The only guy who can win
As a long-time registered Democrat, I would like to see this nation kick Little Lord Fauntlebush out of his current playpen. Unlike many of the true believer idealists on the left, however, I'm not interested in revolutionizing politics or making a bold, new statement about what the Democratic Party stands for. I just want to get rid of Bush and Cheney.
I want a Presidential challenger who can win. Nothing else matters.
I remember back in '88, when Jon Lovitz did his hysterical sendup of Michael Dukakis on Saturday Night Live. He was in debate against Bush Sr., played by Dana Carvey. Bush was showing his dumb and prissy sides, but it was clear that he was going to win the White House. "I can't believe I'm losin' to this guy," moaned Lovitz's Dukakis.
If the Democrats aren't very careful, we'll be saying the very same thing next October. When I read on the 'net comments that "the jig is up for Bush," "people are fed up," "growing chorus of resentment," "his days are numbered," I shake my head. The President has an enormous advantage, and unless and until the opposition coalesces around one or two credible candidates, he's an odds-on favorite for re-election.
So I'm looking for a winner, and like any handicapper, I go to the list we're picking from:
Who's electable out of this bunch? Heck if I know, but at the risk of being labeled a racist, I'm going to cross Sharpton and Braun off right away. Between their race and their individual baggage, they're not electable. I'm not saying that's right or just, but it's reality.
So that leaves the Seven Dwarfs.
I'm going to toss Gephardt, even though he was all over The New York Times last week. This guy's been running for President for what seems like 15 or 20 years. He's never even made it close to the nomination, has he? Not a winner. Gone.
Lieberman? Lost in the last election. Trying now to sound like the brave, honest politician who's willing to do unpopular things when they're necessary. But hey, he's doing unpopular things! Plus, he's owned by the insurance companies, which is going to make his health care platform smell a little funny. And again, rightly or wrongly, I note that he is Jewish, which would make him a first for our great nation. Unfortunately, on that score, to quote Lloyd Bentsen, he's no Jack Kennedy. President Lieberman? Nah.
Dean? Great campaign so far, but he's not electable. Let's take the Democratic Party way back over to the left, he says. He's entirely too honest. It's refreshing, but so was Nader. Dean's a Dukakis waiting to happen.
So who's still standing? Kerry, Edwards, Kucinich, and Clark.
Kerry's got a problem in that he looks as shady as a Kennedy, but without the sex appeal. He's a rich boy Democrat who'd be running against the rich boy Republican. That's going to be a hard image to sell. He can't out-Yale a Bush.
Kucinich doesn't have a very trustworthy image, either. He's born again on abortion rights, but he was pro-life for years. He's way more anti-war than the average Joe. When they find out he's a dove and a vegan, middle America will say no.
So: Edwards or Clark? The general's going to fade, just as McCain did last time. We admire him, we respect him, but we aren't going to make him king. Maybe Vice King.
That leaves Edwards. Rich but self-made. Young daddy, JFK-style. Enemy of the insurance companies. Almost as slick as Bill Clinton. Just hawkish enough.
I'm tellin' ya, the one who can win is Edwards.