Tuesday, June 03, 2003

A Fourth Term for Leavitt

Last week, I commented on Leavitt's possibly running for a fourth term as Governor of Utah. Today, the Deseret News carries a story entitled Leavitt Gearing Up for Fourth Term. The article reports recent fund raising activities, but I don't think you can conclude from them that Leavitt will run again. In fact, I think they show a shrewd politician who's keeping his options open.

Politics is a game of opportunity: you have to be properly positioned when a window opens up and then move fast. Leavitt's trying to position himself for (a) a Federal office (even though Bennett says he's running again, he's no spring chicken and things could turn around there in a heartbeat), (b) a position in the Bush cabinet (there his opportunity depends on Bush winning and someone stepping aside from a Cabinet job that has appeal, or (c) a fourth term. If the fourth term were the most appealing thing, he'd just announce and close the door on options (a) and (b). The fact that he hasn't done so indicates to me that its not his preference.

The real problem is that he may have to give up the Governorship before the next opportunity comes along. The Oquirrh Institute has always seemed to me to be designed with that very eventuality in mind. Even though, according to Walker, the Governor would "get bored" running it, its purpose is not a landing spot for a long term career as much as a way to continue to have a bully pulpit in-between stints in public office. The Governor is the best funded politician in Utah and that provides the opportunity to weather out-of-office interludes without being out of the public eye.

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