COLUMNS

Michael Jordan May Have to Jump Through Political Hoops

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • February 16, 2000

by Karen Feld

Super Tuesday — March 7th — is a lot like Groundhog Day. The shadows from voters on this major primary day signify whether the party nominations for President will be sewn up, or whether the primary fight will continue. John McCain, who surprised almost everyone with his New Hampshire win despite his lack of staff and dollars, and may get some help from crossover Democrats in South Carolina’s open primary this Saturday. Bush’s camp decries the crossover voters as troublemakers who will not vote GOP in the fall — they feel McCain will be easier to beat in the general election — but hey, that’s politics.

Still, it’s likely that Al Gore and George W. Bush — both their respective party’s favorites — will be the ones left standing in the end, whether it is March 8th or at the conventions this summer. So that leaves the talk as to who will be the Vice Presidential runningmates. Lots of buzz around Washington this week on this subject.

We might see a woman on the ticket (Geraldine Ferraro was the first with Walter Mondale in 1984) and the names mentioned most often include California Senator Dianne Feinstein or Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on the Democratic side; and former GOP presidential contender Elizabeth Dole or New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman on the Republican ticket. All are playing the political game like the campaign veterans they are, stating that they’re “committed” to their current job and not seeking the position.

John McCain’s name is being bantered about as the George W. Bush’s choice should the Senator’s populist campaign falter, but I hear if he doesn’t take the top spot, he rather be Secretary of State in a GOP administration. Given McCain’s primary support from independents and Democrats, he could even be tapped for a cabinet slot in a Democratic administration.

There’s also talk of looking outside the political arena for a Vice Presidential candidate — and the high tech kings of the Internet and computer industry — Amazon.com, Yahoo! and Intel — are being mentioned.

Political infighting isn’t left to the major political parties either — the Reform Party almost imploded this weekend when it lost two of its highest profile members: Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and billionaire Donald Trump. During all this strife, Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan has been unusually silent, but that’s not by accident. By keeping out of the fray, he’s now able to reunite the party, win the nomination — and the millions of dollars in campaign funds — and concentrate on the Presidential race in the fall. The biggest obstacle in Pat’s path now is the Presidential Debate Commission which ruled that a candidate must be pulling 15 percent in the polls to be included — and that’s where Buchanan falls short.

While the Internet has proven its campaign mettle with the financial and volunteer force it can bring to the organizations of John McCain, Bill Bradley and Pat Buchanan, it can also cause major headaches. The White House is experiencing one now over some 100,000 e-mails that were not included in information under subpoena in the numerous corruption investigations of the Clinton administration. Could these be a smoking gun for the campaigns of Hillary — as she is now called in her New York senate race — and Al Gore and another nail in the coffin of Bill Clinton’s legacy, or is it merely a red herring? Time will tell, but some are hoping it will tell much later…after the 2000 elections.

Bill Bradley relishes the public support basketball superstar Michael Jordan is giving him, but it could be a partisan and painful lesson for Jordan who is new to the ways of Washington, D.C. now that he is the president and co-owner of DC’s NBA franchise, the Washington Wizards. We wonder if he’ll be able to save face with the neighbor up the street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if Bradley doesn’t win.

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