Against recycling (of Presidential candidates)

Kerry and Gore need not apply.

John Kerry and Al Gore are in many ways excellent human beings. I don’t want to criticize either of them. But each of them lost to perhaps the least impressive candidate for President ever to receive a major-party nomination.

If neither of them — one running as the heir of a record of success, the other as the opponent of a record of failure — could close the sale against Bush, why should next time be different? They, along with Bill Clinton, can supply the elder statesmanship the Democrats have long lacked.

But run them again for President? No way, no day. John Edwards, Wesley Clark, and Evan Bayh all plausibly have what the party needs: a candidate not culturally threatening to the culturally threatened parts of the electorate. That’s where we should start our thinking about 2008.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: