The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
Let The Fun Begin
Have you ever watched a reality show, like Survivor or The Mole, where you looked at the roster of competitors and decided you didn't like any of them? And yet, you knew that one of them has to win eventually, and in the meantime, you know the competition is going to be quite entertaining.
Well, that's exactly how I feel about the Democratic primary. There are nine - count 'em, nine - Democrats who are looking to get the nod to run against President Bush. Granted, from this werewolf's perspective that's quite an unenviable task, but these people seem to think that they can do a better job in the White House than the guy who's already there. Of course, anything can happen from now to election day, but suffice to say that in order for Bush to lose his re-election bid, he'd have to commit some major gaffes along the way.
The first debate between the cast of nine took place in South Carolina last weekend. In case you missed it - and chances are you did - here's a rundown on our competitors, in reverse order of their likelihood of earning the Democratic nomination (likelihood of winning the general election notwithstanding).
Carol Moseley-Braun, former Illinois senator: The word "former" oughta be a red flag here. If you're a Democrat in Illinois, pretty much the only way you can lose a seat in the Senate is by telling your voters that the election is held on Wednesday. If she gets 1% of the vote in any state, I'll be stunned.
Bob Graham, Florida senator: In case you're wondering "Who?", don't worry - he's not gonna make very much of a splash in the campaign. Most likely he's going to be the butt-kisser of the group, so that when the actual nominee is chosen, they'll have someone to consider for a running mate. After all, this will (supposedly) give them some help in Florida, where they just don't seem to have much luck.
Dennis Kucinich, Ohio congressman: It's always fun watching Congresspeople run, because for them it's all or nothing: either they get the nomination, or they lose their seat. Kucinich doesn't really have the name recognition of the other Democrats, and besides - the country doesn't want our President to be a Muppet.
Those three candidates should fall by the wayside right quick. As for the other six, they're likely to hang around a little while longer.
Al Sharpton, reverend: I highly doubt Al will earn the nomination, but he'll probably serve to be quite the fly in the other contenders' ointment. He's been calling other Democrats on their contradictions and lies, and as long as he feels he's still got a shot, he's going to make things extremely fun for us bystanders.
John Edwards, North Carolina senator: last November, Edwards was considered the dark horse possiblility to win the nomination, but over time his stock has come down. His background as a trial lawyer (as well as receiving beaucoup contributions from that group of people) is certainly not going to work to his advantage. Besides, I doubt the Democrats want a nominee who shares his name with that creepy psychic dude.
Howard Dean, Vermont senator: Dems, you'd better pray to whatever you choose (God, Goddess, Nature, Clinton, whoever) that this guy doesn't earn the nomination. He's positioned himself to be as anti-Bush as possible, and while that may please the base, playing contrarian to a popular president will get you clobbered in the long run. I'm almost hoping he does win the nomination: he'll make Walter Mondale look like FDR. Still, I give him an outside chance at best to pull off the win.
John Kerry, Massachusetts senator: Now we're getting into the big-name contenders here. While Kerry's gotten a lot of face time - Lord knows the media likes him as their candidate - the fact remains that he's a Massachusetts liberal, and it's common knowledge that Massachusetts is on another planet politically. I dare say he's pretty overrated.
Dick Gephardt, Missouri congressman and former House Minority Leader: Dancin' Dick (on account of the footage of him attempting the Electric Slide the night before the debate) has a decent shot of winning the nomination, since he's the only Dem west of the Mississippi running (apart from Moseley-Braun, who I'm convinced doesn't realize she's in the race). Still, he was the only Democrat to wind up having to step down from a leadership position in the wake of the 2002 mid-term elections, and the base may still see him as a scapegoat for the Dems getting their butts whupped.
Joe Lieberman, Connecticut senator and former VP candidate: The odds-on favorite at this stage of the game. Of the nine guys in the running, he's the only one who came out in favor of Bush using force in Iraq. That'll help him in the general election. And of course, there are still people out there who think Gore got jobbed in 2000 (but that's another story for another day), and those people will likely want to give Joe a second chance.
Overall, I see it as a three-man race between Lieberman, Gephardt and Dean. Of those three, Lieberman is the only one who has any sort of hope of making a dent in Bush's prospects; Gephardt comes off as being way too spend-happy and Dean has made some major missteps in the early going (such as envisioning an era when the US military loses its superiority). I still think it'll be an extremely uphill battle for a Democrat to win the presidency next year. Remember - Dubya knows the mistakes his father made 12 years ago, and this time there won't be a Ross Perot to steal 10% of the vote.
Previous columns:4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism