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Which Democratic candidate will/do your support?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 08:46 pm
There's the 2004 Elections: Democratic Party Contenders thread, to keep track of day-to-day developments. There's a thread on who you would bet will win the primaries and elections. There's a thread on how best to replace Bush in 2004. But I couldn't find a thread that simply asks you for your personal preference, and the why and how of it.

I myself changed my opinion. See the first post below. I know some of yours' preferences from the above-mentioned threads. Will you expound? Or newly 'come out'?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 08:47 pm
Well, I've shifted. Call this a personal testimony, after all of the would-be punditry of the rest of my posts here. And no, I dont actually ever get to vote in your elections - but its my world, too. Oh, and the post got a bit long ... <apologetic smile>

-1- : who not.

Thus far, I used to have my preferences, hesitantly, with reservations, lined up like this: 1. Dean 2. Gephardt 3. Edwards. I liked Dean, I liked the mass movement, the idealism, he was rousing - out of nothing. I liked his boldness. My big doubts were about his all too brash or dismissive style, and, above all, about his electability. Not cause of any polls (in fact, they time and again served to quell those doubts), but simply cause of the way he was just too different from most Americans, in values and background - in his frame of reference, the way it showed. But he was still kinda-kinda my first choice.

Now what. Gephardt is out. I liked the way he came across as a person; I liked his old-world loyalty and appeal to blue-collar workers, far away in both heart and strategy from the postmodern liberal college elites. He targeted the ordinary working folk. I liked his obviously heartfelt commitment to them; it reminded me of my mum, where Dean's umfeld reminded me of my dad, the intellectual. But I didnt like Gephardt's crusade for protectionism. Protectionism protects the blue-collar workers in the US, but works against the poor in developing countries, who need solidarity even more. I also didnt like his negative campaigning, nor, obviously, his support for the Iraq war. Anyway, he's out - done.

And so is Dean, for me. At least thats what I'm feeling now. He failed us. Not so much just cause he ended up third, in itself - next primary, a next opportunity. But because all the fundamental arguments I was clinging to, to exorcise my doubts about his electability and style, all turned out wrong.

The Deanites said that he would bring out many new voters, many young people, many people so disillusioned from the system they hadnt voted recently anymore. That he would energize them. This is crucial to his candidacy's rationale, cause Dean is not the kind of guy who will win over a lot of suburban floating voter soccermom whatevers - he's not going to win over a heck of a lot of moderate Republicans or anything. In order for Dean to win against Bush, he needs to get all the Democrats energized and out, and bring outsiders in. Get even one out of ten non-voters to come out, and you have more of an edge than winning all of the floating voters would give you. Thats the theory.

But Dean didnt bring any energised new voters in, in Iowa. Trippi's hype of the Dean hard count consisting for two-thirds of new caucusgoers - all just so much air. They didnt come, or came only to vote Kerry or Edwards. No record attendance. No vistas of legions of new voters who'll make the difference against Bush. No "retaking the country".

Whatsmore, he would have the machine. The largest, the most energized, the best organised. Again, the rationale behind his candidacy is that the Dems should forget the undecideds - they should focus on turning out the base - and Dean can do that the best. Not. The Dean machine was not just unsuccesful last night - it was laughed at. '"The Dean people were on the corner of the street in downtown Des Moines waving signs," one woman laughed into her cell phone."

In fact, the last Iowa week showed that Dean's machine can achieve the very opposite. Opponents were tarring him with the brush of hot-headed, arrogant, know-it-all from day one, saying that he created too many enemies. But polls for a long time showed them wrong. In fact, until last month, Dean had the lowest unfavorable ratings of all, even though pretty much everyone knew him by then. He did seem the Trumanesque straight talker, who would be forgiven his missteps cause he was honest and straightforward. But his unfavorables shot up in these last weeks. Cause of negative campaigning, sure, but Gephardt suffered negative campaigning, too, and didnt have his unfavourables spike. Dean did it himself, too. And if the Deanites are right and these elections will be about rallying the base, then making a third of it dislike you is obviously not the way to go. I cant tell why 31% of the Iowan Dems got to think unfavourably of Dean - I dont get the campaign leaflets, and I dont have a TV, so I cant actually see or hear him. I cant tell wheter they were right or wrong to dislike him. But we dont need someone who can get to score so many unfavourables so quickly even among his own party's followers.

All of this is about strategy, tactics, numbers, not about programs, substance. But in a way, thats Deans own fault. His campaign has been all about process, not substance. The second clearest message of his campaign - after "no war" - hasnt been on programme. Its been: vote for us, cause our campaign is so unique and cool! Vote for us cause we're doing this amazing new thing, rallying voters through the Internet, getting all the youngsters motivated, bringing in all these new people!

The campaign and its success was itself used as the prime - or second main important reason, at least, to vote for him. Gephardt ran on health coverage and workers rights. Kerry ran on being such a good guy. Dean ran on being a "phenomenon" - and now the phenomenon's shown to be hype. Rationale imploded.

-2- : who, then?

So who am I left with?

Edwards. He's a centrist, I'm not. But he's from a simple family and always fought for the workers, the victims, for those on the bottom. And he's nice. He obviously means well. Also, he's turned into *the* policy wonk of the campaign. Just pumped out one sound policy proposal after another, like he was ardently doing homework - even when noone was paying much notice. He didnt just come up with some new cool-sounding plan just for the press conference's sake - he's really been beefing up, for himself as much as for anyone else. Plus, he's from a down-home state; if he isn't a regular American guy himself, at least he's grown up with all-regular American guys down in Carolina - he wont have to awkwardly adapt to the down-to-earth, religious, blue-collar mindset like Dean was noticably having trouble doing.

But - he's unexperienced, he looks young - he doesnt have Kerrys or Clarks military credentials or Dean's governors experience - I mean, basically, who is he? Guy like that gonna unseat a president in wartime? And hes a lawyer - lawyers are hated - fodder for the Bush campaign. Not ideal.

I'm kinda coming around on Clark. He's an ex-Republican, even recently praised Bush. Me, I'm from an all-red family, I dont look kindly on sudden switchers - it doesnt show much of a heart for the cause. Seems, if not opportunistic, at best shallow. Plus, he seems arrogant, and he really badly stumbled in his campaign, making all kinds of gaffes, all suggesting that he really was thinking that just being Wesley Clark should simply be good enough. So vain. And on Iraq, he's taken every position one can take. Thats all bad.

But more recent campaign reports from NH sound better. He seems as eager to listen now, as he is to talk of himself. He seems kinder, more serious, more aware of the job he's up against, and what it will take of him. He still doesnt seem the policy wonk Edwards is, he could do with beefing up, but at least he now seems to have become modest enough to realise he will indeed need to.

Meanwhile, he still comes out with bold statements, unafraid to address stuff thats not just not mainstream, but thats outside of voters' attention span altogether - like Putin's Russia. That he came out against Putin, when there was no electoral gain to be had there, whatsoever, showed real commitment to his convictions. Perhaps its from his time in Yugoslavia. And of course, that stint is one of the main pluses about him. He was on the right side, there - when so many were not, or not all too eager to be.

And though I dont like candidates who run on their biography, at least with him it represents something more than the purely personal. Kerry seems to run exclusively on his biography, in particular the 'Nam bit. So - he was a courageous man in battle. Thats good credentials for a man. But he was just an officer, or what was it - he went to 'Nam, did his stint, came back, thats it. Clark was on top of the system - he's shown the same battlefield courage, plus a career around it making decisions that would decide wars. It implies a birds-eye expertise, not just personal courage.

Edwards or Clark. I'm gonna really have to get used to that. It dont sound right, at all, yet. Not "me". But perhaps it'll grow on me.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 08:56 pm
I know exactly precisely what you mean, though I never really liked Dean. Some things I liked, some things not. I have spent the process so far with my arms crossed, looking through slightly slitted lids, saying "Do I HAVE to support Dean?" And I will, if it comes to that.

I am finding the idea of Kerry less off-putting than I expected. The reasons are not noble. I like that someone with good hair, good height, and a hero's military background has a record and ideas that are good enough. As much as I would like to, I do not discount for one minute how important image is in swaying the great American middle.

I feel almost exactly as you do about Edwards. I worry about the niceness thing that got him so far in Iowa, though. Bush's people have a ton of money, and are ruthless. I worry about what they would do to him.

I don't know yet about Clark. One thing I am waiting to see is if he made a fatal miscalculation in skipping Iowa. Last night, though, I did say to myself, "Kerry/ Clark. Kerry/ Clark. Kerry/ Clark" a few times, to see what sort of a ring it had to it. That would be a nice strong antidote to any anti-American/ anti-military stuff Bush tries to pull.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 09:19 pm
I immediately liked Clark, from an NPR interview before he committed himself to the chase. I never warmed up to Dean. I was all behind Kerry at the outset of this race, but then I lost interest in his harping on his nam experience and his little hissy-fit-firings. My true fav is Kucinich, but he's basically unelectable. Edwards falls in the middle.

I, too, think Clark made a big mistake skipping Iowa.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 09:26 pm
I prefer Clark's policy ideas but in Kerry's image.

Frankly I think Kerry's image is better to put up against Bush than the others.

For me the deal is electability. Dean has no electability to my estimation. Not a knock on him really. But his image won't work as well against Bush. He's more of a run against Clinton type.

We need a craggy military-type guy.

Sounds frivolous but I'm serious.
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 10:05 pm
I was full behind Dean until the past few days. He is seeming very one-dimensional of late. I still like the idea of his grass-roots movement, but I (like many people I believe) have growing doubts about his personality.

I am very impressed with Edwards' performance. At first he seemed a bit "salesy" to me but he is showing idealism and leadership that are very attractive.

I think I would be happy with Kerry, Dean or Edwards. I do still believe that any of these three could run a very strong campaign against Bush.

I don't like the idea of Clark. I think we need a Democrat to run. Clark reeks of the "anyone but Bush" mentality that just seems wrong..

This is going to be an interesting few weeks.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 10:17 pm
Thats funny ... that makes two of us who would have clicked Dean last month, and have clicked Edwards now instead.

Well, not the first time I agree with you, ebrown ;-)
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hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2004 10:22 pm
I prefer Kucinich, I eagerly await president Dean.
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IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:09 am
I now support Kerry, if only for his electability. A choice has to be made between which candidate has the best platform and which candidate has the best chance of beating Bush. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Dean is no longer able to mount a real challenge to the incumbant. It is a shame considering how many high profile people have wasted ther political capital on supporting Dean.

The bottom line is that I, like most Democrats, would rather see any Democrat in the White House instead of George Bush. At this point, Kerry seems the logical choice.
0 Replies
 
IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:10 am
Having said all of that, Geroge Bush is ultimately going to win. This scares me.
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Montana
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:38 am
Kerry 100%

My reasons are simply because I had some issues when I lived in Mass and in turn I wrote to dozens of politicians looking for help and the only one who responded was Kerry. I didn't get a letter or email, but instead his office called my home and listened to what I had to say. I like politicians who actually care about the people, so it's as simple as that for me.
0 Replies
 
Montana
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:40 am
IronLionZion wrote:
Having said all of that, Geroge Bush is ultimately going to win. This scares me.


Not true. It's up to the people of the United States to vote, so this won't happen. I'd love to vote in the US so bad I can taste it.

DON'T forget to vote!!!!! ;-)
0 Replies
 
Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:42 am
It's down to a field of four.

Kerry

My Profile: The perfect candidate (until he opens his mouth), war hero, experienced senator, initials J.F.K. Stone faced robot. Very poor ability to inspire passion in voters with his speeches. Lost my support the moment he started launching personal attacks on Dean.

Dean

My profile: The long shot, extremely intelligent, speaks his mind directly, connects with the core democratic voters, an incredably capable speaker, energetic, until recently avioded using his wife, religious beliefs, personal life as campaign props. What shot does a loud mouthed yankee governor from vermont with no foreign policy experience have against a well entrenched incumbant in the middle of a war?

Clark

My profile: The best bet, a southren rhode scholar, top of the class, four star general, won a war without costing a single american life, can wipe the floor with Bush. Relies on his military experience as a crutch, not too great a speaker, seems too republican for my tastes.

Edwards

My Profile: The feel good candidate, a well accomplished southren trial lawyer, charismatic, energetic, photogenic, doesn't rely on personal attacks or negative campaigning. No foreign policy experience, limited domestic experience, comes off as too young and too idealistic.



My picks:

Favorite: Dean with Edwards slowly catching up.
Best Shot against Bush: Clark by a long shot.
0 Replies
 
NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 06:43 am
I'm sticking to Dean, but may start "Edging My Bet" a bit:(
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 07:01 am
I absolutely have no idea....still have some looking and reading to do....I want the person who can beat Bush to get the nomination...that's my number one criteria...the worst the dems can put up is better than Bush...
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 09:19 am
I'd like to see a Clark/Edwards team run against Bush.
0 Replies
 
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 12:53 pm
So far with all the dem candidates we're only in the first few dates and on best behavior phase, with the exception of Dean...he's pretty much what you see I think.....he's the guy that will just go ahead and break the ice and fart on the first date so you know who he is .... Razz I like him though......I just don't know if I want to move in with him.....
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 01:01 pm
I'd go with the one with best chances to beat Bush. Electability is the issue, as Craven put it.

Don't know enough about the remaining democratic contenders, but I'm certainly happy that Gephardt is out. He is the one candidate I wouldn't choose over Bush.
(Call it selfishness, but Gephardt's populist anti-Mexican record upsets me a lot)
0 Replies
 
IronLionZion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 01:52 pm
Montana wrote:
IronLionZion wrote:
Having said all of that, Geroge Bush is ultimately going to win. This scares me.


Not true. It's up to the people of the United States to vote, so this won't happen. I'd love to vote in the US so bad I can taste it.

DON'T forget to vote!!!!! ;-)


You grossly over-estimate the intelligence of the average American.

By and large, Americans are hopelessly ignorant about the state of the world. Few can identify Afghanistan or Iraq on a map, even fewer can distinguish between Osama Bin Laden's terrorism and Saddam Hussien's dictatorship, and 79% of Americans still believe Hussien had a direct connection to September 11th. It is pathetic.

When the nation is operating on so many twisted and incorrect assumptions, it is no wonder George Bush enjoys such popularity. If I was under the impression that Hussien was directly connected to 9/11, hell, I might have supported the war myself. Americans are blissfully ignorant and this ignorance will be manifested in the election. George Bush will win again - mark my words.
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Jan, 2004 02:04 pm
Quote:
Americans are hopelessly ignorant


That's a sad statement - then who is to blame? Cultural history? I'm not usually a blame type person but this never happened over-night or in the past 10 to 15 years.
0 Replies
 
 

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