How I’m picking my candidate for President

Election 2004 | The Themes
Even though Iowa’s wrapped up, there are still 49 primaries left to go, and the contest is wide open. Let me take a few moments to clarify my political position.

My politics are simple. I tend to agree with everything in this month’s “State of the Union” issue of the Atlantic Monthly. So do most of the Democratic candidates. The trouble is, they just can’t say it. There is no doubt that we are spending beyond our means, and leaving the bill for future generations– the true lasting legacy of the Reagan-Bush “cut-tax-and-spend” Republican party. To counter this, the Democrats would need to point out the obvious, that we can’t afford college for everyone, unlimited healthcare, free prescription drugs, or even virtuously financed elections (just what is .

On are other major front, that of homeland security & foreign policy — you can throw me in with the New Republic here as well– we have to answer some tough questions as well. The Bush “doctrine” may be very dangerous for global security, but the standard generic Democratic response of “multilateralism” strikes me as too mushy.


For a political candidate to succeed, they must appeal to people’s base instincts. They actually. Bush, for example, surrounds himself with the “Pioneers Club” and such, typically fat cats who cut a little check in order to nice government payouts. I may not be giving $2000 to my candidate, but I do hope that for the level I give, I do get some tangible benefits of sorts.

Both Dean & Clark have excelled in building national grassroots networks across the country. Dean’s benefited from a giant head start; I was inspired by it, and sent in $25 back in June 2003. With a little more outreach from the Dean camp, I could have given more. I volunteered to help organize the official Dean Forums For America (no luck). The DeanSpace people have been more receptive to help, though I regret I’ve been putting most of my time into the Civilities site. I will certainly give in the general campaign, and get a rubber chicken dinner out of it, and rub elbows with other givers.


Which candidate will actually fulfill Bush’s 2000 campaign pledge of being a “uniter, not a divider?” What may help Clark, like Eisenhower, is that he has been largely nonpolitical throughout his professional life. He seems willing to learn, which his naive approach seems to support (“If I’ve learned one thing in my nine days in politics, it’s you better be careful with hypothetical questions.” Michael Kinsley found this a bit too naive in his Slate readme column, pointing out that “Hypothetical questions are at the heart of every election in a democracy.”) Overall, I need to research this more.


Who will communicate the tough decisions to America? Bush has clearly been incapable of that; his communications, outside of 9/11, have been gibberish.

Edwards is the best speaker of the bunch; in his C-Span stump speechs, he hits his courtroom stride regularly. His “two Americas” theme will continue, his “South is my backyard” will be trotted out to the folks who think that the South is the backyard of the nation, though his “war profiteers” hurl may subside. What’s ultimately curious is that some of Edwards comments about working harder to find terrorist within the United States (as he said in the Ted Koppel debate) has been obscured by some of his disagreements with the PATRIOT act. Overall, though, I have much more research to do to figure out which are the “stealth” issues the candidates are carrying forth, and how well I agree with them.

Conclusion? Prediction?

So I’m picking that the ticket to be Clark/Edwards. Clark has the national support, and the foreign policy cred. Edwards has the spirit and the savvy to anchor the campaign. They are not just “Southern” candidates, they can pull in the “Southern Lowlands” region, and also hold the “Big River” as well. (see Beyond Red and Blue by Robert David Sullivan).
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  • Response summary: 3 comments, 0 Viewpoints
    Prediction for NH Tuesday night Jon Garfunkel Jan 26 ’04 6:10AM
    The Future LeeCeHan Feb 10 ’04 2:02PM