Just What the Democratic Presidential Field Needs: Two (2) Colorado Centrists. It was a bare two weeks ago that former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Now comes Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, who told The Washington Post’s James Hohmann in an interview published today that, Hohmann writes, “he’s inclined to run for president and will decide in a matter of ‘weeks.’”
In the course of the interview, Bennet excoriated a number of progressive policies that have won increasing support among Democrats, leading Hohmann to conclude (I’d say fairly) that Bennet “represents an antidote to the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch.”
That would position Bennet as the sole moderate in the field, along with Joe Biden (if he runs), Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Cory Booker (who, if elected, may compel schoolchildren to read David Brooks’s columns), and fellow Coloradan Hickenlooper, among others.
In his interview with the Post, Bennet took particular aim at the suggestion that Democrats should consider increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court—a position to which many Democrats have been driven by the Republican Senate’s refusal even to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and the prospect that the Court that has emerged since Republicans blew off Garland (and Obama) is likely to strike down any remotely progressive legislation that a Democratic Congress and president might enact.
In opposing increasing the number of justices and in a host of other positions he took in the interview, Bennet made clear his aversion to partisan warfare where Republicans “have their version of one-party rule for a while and then we substitute it with our version of one-party rule.” The problem with that diagnosis is that it’s empirically wrong. Obama, for instance, modeled the Affordable Care Act on a conservative think tank’s proposal, which Mitch Romney subsequently signed into law in Massachusetts—and every congressional Republican nonetheless voted against it. Given what the Republican Party has become, Democrats have one-party rule thrust upon them, and anyone seeking the Democratic nomination for president should understand that or consider seeking a lower office, like, say, City Sealer in Dubuque.
Nonetheless, Bennet says he’s likely to jump in the pool. “I am the person that can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done,” he said. Whoops! That wasn’t Bennet; that was Hickenlooper two weeks ago. It’ll be challenging keeping these two guys apart.