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The naked ambition for statewide or national political office on the part of Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker and that of former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. diminishes the stature of both of them.
Make no mistake; these are two extraordinarily young, gifted and highly intelligent political players. They are perhaps every bit as gifted as either President Obama or Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and that is saying something.
The difference is that neither Obama nor Patrick chose to go the centrist, Democratic Leadership Council-style route in their quests for statewide public office, while both Booker and Ford, before him, have chosen that route.
The problem for Booker and Ford is that the base of neither of the two major political parties in the U.S. is centrist; and any minority candidate looking for a major party nomination for statewide office obviously needs the base’s strong support.
Mayor Booker volunteered what Harold Ford, now a vice chairman and senior policy advisor for Merrill Lynch, had previously indicated; that the capitalism practiced by the Bain Capitals of the world need not be criticized by the Obama campaign against Mitt Romney.
However, Davis is only 44 years old. Young, talented, and ambitious politicians simply do not retire at 44 years of age. Davis is now a resident of northern Virginia who has announced that he is changing his political party affiliation to Republican. He says that if he runs for office again, it will be as a Republican because he is more comfortable with their drift and ideals than he now is with those of the Democratic Party.
While under the right set of circumstances, the Republican Party may well welcome Davis to their ranks; it is quite doubtful that he can win a Republican primary in a competitive district, much less statewide.