Sometimes people have a hard time rising to the occasion in these instances. The launch of a campaign is a big moment, full of anticipation and energy. Launching a presidential campaign creates a level of hope and excitement that is special. The moment is a big one and filling that space takes a unique talent.
Ted Kennedy couldn’t do it in 1980. Mike Dukakis couldn’t do it in 1988. Walter Mondale in 1984, Paul Tsongas in 1992, even Scoop Jackson in 1976 – they all failed to fill the stage in their presidential moment.
Four days into his campaign, Jay Inslee has met the moment. He has showed he has what it takes to make a compelling candidate for President of the United States of America.
Now, it’s a long road through the campaign season. And, there are a host of policy questions that he’ll have to grapple with. He’s also a straight white man running to be leader of a party that may be looking to support someone who is not a straight white man.
But, so far so good.
I’ve been watching Inslee closely since I first met him on the steps of the state capitol in 1996. He had just filed to run for governor in a three way primary where he would later came in third.
I’ve talked with him at length in interviews I’ve done with him, like this one in 2006. I’ve watched him as he’s grown from a member of Congress to a Governor. And, I’ve been vocal that I think he should run for President, going back to 2015.
Here’s what I can tell you about the Jay Inslee I saw announce on Friday, and who was on national airwaves over the weekend and Monday: I have never seen him look this strong as a candidate.
Jay Inslee is meeting the moment.