Shouting into the Storm Rantings, ramblings, observations and musings from the insipid to the sublime

Some original thought

Saturday, January 31, 2004 :::
It's been some time since I've written a piece of any length, instead keeping to the standard "Link + snarky comment = great post" formula. For better or worse, this site has become a list of journalistic evidence against the GOP in general, and Mr. Bush in particular. Why? Mostly because I've been lazy, and because I keep getting the sneaking feeling that only 4 people actually read this.

With the Virginia presidential primaries coming up in a little over a week, I thought it would be a good time to stretch it out a little. Consider this thinking out loud about the candidates. I'll handle the Big Four that remaining in the race. The main thing I want from a candidate this year is someone who will knock Bush out of the White House. I really don't think this election is about fancy policy ideas. It's about a Big Picture view of the nation, and the direction it is going in. This ranges from foreign policy, to domestic economic changes, to judicial nominees. If Bush wins, with a GOP Congress, and at least two Supreme Court justices probably retiring in the next four years, it will be a free for all. I can't see the GOP doing anything other than ramping up their machinery and steamrolling over the Dems for another four years. With a Dem in the White House, the GOP agenda can be slowed, and the Supreme Court may have a slightly more progressive tinge to it. Congress is probably a lost cause for the foreseeable future. Now, on to our candidates.

John Kerry - I was telling someone at work that I can think of 100 reasons he'd make a good president, but I have a hard time coming up with one reason to vote for him. By now, we all know the resume: Multi-term Senator, distinguished veteran who came home to fight against the war. I've been reading more from his detractors of late, trying to flesh out my support for him. Some of it is true, some of it is pointless. He isn't the best public speaker. He does tend to come across as aloof, and he hasn't been someone who has focuses his legislative agenda on his Massachusetts constituents. Then again, not everyone is Bill Clinton at the mic, now, are they? I'm partial to Kerry because he's from Massachusetts. I'm tired of hearing how the New England politician is powerless, that the focus is on the South and West. This, even though the Northeast generates a tremendous amount of the wealth of this country, as well as providing education to the best minds in the country. So, yes, there is some schutzpah here. Another reason is I think Kerry has a good Big Picture. He is able to tie major world issues together, and I assume his solutions for them will have that continuity. AIDS, terrorism, energy policies and economic ideas should tie together. My hesitation in Kerry? I wasn't thrilled to read about the amount of lobbyist money he takes in. I'm not sure he has the political instincts to survive what would be a four year war of attrition against him by the GOP.
And he doesn't exactly inspire one to run out and fight for him. Still, looking at the totality of the candidate, he's my choice for now. It is a close race, though, because we also have...

John Edwards - "Clinton without the scandal. Kennedy from the South." That's what the GOP sees in Edwards, and I'm starting to agree with them. At first, I wrote him off as too young, too eager, too inexperienced. Then I started to read up on him. I checked out his website. I caught a few of his stump speeches on TV. And little by little, I started to think "Hot damn, this guy is good." He's relentlessly positive. He is a firm believer that the working poor should get a better shake of things. One of his best ideas is that we need to go back to rewarding work, and not wealth. This is a great idea, and really hits to the idea that the richer get richer because they're money makes more money. Excellent addition to the Democratic stump. And in case you missed it, he's Southern. I can't point to a particular policy that grabs me. It's much more of an overall energy. I can see him tying social work to college scholarships. I can see him being able to shine like Clinton did at the politics of the job. I can even see him beating Bush, especially when put side by side in a debate. I'm not sure I can see him as a leader on foreign policy. Then again, that is what advisors are for. Remember, it was Dubya who said he's be a CEO-style President, and people bought it.

For the also-rans...

Howard Dean - I loved Dean when he first came out. Quiet, centrist, and focused. While everyone else looked like they were out poll-testing answers, Dean was blasting away at Bush, the war and the economy. He was using modern campaign ideas, which make the younger set get excited. As was I. Unfortunately, the campaign because about the campaign, and thousands of trees have died as people have wrote about this. I don't think Dean is nearly as bad as he is being painted. It's just that at this point, Kerry and Edwards look so much better, and so much more like they can beat Bush. I hope he rebounds, though, and finds a spot in either elective office or in an appointed position.

Wesley Clark - Great resume, terrible politician. If you can't stick to your message for more than a day or two on the campaign trail, you'll be toast when you have to constantly frame your answers against the attacks of Congress. He might make a good VP candidate, but not likely. Maybe more in lines of a Cabinet position. Secretary of Defense? Not likely, as he isn't well liked in the career Pentagon circles. Sec. of State? He'd have plenty of pull in Europe.

And of course, a parting shot to Joe Lieberman. Joe, you're a good guy, and I assume a good enough Senator. But you can't energize anybody under the age of, I dunno, 70. Give it up. Please.

::: posted by Chris at 3:58 PM

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