Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm disappointed

Admittedly, I'm a the-glass-is-half-empty kind of person except when it comes to unfamilar music, Jersey diners, & southern libruls, which I approach with habitual optimism & hope regardless of many past, deep disappointments. The '06 elections & President Monkeybrain's unpopularity did not instill in me a conviction that the Democrats could occupy the White House merely by nominating a candidate who could string words together into coherent sentences. Every election is a unique equation. No one should run for elected office with a secure belief that the conditions existing at the beginning of the campaign will hold until Election Day. More often than not those conditions do hold, especially in local races. But it's an inflexible & foolish strategy.

I am not pleased with John Edwards leaving the presidential race today. I didn't realistically expect him to make it to the convention given his percentages, but I wanted him to roll the dice on Super Tuesday & let his supporters nationwide have our say. Media gives Edwards' exit more importance than it ever gave his candidacy. I think his presence balanced the see saw of Clinton & Obama, both of whom would carry obvious handicaps into the general election. More importantly, he set the bar high on opposition to the Iraq War & on support for health care, the working poor, veterans, labor unions, & other traditional Democratic social justice issues, & the other candidates had to jump higher as a result. But in a primary race, there isn't a whole lot of space to move around between Clinton's old Democrats & Obama's new thing style. The bigshots are choosing sides & they're not choosing John Edwards. I thought Edwards was the only candidate who could put Tennessee, Arkansas, & Louisiana into play in November. His populist message was substantial, endearingly Democratic, & appealing to independent voters. I also think that progressive southerners still arrive at their views through a different process & with deeper insight than yankees or Californians. John Edwards didn't cynically change his positions; he had a series of profound epiphanies.

Thompson is gone. Giuliani is gone, thank heavens, although there was so much more America should have learned about "America's Mayor" before he quit; voters felt dirtied enough by what they did learn. Huckabee's appeal is as narrow as his theology. Ron Paul is the screwballs' screwball. Which leaves McCain & Romney. So the general election is now reduced to four possible matchups. Don't overestimate the impact of the vice presidential candidates, they rarely have any. No Dem VP can rescue Hillary from "Billary" & "icy bitch" or Obama from "Obama-Osama" & that other word never said in polite company. Because that's what lies ahead for Democrats. The Repugs run campaigns on two levels; one has to look into the ugliest places to find the lower one. I hope Hillary & Barack are prepared for the worst. I hope each of them has thought far enough ahead to have a map with 270 Electoral votes worth of blue states.


If I were a Republican, I'd pick Huckabee over McCain. His looney religious beliefs aside, Huckabee was a sitting Governor, meaning that he had to craft solutions to his state's problems. These people are generally a bit more flexible with their party's ideology than a legislator, who knows that, at the end of the day, the buck doesn't stop with him or her. Didja ever hear the phrase, "a pothole doesn't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat?"

McCain's legislative record was unremarkable and I never understood how he earned his "maverick" label when he probably disagreed with his party less than 5% of the time.

Of all of the three remaining GOP contenders, McCain is the one I worry about the most.
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