First announced Democratic presidential candidate, Gov. Tom Vilsack


In a word, outgoing Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is decent.  He epitomises midwestern commonsense and unassuming humility.  Hearing the man speak however, one gets the sense that still waters run deep.  Tom Vilsack is a compassionate, take-charge progressive.  He isn’t afraid of thinking and being bold. Midwesterners are more often than not pegged as being bland and boring. Being born and bred in the midwest myself, I can relate. 

My blog postings so far have rarely mentioned other potential presidential contenders beside Obama and Hillary. I intend to step up my examination of others in the field, the first of which is Governor Vilsack.  The Governor is a fine man with good stage presence and an acceptable record of accomplishment that is far more than someone with a DLC affilliation is supposed to hold.

As an African American, what speaks to me loudest about the Governor’s record is his Executive Order restoring voting rights every disenfranchised felon in the state.  With the stroke of a pen, he restored voting rights to 50,000 people.  Granted, Iowa has an extremely small African American population, but because of our disproportionate incarceration rates, we were more negatively impacted by felony disenfranchisement.  Governor Warner of Virginia, who had been exploring a presidential bid until he recently withdrew, refused to issue the same executive order in Virginia, a larger state with nearly 250,000 disenfranchised.

According to the Sentencing Project, more than 4.7 million in our nation are disenfranchised. Nearly 1.5million are permanently disenfranchised.  Governor Vilsack struck a blow for liberty and democracy when he removed the barrier of permanent disenfranchisement.  His executive order was challenged in the courts and his executive clemency and pardon power were affirmed. In my book, he deserves a profile in courage award for his willingness to stand on principle.  I am reminded of the words of Lyndon Johnson when asking the Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. “There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong — deadly wrong — to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights. …We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in.”

Gov. Tom Vilsack believes in that simple principle and would make an excellent replacement for the ignorant patrician appointed to the Presidency in 2000. Having said that, do I believe he can win the nomination? The jury is still out.  Hillary, Barack Obama, and John Edwards still have the upper hand. I intend to go the convention as a delegate from my state and have an objective in mind that includes a Vice President of Color.


6 thoughts on “First announced Democratic presidential candidate, Gov. Tom Vilsack

  1. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but former Gov. Mark Warner ain’t exactly the guy I was rooting for president. DLW all the way–and no passion. Yet…if he runs for governor next time I’ll be rooting and working my tail to get him elected so Dems can be at the table when GOPers try to solidify their gerrymandered districts.

    Next year, I’ll be campaigning for Dems in the legislative race and hope to run into Gov. Tim Kaine along the way.

    As someone who busted her female “huevos” to get Kaine elected last year, there are two topics that head my wish list.

    Justin Wolfe, the poor kid who’s on death row for a contract killing and the guy who did the killing got 48 years–or something like that. And….restoring voting rights to disenfranchized citizens who pay their taxes and have no voice in Virginia.

    Amazingly, a lot of white ex convicts are conservative by nature, the dupes.

    Thanks for the info on Vilsack, that makes a HUGE difference to me.

  2. Yeah, you dug up some interesting info there. He likely has no shot, but it’s good to know someone compassionate and intelligent is out there.

    I write about my current home of Virginia a lot, but I grew up in, and went to college in, Kansas. So I know that solid-but-boring midwestern reputation all too well.

  3. Thanks for the insight on the Iowa Governor Skep, I didn’t know that he passed such a legislation in his state. This is a huge issue for me, and it’s nice to see that we have someone in the Presidential race that is decent, as well as progressive in his politics.

  4. Rikyrah

    Thanks for this info, SB. I didn’t know this about him, and will have to give him serious consideration.

    “Anyone but Hillary in ’08” is my slogan.

  5. The word is that Vilsack, head of the right wing DLC, is only in the race to take the Iowa caucuses off Hillary’s plate. That way she does not have to risk anything in a state where low-budget insurgencies have sometimes upset front-runners.

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