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6 Men Enter…Only One Will Leave (Possibly 2)
2 Feb 2003
It's DEMOCRATIC THUNDERDOME!
In case you've been under a rock lately, the election process is getting underway and for those of you seeking an alternative to Bush for re-election, I offer up a brief examination of the 6 Dems running for the White House. Each of them has their own pluses and minuses but all are scandal free (for now). But they face off against a man who has a quarter-billion dollars to run with, Karl Rove, and a quasi-healthy popularity rating. Here's a run down on the 6 (And remember, there's no shame in voting for a third party candidate that can't win):
* Howard Dean: Former Governor of Vermont who can now fully dedicate his time to running to running for the White House. He was the first one to announce his candidacy (He did it last summer) and since then has been making very little noise, but is mentioned in all news articles concerning the Democratic runs.
+ Aside from Sharpton, he's the only one running who can fully dedicate himself to running full-time now.
+ Looks somewhat like John McCain (Has even declared himself the John McCain of the election season)
+ The most openly liberal candidate may win him support in the North and Pacific coasts, but will probably scare off the Midwest and the South
- Have you heard of this guy before now?
- Going to have a hard time raising funds
- Doesn't show up on TV a whole lot, nor he is getting made fun of on SNL
*John Edwards: 4-year (Yes, year, not term) senator from North Carolina. He's a former trial lawyer who is fairly well off financially, but will still need backing. He's also the only southerner running, which may or may not influence him come a year from now. My guess is he drops out in February or March and is picked up as the Veep candidate.
+ Trial lawyer wealth and experience makes him a dangerous opponent against Bush, both in cash and in debate
+ Youngest one running, might excite MTV crowd
+ Has a JFK/Clinton appeal to women and the TV cameras
+ He's from North Carolina
+ Clinton returns his phone calls quickly
- While it doesn't matter too much anymore, he's not very experienced (He's been a senator since 1996, but we've also elected two governors from lowly states, an actor, and Bush-43)
- Slightly inept with speeches and can be policy heavy
- Clinton returns his phone calls quickly
- His fence-straddling on Iraq may hurt him more than help
*Dick Gephardt: Experienced Democrat leader in the House. He made a bid in the '88, but lost to Michael Dukakis. He's no longer the House minority leader, but everyone's asking: He was unable to win the House back since 1994, how does he expect to win the White House?
+ Highly experienced
+ Well-known in Democratic community and the Midwest
+ Strong labor ties and support
+ Early hawk concerning Iraq may help win independent votes and moderates
+ Karl Rove is scared of him
- He's not exactly a fresh face to a lot of voters
- Doesn't look great on TV, his face is very bland and uniform
- May be viewed as Washington insider due to his extended time in D.C.
*John Kerry: Junior Senator from Massachusetts, he's been on the Foreign Relations committee since Day 1. He has, since Gore dropped out, become the front-runner for the Democrats. He's also the only one running with a military record of service. But when was the last time a senator from MA ran for President and won? 1960. He's my pick to win the nomination and right now has my vote.
+ Doesn't really need to worry about campaign funds (he's married to the heiress of the Heinz Ketchup company)
+ Experience with global issues makes him a seriously attractive candidate in today's world
+ Vietnam War veteran who's anti-war and can ask Bush where he was during Vietnam (See The Bad)
+ Lincolnesque stature makes him very tall compared to everyone else
- While he may be anti-war, he did vote in September to give President Bush the power to go to war with Iraq; he's also straddling the fence right now and is getting called on it
- He's stiff, aloof, and somewhat monotone, this may remind many of Gore
- A Massachusetts senator may scare up images of Ted Kennedy in many people's minds
*Joseph Lieberman: The only candidate who has any name recognition, he was Gore's running mate in 2000. Senator from Connecticut, Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew who is very devout, but even moderates and independents don't seem to mind too much.
+ You've heard of him before now
+ Has something of a Northern folksy charm (Corny jokes up the wazoo)
+ His pro-Israel stance may sway some moderate Christians to his side
+ Out-polled Sharpton among black votes
+ Has many of Gore's financial backers
+Like Gephardt, was an early hawk concerning Iraq
- His religion may've been a novelty in 2000, but now it may become a hindrance
- Many might associate him with Gore and be turned off by it
- His small stature makes him appear somewhat dwarfish on TV (especially considering the giant that Kerry is)
- His pro-Israel stance might sway global support (Even though the world doesn't vote, looking ahead it may become a problem, though he says it wouldn't)
The Rev. Al Sharpton: A prolific speaker, Sharpton is (in my memory) the first black man to run on the Democratic ticket since Jesse Jackson in the 80s. He may cultivate appeal as a third-party runner within in the party, but may scare off the party base with his denouncement of it.
+ Has indie appeal due to his outsider nature
+ His speeches would rhyme (Perhaps lulling the others into a doze)
+ Brings diversity to the ticket
+ Along with Dean, he's the only vocal anti-war one running
+ Along with Dean, he's the only one that can campaign full time
- He's Al Sharpton
- No serious platform to speak of and his radical liberalism (Which is more or less how he's presenting himself) might scare off moderates and some independents
- May have problem finding backers
- Liberman out-polled him among black voters
- And I hate saying it: But he is black and the country just isn't ready yet. Ask Alan Keyes.
So, what happens? Well, Iowa and New Hampshire are now 11 months away and with North Carolina in a year, you're going to see a slugfest like no other. Personally, I think the Democrats should've united behind one candidate and devoted all energy and funds to him. But since that isn't the case: Kerry to win the nomination and he picks a southerner, Edwards, as his VP. Gephardt and Lieberman are going to put up a serious fight, especially Gephardt in the Midwest and Lieberman in California. Dean and Sharpton might steal votes here and there, but their potential is small (but then, we said that about John McCain too).
Two others considering a run include Senator Jospeh Biden from Delaware and Bob Graham from Flordia. Gary Hart, who ran in the 80s but was caught with a woman on a boat, is also considering a bid.
I support more of Dean's platform than Kerry's, but Dean isn't overly charasmatic nor does he have a chance in hell of winning