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May 12, 2003

It's Kerry- the Dem Nominee

This is less an endorsement than a prediction of inevitability, and a hint that Dems should just concede to the inevitability as soon as possible, so we can turn our guns on Bush as soon as possible. I wish Kusinich had a bit more gravitas as a candidate, since he has some of the best politics of all the candidates, but he doesn't, so I don't expect a late surge from him. And despite his good antiwar credentials, Dean frankly is no better than Kerry on a bunch of domestic issues. So while Kerry is not my ideal in politics, none of the other candidates with even a chance of winning are that much better. So I'd rather push Dems to consolidate as early as possible on a consensus candidate.

Why is Kerry inevitable?

Aside from the basic strong support he has on his own, he is likely to be everyone else's second choice as the field narrows. Just look at the candidates and think about where their supporters will go.

On issues like the war, Kerry's strategic waffle makes him the obvious consensus candidate, especially given his war hero and anti-war hero credentials from the Vietnam era. Despite Dean and Kerry mixing it up in debates today, does anyone really think most of Dean's antiwar supporters are going to defect over to Lieberman or hawkish Edwards or Gephardt? Or the latter candidate's pro-war supporters jumping to Dean?

And when (not if) Lieberman fades, his New Democrat type supporters aren't going to make a bee-line for Gephardt, Lieberman's antithesis on many domestic economic issues. Edwards and Gephart will share some supporters given their similar economic populist but warhawk positions, but I don't think that's a rich enough pool on its own to take the nomination for either.

Here's the basic reality-- look at each candidates numbers and the only candidate likely to gain votes as the field winnows is Kerry. And he's already starting with a good deal of support to begin with.

Sure Kerry could make some massive gaffes but that's not his history. Running solid competent campaigns is his trademark as a politician and that's all he'll need to mount up continuing delegate totals as the nomination process moves forward.

And I actually think Kerry will be a good candidate. Yes, he's a bit reserved and aloof but in a natural way of his Brahmin upbringing, not that "I'm not sure who I am" uptightness that got Gore in trouble. Americans don't demand down-home candidates. They'll pick anyone from a quiet General (Eisenhower) to a callow playboy (Kennedy in 1960) to a shifty everyman (Nixon) to a lecturing Sunday school teacher (Carter).

Looking at Kerry's campaign site, he lays out a strong commitment to everything from workers rights to gay rights to the environment.

And while Kerry seems to be getting this retroactive media-driven reputation as this cautious guy, I remember during the 1980s when he was pushing investigations into the link with the the Contras, the CIA and drug-running down in Central America. When Iran-Contra broke, the establishment pushed Kerry as far away from the investigation as possible for fear that he would overturn the really nasty skeletons in the national security state's closet.

Check out these selections from the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy. Check out this Narco News profile of the establishment cold-shouldering of Kerry over his investigation. There's something to be said for having someone like Kerry with a jaundiced view of the security establishment's misdeeds in the White House in these times.

So I'll take Kerry as a candidate with good policies and more depth than the current media caricatures. So onward to fighting Bush.

Posted by Nathan at May 12, 2003 09:09 AM

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Yes, onward to fighting Bush.

But I'm not so sure a competitive Democratic primary is inconsistent with fighting Bush.

And Kerry certainly doesn't seem to be the guy who should benefit from calls to end infighting.

So far, I've seen Gephardt issue a comprehensive health care plan. It's a plan. A real idea. Shudder to think! Where did this come from, but for the need to show Americans that he wants to and deserves to lead - the nice side-effect of electoral competition. Maybe other Dems, including Kerry, will come up with some bold ideas.

So far, the fear that Sharpton would be smacking around fellow Democrats hasn't come to pass. He's been out on the stump, and his speeches are rousing and downright eloquent at times - and focused on attacking Bush.

Most recently, Graham, in an effort to make waves, is raising - with a good deal of credentials on his part - questions about 9/11. Shudder to think! He's actually questioning the official version of events and alleging a cover-up. If he keeps at it, someone might put it in a below-the-fold fluff piece in the WP or NYT. Especially if he's still running for president.

Dean is a close-second to Sharpton in tough-talking attacks on Bush. He's also started to attack Kerry. Maybe it's because Kerry seems to think this nomination is his. Maybe he's right. I don't think Dean is as progressive as Kerry overall. But Dean is one guy who isn't afraid to speak his mind, and maybe Kerry could learn a thing or two from the doctor in the meantime.

Edwards may be president some day, but not this time around. Let him practice some, then he needs to go back to NC and make sure that Senate seat stays a D.

Moseley-Braun and Kucinich are simply not great campaigners. They've got the right politics, but they don't have the charisma to take on Bush.

Who am I leaving out? Lieberman. Why is he running again?

None of these candidates deserve to be annointed. None of them wow us. They need to earn it. And in the meantime, so long as Dean lays off the Kerry attacks, the primary competition should be about who causes Bush the greatest amount of trouble between now and February 2004.

Posted by: The Tooth at May 12, 2003 12:57 PM

It will be very difficult to defeat Bush in 2004. Even if the economy gains traction as an issue, a phenomenon that Democrats need to have happen in order to have much hope of gaining back the White House, defeating any incumbent is a major undertaking. Moreover, while I myself find Bush's personality detestable, a lot of folks apparently find that it suits them just fine, and personality is usually a major factor, whether that's for the best or it isn't.

I have my doubts about Kerry in a general election and personality is the reason.

While Edwards comes the closest to having the Clinton-type persona, I have to agree that now is not yet his time.

The Democrats, however, have a shot, though not much of one, and it's this and only this: nominate Bob Graham.

The GOP will be more than happy to be dealing with someone that they can easily paint as a 'northeastern out-of-the-mainstream liberal' in Kerry. Dealing with a centrist southerner in Graham who can effectively hit home with 1.) that there are serious questions about what happened before 9/11/2001 and 2.) going to war in Iraq was the wrong idea because it had nothing to do with hitting back at the terrorists and did not make us any safer has got to be a less-preferred scenario for the GOP, in addition to having to fight hard for Florida and possibly other parts of the south, which they won't have to do if Kerry is the nominee.

OTOH if the Democrats can take NY, California, Illiois and Florida and maybe a couple of other southern states, or at least force the GOP to have to expend some time and energy in the south, the Democrats' chances have got to be much better.

Also, Graham knows the states' problems well from his personal experience, being a former governor. Kerry can't say that.

Graham has the best authority-figure presence of all of the Democrat candidates and will easily be able to reveal Bush as the shallow numbskull we know he is.

And there isn't any doubt that Graham can be an effective president.

Posted by: Richard P. at May 12, 2003 02:55 PM

I pretty much agree with the post and the first comment. I don't think Graham can win - the WaPo just had a vicious attack on him, FWIW, and his diaries will not play well with voters. In the debate, I thought he came across as bland. However, if he's nominated I'll certainly vote for him, and like many I think he'd make a great VP choice.
I love Kerry, and have for a few months. He's the only one I think seems presidential - he has gravitas, as Bush doesn't - he has a great bio, and he's the only one I think can beat Bush in 2004. I believe that anyone else we pick *will* lose, while Kerry has a shot at winning. Nicely, he's also on the left of the field. Good luck John Kerry.

Posted by: John Isbell at May 12, 2003 10:10 PM

First off, I want to see *someone* defeat Bush, period. Clearly, any number of people could be a better president.

My concern about Kerry winning a general election is with a couple of things: the GOPer's will be happy to crow "Oh here's another northeastern liberal..." and Kerry needs to be able to solidly connect with people in the Clinton-esque "I feel your pain" vein.

I admit that Graham doesn't have the sparkling personality, either, but someone has to be able to reach out and connect and win over those midwest swing-voters, etc. Is the erudite somewhat liberal northeasterner Kerry going to be better at that than the bland moderate former Florida governor? There's also a reason why congressmen haven't been winning the White House and governors have. In addition, which would you say causes more of a headache for the GOP, running against a northeasterner or running against a southerner, a Floridian who would make the GOP worry about that crucial state and take them away from being able to pound the pavement so hard in the midwest?

If you want to undo the damage that the Bush regime is doing you need to think first in terms of doing what it takes, what the best shot is, to get the White House back.

Posted by: Richard P. at May 13, 2003 12:24 PM

Richard P., I pretty much agree with your second comment. Also, I think since I posted, Graham has launched a strong attack on Bush's 9/11 record, openly accusing him of a cover-up on TV. The Daily Kos has some discussion of this, I think in his cattle call where he moved Graham up. It's a good place to track the candidates, but full of Dean supporters.

Posted by: John Isbell at May 13, 2003 05:17 PM

I'm fond of Dean too, but I worry that I (and others) like him because 1) he had the balls to oppose the war, but 2) he's still relatively centrist on the issues.

I'm just not sure that those are enough to win.

I agree about Kerry and gravitas, and I also agree about Graham and the Southern Factor.

So how about Kerry/Graham? We have a war hero and a guy in a position to know about 9/11 cover-ups. We need strong foreign policy and national security positions, and maybe these are the best two guys to deliver them.

Plus, of course, either one of them could make Bush look like a troglodyte in a debate. But then again, so could... uh... anybody.

Posted by: Realish at May 13, 2003 08:02 PM

I'd like to see someone come along with enough of a presence as an authority figure to be able to reveal Bush for what he is, but still with enough of a personality as to be able to appeal to people and win them over.

Posted by: Richard P. at May 13, 2003 09:53 PM

I agree that Kerry will likely end up with the job. This doesn't bother me, as I think he can beat Bush (unlike Lieberman or Gephardt).

I disagree about Dean though. I don't think his support is a result of being "anti-war" as much as being thoughtful and rational. I think that people - a lot of people - feel like they are suddenly living in bizzaro America. And for the most part, the leaders of the party don't seem to acknowledge the magnitude of the changes.

Bush has embraced unilateral and preemptive war. He has ignored port security and other domestic problems. He wants to increase production of nuclear weapons including renewing research into and possibly use of tactical nukes. He allows his minions to treat Democrats as enemies of the state and uses the memory of 9/11 as a campaign device. He has repudiated the value of balanced budgets and fiddles as our economy burns. He has made a mockery of the bill of rights as he locks up Americans without trial or counsel.

So what has the response been for the most part? Democrats cry over a lack of prescription meds for the elderly.

No, I think that Dean has a following because he is the only candidate who, if nothing else, at least acknowledges that America is vastly different than it was 4 years ago.

Posted by: space at May 13, 2003 10:14 PM

Bush goes in to 2004 as a strong, prohibitive favorite. If Dems haven't come to terms with this yet, they should look at all the advantages Rove has stitched together: the late convention in New York, the $200+ million of TV money, the compliant, awed press corps, an electoral map that requires the Dem candidate to thread a needle so tight it will require Clintonesque acrobatics. What is a Dem to do? The answer is go with something completely new and untested. The answer is to shoot-the-moon, so to speak. Elect a smart, articulate, good-looking new comer; someone who can be appealing on television, can have a bofo sitdown with Oprah Winfrey, and thereby open up a serious gender gap. Just shoot-the-moon. Try John Edwards and see what happens. Maybe magic will happen. Maybe not. But to go with one of these conventionally standard well-worn politicians is pointless. The posts above are revealing for their glum lack of passion. Read The American Prospect and you come away with this same passionless, half-deflated endorsements of Kerry. If we Dems aren't excited, how can we ever expect to gain the unaligned voters we'll need to prevail? You really want to go with the default candidate? The Dem Bob Dole? Chances are we're going to lose anyway. I say cast the nominee as if this were a movie, a relity TV show. The question for most voters in the end on election day will be "who do I like." It will be nothing more complictated than that. Remember what country we're living in. Who would Jeff Zucker or Rupert Murdoch pick if they were Dems looking to just win.

Just win, baby.

Posted by: Jennifer Balcombe at May 13, 2003 11:11 PM

My fantasy casts Graham in the following role:
Senator on the Intel committee who, fed up with Bush's stonewalling, finally leaks something damaging about Bush and 9/11 during the heat of the campaign. Not for partisan advantage, but for the good of the country. (Which happens, in this case, to coincide with partisan advantage.)

To do that, he'd better be off the ticket.

This is just a fantasy, though.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at May 14, 2003 12:49 AM

I agree with the post above that notes the extreme lack of enthusiasm or inspiration in all these Kerry endorsements. It feels so "by default." You can't inspire a nation when you arrive at a choice simply by process of elimination. Kerry is a good man, an honest progressive no doubt. But he is a less than perfect candidate for November style-wise. His best shot is that Democratic demographics simply overwhelm GOP demos in terms of growth. I don't think there's enough time for that between now and November 2004. Maybe 2008 for Sen. Clinton. The electoral map is an awfully tough rig.

Posted by: Krista Sanchez at May 14, 2003 08:36 AM

Ug, how disappointing to come here and read "it's inevitable." Of course it's nothing like inevitable, even if it's likely, because all kinds of things can happen between now and the primaries. I don't see the point of this kind of fatalism other than in bullying one's opponents: "Give up now. Defeat is inevitable," and that's exactly what we see from right wing trolls in lefty blog comments. Et tu, Nathanus?

Democrats should keep fighting for their candidates of choice until the primaries, because that's what's going to give us the strongest candidate with the most tested strategies. Afterward, there will be time for all of us to focus against Bush.

Posted by: Cerebrocrat at May 14, 2003 08:46 AM

"Testing" the candidate means lots of Democrats spending time and worse money on the primaries, rather than aiming at Bush. I understand the gains from a good primary in many cases but I just don't think the main range of candidates differ enough to make the waste a worthwhile fight for "the soul of the party."

A Kerry/Graham ticket looks quite good-- a Kerry/Richardson (governor of New Mexico) would also be interesting and get away from just another two white boys on the ticket-- and Richardson has that "I can talk to North Korea" thing going.

But here's the gain from Kerry winning early-- the Dems have trouble responding to Bush's bully pulpit. But the minute a Dem opponent is approved, the media will inevitably turn to them for a response, creating a much more coherent sense of Democratic opposition. That is needed.

Posted by: Nathan Newman at May 14, 2003 09:38 AM

Nathan, thisis pie in the sky. You think the media will help Kerry? I don't see any of these folks dropping out any time soon, so get used to the crowded field hanging around till early March.

I am not a Dean supporter, but I have to ask you Kerry people what will happen if Dean wins NH? Do you have a fall-back candidate? Because the media will spin that not just as a disaster, but a death-blow.

If that happens, we're looking at Gephardt and Edwards, and Lieberman remaining as plausible names. Pick one.

Posted by: KB at May 14, 2003 10:58 AM

Thankfully Dean ain't listening. What happens to Kerry when Dean wins NH, Iowa and SC?

Kerry is the problem with the dem party. same same...
He will not attract crossovers and indie's and the 48% of those who didn't vote last time. Dean will.

Posted by: judson at May 14, 2003 12:39 PM

This is a complex fight. I'm a strong Kerry supporter - which, given my track record means he's a surefire flameout - who actively likes the candidate and believes strongly he will make a great President. However, I like the primaries. If the guy can't beat Dean, he doesn't deserve the nomination.

That said, I disagree with some of the contentions in these posts. First - you really think Bush is going to look good in New York City come Sept. of 2004???? I don't. I live here and the hostility level for Republicans is escalating to a breathtaking degree.

Bloomberg, who has an impossible job, is absolutely loathed. Pataki is being called out daily for his chickenshit campaign. Meanwhile, Schumer and Clinton can sit back and take shots at whomever is handy while the economy tanks. And the Dem AG Spritzer looks like a golden boy taking on Wall St. criminals. The blue collar 'conservatives' like the NYPD, FDNY and the unions are mighty pissed at what they see from the GOP, locally and nationally.

All of which could mean by 2004, New Sodom might just be a little tired of conservatives (and vice versa). Not only is it considered shockingly distasteful that Bush is using Ground Zero as a prop (while dissing the cops and firefighters and underfunding the clean up), but it's a crime.

It may play well in Peoria, but not in the Bronx. I think there will be MASSIVE protests about everything the GOP stands for. I think the Republican convention will look opportunistic and wan, while New Yorkers organize to take back their city. And that's going to make the news.

I see Kerry in a wildly enthusiastic Boston making his acceptance speech. I see Bush hiding in a hotel room while the natives get restless outside.

And yes, a lot could change by 2004, but the economy will still be shaky. Iraq will still be in a state of flux (how could it not be?). Terrorism won't vanish. All of the shitty things Bush has propped himself up on, this veneer of smirkiness and hostility, this house of cards is due to fall. New Yorkers like rouges with flair. Not Bible-thumping assholes who like props.

Me, I'm going to stop complaining (yeah, right) about the vacuousness of his media appeal, the paucity of his message and the egregiousness of his Presidency and stand up for something I believe in.

I believe in John Kerry.

Posted by: flanagan doe at May 14, 2003 01:36 PM

Um, Flanagan, this election won't be decided in the Bronx. It will be decided in West Virginia and Ohio.

Posted by: Jordy at May 14, 2003 03:41 PM

"I agree with the post above that notes the extreme lack of enthusiasm or inspiration in all these Kerry endorsements."
"I love Kerry, and have for a few months. He's the only one I think seems presidential - he has gravitas, as Bush doesn't - he has a great bio, and he's the only one I think can beat Bush in 2004."
Perhaps when you were both reviewing the above comments, you missed my comment. You'ere welcome to say no-one supporting Kerry has any passion all you want, but you shouldn't do it right after I say I love him, it doesn't look honest. Ya know.

Posted by: John Isbell at May 14, 2003 04:10 PM

Yeah, Ohio. No Dem will win it. W Va. maybe - if Byrd's criticisms have any traction there. And Lord knows the economy still sucks there.

But Florida? It's possible, with a Kerry/Graham ticket. New Hampshire? Kerry or Dean would do better than Gore.

Plus, when it comes down to it, the country is looking more like the Bronx every day (so's Peroria, for that matter), and I don't mean that in a bad way, so maybe the NASCAR vote's out of reach anyway.

And I think Rove bit off more than he could chew when he decided so shamelessly to have a photo-op convention in NYC near the 3rd anniversary. The national GOP doesn't play well in the city.

Kerry would. Dean would too. Edwards would. Graham would not.

Posted by: flanagan doe at May 14, 2003 05:30 PM

The Iowa Electronics Market is running a real money futures market based on the 2004 election. Two, actually. One is the 2004 US Presidential Election Vote Share Market and the other is the 2004 Democratic Convention Market. These markets attract gamblers investors who are looking at the future, not the present, and are willing to risk their money on the outcome. Empirical studies have shown that these markets are better predictors than polls of either the public or experts.

Anyway go look at the current values of the 2004 Democratic Convention Market. Kerry has the best odds of winning of the four being tracked (Hillary Clinton, Gephart, Kerry, and Lieberman), at 30.6%. However, even he trails "rest of Field" at 38.4%. So we really don't know.

But the the more interesting market is the 2004 US Presidential Vote Share Market. What is fascinating about this market is that it not only tracks each potential Democrat's likely eventual share of the Presidential vote if he or she win the nomination, but also tracks Bush's eventual share depending on who he runs against.

This is what is crucial. Democrats can use this decide who to nominate, based on who is most likely to do job #1: Beat Bush. Unfortunately, the current values of this market do not, by themselves, tell us what we really want to know: What are the odds of Bush winning against any specific candidate? This requires someone to go through the results and divide Bush's value vs. each candidate by the total of that value and that Democrat's value. That is what I have done here, for values as of 7pm Pacific Time yesterday.

First, the news is not good. Currently, Bush has a higher value than all of his opponents, and his lowest value is against Clinton, who is not running. (Although that fact itself may explain why he is nearly equal to her.) I have expressed these chances as the percentage vote the market predicts Bush will receive against the various candidates.

Bush Vs.
Clinton - 50.6%
Gephart - 54.2%
Kerry - 54.3%
Liebermen - 59.8%
Rest of Field - 53.7%

Parting observation - Bush does worse the more left-leaning the candidate is!

Posted by: Decnavda at May 14, 2003 06:59 PM

"the primary competition should be about who causes Bush the greatest amount of trouble between now and February 2004."


Posted by: MattB at May 14, 2003 08:32 PM

Lots of folks say we need to nominate a Dem who will knock the undecideds socks up their ass. Not to pick Bush as a model, but did he knock anyone's socks (other than those of the proverbial choir) up their ass? The theme I remember from the 2000 Election was "Yawn, these guys are BOR I N [snooze]..." That's not to say we need to pick Lieberman [grin].

What I'd really like to see during the Primary is ALL the candidates focusing their guns on Bush--rather than on each other.

That would give me a serious hard on, I tell ya!

Posted by: anonymous coward at May 14, 2003 10:40 PM

"This election won't be decided in the Bronx."

It won't be decided by the Bronx's votes. But if the NYPD and FDNY come out against Bush during his exploitation of Sept. 11, I think that could be huge. Not sure if that was what flanagan was saying might happen.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at May 15, 2003 09:23 AM

The Green Factor

2004 is not the year of the "swing" voter in the center... it is the year of the "swing" voter on the left.

Simply put, the Democrats cannot swing right without losing almost as many votes as they gain... nominate Lieberman, and you practically guarantee a double digit showing for the Green candidate in California and much of the nation. Graham or Edwards are likely to produce results almost as bad. From a partisan perspective, Greens couldn't ask for a better party-building tool than a conservative Democratic nominee.

Kerry or Gephardt, as well, are not likely to forstall a significant Green Party showing; nominate them, and you're likely to see numbers similar to or better than 2000, without reaching double digits in most areas... a 4-6% showing in California (core Green vote), etc. Not great party-building material for Greens, but enough to keep our core voters in the fold and maintain ballot status, etc.

Nominate Dean, and you stand a fair chance of actually forestalling a Green Party nomination ... it seems like half the Greens in my area are going to be working for Dean, that he has major traction on campus and in the activist community, etc. My guess is that most Greens would regard him as "good enough", unless he makes some truly asinine gaffe, in comparison to Bush, and that it would be difficult to gain consensus on a decision to nominate.

This election is really going to be decided by where the mass of Green voters (not the activists running the party, but the voters who are fed up with politics as usual) throw their support - and, at this point, the only candidate holding their attention is Dean.

If the Democrats think they can win in 2004 by running right and boogeyman Bushing the left, they're going to be sadly disillusioned when the results come back from the polling places.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt at May 20, 2003 02:17 PM

If voters don't want to see a continuation of the hardline right winger regime control of the government they'll use some sense in the voting booth and don't do something really silly themselves on Election Day in 2004.

ANYONE on the Democratic side is preferrable to Bush!! If Democrats, if 'the rest of us' who aren't among the CEO/country club set and/or aren't rabid neo-racists, can't come together to defeat Bush when the time comes, then we truly deserve what we're going to get.

Posted by: Richard P. at May 20, 2003 03:15 PM

Thanks, Nathan, I couldn't have said it better myself. And now I don't have to. Ginger

Posted by: Ginger Mayerson at June 23, 2003 11:24 PM

Kerry is a looser, just what the hell are you thinking?

Posted by: Gene Kilber at June 27, 2003 06:11 PM

You may indeed be correct regarding Kerry's best candidacy to beat Bush. However, a Kerry/Kusinich team would be a terrific combination - perhaps, they need to begin to team up early in this process - both come to the table with lots of passion and experience - something sorely missing from the rest of the group of contenders...

Posted by: Craig Michaels at June 27, 2003 10:09 PM

Why should I vote for another candidate who was (is) a member of Yale's Skull and Bones Club? I say "another" because Sen. Prescott Bush, Poppy Bush, and the current occupant of the White House were (are?) members of this super-secret occult club. Please go to www.infowars.com for more info.

Posted by: Jim Uprichard at June 28, 2003 01:12 AM

I agree that Kerry is probably everyone's second choice, except for his supporters for whom he is the first choice. I voted for him in the recent moveon.org primary because I think his war record will give Bush/Cheney fits. There is one problem, however, and that is that the last time the Dems won the White House with a candidate from north of he Mason-Dixon line was in 1960. Since then we have elected three presidents: Johnson in 1964; Carter in 1976; and Clinton in 1992 and 1996. We have lost in 1972; 1980; 1984; 1988; and 2000. Of those five losses, three were with Northern-Midwestern liberals: Mondale, Dukasis,& McGovern. Although Gore was born in Tennessee, he was not identified with that state when he ran in 2000, one reason why he lost the presidency. So while I support Kerry and think he is a good candidate part of me wonders if Graham or Edwards is a better choice for the fall election in 2004.

Posted by: Jim at June 28, 2003 08:30 PM

Kerry’s Candidacy: Can Kerry Carry?
by Aimie Gresham

Aside from the lack of several Democratic candidates failing to show up for their first job interview with the NAACP, the disappearance of Mr. Edwards, the preoccupation of Mr. Graham with his notebooks and the no snowballs chance in h%ll of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun and Reverend Al Sharpton, here is why I believe Mr. Kerry should be the next Democratic candidate.

The Dean Diagnosis:
The ultra-leftwing has once again deluded itself into the politics of reaction. Angry over the war in Iraq, progressives have become blindsided by politician who is no more a “liberal” than Tom Delay is a “moderate.” In fact, candidate Howard Dean has said so himself. Repeatedly. As The Nation illustrated (May 8, 2003), “Dean said some welfare recipients ‘don't have any self-esteem. If they did, they'd be working’ and scaled back Vermont's welfare program, reducing cash benefits and imposing strict time limits on single mothers receiving welfare assistance.” In addition to such an indefensible act, The Nation pointed out that “Dean advocated sending nuclear waste from his state to the poor, mostly Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca, Texas.” As a woman of color, I keep wondering why the ultra-left and the white liberal establishment ignore the need for broader politics.

For people of color and working women, the choice is clear, a politics that address the broad political spectrum is the politics that act as a catalyst for minority rights. To the degree that politics is compromise once again, the naïve attention given to Mr. Dean has skewed political diversity, political reality and political effectiveness.

Yet the former is only secondary as to why Mr. Dean is not the alternate to Mr. Bush, as so many red in the face—albeit living in blue states—believe. The reason is simple. Mr. Dean cannot win. As the Economist (July 17, 2003) and other journals have reported on a recent sighting of one Mr. Karl Rove. “At one July 4th parade Karl Rove, Mr Bush's chief strategist, was overheard laughing as a group of Dean supporters marched past: ‘Yeah, that's the one we want.’” Need one say more?

A Southern Breeze:
Here is why the Democrats should choose John Kerry. He can beat George Bush in his backyard.
Can Kerry’s status as a decorated Vietnam vet and his vast knowledge of foreign policy (moderates, independents and conservatives), his strong environmental and labor record (traditional base), his support for education and his healthcare plan (the disenfranchised) carry the South? Yes. A Brahman for the South you say? Yes. Kerry’s civil rights record, his support for local businesses and his economic development record will indeed appeal—not only to Democrats but—to the millions of unemployed and uninsured workers who have seen the Republican south decimate all legitimate forms of “local government.”

The decline of the South in terms of government I am talking about is not government services, but government’s ability to generate economic development and structural adjustments to meet global demands. Were anyone to look at the red states dispassionately, they would notice that the economic strength in the South has continuously been eroded while so called “free-market conservatives” have dominated local politics.

From The Senate and Beyond:
The Senate factor should not be underestimated by the Kerry campaign. Rather this issue should be addressed head-on in the following manner. As Tipp O’Neil is famously quoted as saying, “all politics are local.”

In the post-9/11 world, the reality is that all local politics are global. At no other time in history has knowledge and skill of foreign policy been so central to the requirements of executive office. The complications surrounding global politics require, not the black and white (good guys vs. bad guys) view of the current administration, but a firm understanding of the nuance and complexity of global convergence.

Mr. Graham as VP or no Mr. Graham as VP, Kerry can carry.

Posted by: aimie at July 22, 2003 02:53 PM

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