TFM VOTER GUIDE PART #DEUX: ACTUAL PEOPLE
In the previous post I gave a partially-informed overview of the propositions on the California ballot tomorrow, and what I intend to do with them electorally. Now we move on to actual people who are in actual campaigns for actual offices.
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
: There are very valid reasons to vote for each of the remaining Democratic candidates, as well as one of them who is no longer running.
You could vote for John Kerry
because he has run a very strong campaign that has weathered both adversity and stagnation, he has taken on the best elements of its competition (i.e. Dean's spine), and he will be strong against Bush on national security (in both policy and certainly experience) in ways that the other candidates aren't.
You could vote for John Edwards
because of his positive vision for America, his uncanny ability to connect with everyday American people, his great ability to tap into an economic populism that the Bushies must see as a danger given their awful economic record, particularly on jobs, and certainly because of his good looks, and no doubt because of of his ability to communicate with the dead.
Oh wait, that's John Edward
You could vote for Dennis Kucinich
essentially as a protest vote (given the media's refusal to actually cover the man) to try to get the more center-left flank of the party to acknowledge and incorporate the stances supported by the man from Ohio.
You could vote for Howard Dean
in thanks and acknowlegement that he has given Kerry and the rest of the Democrats some much-needed backbone, and that he was willing to strongly attack Bush when virtually none of the other Democratic candidates even dared to do so.
And you could vote for Al Sharpton
because for the most part he has not been the divisive element in the campaign that many Dems feared he would be and many Repubs jumped for joy hoping he would be. That is, aside from his somewhat counterproductive sniping at Dean.
So do whatever you want, and I'll be mighty proud of ya. As for me, I'm voting for John Kerry
, and doing so for a variety of reasons. This election will be less about lazy likability issues than 2000 was, and while I think Kerry has the ability to come off as likable (contrary to conventional wisdom, perhaps), he definitely has experience up the wazoo, and that will count more this fall than four years ago. Edwards would make a great president, but he has as much political experience as Bush did in 2000. (Okay, so it ain't like Edwards "failed upward" in his legal career like Bush did in business)
Some are beginning to make a big deal about how Kerry's primary campaign has grown cautious
. Of course, we should also remember that Kerry is the clear frontrunner, and there's nothing that could backfire worse for a frontrunner than to attack someone who's viewed pretty much universally as a likable guy, in John Edwards. It's pretty hilarious: The media covers the primary campaign like it's nothing more than a horse-race, free of expansive policy debate, and then they get all shocked when the frontrunner tries to keep his/her lead by being cautious. Seabiscuit didn't blow his wad around the first turn, so why should John Kerry?
It is, though, valid to ask whether Kerry would then get "cautious" in the general campaign should he find himself with a lead over Bush in the weeks before the election. I doubt he'll be cautious in the Gore-ian fashion, and the reason is pretty simple: Whenever Bush's critics keep the pressure on, Bush's polls go down. Nobody has really attacked John Edwards yet, so it's hard to know what would happen. What we've seen with Bush is that his bark is worse than his bite, and that whatever Midasesque golden touch he has, has been misplaced, between the aborted good-cop, bad-cop game with Hastert
on the 9/11 commission, and the clumsy lurch to support the FMA (which appears DOA
Also, Kerry declined federal matching funds (as did Dean), so he wont be held back by spending limits in the period after the primary dust has settled and before the Democratic National Convention in Boston this summer. If he had entered the fund system, Bush would have hammered him, pretty much unchallenged, for a period of a couple months with that $200million warchest, through ads and so on. With Kerry, we can support our guy and give him enough to attain relative parity with Dubya.
I remember a conversation I had with a former editor of the Patriot
, back in early 2002. If memory serves, it went something like this:
Him: Who do support for the 04 dem nomination?
Me: I'm thinking about John Kerry.
Tool is right. I would be very happy to be a cog in the Kerry machine. Anyway, let's move on.
SENATE DEM PRIMARY
: Obviously, Boxer
SENATE REP PRIMARY
: This is the part where I'm supposed to express hope that California's Republicans "pull a Simon" and neglect the moderate right candidate, former Secretary of State Bill Jones, in favor of one of his further-right opponents. But hey, I'm not gonna do that, I don't think Jones has a chance in hell of unseating Boxer, and the only possible Republican who did have a chance -- congressman David Dreier -- isn't running.
3RD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
: Obviously, everyone who isn't within arm's reach of me is free to read something else. But if you're an Isla Vista-inhabiting student like me, and you want a supervisor who will stand up for your rights as renters and citizens of the community, as well as protect the environment, then your man is John Buttny
(pronounced "butt-knee"). The State Assembly voting record of his opponent, conservative Brooks Firestone, raises serious questions about his willingness to stand behind laws involving guns, education and the environment. Vote Buttny!