Tuesday, November 09, 2004
My nominee for President in 2008
Hillary Clinton? If you think the South is lost for the Democrats, a Hillary candidacy would pretty much eliminate the need for an election. It really wouldn't matter who the Republicans run. Hillary is to Southerners what George Bush is to sanity.
Howard Dean? Today Dean is reported to be considering taking the chairmanship of the Democratic National Party. If he takes it, he must pledge not to run in 2008. I think it's a good spot for him. He's far more progressive and feisty than anyone we've seen in the position for a long time. Besides, a comeback for him in the current media environment seems unlikely.
Anybody who has ever served in the Congress should be immediately eliminated. They have a record, and this is invariably fatal. The primary condition for being elected President of the United States is for most people not to know who you are but to like how you look. So forget Biden and Kucinich. Oh, and it also matters how you "sound." So forget anybody from New England.
This normally leaves the list of Democratic governors to choose from, which is how we got Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Carter let himself get bamboozled by the Republicans during the Iranian hostage crisis and could only hang on for one term. Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council turned the Democratic Party into "Republican-Lite," but he surely would have done more if he could have. Still, if it hadn't been for Ross Perot's third-party candidacy, he probably wouldn't have been re-elected.
Many progressives would love to vote in the first woman President. Given the state of the country, there are an astonishing number of female governors. If they're not forced back into housework by the Christian Right, someone of the group might be a viable candidate.
I took a look at Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. She has allowed the "First Gentleman" to go out and discuss gender roles. Bad move. Not only that, he's a professor. I'd sooner touch poison ivy.
From what I read of her, Jane Napolitano of Arizona looks very attractive. She was the former attorney general of the state and has begun some progressive healthcare programs in Arizona. She's from a section of the country where the Democrats still see some hope. She might even end up being pitted against John McCain of Arizona. Now that would be interesting.
But if the Republicans are murmuring about Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, I think the Democrats also might cast about for someone other than the conventional.
And my nominee is (drumroll)— Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York. Spitzer came to mind as I was reading about the trials and tribulations of Marsh & McLennan. I know you've probably not heard of them, but they're only the world's #1 insurance broker.
They announced a 3000-person job cut today while they "restructure"—
Unfortunately, we must also adjust staff levels based on the realities of the marketplace and our current situation.
Their "current situation" is this—
In an Oct. 14 lawsuit, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused Marsh of rigging bids and colluding with American International Group Inc. and other insurers to fix prices.
Jeffrey Greenberg was ousted as Marsh chairman and chief executive on Oct. 25. Cherkasky had run Marsh Inc. and was once Spitzer's boss as the New York County district attorney's investigations chief.
On Monday, Marsh ousted two senior Marsh Inc. executives, including President Roger Egan, linked to the practices being investigated by Spitzer. Neither was accused of wrongdoing. Marsh's general counsel also stepped down.
The company set aside $232 million as the "minimum expected liability" for any civil settlement with Spitzer. Individual employees might still face criminal charges.
It also said its Putnam Investments mutual fund unit agreed in principle to pay $40 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges over its brokerage practices.
"Roger Egan stepping aside was a surprise," said Wayne Bopp, an analyst for Fifth Third Investment Advisors in Cincinnati, whose $34 billion of assets include Marsh shares. "You have to wonder how deep the problems are."
Bopp called the $232 million reserve "a good start" but added, "I would expect them to pay more. The lower number may be a good starting point for negotiations."
Wall Street has become the victim of an historical and geographical accident—it is located in the State of New York. If their financial forebears had known that Eliot Spitzer was to become attorney general of the state, they would certainly have located the financial center of the nation somewhere else—preferably in a business-friendly environment like, say, Paraguay.
Spitzer has been giving Wall Street fits. But it may ultimately be the Bush administration that feels his forensic wrath—
Toward the end of October,
On behalf of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Chief Investigator William Casey today accepted a Complaint and Petition from a group of New York City citizens including 9/11 family members, survivors and a Ground Zero triage physician. The Complaint demands that the AG open a criminal inquiry and/or grand jury investigation into the many still unsolved crimes of September 11, 2001 over which he has jurisdiction.
If anything comes out of this, it could propel Spitzer into the national limelight. Wall Street knows him well, but the general public doesn't. And the very fact that he has accepted the complaint suggests that it's a limelight he's not attempting to avoid.
I know very little about Spitzer other than his aggressive stance on corporate crime. But I feel comfortable in making one inference—his past must have been considerably less exciting than Mother Teresa's. Otherwise he would have been destroyed a long time ago.
Wouldn't you like to see him take a crack at Halliburton—as President?