They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I voted for Wesley Clark
Still not sure who to vote for but will decide soon. Here are my thoughts:

Kerry: I like what he is saying. But here is my problem: My political views were heavily influenced by the war in Viet Nam. John Kerry was a heroic figure to me. He came back from Viet Nam decorated but disillusioned. He joined people like Ron Kovic (the Born of the Fourth of July guy) in organizing his fellow veterans to oppose the war. They camped out in the park next to the White House in protest. They were part of ending the war. Because of this, his vote to allow Bush to go to war seems almost traitorous and certainly an act of political self-serving. I have a much harder time forgiving him for this than I do somebody like Edwards, who doesn’t have that sort of history for me. Still, Kerry will probably be the nominee and he would be a lot better than Bush. He also seems the one most likely to be successful against Bush, if he can focus the debate on real issues, rather then spending his time deflecting the “Massachusetts liberal” label.

Dean: Other than Kucinich, I tend to agree with him the most. I admit that some of his record on things like gun control and the death penalty seem inconsistent, but for the most part he is right on. The problems are not policy, they are personality, I am afraid. Women don’t like him nearly as much as men do (an untenable position for a Democrat). He comes off as angry, testy, combative, etc. I *agree* with those emotions for the most part, but I think that they would prevent him from winning. 1/3 of the NH Primary voters, people who are notably more liberal than the average Americans, thought that Howard Dean lacked the temperament to be President. $250 million of GOP attack ads and enough people would be turned off that Bush would win in a landslide. Still, I find myself wanting him to beat John Kerry. If he looks like he might win Arizona, I might just vote for him. My fear is that he will continue to run, no matter what, even after it is a lost cause, and spend his energy and his millions attacking Kerry. That won’t be good for anyone. Update: I typed the above yesterday. Now I have heard that Dean has fired Joe Trippi, his campaign manager, and has also decided NOT to take Trippi’s advice which was to concentrate on Arizona. I don’t like either of those moves.

Clark: He was positioning himself as the candidate who was against the war, and was an alternative to Dean. After Iowa, there were plenty of alternatives to Dean and it became clear that the war was not a big issue with voters, coming after jobs, healthcare and electability. Clark seemed to suffer from foot in mouth disease in NH, making mistake after mistake and he dropped like a rock in the polls. Notably he has not been completely convincing in disputing what appears to have been his early support of the war effort. His inexperience in politics is both part of his appeal and part of his problem. I may just vote for him, though, because he has been putting a lot of effort into Arizona and he stands with Dean and Kucinich in his anti-Iraq-war statements.

Edwards: This guy has one speech and I just about have it memorized. He talks a lot about there being two Americas, one of privilege, one of needs. He continually mentions the 35 million Americans living below the poverty level. He makes a very good case for himself, he is charismatic and inspiring. His voting record in the Senate is quite liberal, he is a good campaigner, having won in the state that had Jesse Helms as an incumbent when he was elected. I’d consider him if he had a chance, but he is ignoring Arizona, concentrating on South Carolina and Oklahoma. Even if he were to win there, he would still be at best a regional candidate.

Lieberman: The Arizona Republic(an) endorsed this SOB this morning. He is just plain awful. One of my reasons for voting for someone with a chance in Arizona is to make sure that he doesn’t appear to do well here.

Kucinich: I voted for Ralph Nader last time and you can see how far that got me. Odd note: Kucinich voted consistently pro-life until around the time he started running for President.

Sharpton: He is on the ballot.

So, either Clark or Kerry. I gotta hit the mailbox within the next couple of hours.