Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

February 5, 2004

by V

Dean Edwards Clark Kerry

I'm curious where everyone's preferences stand at this point. Here are mine.
  • Dean. Of course; yes, still; and for many, many reasons.

  • Edwards. As an NPR interviewee noted the other day, there are no states Kerry will carry that Edwards won't. But there are other states that Edwards has a much better chance of carrying than Kerry. So... Edwards!

    Isn't the Dem electorate supposed to be acting strategically? Oh, right, that's just what the media says they're doing.

  • Clark. Military background with an executive aura and no piss-weak voting record to make him vulnerable, unlike...

  • Kerry. "Elect me, I only voted for half of Bush's stuff! My eyebrows haven't moved in weeks!"

    My current evaluation of how we got here: If not for getting the backing of the Kennedy Machine, Kerry would have been an asterisk. What will he have to repay them with?

    Another annoyance - He's been stealing Gephardt's lines without credit lately. "Like father like son, one term and he's done", etc.
If Sen. Kerry wins, I'll deal with it, but I beg this favor of the Kerry clan:

Do not let Chris Lehane back in the building. Kiss of Death.

Anyway. That's my ranking. What's yours?
Posted by V at February 5, 2004 08:30 AM

Today (and the 2-3 slots could change tomorrow, although 1-4 won't):


Clark, because I want to shake things up in Washington, and there's a chance that Clark would

Edwards, because I think he might actually believe the "two americas" theory

Kerry. Guh. When Kerry's talking, my tv/radio stays on only a few seconds more than when Bush is talking.

Posted by: J at February 5, 2004 08:44 AM

Ditto J's list and reasoning.

Edwards' talk about two Americas is the only thing I like about his campaign. But... it's an important issue that seriously needs to be addressed.

BTW anyone else get a kinda Bobby Kennedy deja vue feeling about Edwards' campaign strategy vis a vis poverty? He doesn't pull it off like Bobby did 'cause he doesn't come across as sincere as Bobby did. But, I get the feel that his strategy is loosely comparable to BK's before he was assasinated. Just the poverty issue, though. Nothing else about it really reminds me of BK.

Posted by: Kevin at February 5, 2004 10:00 AM

I wonder if folks aren't coming 'round a little bit to Kevin's way of thinking.
Watching the Edwards victory speech in S.C. the other night, I realized something: he was talking about *poverty*. That's excellent. Meaning, it wasn't another rehash of Democratic boilerplate issues, which, for those of us who actually follow and watch this stuff, was a merciful blessing indeed.
Also, I think it was the *style* that was vaguely reminiscent of RFK. "For the girl in poverty..."
we run this race "for that girl"... and constantly referring to a fictional 'girl' that, by the end, seemed very real.
Clark has stopped paying his staff for a couple of weeks. I know that Dean has done it, too, but I have friends in the Clark world, and I hear that the money spigot is really off, unlike the Dean campaign. The box is closing in on Clark, and there are very, very few ways to get out.
Anyway, I think people are starting to get the point on Kerry... somewhat slowly, but maybe, just maybe....

Posted by: Benjamin at February 5, 2004 11:15 AM

Dean's staff is paid up, now. And the bat's flying for Wisconsin at the moment.

Posted by: J at February 5, 2004 11:20 AM

Edwards is a one-trick pony really. But, if he can mainstream the poverty issue and get voters to respond to it... he could potentially dovetail very nicely into the VP slot on a Dean/Edwards ticket or even a Kerry/Edwards ticket. He could bring more than just Southern appeal to the table. As VP candidate much of the focus would be off of him... thus mitigating the downsides that he faces right now as a candidate.

Just pondering strategy here... :-)

Posted by: Kevin at February 5, 2004 01:22 PM

Edwards is a one-trick pony really

Oh I don't know. He's good at making arguments in front of people (lawyer). He can claim enough "Washington time" to know what he's doing but not so much that he's been corrupted (one-term senator). And he's been privy to plenty of National Security info on his committees, so he should be able to speak credibly on that.

What does Clark have over that? I won't count on the electorate swooning over a resume, myself.

All that said, while I think Edwards would be a fine guy to put up against Bush, I do secretly love the idea of him taking on Cheney in a debate. I think Edwards would float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Posted by: V at February 5, 2004 01:57 PM

Edwards' experience as a lawyer actually works against him IMO. Any good trial lawyer is skilled at arguing before a jury to get a certain outcome regardless of whether the attorney actually believes in teh guilt or innocense of his/her client. Americans know this and I think that really hurts Edwards. I know people who distrust him for that very reason.

Posted by: Kevin at February 5, 2004 04:05 PM

Dean has lost his shine for me, reading the now infamous CMU speech spiked any enthusiasm I once had, anyone who can say "Digital Pearl Harbor" with a straight face isn't someone I can take seriously (although I think the Al ("husband of PMRC Tipper") Gore endorsment was the start of that slide). So now it's simply a matter of picking who I think would run the horse race against Dubya best, rather than thinking there'll be a candidate I'd actually want to vote for.

Clark has spoken out against the First Amendment, so he's at the bottom of my list. I can't figure out what the appeal of Botox Boy is, but he seems to have enough post-Vietnam ghosts that despite his current lead I think Karl Rove will make hash of him in the demographics where people currently think he's strong. Dean would be nice because his marketing team at least saw people like me as a demographic worth selling to, but I'm not sure that he's got that unmeasurable charisma thingie going on enough to beat George; the reaction to the Iowa yell shows that there are people who can pull that stuff off and people who sound silly (no matter how sincere), and he's clearly percieved as the latter. I guess that leaves Edwards, who kinda strikes me as a good VP.

Really I'm kinda pessimistic about the whole thing at this point. If the Democrats need my vote to get the California electoral college votes then I'll do that, otherwise I'll be once again voting for some fringe candidate who might show up in the "margin for error" section of the polls.

Posted by: Dan Lyke at February 5, 2004 05:12 PM

1) Dean - just voted for him, in fact.

2) Edwards - I wish he'd done more early on to convince me, but he's really polished up nicely.

3) Clark - I'm a bit uncomfortable with having a general in charge, but he definitely could kick Bush's ass.

4) Gore - yes, I know he's not running. So what?

5) Kerry - but I will never forgive his dirty pool leading up to IA and NH. Nor his Iraq war vote (Edwards at least worked to redeem himself in my eyes).

Posted by: NTodd at February 5, 2004 05:55 PM

(1) Dean -- The guy with backbone, vision, and electability.

(2) Clark -- Oh well, if you can't have everything, might as well have Dean's positions in a different packaging.

(3) Edwards -- Crappy voting record only 5 years long, and has some energy on the stump.

(4) Kerry -- Barely won his senate race. In Massachusetts. Surely this is not a good sign. Sure he caved to the Repugs in most things and didn't vote at all in others, but I'm sure the GOP won't use that against him in the general.

Posted by: Shooter in AZ at February 5, 2004 07:21 PM

Dean is my man...but reality is that Dean isn't going to be the nominee. He will pick up enough delegates to get a great speech slot at the Convention...but that's about it. I love the guy...but he shot himself in the foot and the media ran with it. That's the way it is.

Kerry is most likely going to be the guy. I'm not especially enamored of Edwards myself. Every time I watch him give an interview with that slow drawl and with as few syllables as possible I feel like he's trying to slip one past me. He was probably going to lose his Senate race had he not entered the Dem Prez race.

I frankly don't care if Kerry isn't perfect..I care if he can beat Bush. First we get GOP out of the White House before they can screw this country up any further. Then we keep encouraging Dean to work for political change...and pressure Kerry to support it, too. The movement started by Dean can't be allowed to die on the vine.

Posted by: Carla at February 5, 2004 09:39 PM

Dean Edwards Clark Kerry.

The CMU speech bothers me a bit, I will admit, but even with that wart, Dean is still my favorite candidate -- and based on tonight's bat results, I'm not alone. 8^)=

I like some of the stumping I've seen Edwards do, but he's just a little bit too slick for my taste.

Clark doesn't really excite me. Not sure why, I've just never warmed to him. Maybe it's that there's a bit too much to the "he's actually a Republican" thing for me. (Voting for Reagan?!)

And Kerry, well, if Kerry gets the nod, I'm probably just going to tune out until November. There's nothing there for me.

Posted by: genehack at February 5, 2004 11:18 PM

I'll vote for Nader before Kerry. Why vote for Bu$h-lite? One thing that they have in common is that they both know the password to Skull and Bones...

Vote for Howard Dean!

The future you save may be your own...

Posted by: Steve Habb in Ohio at February 5, 2004 11:32 PM

I voted for Nader last time around as a protest vote against both Bush and Gore. I won't be doing that this time around and here's why:

1. The "Bush Doctrine" of pre-emptive war.

2. Domestic civil rights.

3. International cooperation vis a vis the UN.

All else being equal between Kerry and Bush (and I'm not saying that they are... but, just for the sake of argument let's say that they are equal), I'd vote for Kerry over Nader simply to get Bush out of the White House and put a stop to the grave damage he has already done, on those three issues, and wishes to continue to do to our great nation.

I hope it doesn't come down to a choice between Kerry and Bush. But, if it does... I won't hesitate to vote Bush out of office.

Posted by: Kevin at February 6, 2004 09:45 AM

I can't imagine why anyone who has supported Howard Dean would consider a vote for Bush. It's absolutely insane, in my opinion.

Dean has been the antithesis of Bush.I've supported Howard passionately from the beginning. But Kerry is not "Bush-lite" as some here are trying to say. Kerry has been in Washington a long time...and that certainly doesn't endear him to me.

I think the difference now for Kerry (and the Dems in general) is that they can't ignore Dean and the movement he's started. If they do...they'll start losing again and they know it. It's incumbent upon us as Deaniacs to make sure that we remain heard.

But to vote for Bush? What an insult to Howard Dean.

Posted by: Carla at February 9, 2004 07:34 PM

FYI Carla is the one who got me on the Dean bandwagon. What she says here is true.

Posted by: Kevin at February 9, 2004 07:36 PM

Carla -- I didn't see anyone on this thread suggesting that they would vote for Bush.

Frankly, I don't see how anyone, Dean supporter or not, could vote for Bush.

What I do understand is how people could be reluctant to vote for Kerry. Kerry is not "bush-lite" in every dimension by a long shot -- but he is in some important ways, and it's really unfortunate that the Democratic party has decided that he's their best alternative to Dubya.

Posted by: J at February 9, 2004 09:24 PM


I did see someone say that they wouldn't vote for Kerry...which means they'll either vote for Bush or third party. I was kinda responding to that. :)

Posted by: Carla at February 11, 2004 01:28 AM

Ok, but I don't consider "not voting" and "voting 3rd party" to be equivalent to "voting for Bush." As I said in another comment thread, while I was angry with the Greens in 2000, after watching the Democratic party closely for the past many months, I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to be angry with third-party or non-voters this time around.

Posted by: J at February 11, 2004 06:53 AM

I don't consider "voting third party" or "not voting" a vote for Bush necessarily, either (with the exception of the Nader thing in 2000). That's not what I was thinking when I posted that. I was thinking that someone was considering voting for Bush instead of Kerry, should Kerry get the nomination for the Dems. My comment was meant to address that specifically..and nothing else. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

Posted by: at February 11, 2004 06:46 PM

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