November 04, 2004

Dean '08 - Dr. Dream or Dr. Scream?

The Democracy For America blog, a Deaniac mouthpiece, is already buzzing and Ron Gunzburger (of Politics1 and DFA) is ranting like hell and already aiming at $10k in contributions. Only problem? I clicked on a link for DemocracyFest '05 and saw a movie ad called Bush Family Fortunes, which is going to be screened by the Deaniacs. It's a conspiracy expose type thing, Bush connections to the Saudis, big bad rich boy, etc. etc. All of a sudden my feeling that maybe the Democrats would turn it around and win in 2008 with Dean was sucked out. The conspiracy stuff turns off all the wrong people.

I think by 2007 they'll realize how stupid and irrelevant the conspiracy stuff is, Dean won't flirt with the paranoid left and will address the center on substantive issues. Or he won't and he'll lose.

He has a good two years to figure out why he lost in 2004 and why nobody thought he was credible enough to win, if he wants to come back in 2008. In my opinion, he, Edwards and Lieberman are the only marginally credible alternatives for the future. Clark is a huge liar, Gephardt repeatedly rejected, Graham got no traction, Moseley-Braun not big-name enough, Sharpton and Kucinich too outs with the party, and Kerry, obviously, a big loser.

Of those three, Edwards has name recognition but he flubbed the debate with Cheney, came off awkwardly, and even seemed sort of mean and un-charismatic. His one plus was supposed to be charisma (and moderation) and he doesn't have as much as previously suggested. I also think his pro-domestic benefits, anti-gay marriage, anti-civil union position will be less in vogue in 2008, especially if we have three years of Deaniacs coming up. [edit - notice how only 4 years ago it was amazing that Cheney might be pro gay marriage, and four years before that civil unions were considered decades off - the tide moves much faster as gays gain acceptance and people realize it's irrelevant to their lives.] At least I hope it goes out of style. After all, Bush, Cheney and Kerry are all pro-civil union, Cheney might even be pro-gay marriage at the option of the states. Edwards was the most conservative of the four on gays. Not going to fly next time.

Lieberman will go up if he can do more with McCain or even get McCain as a running mate or endorser. He won't. McCain would probably not run second fiddle and he'll be wanted in the GOP. If the war ends well, Lieberman shoots up for that. He's still considered too conservative for the party, no matter what. He's also anti-civil union.

That leaves Howie of the 2004 candidates. His scream is infamous, as is the preceding listing of states. But if he can project a valid image of a reasonable, passionate statesmen the next two years, he's got a shot. The Deaniacs still love him, and it's easy to follow their argument that 'selling out' to Kerry for electability was stupid, since Kerry wasn't electable as it turns out. Unlike most years, they can teach Democratic primary voters a clear lesson by comparing results. Normally politics leaves little memory for lessons like this, but here it's obvious: they voted for Kerry to win, and they lost. It's only a hop, skip and a jump to saying that a vote for Dean would have won - or at least been fun while still losing.

Nobody liked Kerry for the White House except his daughter Vanessa. He was everybody's SECOND choice. After you eliminate the other candidates - too lightweight, too crazy, too flaky, too inexperienced, too conservative - the only remaining candidate was Kerry. He was older, elected repeatedly, had announced for the White House in like February 2001, and seemed august and statesmanlike. Actually, he was an asshole until his concession speech more or less, and he lost despite his supposed electability.

He offered nothing to the electorate and nothing was given him in return. Maybe a good candidate in 2008 for the Democrats would have a shot. I don't know if Dean can overcome the meltdown in 2004, though. Either way, nobody will pay attention but the Democratic nomination is already very much in play for both parties, especially the Democrats.

The Republicans are focusing on tort reform and Social Security reform for now, maybe another tax cut, because they have some governing to do. The Democrats have some free time and they're already gearing up for Howard.

We'll see if by 2008 he's Dr. Dream or Dr. Scream.


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