Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Robert Kuttner has a great editorial on Howard Dean and his campaign. It is the first national accurate look at the Dr. Dean. I would also credit Dean, in part, with the record breaking primary turnout. If this occurs in November, the Democrats will make a bid for taking control of the House as well as the White House. Highlights of Kuttner’s article include:
• He got into the race early -- and bravely -- when President Bush, waving the bloody shirt of 9/11, was deemed unbeatable…In a sense, he made it safe for the rest of the Democratic field to be a lot tougher on Bush and his rogue foreign policy.
• Despite the faltering of Dean's candidacy, every other candidate is now imitating the e-fund-raising that Dean pioneered, which still has the potential of allowing small money to level the playing field against big money.
• For starters, one always had the sense of an odd marriage -- the right movement yoked to the wrong guy. This was a progressive, grass-roots army in love with a rather tightly wound centrist candidate. As the governor of Vermont, after all, Dean had been a fiscal conservative to a fault. And despite his rebirth as a populist in the campaign, neither his policies nor his temperament suggested a man of the people.
El Guapo’s Ghost is not a Dean supporter even though I am a Vermont Democrat. I never voted for Dean. The Iraq War was Dean’s first real liberal position. Dean is a President Bill Clinton/DLC/conservative Democrat. Although I have voted for Senator John Kerry in his battle with Bill Weld back in my Mass-hole days, I am supporting Senator John Edwards because he can WIN.
Kerry has ridden a wave of primary wins on “electability” because he has the experience to confront President Bush on national security issues. But I would contend that is not the biggest issue for independents and swing voters in the battle ground states around the Great Lakes. As Clinton said, “It’s the economy stupid.” Making national security the focus of the Democrats campaign will be a mistake. The President’s foreign policy is the major issue dividing the country. It will not win independent votes in the swing states.
Like Clinton, Edwards can feel your economic pain. He can change an independents heart and mind and win their vote. Kerry can not. The Democrats need to focus on the economy and leveling the playing field for all Americans to win in November and Senator John Edwards is the best person to deliver that message.