Well, John Forbes Kerry says he won’t be running for president in 2008. Ignore his stated reasons; they’re just fluff designed to stroke his ego. Here are the real reasons:
1) Kerry’s current term in the Senate expires in 2008. Kerry, above all, fears being a nobody. He married one wealthy heiress and rode her money into the Senate. They divorced, and he found an even wealthier woman to marry — the widow of another Senator. It was her money that let him run in 2004.
If Kerry were to run for president, it would not technically prohibit him from also running for re-election. The filing deadline for his Senate seat is well after several of the early primaries and caucuses. But practically speaking, it would be pretty difficult for him to run for both. His fellow Massachusetts Democrats stood by silently while he essentially blew off his Senatorial duties while he ran, but there is no way in hell they would let him keep a “reservation” on his seat while he sought the presidency again. Especially since Massachusetts will be losing one — if not two — seats in the House. Kerry and Kennedy have kept a cap on the upward aspirations of Massachusetts Democrats for 22 years; that will not last forever.
2) Kerry actually does have a few realists on his staff. Everyone (except Kerry) accepts that his only shot was in 2004, and he blew that one. The “anyone but Bush” movement was almost enough to push him over the top, but in the end his essential empty-suitness doomed him.
3) The field of Democrats will be far more competitive this time around. In 2004, Hillary Clinton was stuck keeping her campaign promise of 2000, when she said she would serve a full 6-year term in the Senate. She also wanted a little more time to pass from her husband’s administration, hoping that people’s tendency to romanticize the past would diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Those factors won’t apply as much in 2008. There’s also Barack Obama, who more than matches Kerry’s “empty suit” factor. Toss in the other “also rans,” and there just isn’t room for a guy who’s already shown he can fail on a national level.
But don’t count out John Kerry just yet. After all, just because he said he won’t run doesn’t mean he’s out of the picture. His flip-flops are the stuff of legend.
In the end, he could change his mind. “I actually did say I wouldn’t run, before I said I would run.”