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POLITICIAN WATCH : Quiet Party

Looks like President Bush is gearing up to run for reelection. He says only a health problem would stop him; he also says his health is excellent.

So the only question is who he’ll face in 1992.

Remember: By this time four years ago, the Democrats had already fielded a slew of candidates, eventually nicknamed “the Seven Dwarfs.”

So far, the only Democrat declared for the presidency is former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas of Massachusetts. The thought of squaring off against the little-known Tsongas brings smiles to the faces of GOP operatives, who think they have an all-but-unbeatable candidate in Bush. Maybe some worried Democrats secretly agree. Right now, instead of more and more Democrats jumping into the race, more seem to be jumping out.

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The latest to declare his non-candidacy is Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV of West Virginia.

Another Democrat who says, for now, that he has no plans to run is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. If Cuomo does not change his mind, he will become eligible for the dubious distinction of being the longest-unannounced, most frequently mentioned presidential possibility in memory.

As the incumbent, Bush does have natural advantage, but a foreign goof here or an economic double dip there and suddenly he might be oh-so-vulnerable.

Perhaps the Democrats will soon figure that out.

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In order to have a serious national debate on the issues, the country needs some Democrats to step up to the challenge.


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