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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 13, 2004 4:09 AM. The previous post in this blog was Welcome back to your cubicle. The next post in this blog is Take it away, gentlemen. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"I can beat this guy"

The ninth and final installment of The New York Times's profiles of the Democratic presidential candidates ran yesterday. The subject: Sen. John Edwards.

I've found these articles very valuable in getting a read on the candidates. I missed No. 8 -- I was out in the boonies of central Oregon and far from a Times outlet -- and so I didn't see what they said about Dennis Kucinich until just now. But from what else I've seen and read over the last few weeks, Dennis seems like the wittiest guy we're never going to vote for.

The Times piece on Edwards was pretty reverential. It certainly didn't dissuade me from my view that if nominated (admittedly a long shot), Edwards could actually knock George Bush out of office. Alas, I can't say the same for any of the other eight.

Edwards is sharp, intelligent, fearless, slick, very charming, and most importantly, a self-made success. He's sued the daylights out of big corporations on behalf of little people, which he used to be one of. He takes advice straight from Slick Willie himself. Edwards is not a career politician, and will save the world some other way if he doesn't make it to the White House. Plus, he's 50 years old, and he's got beat-up shoes and Timex watches to go with the spendy haircut -- hey, I'm down with all that.

An Edwards-Clark ticket would be formidable. For that matter, so would Edwards-Lieberman, Edwards-Gephardt -- or how about Edwards-Hillary?! But of course, no one's admitting to being willing to settle for the VP nomination at this point, and so it's pretty dang difficult to envision the second face on the Democratic ticket. But I hope we can get "Johnny" up there at the top.

Edwards has got a good shot at third place in Iowa (he just got a great endorsement by the biggest Iowa paper), and with a little luck he could take first place in South Carolina. The only thing that scares me away from him is the fact that he's going with Hootie and the Blowfish for campaign fundraisers. Yuck! Gee whiz, Senator, call Springsteen and Mellencamp. Or maybe Santana for the California crowd.

In any event, remember, my fellow lefties and centrists, the goal here is to beat Bush at all costs. I'll say it again, Edwards is the guy. As he put it himself in a recent New Hampshire speech: "If I can be on a stage with George Bush in a debate in 2004, with my background, what I've spent my life doing, wouldn't you love to see it?

"I can beat this guy. I can beat this guy."

Comments (14)

You know, we do sell the Times over here "in the boonies"...it's just harder to find :-)

If you ask the Chandler family, they're fully convinced that "The Bulletin" is the Times of the Northwest, but that's a LONG way from the truth.

And while Democrats can/may win the valley in 2004, Bush, despite my best wishes, will probably win the east side of the state -- they love him over here, which is sad.

Edwards is not the guy, in my own, unhumble opinion. The main reason is that his biggest weakness--and it's a huge one--is his lack of experience on foreign affairs. This is a guy who had not held office until very late in the 90s, and so it's not surprising some of his cupboards are a little bare.

For a pragmatist like yourself, that should be reason enough to keep looking.

(Thanks for the nice words about DK. He won't get elected, but increasingly, folks have quit dismissing him as simply a vapid vanity candidate.)

"his biggest weakness--and it's a huge one--is his lack of experience on foreign affairs"

Would that be like Bill Clinton's, or Jimmy Carter's?

I liked Edwards originally, but then I saw him on Hardball with Chris Matthews (how about "Clark/Matthews 2004"? that'd be an interesting ticket) and he came off pretty lame. Really good at throwing out an unsupported proposition, then shifting the burden onto Matthews (or audience-questioner) to prove him wrong. On the plus though, I did respect his willingness to stick by his vote re: Iraq. I do agree about the formidable nature of Edwards/Clark.

Edwards actually chaired a Senate foreign relations committee or some similar thing; on 60 Minutes he argued that he therefore has more foreign relations experience than Clinton, Carter, and most current Democrat candidates. He certainly has more than Bush did in 2000. The thing I dislike about Edwards is he voted to let Bush invade Iraq, then voted against paying for it. However, he may be slick enough to make such nonsensical behavior irrelevant to voters.

Edwards, Clinton, Carter. You're right about that.

I dunno, Jim. Johnny's not as much of a crook as Clinton (at least not yet), and he's smarter than Carter.

As a Republican, I've paid relatively little attention to the Democratic race. However, I have to agree that Edwards is the only candidate who seems capable of beating President Bush. From the one debate I watched, he appeared very bright and certainly moderate enough, but most importantly, he is genuinely likable. Too bad he seems like a long shot now; he and Lieberman are the two Dem's I'd most like to see in the White House.

his biggest weakness--and it's a huge one--is his lack of experience on foreign affairs"

Would that be like Bill Clinton's, or Jimmy Carter's?

Clinton maybe, but Carter?

Say what you want about Carter's performance in the White House, but he was a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annopolis and during his 7 year naval career, he served with both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rose to the rank of lieutenant (senior grade), working under Admiral Hyman Rickover in the development of the nuclear submarine program. He only resigned his commission after the death of his father to return home and take over the family farm.

I'd say that pretty much puts him in the middle of the pack in terms of foreign affairs experience for 20th Century presidents. Less experience, certainly, than Eisenhower and Bush I, but certainly more experience than Reagan, Clinton, and Bush II. About the same level of experience as Kennedy and Nixon perhaps.

Oh, and despite what Kerry might want us all to believe, sitting on some Senate committee isn't the same thing as foreign policy experience. Senators mostly pontificate about foreign affairs but rarely if ever actually make any decisions. The rare exceptions being the old activist types like Scoop Jackson and Jessie Helms.

Would that be like Bill Clinton's, or Jimmy Carter's?

Don't get me wrong--I'm not opposed to Edwards. What I'm surprised about is your shifting pragmatism. Carter was elected as a protest to Watergate. Clinton won the "it's the economy, stupid" sweepstakes after the cold war ended.

What did I hear on NPR recently?--history doesn't repeat, it rhymes. In this case, expect any Dem but Clark to be hit hard and often on the foreign affairs side. In addition to his inexperience, Edwards has established no credible foreign policy team and hasn't put any substantive ideas forward about terror et. al.

Edwards isn't a good candidate because he can't overcome the Rove smear machine on this front. Edwards knows that, which is why he's playing for Veep.

John Edwards and Wesley Clark are the only two Democrats running that have any chance of beating Bush. As Michael Moore wrote in his endorsement of Wesley Clark, it really comes down to which Democrat can win in "Florida, West Virginia, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, Ohio" I would add Arkansas, New Mexico, Tennessee. As we learned in 2000, it's all about the electoral college. Howard Dean will be slaughtered in most of the states listed above and cannot get to 270 electoral votes.

Actually, Dean doesn't have to win a single Southern state to win the presidency. Gore didn't, either. If he'd won even NH, he'd have won. Ohio, of course, is a bigger deal, and Dean should be very competitive there.

The fallacy that Gore taking NH would have changed the outcome of the 2000 election I have heard bandied about quit a bit by those in the Dean camp. However, it is just that a fallacy - NH has only 2 electoral votes. As the official tally was 278 R to 260 D, the 2 votes from NH would have made no difference whatsoever. But, yes Ohio with its 20 votes would have changed the outcome.

Actually, the official tally for the 2000 election was 271-266, with one DC delegate failing to vote for Gore. If Gore had won New Hampshire (3 electoral votes) and with the DC delegate's vote, he would have had 270 votes to Bush's 268. Since the 2000 election, reapportionment has changed several states' electoral college numbers, increasing the Bush states to 278 electoral votes, with Gore states dropping to 260.

What that means for the 2004 election, is that the Democratic nominee must win every state that Gore won and pick up either Missouri, Ohio, or Florida (or some other combination of 10 additional electoral votes).

While Emma thinks Dean can win the Presidency without winning a single Southern state, the Dem nominee must be able to compete in many more states than are necessary to win, including some in the south. If the Dems have to write off even competing in states with 225 plus electoral votes, they have zero chance of winning the election. I guarantee Bush will be pouring millions of dollars into the states Gore barely won, including Oregon, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico. If Bush picks off a single one of those states, which Gore won by a combined total of less than 18,000 votes, that makes the Dem's task that much more difficult.

With Edwards climbing quickly in the Iowa polls, and Clark polling well in New Hampshire, my hopes are rising daily that maybe, just maybe we can nominate someone that can beat Bush. Monday should be interesting.


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