Post Politics: Why not a President Corker?

Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 11:45pm

A little over a week ago a news organization finally asked Sen. Bob Corker straight up what many had been wondering: Are you thinking about running for President in 2012? As is oft the case with these things, the denial was vague with plenty of wiggle-room. His office is not working on it. His wife would be surprised if he ran — and so on.

A blanket denial? Not even close. What politician doesn't want his name mentioned as a potential presidential candidate? Corker's star has been on the rise since he bucked his own party and spoke out against the Bush stimulus. It kept on shining through the financial crisis and continues to beam even during the current health care reform debate. It is only natural that the man gets a bit of presidential campaign chatter.

But is Corker really thinking about making a run or is this just a case of the senator's name being in the news so much folks just wanna talk to keep it there?

Is there really that big a difference? Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Why should Bob Corker be any different?

Despite the chatter, the conventional wisdom is that Corker (or any "serious" Republican for that matter) should pass on 2012.

As a freshman senator, Corker need not rush things, after all. He's made a name for himself and gotten people talking — but there's no reason to take it any farther than that. Why go through the hassle of trying to out-red meat the Huckabees and the Palins, just to go up against an Obama political machine that took down Hillary Clinton?

Barring major catastrophe and/or severe political tone deafness, if an incumbent president wants a second term, he gets one. Some Americans may have had their misgivings about a black president, but we crossed that hurdle. He is the president. Americans may have needed more reasons than usual in order to elect a black president but they will need even more to throw one out.

Corker is a relatively young man with a big, bright political future ahead of him. There will be plenty of time to take aim at that big prize.

Of course, the same could have been said about Barack Obama in 2007. With not yet a full term in the Senate, Barack Obama was looking down the barrel at the Clinton machine and the prospect of presenting himself, a black Democratic candidate, to the conservative electorate of Middle America. The conventional wisdom told candidate Obama to wait. But he didn't listen — and he won.

It is also important to remember Jack Kemp. He took one opportunity to run for president, but passed on others. He died with many wondering what could have been. As much as it might look like you have all the time in the world in politics, your moment can be just that. You either seize it or let it pass you by.

In 1991, when Democrats had to decide whether or not to run for the presidency in 1992, George Bush the elder was coming off a high after a win in the first Gulf War. Because of this, many top-tier Democrats, like Mario Cuomo, passed on the race. Little did they know that Bill Clinton would capitalize on the opportunity and beat a severely damaged incumbent president on the way to serving two full terms in the White House.

Running for president is always a gamble. A candidate who wants to run has to start laying groundwork almost as soon as the previous election has been held. That far out, it can be difficult to predict what the political landscape will look like come election time.

For Corker, gambling on a year that doesn't look like a slam dunk for Republicans could be to his advantage. While he is wicked smart, accomplished and temperamentally suited for the top job, many will not see him that way.

Presidents are usually tall men. Corker is not. While intellectually engaging, Corker is not Mr. Charisma. As many substantive qualifications Corker has which suit him for the office, he has just as many that superficially would give him trouble in an election year without an incumbent.

However, if Obama is presumed to be getting a second term, Corker could easily slip by the also-rans in the primary and end up one-on-one against Obama in the general. If the economy then truly goes in the tank or something else goes wrong, then Corker is in the perfect position to capitalize.

2012 may indeed be too early for Sen. Corker. The question he needs to ask himself is: Would he rather have remorse for jumping the gun early or deal with the lifelong regret of wondering what might have been?

Kleinheider is's political blogger. Visit Post Politics at

26 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 9/14/09 at 2:38

This guy (Kleinheider ) is a real Kool-aid drinker.

We will be lucky to last 4 years of barry, never mind 8.

Give him/them (the dems) 8 and he will be president for life and we will need a second revolution to get him out.

Elected dictator from Maos little red book comes to mind when I think of what is happening to us.

By: cmarcus45 on 9/14/09 at 7:47

I usually agree with Kleinheider and, even when I don't, I see the point he is making. So, I disagree with idgaf. In fact, I have no idea what idgaf is trying to say.

By: Bluegrass Buckaroo on 9/14/09 at 9:27

I live in Kentucky but, my Army Reserve unit is in Nashville. So I like too keep up with my dear nieghbors in Tennessee. Bob Corker shot himself in the foot politically over the Springhill Saturn plant closure. He has not learned when too keep his mouth shut on issues that deal with the UAW and how many folks in Tennesse work for thw UAW. I think it would be in all our best intrest for Bill Frist to seek the Presidency or at least Fred Thompson. Bob Corker has a lot of growing up politically speaking before he even thinks about the Presidency.

By: Time for Truth on 9/14/09 at 9:28

I sometimes agree with id on local issues, and we go back a long way. He is also aware that I usually don't agree with his very-far-right views on national issues, other than a shared belief in fiscal responsibility. This is where he and I agreed as Bush spent us into debt, and I also see a need now to work down the deficit as the economy improves.

That is one of the reasons I see health care reform as essential, since currently health care costs are bloated and laden with too much drug company/insurance profit and not enough substance. I also support malpractice 'tempering' although a life lost due to incompetence should not be assigned a piddling dollar figure.

Corker would be far more palatable than a nutcase like Huckabee or Palin. Of those two, at least Huckabee has a brain, though I disagree with much of what he says. What I am afraid would happen to Corker in a national debate is that he would sink to the level of Palin and Huckabee to get some of the nutty vote that makes up a large share of Republican primary voters, much as McCain did last year. He's already shown that he can stoop pretty darn low in a campaign.

By: TharonChandler on 9/14/09 at 12:18

The day I met Bob Corker he was the smartest man in the room (meeting sponsored via Tennessee Associated Press, at Vanderbilt) and he was cordial to me as he shook my hand (and that was before I ever got a look at his daughter, on TV). Yet, the Tennessee Republicans, such as Lamar Alexander and Fred Thompson "drive people away" by trying to 'reel them in'. I made the mistake of touting Alexander's 'career ladder' profile before I realized how weak he is and that he was about to Run for US Senate, and how dirty his campaign was funded in with the Sundquist deals on dirty computers (can you say "e'cycle'?). Between my 'student teaching sponsor' then, and my jealous corrupt brother in law, they tried to force me in to the home camp when I am rather a more nation-wide and Peace minded international player. The Tennessee Republican US Senate cronies have just about killed me and while I deem Senator Corker one saving grace for that debacle it still doesn't mean that I would raise funds for republicans, nor funding for War, nor that they could quickly enough restore to me what has been taken.

By: idgaf on 9/14/09 at 5:19

chec out section 164 of the health care bill.

It is a union bailout that was put in there by a union sharing the address with ACORN.

Conyors admitted he didn't read the bill they are being feed it by special interests and you are being told it is good for you and you believe it because politicians would never lie to yo especially democraps..

By: pswindle on 9/14/09 at 5:54

Please, this scares the hell out of me. Have you listened to him? He and Marsha Blackburn are both air-heads and they do not know or understand anything.

By: brrrrk on 9/14/09 at 10:35

Give me a break... Corker is a gopher, he keeps his head down and avoids risks.

By: MusicCity615 on 9/15/09 at 12:35

I have worked for Senator Corker and in just two years as a Senator, he is already on the finance and energy committee. He is an extremely smart man, and there is a reason why all the Republican and Blue Dog Democrats listen to him when he speaks. Corker would make an excellent President- He is fiscally conservative, yet progressive. He wants health reform but completed in the right manner, through fair market competition making insurance affordable for everyone. I told him myself I want him to run for president; America needs him.

By: dargent7 on 9/15/09 at 4:01

No way will America elect to office of President a man named "Corker".

By: pandabear on 9/15/09 at 6:52

Corker is an opportunist. Unfortunately, some people think that
having money makes someone smart.
Anyway, we don't need "smart", we need caring and reasonable intelligence.
We need to get rid of all the lifetime benefits and long term,
lifetime politicians. We need them to accept the benefits of the everyday

Social Security
Having to ask the boss (us) for a raise

and let them join us in the consequences.

We've got a president right now who is trying to clean up the destructive
past of 8 years of greed and stupidity. He's doing a good job, and compared
to Bush, he's a genius. If you're too blind to see that, why not at least get
out of the way and stop being part of the problem. Respect is becoming a
thing of the past, what with congressmen calling the president a liar
on network tv and idiot boy rapper's attacking young lady country stars
just to get press.

We don't need Corker or A.C. Kleinheider,
or bickering or complaining or emotional rants
or adrenaline media coverage feeding the mindless.

We need to believe in what we've already got.
A president named Obama.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/15/09 at 7:07

By: cmarcus45 on 9/14/09 at 8:47
I usually agree with Kleinheider and, even when I don't, I see the point he is making. So, I disagree with idgaf. In fact, I have no idea what idgaf is trying to say.
I have found that it is better to do the opposite of anything idgaf says. He is 99% wrong and 1% dumb luck.

Cpoker is a whiney mouse of a man that hides in the wall spouting big words that mean nothing.

By: pandabear on 9/15/09 at 7:31

...however, after reading D7's post, I'd like to add that I think "Corker" is a great name for a bar...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 9/15/09 at 7:32

that is a good name for a bar.

By: Loner on 9/15/09 at 7:39

Kleinheider wrote, "Some Americans may have had their misgivings about a black president, but we crossed that hurdle.". I disagree with that rosy assesment.

The mean-spirited tea bagger demonstration in Washington this past weekend suggests that America may hve been ready to elect a black man as president, but America is not yet ready to let a black man actually lead the nation. The 24/7 hate speech directed at President Obama is an attempt to deligitimize his authority and it borders on sedition.

Many say that Corker beat Harold Ford Jr. by playing the race card. Kleinheider seems to have forgotten all that. If Corker plays the race card on President Obama, it's entirely possible that Corkers cracker's could prevail again, If Obama is still around in 2012

Protecting the president from an armed nutjob, hopped up on hate speech will be diffficult. President Biden may be running as the Democratic candidate in 2012.

May God preserve and protect the President.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/15/09 at 7:46

That is a good name for a bar. lol

By: Captain Nemo on 9/15/09 at 7:53

I agree with you on this Loner.

I saw a bumper sticker on a Rutherford county car. It had a picture of Obama on it and the caption read; this is why idiots should not vote.

By: Loner on 9/15/09 at 8:11

Nemo, sounds like that bumper sticker is grim evidence that idiots should not be allowed to own or drive motor vehicles.

Bumper stickers? How about: Corker's Crackers...Crackers for Corker....Another Cracker for Corker .. the alliteration has a certain panache, and it resonates with the truth, don't you agree?

By: idgaf on 9/15/09 at 9:41

We would be better off with Corker at the helm then barry.

Thats not a pro Corker statement just the fact that he wouldn't be rushing us toward socialism and banruptcy.

By: Captain Nemo on 9/15/09 at 10:12

By: idgaf on 9/15/09 at 10:41
We would be better off with Corker at the helm then barry.

Speaking of Crackers. If id say it

By: dargent7 on 9/15/09 at 10:43

There is what's called a 'Corkage fee" if you bring your wine into a restaurant/ bar. So "The Corker" might work. They're always on "the take" anyway, right?

By: MusicCity615 on 9/15/09 at 10:52


You think the President is doing a good job? I'm not against Obama and want him to make America strong, but he is adding to our country's debt like their is no tomorrow. BS he won't sign a health reform bill that won't, in his words, "add a dime to our national debt". He was quoted as saying "doing anything is better than doing nothing"....

Therefore he will sign whatever bill comes to his office, regardless of what the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office states as RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE, and then once debt is increased he will say, "we miscalculated".

He is in favor of a BS climate bill that will only increase electricity bills by $200 per family in the United States without reducing carbon, and he is in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act which will bankrupt businesses by giving into Unions. Is GM, Chrysler, Ford not a prime example of why we should NOT pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Senator Corker would make an excellent President.

By: pandabear on 9/15/09 at 11:14

I think Corker would make a great bartender too...

By: pandabear on 9/15/09 at 11:16

" By: dargent7 on 9/15/09 at 11:43

There is what's called a 'Corkage fee" if you bring your wine into a restaurant/ bar. So "The Corker" might work. They're always on "the take" anyway, right?"

House couldn't have said it better :)

By: franksmith on 10/29/09 at 9:16

Bob Corker is nothing but a crook. While he was the Mayor of Chattanooga he cit all pay raises for police and firemen. The actions of Corker and not carrying about the working class is not what this country needs. The police and firefighters in Chattanooga are now 60% underpaid due to Corkers actions. It this what America wants. Corker is for BIG BUSINESS and only big business.

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