Tuesday, February 10, 2004

John Kerry Should Thank Howard Dean Profusely

By claiming the left wing of the Democratic Party as his own, Dean created space towards the center for Kerry to emerge as a "moderate" alternative. Without Dean in the race, Kerry would've been the most liberal viable candidate; and centrist support would've drifted to the candidate who best positioned himself as the moderate alternative to that liberal Kerry.

I don't know if the voter perception of Kerry as a moderate will hold through the general election. Unfortunately, most of the swing voters and Reagan Democrats probably aren't paying enough ettention right now to form a lasting impression of Kerry before the Bush war machine gets cranked up.

This could've all been different. If Dean had emphasized his moderate record as Governor rather than running almost solely on the war (until just before the election), he might've actually emerged as the moderate alternative, rather than as the liberal sacrificial lamb.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Political Notes

Judy Woodruff seemed really pissed the other day that all the Democrats spend more time bashing Bush than each other. I think the people saying that a long, contested Primary that focuses on how much Bush sucks and doesn't go bitterly negative is good for the Democrats are onto something.

Bush never seems more incomprehensible than when trying to explain away the whole WMD in Iraq thing. Admit it, George. There aren't any, and there weren't any when you invaded. Just admit it and change the subject.

Edwards and Clark both take a lot of the cultural wedge issues out of play, as neither is easy to portray as the elitist Yankee liberal the Pubbies like to run against. Kerry does. He defuses the national security issue pretty well, though. So expect a campaign based on abortion, gays and guns if Kerry gets the nod (with taxes and subtle appeals to racism thrown into the mix).

I really don't see how Bush wins a positive campaign based on the issues and on competence, so I don't expect one. Given how the Press loves to decry negative campaigning, they don't seem too upset that the Republicans will spend a couple hundred million dollars slandering the Democratic nominee. Of course, the Press will get most of that money as ad revenue, so don't expect an outcry anytime soon.

How the hell can anyone who gives a damn about the Bill of Rights not get pissed over the advent of First Amendment Zones. If you can stand on a streetcorner with a poster supporting a politician, then I should be able to stand next to you with one criticizing him. If I can't, then the 1st Amendment means nothing. I don't know how to make this enough of a political issue to get the Bushies to cut it out, but it needs to be done (and if it were a Democrat doing it, I'd publicly refuse to vote for him until he quit).

There are not words enough to state how pissed I am that my kids and grandkids will be paying off Bush's debt long after we're all gone. I was pissed at Clinton for cutting taxes in '96 as an election ploy when we still had a deficit, and I'm even more pissed now (cause the amount of money is much greater, not because of who's doing it).