs to win Mass. seat in 2012 and would be in 1st term), Cory Booker (he’d need to become NJ Gov or Sen in 2014 and likes to finish his terms – see declining HUD post in 2009)

    I’d be surprised if any of these ran

  65. superdestroyer says:


    Out of your list:

    Ivy Leaguers:
    Mark Warner
    Tim Kaine
    Deval Patrick,
    Kirsten Gillibrand,
    Sherrod Brown,
    Ron Wyden (I do not know if Stanford is close enough to an Ivy League school)
    Hillary Clinton
    Cory Booker
    Michael Bennet (Senator from Colorado)

    Not Ivy Leaguers:
    Evan Byah
    Brian Schweitzer (only attended public universities, not a chance)
    Andrew Cuomo,,
    Martin O’Malley
    Kathleen Sebelius,
    Jay Nixon
    Bob Casey,
    Joe Biden
    Elizabeth Warren

    Considering that every Democratic Party nominee since 1988 has graduated from either Harvard or Yale, I doubt that the Democratic Party is ready to nominate a graduate of Colorado State, the University of Houston, or Catholic University of American.

  66. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    re CYA: No way to check, but certainly possible. I’d be more open to having doubts about Warren if my cousin weren’t so enthusiastic about her. But the shoddy work (which may be an anomaly in her life) is a disappointment, as the Cherokee thing would be if I knew she were using that to try to get ahead. (BTW I haven’t heard any claim from anyone close to Obama that he was born in Kenya.)

    But as a candidate, there have been people with worse on both sides of the aisle. Need I bring up GWB? With the hidden receiver in his coat during the second set of debates? And his general lack of intellect and curiosity, and his childhood cruelty to animals? And on the other side of the aisle, Massachusetts had Kennedy, with the specter of Chappaquiddick, and college cheating in his past. (That doesn’t mean I don’t like a lot of what he did, although he was responsible for floods of low-skill, no-skill immigrants getting into this country, which probably undermines every good environmental thing he did.)

    Politics is messy, and when one expects great things from a politician, one usually sets oneself up for disappointment.

  67. David says:


    Take Deval Patrick off the list. It’s just not happening.

  68. David says:


    Stanford is definitely equivalent to ivy league. Call it the top of the Eucalyptus League.

    You can stick Warren among the Ivy Leaguers. Teaching there is as good as having gone there.

  69. jan says:


    “Politics is messy, and when one expects great things from a politician, one usually sets oneself up for disappointment. “

    So true……

  70. SKI says:

    @rudderpedals: Actually they were until (and some until sometime after) secession.

  71. RobZ says:

    It’s pretty clear that Elizabeth Warren’s family believes they are part Cherokee. They may be wrong about that, but it’s family history. It’s not something Warren invented out of whole cloth to gain an illegitimate advantage.

    Here’s a review of McCardle’s article:


  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: Need I bring up GWB? With the hidden receiver in his coat during the second set of debates?

    Oh, you do NOT want to go there.

    At the time, I found a pic of Dubya driving his pickup on his ranch, and he had the EXACT SAME “bulge” in his back. Unless he needs coaching when he’s driving, that was body armor.

    Plus, if you were going to put a hidden receiver on a guy for a debate, why the hell would you put it up by the shoulder blades, where it’ll show most? You tuck that sucker down in the small of the back, where there’s a natural hollow.

    But in that same debate, watch the video of John Kerry going up to his podium. While he has his back to the audience, he takes a sheet of notes out of his coat pocket and places it on the podium — a direct violation of the debate rules. The rules said if you want pen and paper for taking notes during the debate, say so and we’ll have it there waiting for you. The candidates were NOT to bring anything with them, but Kerry still had to have his cheat sheets.

  73. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Bush thinks it’s macho to use a stick shift, but he never got comfortable with it, so the receiver is there so Laura can tell him when and how to shift. (Her dad always had cars with stick shifts; HW and Barbara always had slushboxes.)

    Your Kerry link doesn’t work.

    More to the point, W almost never sounded like he had any sort of deep grasp of issues. Kerry never had that problem.

  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: I didn’t give a link, but here’s one from some right-wing hack that you’ll give no credibility to anyway. Follow the links there to INDC Journal for the best accounts.

  75. David says:

    Thanks Jenos. A veritable hurricane inside a dung beetle burrow. According to INDC (my metaphor, not at all meant to impugn INDC–more commentary on the general mudslinging).

  76. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: Of course, the standard is not “Did Kerry cheat to win the debate,” but “did Kerry deliberately break the agreed-upon rules?” I think we can both agree that he did.

    And here’s that picture of Bush in the cab of his truck, wearing a t-shirt, with a similar bulge on his back that I referred to.

  77. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    That thing is huge!!! And Bush is driving a slushbox.

    Sounds like Kerry did break the rules.

    Best, –David

  78. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: It’s worse than that.

    Bush isn’t wearing a seat belt.

    He’s on his own property, so there’s no law-breaking (he’s not pulling a Jon Corzine), but I bet the Secret Service was having conniptions…

  79. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:


    I didn’t say anything about Bush not wearing a seat belt. He’s probably not endangering himself driving around his ranch, and he’s certainly not endangering anyone else (unlike Corzine). And I doubt the secret service was worried.

  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David: I can forgive the slushbox. I’m currently at Stage 3 of Driving A Stick.

    1) “This is impossible! No one can do this! I hate this stupid thing!”
    2) “This is so cool! I am in total control of this car! What kind of lazy idiot wouldn’t want a stick shift?”
    3) “OK, I’ve proven I can drive a stick shift. Gimme back the slushbox.”

    But the seat belt? Sorry, I’ll never vote for the guy again.

  81. David says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Thanks Jenos. That was my best laugh of the week so far!

  82. RobZ says:
  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @RobZ: The video shows him unfolding the “pen.” At least, that’s what my eyes see — unfolding, not uncapping.

    And sorry, I don’t see the distinction between “cheating” and “deliberately breaking the rules of the debate.”

    And the takeaway point for me was more affirmation that Kerry is an incredibly arrogant jerk. The rules are for little people, not important people like him. It’s been a common theme all his life.

  84. RobZ says:

    Bringing a pen or paper was not breaking the rules as long as he put it on the podium.

    d) Notwithstanding subparagraph 5(c), the candidates may take notes during the debate on the size, color and type of paper each side prefers. Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff or commission will place such paper, pens and pencils on the podium, table or other structure to be used by the candidate in that debate.

  85. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @RobZ: You fail at reading your own quote.

    He was required to give those materials to the debate people, who would put it on the podium. He was NOT supposed to bring them up there himself.