With President Barack Obama’s surprisingly listless performance in the presidential debate Wednesday night, the stars are coming closer into alignment for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
His path to the White House would be ever so much easier if Obama were to lose in November.
Most Missourians seem oblivious to the fact that Nixon is on the short list for potential Democratic nominees in 2016. Maybe it’s because we tend to think of presidents as larger-than-life characters, and we know Nixon too well to think of him that way. He’s been around forever.
He first ran statewide in 1988. He ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Jack Danforth. He got clobbered.
But that was all right. Nixon was only 32. He was just learning.
Four years later, he became attorney general, and he has been with us ever since. After serving as attorney general for 16 years, he successfully ran for governor in 2008.
If he wins re-election in November, and he’s heavily favored to do so, he will be term-limited out in 2016.
He will be 60 years old.
That’s a nice age for a would-be president.
With his history of success in a Southern red state, he’d have an impressive resume.
Who else is on the short list? Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York is frequently mentioned. But can a liberal from New York win a national election?
Hillary Clinton is a possibility, but she’ll be 69, and that’s getting a little old for somebody running for a first term.
In that regard, Biden will be 74.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia are often touted as possibilities.
Maybe the country will look toward a man from De Soto, a Methodist, a lifelong hunter, a governor who never raised taxes, a conservative Democrat who consistently won in a red state and managed to co-exist with a Republican legislature. Sixty years old. Seasoned, but not yet old.