Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Klobuchar Fever: Catch It!

Excellent column today in the Post by my friend Henry Olsen. If you aren't familiar with Olsen, he is one of the smartest and most interesting of conservative analysts. He is an acute political observer and does not write to troll Democrats into doing something that he believes will really benefit Republicans.
The subject of Olsen's column is Klobuchar's candidacy for the Democratic nomination. He believes Klobuchar is "Trump's worst nightmare". Here's his basic argument and I think it's a good one
"Forget all those recent allegations that she may have been mean to her staff. Unless there’s something more, such as tolerating or hushing up sexual or racial harassment, all this shows is that Ms. “Minnesota Nice” might just have the touch of steel a real leader needs. After all, no one ever accused Margaret Thatcher of being Miss Congeniality.
Focus instead on what she brings to the race: her record as a strong liberal without progressive zaniness; the example of keeping her head during the Kavanaugh hearings while all others were losing theirs; eight years as the chief prosecutor for Hennepin County, Minn.; a stable, more than 25-year marriage; a daughter. Lawyer, mom, senator, president?
Her political appeal is apparent. She breezed to her first statewide win in 2006 over Rep. Mark R. Kennedy (R-Minn.). Kennedy had represented a seat in suburban Minneapolis, so he started with strong name recognition from running two competitive races in the state’s dominant media market. 2006 was a Democratic year, but Klobuchar crushed him by a massive 20-point margin, losing only eight counties. She has not had a tough race since, winning last year by 24 percent.
She could only do that by appealing to both swing groups in America’s volatile electorate, blue-collar Trump Democrats and white-collar, anti-Trump Republicans. Democrats in Minnesota are known as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party because of their 1944 merger with the Farmer-Labor Party. Blue-collar Trumpers can see Klobuchar as a Democrat in that tradition rather than a fan of the identity politics that seems to be sweeping the national party. And white-collar former Republicans can see her as someone like themselves: educated, tolerant, ambitious, conscientious.
Trump’s margin was so thin that any significant defection among either group dooms him. Many anti-Trump Republicans nevertheless voted for him in 2016 because they thought Hillary Clinton was worse. The same was true for a good number of the blue-collar Trump Democrats. Klobuchar will be difficult to demonize because of her manner and her record. If the best nickname he can come up with, based on the recent revelations, is something like “Krabby Klobuchar,” she can start measuring the Oval Office draperies."
Just to be clear, I'm not necessarily hopping right on the Klobuchar train. But I do think she's interesting. I still like Sherrod Brown and would be happy if he got some momentum.. And Eilzabeth Warren, despite some obvious problems, is just terrific on economic policy stuff and could really strike home with her populist approach. So I am keeping an open mind at this very early date in the cycle.
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She may be the Democratic Party's best chance at taking down Trump in 2020.

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