Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lou Dobbs To Run For US Senate In New Jersey?

A New York Post report indicates that Lou Dobbs, who just left CNN after spending his entire career at the cable news network, may be contemplating a run for the US Senate in New Jersey.
For years, Dobbs has dogged rumors that he was eyeing a political career. But with the conservative Gov.-elect Chris Christie poised to take control in Trenton, many Jersey political watchers feel the timing could be right for Dobbs, a self-described "Rockefeller Republican."

"This is something that has been talked about, particularly for 2012 against Senator [Robert] Menendez," said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor with Montclair State in New Jersey.

The ex-CNN anchor has two key advantages that would make him a particularly attractive candidate.

As host of a highly rated national show, Dobbs would start any race with higher-than-average name recognition.

In addition, because of his national prominence, he'd also likely be an effective fund-raiser.

Dobbs switched his party affiliation in 2006 from Republican to independent, but his views on a number of issues -- most notably for tougher border control -- have endeared him to many conservatives.
He certainly has the name recognition, but does he have the policy positions that people would support? I'm not sure of that, and I think that once people understand that he's a birther - someone who thinks that President Barack Obama isn't a US citizen qualified to be President under the US Constitution, and I think that he wouldn't be a good fit. In fact, it may be Dobbs' support for the birther conspiracy nonsense that sent CNN boss Joe Klein to give Dobbs an ultimatum - quit the nonsense on his network or quit the network. Dobbs chose to quit the network.

I would not support Dobbs on that basis, and it isn't healthy for the GOP to do so either. The GOP has seen a resurgence in New Jersey because their standard bearer, Chris Christie is a moderate who isn't pushing nonsensical conspiracy theories.

That isn't to say that Republicans might not embrace him in any event, as an outsider and someone who is independently wealthy to take on current Democrats Bob Menendez or Frank Lautenberg.

Moreover, Dobbs' position on immigration would be out of line with the liberal politics of New Jersey, which has a significant immigrant population. It is interesting that Menendez took a cheap shot at Dobbs leaving CNN by claiming that his departure was addition by subtraction, when anyone objectively looking at CNN would know that the network is in serious trouble and Dobbs was among the more watched shows on the network. In fact it's in the rear view mirror of the other news networks, and is falling behind the Travel Channel; a situation that isn't easily reversible.

For Menendez to take that kind of shot shows the allure of Dobbs running for the Senate; the Democrats know that they'd be in for a real fight. I just think it would be a real bad move on the GOP's part to embrace someone who clearly espouses conspiracy theories that are unsupportable by the facts. It's something that his Democrat opponents will latch on to and attack relentlessly because it's unsupportable; the race will not be about the issues, but about Dobbs' character and fitness for the job.

That should send warning signs to the state GOP.

It is possible that Dobbs could make a third party run, which would likely split the vote and make predicting the outcome of a race exceedingly difficult at such an early stage.

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