Welcome to part two of my political mock draft. For part one, covering prospects #15 through #11, click here. Today’s piece will cover prospects #10 through #6. Once again, in order to be considered a prospect the person in question must be a serious potential candidate for public office. So Rush Limbaugh, for example, is excluded because he has never expressed a desire to run for office.
Here are the criteria I am using in determining placement within this mock draft:
(1) Name Recognition – Ultimately voters have to know who you are before you can have any political potential. This is the first major obstacle of any political candidate.
(2) Fundraising Potential – “Show me the Money!” holds true in politics as well as sports. The greatest candidate in the world can lose an election if they do not have the money to compete.
(3) Charisma – Does the candidate have a personal attractiveness, either in personality or looks, that enables them to have political influence?
(4) Potential – Has the candidate already reached their prime or is there room for them to accomplish more in the political arena?
(5) Past Performance – Has the candidate proven himself or herself in the political arena?
Here are candidates #10 through #6. Check back tomorrow for prospects #5 through #1.
Prospect #10 – Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (D)
Sebelius was Governor of Kansas for six years before agreeing to be part of the Obama Cabinet. She now will be responsible for implementing the massive health care reform bill over the coming years.
Name Recognition (B): Sebelius has become much better known nationwide because of the health care reform debate. She became one of the lead spokespersons of the Obama administration who helped push the bill through Congress. Most believed she performed very well in numerous media interviews during the health care debate.
Fundraising Potential (B-): Sebelius’ only experience is within the state of Kansas. She performed well in a Republican-dominated state which is an impressive feat for a Democrat.
Charisma (B): Sebelius has a good “look” compared to someone like Speaker Pelosi. She is very calm, yet firm in her interviews when pressed on tough subjects. Sebelius was very popular as Governor of Kansas.
Potential (B+): Sebelius is currently 62 years old. If she ran in 2016 she would be 68 which is not too old for someone running for President. She has a clear record with no major scandals or embarrassments holding her back. The perceived success or failure of health care reform will have a large impact on her political future.
Past Performance (A-): Kansas is overwhelmingly a Republican state. Senator John McCain won the state easily in 2008 despite losing the general election. The fact that Sebelius was not only able to win there, but win easily there as a Democrat speaks for itself.
Prospect #9: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R)
Barbour has been Governor of Mississippi since 2003. He will be prevented from running after 2011 due to term limits. Since 2003 he has won re-elections bids by a large margin in the Republican dominated state.
Name Recognition (C+): Those who know Barbour on a national level probably remember his role in the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Still, 2005 was a long time ago. There are rumors that Barbour could takeover the RNC Chairman seat following Michael Steele which would dramatically increase his national exposure.
Fundraising Potential (B-): Raising money as conservative Republican within the state of Mississippi is a relatively easy exercise. Barbour has yet to fundraise on a more national level, though most believe he would be very appealing the conservative community.
Charisma (B+): Barbour gives a good interview and has the sort of “common man” touch which attracts voters. He was praised for his leadership style after Hurricane Katrina struck Mississippi.
Potential (B): Barbour is currently 63 which makes it plausible for him to run for President in 2012. He has vetoed some tax increases while Governor which would make him very appealing to Tea Party conservatives. He is also a social conservative which could appeal well the Sarah Palin wing of the Tea Party.
Past Performance (B+): Babour has done what one can expect from a Republican Governor of Mississippi. He has opposed tax increases and generally kept spending very low. Liberals attack him for neglecting the needs of the poor, but that criticism is not likely to catch up to him until a general election.
Prospect #8: Former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush (R)
This is Bush #3 who served as Governor of Florida for eight years before being forced out by term limits.
Name Recognition (A-): Some think that Jeb will be hurt by President George W. Bush’s (Bush 43) relatively unpopular last term. This might be so, but President George H.W. Bush (Bush 41) was also relatively popular when he left office in 1992. This fact did not keep Bush 43 from being able to win the Republican nomination and eventually the Presidency. In politics, one would rather be well known with some negatives than not known all. Jeb Bush’s last name gives him a tremendous advantage.
Fundraising Potential (B): Following Jeb’s role in the 2000 election recount Democrats made him a major target in 2002 with significant funding for his opponent. Jeb was able to impressively fundraise himself and survive the serious challenge. The Bush name and family connections would also greatly aid Jeb in any national fundraising push.
Charisma (B+): Jeb is seen by many as the smarter version of Bush 43. He shares his older brother’s ability to relate to the common man but has a superior ability to engage in intellectual discussions.
Potential (B+): Jeb is just 57 years old. He has no major political loss on his record. He would have to overcome the stigma left by his older brother, but if Jeb can separate himself from his brother a bit he has the credentials that conservatives like. Specifically, Jeb played a key role in the conservative cause to keep Terry Schiavo on life-sustaining treatments.
Past Performance (B+): As Governor Jeb did all the things that a Republican Governor should while also pressing through some education initiatives. His experience as Governor would enable him to claim decent qualifications as a presidential candidate.
Prospect #7: Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney (R)
Romney was Governor of the Democrat-dominated state of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. He unsuccessfully ran for President in 2008 eventually loses the Republican nomination contest to Senator John McCain. His desire to run for President in 2012 is one of the worst kept secrets in the world.
Name Recognition (A-): His 2008 presidential run made Romney a well-known name for most. His profile is not on the level of a Sarah Palin but he does garner media attention with his events.
Fundraising Potential (B): Romney spent about $110 million in his presidential run in 2008 but $45 million came from his own pocket. He will be able to use some of those same sources in 2012, but if he does not start off strong he may have to fight the loser label.
Charisma (A-): Romney has the look and charm of a politician. He interviews well and says all the things conservatives want to hear in speeches. He is also able to grab independent voters as evidenced by his successful runs for office in Massachusetts.
Potential (B+): Romney is 63 years old. 2012 may be his last chance to seriously contend for nationwide office. Some theorize that Romney will never get the Republican nomination because of his faith. Romney is a Mormon and some evangelical Christians believe the religion to be a cult. Romney has yet to prove the theory wrong.
Past Performance (B): Many saw Romney as the favorite in 2008, yet he still managed to lose to a much older, more moderate John McCain. Romney’s performance in Massachusetts was impressive, but that has yet to transfer the national stage.
Prospect #6: Former Vice President Al Gore (D)
Gore was a Senator from Tennessee before becoming Vice President during the Clinton presidency. He then ran for President in 2000 and lost in a very close election that came down to a recount in Florida. Gore won the popular vote and some still believe he should have won the electoral vote.
Name Recognition (A): Gore has remained in the news since 2000 with his advocacy on environmental issues.
Fundraising Potential (B): Gore still likely has many connections left from his last run in 2000. He has stayed political active and environmentalists would love to donate to future Gore run.
Charisma (B+): Gore was haunted by the perception that he was boring, monotone, intellectual during the 2008 election. Since that time Gore has lightened up quite a bit and likely improved his image on the national stage. He is much more relaxed in interview now and can deliver a much more entertaining speech. After his lost in 2000 many wondered where “this Gore” was before the election.
Potential (B-): Gore is currently 62 years old and would be 69 should he choose to run in 2016. There is a real debate as to whether he has any political future after losing in 2000. Some speculated he would run in 2008 but he never made a bid for the presidency. The loss of 2000 would be a much more distant memory in 2016. Still, Gore would have to fight the image of being an “old liberal” who is running past his prime.
Past Performance (B+): Sure Gore did not run a great campaign in 2000 but many forget that he was bogged down by the scandals of the Clinton administration. The fact is Gore won the popular vote and if some ballots were designed differently in Florida Gore likely would have become President. This kind of experience is very valuable.
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