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2004 Elections: Democratic Party Contenders

 
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 02:31 pm
sozobe wrote:
It's impossible to know, I've been wondering too. But I still think that the "slick" thing would've been too easy to pin on Edwards, the connections to Clinton and untrustworthiness. Handsome, ladies' man, etc.


Yeah, I mean there's no telling whether a label will stick, it's hit and miss.

Quote:
The two main things that they're flogging Kerry for (so far -- he's got to come out proactive rather than reactive at some point) both bite Bush in the butt worse -- flip-flopping and Vietnam. Whereas slick is diametrically opposed to Bush.


Yeah, good point.

My main reservation/question is that if Edwards is more "plain" it might work for him in that it's harder to make a lightning rod out of him.

But that also makes it harder to make a rallying point...

Tough call. It might be moot, Bush's advertising budget would probably be enough to make some labels stick for either of them.
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 05:24 pm
One writer I bumped into recently suggested that a significant problem with Edwards might arise in the debates where he could well come across as, or be successfully portrayed as, too young and inexperienced - compared to Cheney - at a time of great seriousness. A pretty lawyer with Breck hair against a wily old war horse.

I think Edwards will have to wait, but he's definitely a promising fellow for the future.
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 06:15 pm
Edward's is older than he looks and as a seasoned trial lawyer I think he could handle a debate with Cheny without breaking a sweat.
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 06:33 pm
nimh, that last post of yours is a sheer joy.

I have probably read it fifteen times, and I get just as much pleasure out of doing so the fifteenth time as I did the first.

I continue to think John Kerry is going to select General Clark as his running mate, FWIW. Maybe it's just hope... Smile
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 06:36 pm
I think choosing Clark would be a smarter move than to choose Edwards.

I think the swing voters would go more for Clark.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 06:52 pm
But, Cheney would have him in tears in the first five minutes. He has to have frontmen to tie his shoes.

Possibly Dean...? It would get the sad base out...
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2004 06:56 pm
Dunno, the Dems are definitely in a conundrum, even talk of McCain brightens the Dem party outlook.

They got nothing but nothing, Bush can still only lose it himself.
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BillW
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2004 09:57 am
Nice try, but it don't float boats.............
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PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2004 10:13 am
Brand X wrote:
I think choosing Clark would be a smarter move than to choose Edwards.

I think the swing voters would go more for Clark.


You got it.

Sofia wrote:
But, Cheney would have him in tears in the first five minutes. He has to have frontmen to tie his shoes.

Possibly Dean...? It would get the sad base out...


You don' got it. At all.

Brand X wrote:
Dunno, the Dems are definitely in a conundrum, even talk of McCain brightens the Dem party outlook.

They got nothing but nothing, Bush can still only lose it himself.


Whoops! You lost it... :wink:
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2004 06:20 pm
blatham wrote:
One writer I bumped into recently suggested that a significant problem with Edwards might arise in the debates where he could well come across as, or be successfully portrayed as, too young and inexperienced - compared to Cheney - at a time of great seriousness. A pretty lawyer with Breck hair against a wily old war horse.


Could be - or Cheney could come across as a semi-autistic, dogmatic ideologue with little empathy for ordinary Americans' day-to-day problems, when faced with Edwards apparently famed three-stage skill: make people feel he's one of them and feels their pain - move them - and fill them with new hope.

I really don't know, actually. I'd say either scenario would be equally likely. All depends on what America will look like come October, November.

Thanks Craven for coming back on this, btw. I still think Kerry was a disastrous choice, but that will be no surprise. I still believe that, with Kerry as their candidate, the only way the Dems are going to win this if Bush loses this - I'm with Brand X on that one. Luckily it seems Bush is well on his way to doing exactly that. I do admit that the alternatives to Kerry weren't exactly shining beacons of hope, either. I still don't know who would have been best. But not Kerry.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2004 08:17 am
PDiddie wrote:
nimh, that last post of yours is a sheer joy.

I have probably read it fifteen times, and I get just as much pleasure out of doing so the fifteenth time as I did the first.

Really? When I reread it, it sounds kinda disjointed and unfocused ... so its good to hear that thats not how it comes across. ;-)

In any case, I just came across a fascinating article that I would now be able to use in reply to Scrat's question - is Scrat around, still?

Scrat wrote:
We've had black candidates run from both major parties. Please show me where these were treated with hostility or marginalized by any sizable group because of their skin color.

On TNR now, there's a special, long, really interesting article on Barack Obama, the black Democratic candidate in this year's Senate race. Just to set down the bottom line here I can refer to how the writer is especially impressed by Obama's inroads in the primaries considering ...

Quote:
... that white, blue-collar voters have never been particularly hospitable to African American candidates. Indeed, over the last 40 years, despite the advances of the civil rights movement, black politicians have made almost no progress representing anything but predominantly black areas. Since the 1960s, there have been only two African American senators and a single African American governor--none of whom are currently in office.

For sure, the article specifies that this is also because African-American candidates were victimized by their own base, ready to blame candidates for not being "black enough" when they try to tailor their message to white moderates. But that's just one half of the story. Even candidates who consistently chose to do so, anyway - Douglas Wilder for example, who didnt have to prove he was "black enough" thanks to his civil rights record - came upon the racial barrier. Wilder ended up practically hiding the fact he was black - yet still failed tro convince whites that, just cause he was black, that didn't mean he was a hopeless liberal:

Quote:
[Some] African American candidates have attempted a second approach: de-emphasizing race and running to the political center. Perhaps the most successful of these candidates was former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder [..]. Paul Goldman, a top Wilder adviser who managed the campaign, recalls that he avoided drawing excessive attention to Wilder's race whenever possible--for example, by declining to cast Wilder in some of his own commercials. Meanwhile, Wilder positioned himself as a moderate on taxes and crime. (One of Wilder's most famous ads featured a local white cop testifying to his fitness for office.) Goldman also relied heavily on Wilder's heroism during the Korean War. The campaign ran on the slogan "FROM KOREA TO RICHMOND, HE'S STILL FIGHTING FOR VIRGINIA" in hopes of capitalizing on the state's rich military tradition.

But, though Wilder won both the 1985 race and his 1989 campaign for governor, these episodes testify as much to the limits of his election strategy as to its effectiveness. Wilder won the governorship by less than 1 percent--and even that was thanks to the unusual resonance of his pro-choice views on abortion at a time when the issue was all over the news. "Every time we took the abortion position [off the agenda] and we'd spend the week talking about something else, we'd lose pro-choice Republican women," laments Goldman.

Wilder also fell victim to stereotypes about black candidates, whom whites tend to see as overly tolerant of crime and devoted to government programs that primarily benefit African Americans. [..] Jesse Helms twice defeated Harvey Gantt, a charismatic black architect and business-friendly former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, by playing on white resentment of affirmative action. New York state Comptroller Carl McCall lost by 16 points to Republican George Pataki in the 2002 gubernatorial race, even though the state is home to some two million more Democrats than Republicans. And the same stereotypes nearly doomed Wilder as well. Despite his outspoken positions on taxes (he had pledged not to raise them) and social issues like the death penalty (which he supported), campaign polling showed that few white voters actually believed him.

Obama, hopefully, will be the big exception that will seem to turn the pattern around. When Bush grumbled to Representative Schakowsky that he didn't know the guy, she confidenly replied "But you will, Mister President".

But he is an exception in many ways. He is biracial, and the half that's not white is Kenyan, rather than African-American. The article makes a convincing case that Africans, like West-Indians, enjoy a specific advantage on African-Americans when it comes to whites' image of them - "the distinction between "good" blacks and "bad" blacks [that] has a rich pedigree in the United States".

Quote:
Obama performed so well among all demographics that one is tempted to conclude that working-class whites are simply more open to voting for black politicians than they were even five or ten years ago. But that would be a mistake. Anita Dunn, who worked for [Obama's competitor] Hull and sat in on that campaign's focus groups, notes that the only time suburban and exurban white voters ever responded negatively to Obama was when he was associated with more conventional black politicians. [..]

The power of Obama's exotic background to neutralize race as an issue, combined with his elite education and his credential as the first African American Harvard Law Review president, made him an African American candidate who was not stereotypically African American. "[Obama] is not stereotypically anything," says Mark Blumenthal, the pollster who ran Hull's focus groups. "He's different. He's different because he's biracial. He's a different generation. He's different in terms of qualifications than nine out of ten people who run for office." Free of the burden of reassuring culturally moderate whites that he wasn't threatening, Obama could appeal to their economic self-interest while also exciting his African American and progressive white base.

Plus, as you'll have gathered from the above, there's the traditional "you have to be twice as good to make it as a black person" thing of course, that seems to apply here as well:

Quote:
It's not clear how relevant Obama's example is for other African American candidates. There are, after all, only so many former Harvard Law Review editors with African names. Moreover, Obama's ability to be African American in a way that doesn't threaten whites is not the only, or even the primary, source of his appeal. His political talent is largely a function of his charisma, and such talent is, by its nature, not reproducible.

Still, let's hope that Obama will be the third popularly elected black Senator in the nation's history, if only to prove that at least a former Harvard Law Review editor with an African name isn't "marginalized because of his skin color".

Here's the full 8-page article ...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2004 06:39 pm
Quote:
If Howard Dean Were the Candidate ...
Flip-flops wouldn't be the issue; Iraq would. A look at what might have been
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2004 07:03 am
Nimh,

Interesting article & a very apt argument to consider at this stage of the Presidential campaign. I believe that, while a Dean candidacy would have spared the Democrats the difficulties they are now facing with John Kerry the presidential candidate, it would have merely replaced them with another, even worse set of adversities associated with Dean.

Recall that Dean truly excited most of the hard core organized Democrat constituencies and many members of the party. He burst onto the scene with a political force and enthusiasm that few expected. Dean delivered an unvarnished and aggressive version of the political views of these organized (mostly single issue) groups within the Democrat party -- unions, social-welfare barons, environmentalists, gay rights groups, anti-war etc. Later, as his candidacy gathered strength and began to appear almost unstoppable, suddenly the Democrat establishment began to scramble to abort this movement and find another candidate - anyone but Dean, The liberal media quickly followed suit and, after a strong performance by Kerry in the Iowa cacuses, Dean suddenly fell from grace and Kerry took his place as front-runner and later candidate for the Democrats.

Democrats are now left with the original issue that earlier caused them to enthusiastically accept and then suddenly reject Howard Dean. That issue is the acceptability to the American voting public of the political doctrines of the several organized issue advocacy groups that are at the heart of the Democrat Party. The earlier determination to abandon Dean and turn to Kerry was based on the evident belief that, though Dean truly excited the party faithful, he would prove to be a disaster for them in the election, losing by a 15% or greater margin and costing them numerous seats in the Congress as well - much like McGovern in 1972, Carter in 1980, and Dukakis in 1988. All this precisely because the ideas Dean represented soi well and so self-consistently were repellant to a large majority of Americans.

Instead they turned to someone they could trust, but who would present a disguised version of the Democrat platform, obscuring its otherwise unacceptable (to the electorate) elements. John Kerry stepped forward to play the needed role - a "war hero" who, like John Kennedy, would apply the "superior intellectual power",, and "charisma" that would attract conservatives and liberals alike.

Unfortunately for them Kerry is no JFK. He is instead a self-created synthetic war hero (a fraud), posessed of vanity instead of charisma, facile with words but devoid of both ideas and the character required to forge and communicate a new synthesis of their political views that could be usefully applied to the current situation. Kerry did well enouigh in his actor's role pretending to be all that, but the unfortunate facts of his prior acts and political pronouncements over the last decades gave the lie to his efforts.

Now the Democrats ask themselves if they should have stuck with Dean. My view is that their earlier assessment was correct - Dean would have led them to a big defeat at the polls, just as they feared. The Democrats need a gifted, skillful liar, one with unmatched political skills who can obscure the the facts to sell their tarnished political goods to the American public. Clinton did it for them: Kerry can't.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2004 07:16 am
While I don't disagree with George's observations here, the single most compelling advantae Dean would have had is that he is photogenic, personable, and likeable and most likely would have attracted those looking for any reasonable alternative to President Bush. Kerry is not so photogenic, personable, and/or likeable.

Those who have gradually moved out of the Kerry camp or who were truly undecided and more recently made up their minds and adopted Bush as their candidates, might have chosen differently with Dean as the Democrat candidate.

I think those supporting Bush are doing so because they honestly believe he is the better candidate, however. Those supporting Kerry I think are doing so much more because they are anti-Bush than they are pro-Kerry.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2004 09:35 am
Dean engaged the extreme liberal Democratic activist base, but scared hell out of the mainstream Democratic constituency. Kerry was acceptable to the wingnuts, and preferred by the less radical Democrats over the other Footnotes-to-Be despite the arguably better credentials boasted by Lieberman and even Gephardt. A Dean candicacy would have killed The Democratic Party, whereas Kerry's selection merely cripples it.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2004 10:53 pm
Maybe so. Liberman is by far the best of the lot in my book though he disappointed me very much when he sold out some of his convictions to adopt Al Gore's party line. Since Gore has dissed him so severely since, I am sure Joe bitterly regrets that now.

Gebhardt is so liberal democrat the GOP would have to run a really really bad candiate to get me to vote for him, but he at least does have and stands on convictions and has earned some respect for statesmanship.

And I don't know that Dean was all that scary Timber. Dean appeals to the extreme liberal doves and he surely would have tempered some of the more extreme rhetoric once he was the candidate. The Democrats have already proved they don't care much whether their candidate stands for anything, and Kerry has turned out to be such a poor campaigner, I would imagine many do now wish Dean was the candidate.

Question: why is the Kerry campaign keeping Edwards out of sight these days? Were his negatives that high?
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2004 11:00 pm
Edwards' favorability numbers blow Kerry's out of the water. He is out there doin' a bit of stumpin', but he's gettin' very little media attention. Mostly what he does is try to play counterpoint to Cheney ... a traditional roll for Veep candidates. Still, you've got a point; you don't hear all that much about Edwards ... I think Tuh-RAY-zaaah gets more press than he does.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 04:54 am
Foxfyre wrote:
Question: why is the Kerry campaign keeping Edwards out of sight these days? Were his negatives that high?

Nah. The last seven polls out had his, say, 'favourability bonus' - how much higher his favourable ratings are than his unfavourables - at anything between 6% and 18%. His unfavourables were between 21% and 37%. (See Polling Report)

Compare that with Cheney, whose unfavourables in the same polls were anything between 33% and 44%, with a net margin between favourables and unfavourables of between -3% and 6%.

Of the four men in the race now, Edwards has the lowest negatives.
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 05:16 am
nimh wrote:
...Of the four men in the race now, Edwards has the lowest negatives.


I suspect that is only because he is both the least visible and the least consequential of the four. Edwards made a fortune as an ambulance-chasing mefical malpractice tort lawyer. It is significant that even the Democrats are now supporting some form of tort law reform.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 05:23 am
georgeob1 wrote:
I suspect that is only because he is both the least visible and the least consequential of the four.

Well, his favourables are pretty high for someone invisible ... Pew has 'em at 49%, Newsweek at 45%, Time at 44%, Fox at 47%, ABC/WaPo at 39%, Gallup at 56%. That's all this month.
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