Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Ted Koppel interviewed Kerry & Dean post-election, the contrast between the two candidates was startling. Kerry was stiff, "on," waving Ted's questions aside so he could deliver meaningless rote lines of campaign script to us, "the people," real vision this, real change that, blah blah, trying so hard to be "presidential" that he seemed not to be enjoying his victory at all. Yeah, he'd make a pretty good President - but he's still a cardboard politician. Dean was relaxed despite the loss, informal, direct, answering Ted's questions as honestly as he could (wouldn't discuss campaign strategy) - that is, Dean WAS speaking to the "the people." I like the guy. If this were an election that couldn't be won by Dems, like 1984, I'd say sure, go with him. Because the Dean way, the MoveOn way, is what has to happen in The United States, & especially in the Democratic Party, if Democrats are ever to provide a factual rather than fictional alternative to the Corporate Way - which goes unchallenged in the Republican Party. Kerry looks & sounds wooden, over-rehearsed, because he is The Machine. He doesn't understand any other way of being in politics. He's the kind of politician who says, "Don't put the cart before the horse."

Of course, Sharpton's Preacherman must always be acknowledged; he's not speaking just for & to a black constituency - he's representing the unfulfilled traditional goals of Democratic transformative liberalism, rightly judging as jiveass the professed liberalism of the major candidates. Dean & MoveOn are something else, increasingly necessary; odd echoes of ancient Democrats; Jefferson & Andy Jackson; & a re-assertion of anarcho-libertarian ideals - there are places I meet my conservative counterparts, in matters of privacy (pot, sex); freedom of speech & movement; common sense (for fiscal sanity, against SUV MPG & tax exemptions), & even foreign policy (war really isn't a matter of left versus right). These are the "grassroots" of the coming new coalition. & you kin bet yer rusty Clinton for President button that Hillary's already thinking about how to put it all together, should Bush be (Lord grant us otherwise) re-elected.

The Democratic Party needs - & is getting - another reform movement, but this one isn't coming with the official approval of the DNC; it's going to happen because it's already happening. Senators & Governors & wannabees better take a long, hard look at how Dean & MoveOn recruit & raise money; at these initial stages of an inevitable process. In the near future that process may not have the wherewithal to nominate & elect specific candidates, but it will definitely have the power to veto them.

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