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January 20th, 2004

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01:23 am
Well, well. First blood to Kerry in the 2004 election race. I'm surprised (and I'm guessing I'm not the only one).

Another week until New Hampshire...

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2004 04:41 pm (UTC)
No, no: ranting is quite welcome. :-)

First off, one caucus does not an election make, so I'm trying not to get too worked up too early. I think the whole "Iowa gets its say in before anyone else" thing is one of the really odd things about US politics: it gives an awful lot of weight to the opinions of just a handful of voters. Remember that in 1992, Bill Clinton came in a distant third in Iowa, and he still got elected.

I think this is equivalent to the democratic party of Iowa saying "Well, we don't really expect to win this time. Let's just put forth a candidate who'll be as mundane and neutral as possible."

Well, we are talking about Iowa. The Midwestern states have that stodgy mundane/neutral image for a reason. :-)

The New York Times article, however, suggests that Iowan Democrats voted for Kerry/Edwards over Dean precisely because they do hope to win this time. They're figuring the mundane/neutral candidate is more electable than the firebrand. That's not a great principled stand, perhaps, but it's understandable: Clinton won by taking the party to the centre, after all.

What I do actually find kind of uplifting is most of the Iowans that I've seen interviewed in news articles have said more or less the same two things (paraphrased): [1] "I ended up deciding to vote for Kerry/Edwards because he ran a more positive campaign here than Dean/Gephardt, who were just attacking each other"; and [2] "Whoever ends up getting the party nomination, I'll vote for them. Bush has got to go." I don't agree 100% with their choices of candidate, but I'll admit I find something likable about that sort of reasoning.

I barely know who Edwards is!

Well, I'm sure there'll be plenty more coverage of him, now that the Iowans have (however temporarily?) made him a contender.

I truly love Kerry's quote...

He's certainly not my first choice. Not even my second choice. But if it does come down, after all the other caucuses and primaries, to Kerry vs. Bush, I won't have any trouble voting for Kerry. I know it's regrettable realpolitik, but I'd still prefer to have an intelligent hypocrite in the White House as opposed to our current unintelligent hypocrite. (I voted for Clinton twice, so I have no requirements that the President be someone I would like on a personal level.)

As it is... Braun is out, Gephardt is pretty clearly about to be out, and Kucinich and Sharpton need miracles, so it's down to a five-way race now: Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kerry... and Lieberman. Of those, the only one I'm currently morally opposed to is Lieberman: if he gets the party nomination, I'll start looking at third-party candidates. I won't be wildly happy with any of the others, but I'll vote for any of them over Bush and not count my vote a complete waste.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC)
Going by the results from SelectSmart, I get the following compatibility ratings:
...which sounds about right.

Dean is currently my candidate of choice. I don't think he's perfect, and I'm not sure he can win the non-New England part of the country, but in terms of who I want to be President—as opposed to who I think can actually get elected President—he's top of the list.

I need to look harder at Clark, since he's very close to being at the top of my compatibility list and since I know very little about him. I'm not really comfortable with the idea of voting for a general, but he does seem to be a fairly close match for me on policies. I'm just not sure that he believes what he's saying.

I like Kucinich's policies, but I don't think he has a chance in Hell. (Same goes for the Libertarians and other third parties: I'm afraid I do believe that votes for them are votes taken away from the Democrats, which sadly means votes for four more years of Bush.) I'll be happy if I'm proved wrong, though.

Sharpton is a clown and has been since the 1980s. I'm pleased that there's a black candidate for President, but not that it's this candidate. (I don't think he has a chance in Hell, either, but in this case I don't care if I'm proved wrong.)

Edwards I don't have much feel for: he's good-but-not-great on policy (voted in favour of the PATRIOT Act, but matches me on abortion and drug enforcement and is somewhere in the middle on most other issues). I would probably still vote for him if it was him vs. Bush, but I'm not really excited by the prospect.

Kerry is right on the cusp of bearability for me: I disagree with a lot of his policies, don't much care for him personally, and don't think I'd be happy about voting for him. But if it really comes down to that, I suspect I'll still take 66% agreement over 7%.

Lieberman is a scary clown. Not a chance. I'll vote for the goddamn Lone Ranger before I vote for Lieberman.

And Bush isn't even worth mentioning. I still like the bumper sticker I saw in Waltham that said, "BUSH 2004 — LET'S NOT ELECT HIM THIS TIME, EITHER". :-)
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2004 10:31 pm (UTC)
Of candidates with even half a chance:
Dean - 61%
Edwards - 54%
Bush - 45%
Kerry - 44%
Clark - 38%

I'm surprised that Clark scored so badly (on SelectSmart, not in Iowa). I expected him to be near the top.

I'm pleased that Edwards did well in Iowa. I think he's been under-rated. I generally like his policies and I think he has national appeal.

I hope that this will show Dean that running as the angry candidate helps mobilize the partisans but doesn't actually get votes. I like how he ran Vermont and I've been less than enthused with how he's campaigned.

Kerry is not my hamster.

Al From has a nice article in the DLC house organ that I think all the Democratic candidates should take to heart.
[User Picture]
Date:January 20th, 2004 09:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, and:

...Shrub and Gore in the last election - who, at the time of the election, you could only tell apart by hairstyle...

In Jeff Greenfield’s memorable phrase, we ended up with a choice between “a candidate who spoke to us as if English were his second language and a candidate who spoke to us as if English were our second language.”
[User Picture]
Date:January 21st, 2004 01:23 am (UTC)
My reaction was pretty much the same as yours.

Something has occured to me, though, inspired by somebody (I think Dean's) "write a letter to someone in Iowa" campaign, which claimed that personal letters to voters tended to have a pretty good impact: Letters from Kerry's constituents asking people to vote for anyone but him would probably have even more of an impact than letters endorsing a particular candidate. I mean, if I got letters from Vermont saying "Nooooo - don't elect Dean!", it'd give me pause...

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