If I must vote...: Leaving aside my ahh, political predilections for the moment, allow me to step into the shoes of the atypical blogger (meaning I shall remove my "let the market fix it" t-shirt, and put on my "Bush Lied" hemp vest).
As much as I'd love a Kuchi and Sharpie ticket, I am resigned to the fact that they shall not gain the nod. Braun has graciously retreated from the race (which she viewed confidently from the infield), so again, no need to ponder.
I'll agree with you on Clark only because he gives Slick Willie a good name in the evasive and questionable judgment categories.
Let's focus then on Lieby, Deano, Gephardt (somehow a nickname on him doesn't seem right), Kerry, Kerry Quite Contrary ("KKQC"), and The Hair (Edwards).
The Hair is the lightweight, but then again, so was W. Still, I don't think he can carry anything but the Southeast. His plans for healthcare, education and taxes are a bit la-la land for even some Democrats. Plus, he's a Plaintiff's trial lawyer.
Deano is just all over the map. He has the momentum, so to speak, but he's also being nipped at by every dog in the kennell. Can he win? I suppose, but he's going to be slaughtered in the South...I don't think there's much debate about that. The "South" isn't what it was 20 years ago. It's more conservative and provincial now, and the big spending ticket doesn't always sell well. I mean, look at Gore in 2000 in his HOME state. 'Nuff said.
Gephardt cannot be counted out because he's ingrained, ingrained, ingrained. Plus, he's ingrained. He should have a strangle-hold on most midwest states. I suppose the Iowa caucus will tell us something. I agree, that he won't be either a disaster or a radically succesful president. He wants too much that a GOP Congress will never give.
KKQC is simply in still water with no wind. He's got the experience, he's the war veteran and despite all that he's unable to gain any foothold. Why? He's never taken a stand to define himself. He's played it safe as he was from a liberal state and he never needed to worry about a challenger. This then produces a candidate that looks good on paper, but when you wind him up, he just spins in circles. No thank you.
Lieby is clearly the most level-headed of the bunch. He's sensible and principled on Iraq plus he has good ideas to push. Unfortunately he's short...and he's Jewish - which sounds horrible, but it's true. The Northeast Jews can vote for Dean and assuage guilt because his wife is Jewish, she's professional, and they can still celebrate the first Hannukah in the White House with Deano. Lieby has zero charisma, and probably can't live down that even Gore doesn't want him.
In the end, if forced to vote today for one of the above-mentioned viable candidates, I'd be hard-pressed between Gephardt and Lieby. Gephardt because I don't think he'd screw things up too much, and because he's experienced enough on the Hill to get enough done to make a mild difference. Lieby because I like the guy so much and want him to gain a prominent platform to promote some liberal social agendas, but still stick it to the U.N. and the rest of the "Community".
The rest are too detestable or simply pathetic. Deano, I believe, will find himself in over his head, a la McGovern, who also thought he had great grass-roots support. Well, the GOP machine shredded that mulch in no time. We need experience now, not wild ideas that didn't work even in Vermont.