Sunday, July 17, 2005

Phil Bredesen

Okay, last month I talked about Hillary Clinton, this month I'll talk about another Democratic Presidential contender, Phil Bredesen. Here is an excellent article about the Tennessee governor.

What makes him attractive to me is first off, his effectiveness at a job that is very much like the Presidency. No one is more qualified to be President than a governor, with the exception of maybe a Vice President. An effective governor's logical next step is the Presidency, although since there can be only one President, some get siphoned off into the Senate where they usually run the clock out on their political career.

In this article in particular, he talks about health care, specifically Tennessee's own program, Tenncare. Bredesen used to run an HMO, so he knows a little something about the business. He recognizes the need for consumers to be able to make choices, and the cost control benefits that come from that.

To me, an important trait in a Presidential candidate, or any candidate actually, is the willingness to come up with new ideas that aren't necessarily ideologically orthodox. John Edwards was the most attractive Democrat in that regard last year. He was Mr. Idea Man in 2004 and I'm sure he's taking another shot in 2008. And as long as he gets over his anti-business and anti-free trade tunnel vision(acquired from a career battling Big Business excesses), I think he'd be a good choice as well.

But if I had a choice in 2008, I'd take a successful governor with business experience in a field like health care, over a one-term Senator with experience as a trial lawyer. So if 2008 shook out as a primary race between Bredesen and Edwards, I'd easily want Bredesen. How Bredesen stacks up against Hillary Clinton or Bill Richardson I'm not sure. That's what the primary campaign is for. In terms of qualifications, I'd put both ahead of Bredesen, slightly. Clinton was practically a co-President and Richardson has been an even more effective governor, as well as a Cabinet Secretary in the Clinton administration. But Bredesen isn't far enough behind in that regard for me to automatically place him in the second tier. I'd say that on substance Bredesen, Clinton, and Richardson are the best choices for Democrats. Then of course there's Wes Clark, but he really has to grow as well to be a good President. He had to have been the most overrated candidate in 2004, and fortunately the voters smacked him down to spend some time in the minor leagues of politics. The less said about Kerry and Dean, the better. I was told that if you don't have anything nice to say....