United Stations Radio Networks star Lou Dobbs definitely wants to influence public policy, but just how he will do so is an open question. And making a run for either the Senate or the White House is definitely on the table.
Speculation on Dobbs’ future has been a popular media parlor game since his recent and sudden departure from CNN. Even before that announcement there was speculation that he may be headed for Fox News Channel or its new sister Fox Business Network.
Dobbs himself poured some fuel on the smoldering political speculation in an interview with Reuters. “I am ruling nothing out,” he said. “I have come to no conclusions and no decisions. Do I seek to have some influence on public policy? Absolutely. Do I seek to represent and champion the middle class in this country and those who aspire to it? Absolutely. And I will.”
Much of the political speculation thus far has centered on the Senate seat currently held by Bob Menendez (D-NJ), where the independent Dobbs could run without party affiliation or possibly as a Republican candidate. Menendez will have to defend the seat in the 2012 election cycle. That same year would offer Dobbs the chance to run as a Republican or third party candidate for the job currently held down by Barack Obama.
RBR-TVBR observation: A move into politics by a broadcaster comes with a certain peril – there is ample footage available out there to provide oppo research teams with a treasure trove of negative advertising material. Those delving into the Dobbs collection on the internet will find plenty of quotes to work with.
But the successful run for the Senate recently mounted by Al Franken (D-MN) should give celebrity politicians everywhere cause for celebration. Few media figures offer as much material to their oppo research antagonists as a comedian, whose very job description often involves doing and saying outrageous things.
If Franken was able to overcome his recorded past, there is a good chance Dobbs will be able to do so as well.