27 February 2007
VILSACK'S DEPARTURE IS A BAROMETER OF NOTHING
David Yepsen's political commentary in today's Des Moines Register is not up to its usual standards.
Yepsen argues that Tom Vilsack's early departure from the presidential race spells doom for other candidates who are governors or ex-governors, too stridently anti-war or low on cash.
I'll give him one out of three.
Vilsack's war stance has nothing to do with his campaign being unable to catch on. It was not that far off from John Edwards' position on the war and Edwards is still very alive.
As for being a predictor of doom for governors, I can't buy that either. Yepsen argues that Americans don't seem to be looking for someone with honed domestic policy skills this time around, putting the governors at a disadvantage. Frankly, I just don't think Vilsack had the makings of a lightning-in-a-bottle candidate and neither do the other governors or ex-governors in the race on either side, with the possible exception of Bill Richardson who has shown some positive movement this month and may be able to ride superior qualifications into the heart of the primary season (imagine that!).
I couldn't agree more with Yepsen's third point. Due to the early start of the campaign, and a front-loaded primary schedule it does seem that candidates with little money will be out before they have a chance to build momentum. Or to use Yepsen's words:
"I used to say Iowa culled the field of candidates and that there were only three tickets for presidential candidates out of here to New Hampshire - first class, coach and standby. Now there may be only three tickets into Iowa - Gulfstream, Citation and Cessna."