Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I was having a great post-debate political discussion with my better half last night, and,as usually comes out of our discourse, I garnered some insight. This time into the coming campaign season. As the campaign picks up, and primaries draw near, let's put aside all else and admit that Ted Koppel's opening question last night points squarely to the real issue here- Who can beat Bush next year? Let's admit it Dems-that's the one thing we care about the most. So let's break it down-Yes, Clark has the defense credentials. And Clark is a smart guy, I've heard interviews with him (notably, Josh Marshall's from a month or so ago) and he really knows his foreign policy stuff. Honestly he'd be a great guy in a secretary of state or other comprable foreign policy position. But his domestic policies are underformed by a campain team that's trying to run a one trick pony in a military uniform. Plus you really get that sense sometimes that Clark's not so much running, as being run, and that comes across. Kerry is also a great guy, but he's picking up steam too little too late ( I, personally thought it was great when he told Rolling Stone that Bush "fucked up" the war with Iraq) but in the beggining he really didn't generate too much excitement and that's cost him. Let's skip the rest and jump right to Governor Dean. I've been backing him for awhile for a few reasons. Mainly because in the first debate he was the first one out of the gate (besides Kucinich) to spew anger at Bush. I'm angry so I liked that. And now that he's gathering insider support, not just from Gore, but from an obviously capable stable of advisors and policy sculptors, he sounds better than ever. What he said last night about holding the elections in Iraq first so that when the new Iraqi constitution is written it will have credibility and strength was very insightful and sounded like real leadership. I get the campaign emails, and his speeches are phenominal. And the style in which he delivers them is no less dynamic-I saw him speak, and the excitment and sense of empowerment he generates is palpable. He's tapped into something that will definately get him votes. But can he beat Bush? I think so-but it's gonna take guts, and strategy. He's not afraid to call Bush out on his policies, and that's important. But it makes it easy to paint him as angry, and that could be unappealling to some, unless you do one important thing, get other people angry too. The one thing I've read to date that got me the most angry was Molly Ivins book, "Bushwhacked". It brings home the way Bush's policy affects the peopple of this country on a personal level. If, during a debate with Bush, Dean attacks Bush's environmental policy, then puts up a big glossy picture of a newly unfunded superfund site, or an industrial waste filled cesspool right behind a residential area (houses in the picture, kids playing near the waste), then ties Bush's easing of restrictions with the companies who fund his campaign.....Well, lets just say that might piss people off. Especially those small towners who think Bush is a great guy who cares about them, but can't drink their water. All I'm saying is, as the cheerleaders say, B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!! The anger could be eased a bit tho (just a bit) so that Dean looks cool, and in control of the debate. It'd be really funny to see him get Bush angry. Get him on the defensive. Then let him sputter his way out of the White House. I guess we'll see what happens as the campaign season progresses. So far though, as Dean gathers momentum, and his confidence grows, he seems to me at least to be looking more presidential. Let's hope that only becomes more so in weeks to come.

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