by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
November 16, 2013
DEMOCRATS: DON'T WORRY ABOUT 2016 - UNTIL THEY WIN IN 2014
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- There are lots of Democrats who could be credible candidates for President in 2016.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are some of the names being tossed around.
Then there are the less-than-credible candidates.
Vice President Joe Biden? Too old, and too much of a loose cannon to run for President.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren? It was a tough enough job convincing her to run for the Senate, and she has no stomach for a presidential run.
Then there are the two longshots from my home state of Vermont - former Governor Howard Dean (who pulled the Democratic Party out of the ditch as DNC chair) and current Senator Bernie Sanders (who is not even a Democrat). Not happening.
And then there's the candidate that, according to a recent NBC News poll, is the favored candidate of 66 percent of prospective Democratic primary voters - former Senator and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
I didn't support her in 2008 and don't support her now. Why? She voted to go to war in Iraq. She completed the militarization of the State Department begun during the Bush Administration. She is a wholehearted supporter of corporate globalization, and is a favorite of the Wall Streeters. She hasn't a progressive bone in her body. She is the epitome of the Establishment politics that have brought this nation to the brink.
Yet Hillary Clinton has the support of a majority of Democrats. And she would be the wrong presidential candidate at the wrong time.
The rolling nervous breakdown that is the Republican Party in 2013 may get all the media attention, but the reality is that what the late Sen. Paul Wellstone once called the democratic wing of the Democratic Party is on a roll right now.
However, before we can talk about 2016, we cannot forget about 2014, and what could be the most important congressional election in decades.
The current Republican-controlled Congress is far and away the least productive, most obstructionist, and most destructive in history.
And more than a few of them got elected in 2010, when too many Democratic voters stayed away from the polls and handed Congress to the berserkers.
The progressive muscle behind the victories of the past few months cannot be allowed to atrophy. If you don't want to see Hillary Clinton as President in 2016, you definitely want to see the Democrats retake the House and hang on to their majority in the Senate in 2014.
Why? Because a Democratic-controlled Congress might make progress on the issues that are fueling the current progressive moment - ending income inequality, building an inclusive and equitable economy, and reinvesting in public education, health care, transportation, and infrastructure.
And that's where the energy needs to be right now. We've got plenty of time to worry about 2016, but there's less than a year before the 2014 election, and that has to be the time and place where Republican extremism is buried.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.