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January 01, 1970 12:00 am MST

Bennet's Going The Distance, Bennet's Going For Speed

  • by: Colorado Pols
Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

As Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports:

When Colorado’s Gary Hart ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, he was a “long shot” going into the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. The U.S. senator pulled off a “stunning” victory over the front runner, Walter Mondale, eventually propelling Hart to the head of the pack.

Now another senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet, hopes a little of Hart’s magic will rub off on him. Bennet is way behind other Democrats in the primary for 2020. On Saturday, though, he picked up Hart’s formal endorsement, and the two friends campaigned together in Manchester, New Hampshire in hopes of giving Bennet’s campaign a shot in the arm…

Yet the double-digit polling and massive fundraising deficits Bennet faces will get even tougher to overcome since he will not be on stage with the leading Democrats at the next primary debate, which is coming up Thursday evening. Other candidates who have polled similarly to Bennet have recently dropped out of the race.

We’ll confess to a little Gary Hart nostalgia as you read this story, but let’s be clear for just a moment on what’s really going on lest readers think Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is plowing ahead on a fool’s errand. Without exception we can think of, every 2020 Democratic candidate for President who managed to get on the main stage for even the earliest “clown car” debate featuring 20 contenders reaped a benefit even if they will never be President–and obviously, most of them won’t be. The name recognition gained from being in the hunt for a losing candidate in terms of future runs for higher office is an end to itself.

But within the just-beginning to winnow down field of Democratic presidential candidate, there is a subset of particularly well-qualified people who could well be on the short list for high-level appointments in the next Democratic administration, up to and including the big prize of vice presidential running mate. Sen. Bennet is certainly in that list of qualified officials who, while they didn’t catch fire as a presidential candidate, would be a fine choice to serve in the next president’s Cabinet. And yes, there’s even a scenario in which Bennet would make a good veep counterbalance to, say, a strong progressive woman.

In any event, this is why Sen. Bennet is keeping his hand in as much as any “Hail Mary” shot at New Hampshire.


16 thoughts on “Bennet’s Going The Distance, Bennet’s Going For Speed

  1. Zappy, cover your ears. I think Bennet would make a great VP (particularly if paired with a progressive woman) or CabSec. He’s an asset  to Colorado wherever he lands. 

  2. He's young enough to play the long game.

    So hypothetically, if Biden, Bernie or Beth burn out to Trump in November '20, and Donnie is re-elected, Thurston is positioning himself for 2024.

    If Biden is the nominee and loses, we will end up having to run one of the lefties in '24. OTOH, if Bernie or Beth is the nominee, runs a hard left campaign and loses to Trump, then we will be looking to nominate a centrist. Bennet might be the right candidate.

    1. David Leonhardt of the New York Times has an interesting take on the "Centrist" vs. "Leftist" approach.  He's not advocating either.  Instead he advises pointing out Trump and the GOP's weaknesses, and emphasizing our strengths, something (with the media's help) we seem to be failing to do:

      The best strategy for Democrats is a populist one that speaks to voters of all races, the sort of campaign they ran last year and that Barack Obama ran in both 2008 and 2012. Those worked out pretty well.

      In many fields — politics, business, the military, sports — successful leaders ask themselves what their opponent wants them to do, and then do the opposite. If Democrats at this week’s debate keep talking about border decriminalization and mandatory Medicare, I know that many well-meaning liberals will be happy. But I can think of someone else who will also be happy: Donald Trump.


  3. I really like Michael Bennet as our US Senator.  I have supported him from the beginning.  But, president?  His "low key" demeanor plays well in CO, but not as a presidential candidate.  Okay, he has the charisma of a turnip.  If he had built on his 20 seconds of fame where he lambasted Ted Cruz on the Senate floor, then he had real potential (Why didn't you mention E Verify, Michael?).  But, then he wouldn't be Michael Bennet.

    Pure vanilla has its pluses and minuses.  I once told a crowd at a campaign rally that he must have lived the most boring life because there was no opposition research on him.  OTOH, he's boring.

    So, we're left with candidates that want to get rid of individual health insurance, decriminalize border crossings, give reparations, forgive student debt, free tuition, etc. on the left.  Or, Biden/Klobuchar.  I'm not excited about any of them except Mayor Pete. 

    Maybe Michelle Obama will jump in.  (Don't Bogart that joint, my friend.)

  4. Dear Sen Bennet,

    Quit the Don Quixote trail and stay a senator.  Although "centrist", or Wall Street, you are necessary to keeping the Senate sane.

    Your friend


  5. I've said it here before, and will say it again. Bennet WILL be in the Veep slot on the ticket. Assuming that ticket wins, he gets to be President of the Senate, not the US. The latter is quite clearly a woman's job this time around, the question is just who (Warren or Harris).

    Bennet's being allowed to keep running because he's boring enough to be Veep, while someone like Hick who was not cut out for second fiddle (in his own words) was told to step down.

    1. But, is Bennet cut out for the role of president of the Senate?

      If the Democrats displace the GOP, it will only be with a 50/50 tie in the Senate (Dems win ME, CO, AZ and one other state such as NC or IA, lose AL).

      That means that the Senate president casts tie-breaking votes including on organization of the Senate (rules changes, committee organization).

      At the risk of sounding like Zappatero, is Bennet's congenial personality a good fit for the Democratic Party's compulsion to grind the GOP senators into the ground?

      1. I’m not sure I’d trust Bennet to come down on the right side as a tie-breaker – to act in the public’s interest, if it conflicts with business profits. He voted No on Glass Steagall, to regulate Wall Street, for example. ( voting for the bill to deregulate the largest banks)

        He talked out of both sides of his mouth on the public option, made some moving speeches, ultimately voted for the ACA, but is very clear now about wanting to preserve the private health insurance industry. 

        As Hick is at core a creature of the fossil fuels industry, Bennet belongs to financial services and deal-making. That’s not necessarily the side of “We the People”.

        I think Elizabeth Warren knows that, and won’t choose Bennet for her Veep. They’d be in constant conflict.

          1. Sounds good to me. Or Sanders / Warren, which would relieve the nagging fear about Bernie’s age. 

            Also Warren //Harris (cue all the sad men complaining about being excluded by the bad feminazis) 

            Warren / Booker

            Warren / Buttigieg

            I could be wrong, but Warren is all about reforming Wall Street, and Bennet is all about making Wall Street comfortable, with as little change as possible. I don’t see them working as a team.

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