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):  "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  "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 un
intelligent 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.