August 22, 2003 - It is time once again to discuss this
election thing because, yes, there has been a definite shift with
regard to some of the candidates.
To start though, let's note that no candidate has made the media's
bias an upfront issue yet. It is The M/I's opinion that no
Democrat can - or should - win if they don't take on their biggest
nemesis at the moment, right-wing media bias, and take it on boldly
and often. They will be mocked and parodied endlessly, and
anyone wussy enough to put up with that doesn't deserve to be our
Now, onto the candidates:
Gov. Howard Dean - Talk to me after September 4. Here
is the story with Dean - in many ways, he is the man for the
Democrats. He speaks up quickly and strongly every time Bush
steps out of line, and after suffering the Spineless Calculator
Torture at Gore's hands in 2000, this really appeals to a party
furious with the current President. However, last debate, this
Vermont Governor could not even give a closing statement in a
professional manner, but instead tried to read it from a sheet of
paper in his hand, keeping his eyes glued to the paper most of the
time. On September 4, there will be the first nationally
televised debate, and we will get to see if Dean has made progress.
If he has, he may very well be the man for the Democrats. If
he has not been able to get a professional, charismatic edge by
then, he may be their worst nightmare - someone whose views they
love, but who is unpresentable as a candidate.
MODERATE - 6
INDEPENDENT - 10 (he will say what he has to say, period)
M/I Currently Ranks Him: #1
Sen. John Kerry - What can be said about him at this point?
All analyses would say he is the man, in particular his status as a
decorated veteran. But is he capable of speaking his mind the
way Dean does, is he capable of inspiring the way Dean does, is he
capable of taking President Bush to task the way Dean does?
These are the questions Democrats are asking. And The Moderate
Independent is asking if he has the belly to speak his mind boldly
and often. He seems to not love the fight the way Dean does.
He was ahead in New Hampshire and, of course, in his home state of
Massachusetts, but now is behind in New Hampshire and even losing
his lead at home. Dean is leading Iowa, Dean is leading New
Hampshire, Dean is almost leading Massachusetts.
MODERATE - 7
INDEPENDENT - 6 (just let 'er rip, John - Gore waited until
after the election to do it, and I bet he regrets it now)
M/I Currently Ranks Him - #2
Sen. Joseph Lieberman - Far from out of it, though he has
done his best to destroy his chances. Joe keeps trying to
point out the qualities which make him so very much like the
right-wing, which he believes would help in a general election.
In reality, Joe is much more in tune with what Democrats believe
than he expresses, and he has a sense of humor and a charm that will
keep in in things for a while yet.
MODERATE - 5
INDEPENDENT - 9 (hey, sticking to your conservative guns in
the middle of a Democratic primary is very respectably independent)
M/I Currently Ranks Him - #3
Rep. Richard Gephardt - He is a great candidate at the wrong
time. He is wonderfully independent when it comes to domestic
issues - such as being the lone candidate to flatly oppose GATT and
NAFTA - but has no foreign policy, period. He has no cajones
to speak out, period.
Sen. John Edwards - Sorry John, being from the South and
young and cute are not enough this time around. Has not
defined himself clearly or strongly. Should withdraw and pray
he keeps his Senate seat.
Sen. Bob Graham - "Please, pick me as Vice President."
Others - Give me a break already. They should get some
dignity and evacuate, let the real contenders be heard - except for
Kucinich, I guess, who is ridiculously liberal, completely
unelectable, but at least has a view point he represents.
Sharpton should have tried for Cali Gov - that is his type of
circus. Moseley? Oh Moseley? Why did this woman
choose to humiliate herself by pretending she was going to run for
something she is not?
The Wesley Clark Factor? - Oh, give me a break. This is
just the right-wing trying to assert that only someone the
right-wing would like - like a military man who spends lots of time
on CNN - is electable. Tell me where you stand on any issue
other than the war, Wesley, and then we can talk. Maybe he is
a great moderate and truly independent. But for all we know at
the moment he doesn't know or care about anything but war, and if
that is the case, he should just stay in the damned military.
What it comes down to for the Democrats in the end is: is it
more important to make the center feel comfortable by having a war
veteran as your candidate, or is it more important to have your base
fired up and motivated to get out to the polls in hordes and donate
and mobilize for you? Honestly, the Republicans have had great
success in the past decade by appealing to their base, presenting
candidates their that make their core voters happy and inspired to vote - and who
they were warned would be too right-wing to be electable.
Reagan. W. The right-wingers do very well. George
H. W. - was more moderate so he didn't do so well. Is there a
hint of wisdom here for the Democrats to follow?
In reality, it comes down to personality in the end - people vote
for the man more than for the platform.
If it is Dean vs. Bush, it will be sort of like Godzilla vs. King
Kong - remember those old Japanese movies? Two viscous
plain-speakers who will never back down, nor care what any
consultant tells them they should say. Very entertaining.
President Bush has the charm advantage and the polish advantage.
Howard Dean would have to define his foreign policy clearly and
believably to truly have potential. And, just as importantly,
find some charm to balance off his sharpness and anger.
If it is Bush vs. Kerry, is it a repeat of Bush vs. Gore, a bold
plain-speaker vs. someone who listens too much to the press and
advisers? Kerry has more charm than Dean, but Bush beats them
both hands down in this regard. Do Kerry's good looks and
heroic record draw enough soccer moms his way to offset losses in
the base who will be upset that Dean didn't win the nomination?
Which leaves us moderate independents where? The answer is
simple - what do you get if you cross Howard Dean with John Kerry?
Think about this for a second, the fiery straight talk of Dean
combined with the veteran status of Kerry. Yes, you end up
with John McCain. McCain and Dean even have similar demeanors
and faces. Kerry and McCain are best friends.
McCain will not run as a Presidential candidate. Occasional
rumors swirl that he might consider being VP to Kerry. The
reality is, that we as moderate independents must hang in there
until we see if Clark joins the race and who the Democratic ticket
consists of, including VP candidate. Will a "third party"
candidate jump in?
For now, we give Dean kudos for speaking his mind, and Kerry kudos
for standing tough against a media that wants to write him off.
We give President Bush kudos for being a charming man who
relentlessly pushes his chosen agenda and holds his ground without
fail. But, currently, as moderate independents, we do not have
any true representative at the moment.