Here’s To Howard?

Peter Beinart wonders if the Democrats should have just gone with Howard Dean. Certainly Dean couldn’t be accused of being a flip-flopper and his position on Iraq has remained unchanged since the beginning. Dean would have also fired up the Democratic base in a way that Kerry has not. Of course, Dean was also a loose cannon with a predilection for shooting his mouth off at inopportune times.

Still, all in all it’s hard to imagine Dean doing much worse than Kerry is. Right now most polls show Kerry at anywhere from 42-45%, which is about as low as he can sink at this point. At the very least Dean would have provided “a choice, not an echo” for the Democrats. Instead they went with the cold political calculus of “electability” – a decision that has been proven to be fatefully wrong as the Kerry campaign continues to sputter and embarrass itself at every turn.

4 thoughts on “Here’s To Howard?

  1. Heh, I didn’t think Dean or Kerry were electable from the beginning. Although I know you didn’t care much for him, I thought it was a shame that my candidate (Wesley Clark) didn’t step into the primary race until it was all but over… with a strong running mate (I’d have picked Joe Biden), he could be manhandling Bush right now. The only move Clark made that wasn’t shrewd was his timing- and it wouldn’t suprise me if we see him again, and much stronger, in 2008 (given that he’s set up WesPAC and has been campaigning all over the country for Kerry, it appears he’s going to be in the political field for some time).

    Kerry can’t communicate, he’s probably too liberal, and he’s played right into Rove’s hand repeatedly. I, for one, won’t be voting for him this fall. A irresolute Bostonian isn’t a real alternative to an incompetent Texan, and I’m in South Dakota anyway, so I guess I’ll probably be voting for the Tinfoilhatitarians this time around- at least I know what they stand for, even if they’re unelectable.

  2. Jay: Your incessant attempts to destroy Democratic morale are always humorous, but anybody with a shred of common sense knows Al Sharpton had as good of chance at being elected President as Howard Dean. John Kerry is a less than ideal candidate, but the campaign is nowhere near desperate enough that it needs to be looking back with the coulda-shouldas already. I liked John Edwards during the primaries, but recognize now he would have been lambasted, fairly or unfairly, on lack of experience (how could a U.S Senator on foreign policy committees possibly compete with a one-and-a-half term Governor from the state with the weakest gubernatorial powers in the nation?). In retrospect, John Kerry was the only choice of the nine that had a shot IMHO.

    Nicholas: Clark wasn’t ready for political primetime. He seems like a decent enough chap and may well have a political future, but his gargantuan early mistakes (sharing a stage with Michael Moore!) made Howard Dean seem solid as a rock by comparison. I think your ticket should have been reversed. Joe Biden strikes me as of one of the few Democrats with the political skills necessary to outmaneuver Karl Rove. I wish he was the nominee.

  3. It seems that the Dems desire to get a nominee early may have backfired. The primary process was so rushed and front loaded that they didn’t allow time for the candidates to develop. If Kerry’s own people are showing buyer’s remorse, this would be the reason.

  4. I actually disagree with your take on Clark sharing the stage with Moore, Mark. I thought that was a political masterstroke, though I’m no great fan of Moore. Clark’s biggest liability is that while he’s politically a Clinton Democrat, he was once a Nixon Republican- very middle of the road, and while that would play well among southerners and working class democrats, and he himself has what it takes to bring the big-city establishment behind him, he’s a total turn-off to the left-wing liberal activists- the Nader defectees and the Dean Democrats. On the other hand, Moore is taken seriously by these folks, and an endorsement from him tells them, “hey, this guy can’t be so bad!” So, love or hate Moore, it was a brilliant move- just way too late. By the time Clark stepped into the race, the establishment was rallying for Kerry, the activists had Dean and Kucinich, and the populists were flocking to Edwards. It was a wonder he did as well as he did- and bodes well for any ambitions he has for 2008.

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