Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

February 3, 2004

by J

Walmart Candidates

The eloquent NYCO provides a great analogy in a diary at Kos:
It's Wal-Mart politics. Just as American workers pay dearly for those cheap goods sold at Wal-Mart (through lost manufacturing jobs, lost benefits, lost standard of living), I'm afraid American voters will be paying dearly for the cheap candidates being sold by the Democratic Party.

Dean is a practical and well-formed leader, someone who will probably reliably do the job you bought him for, and not break down very quickly. But people of his quality don't come cheaply, and that is the rub.

We have become far too used to cheap goods in political life, cheap goods passed off as leaders; but someone good like Dean requires an investment. Not just of $77 donations, but of perseverance, intelligent listening, active support, and yes, a little investment of faith. And maybe of discomfort once in a while; maybe some routine maintenance once in a while. But it's worth it, to have a fine piece you can use reliably for many years.

But at Wal-Mart, you can buy your leaders in bubble wrap. Sure, they're flimsy and dishonest and have no accountability or even simple backbone, but they look pretty good, and they don't cost you much of anything. You don't need an attention span; you don't need those $77 donations. You don't need to really support them actively - the media does all the work for you. They tend to not last as long, or be worth as much, but they get the job done, sort of, even if they don't exactly work as advertised. After all, there's always another cheap figure you can go back to Wal-Mart and buy. An endless supply.

You don't really know why the prices are such a bargain, or how those "bargains" affect you and yours down the line, and you don't want to know. Until eventually, you no longer have a job, and can no longer buy the cheap and abundant goods. Until eventually, you are effectively disenfranchised, and no longer have the power to choose anything but the cheapest garbage.

It was put very well on another thread here earlier, that we are constantly being sold the line that if we don't win this election by any means necessary, we are staring into the black abyss! Every year we are told this, and this makes it easier and easier to run to Wal-Mart to pick up the cheap space heater or paper towels or whatever it is we're told we need to clean up the present catastrophic mess. Every year we are told this, that it's wiser for us to settle for Wal-Mart. (Not only is it better and cheaper to shop there, but it's a moral imperative that we do...)

I do not buy it. Maybe other Americans will, but I won't. I am investing for the future. And I have come to believe that investing in a good leader is an investment for the future. Let me put it this way: I am no longer afraid of George W. Bush. I'm not afraid of November 2004 whether he wins or not. I'm not afraid because I have invested, and will continue to invest, in what's good and solid, in what's honestly made... something I can use reliably, pass down to another generation, something that's really worth something.

Wal-Mart is no longer for me, and that's why I'm for Dean, or any candidate like him, if there are any.
(Emphases added.)
Posted by J at February 3, 2004 07:31 AM

Do you have a direct link for that diary entry?

Posted by: Chris Andersen at February 3, 2004 03:03 PM

Never mind. I found it.

Posted by: Chris Andersen at February 3, 2004 03:05 PM

Whoops, sorry. Meant to provide a direct link. Should be fixed now.

Posted by: J at February 3, 2004 03:13 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

In Association with Amazon.com