Thursday, January 15, 2004

Razor Votes: Speaking of which, will you be endorsing a candidate prior to Iowa? Far be it from me to threaten to revoke your pundit badge, but you are the closest thing we have to a . . . er . . . you know . . . whatever. (Last time I suggested you were a Democrat, I got a heaping serving of vitriol, as I recall.) Let's proceed from this assumption: you are not currently a Democrat. The question is, which (if any) of the candidates could make you change your mind? (And don't say George Bush. That's my snarky answer, dammit.)

As I've said before, Lieberman would likely be the least bad choice. He's at least committed to free trade and an aggressive foreign policy -- i.e., not playing "Mother May I?" with Kofi Annan and his crew of thugs, despots, and totalitarians -- even if his level of committment to principle was shown in 2000 to be . . . er, flexible.

Edwards would likely not be detrimental to the country in any fundamental way. I don't trust his gee-golly folksiness; he's a sharp, wonky dude underneath the huckleberry talk. (I think he watched too many episodes of "Matlock" and convinced himself that the hillbilly deal goes over with juries.) Nonetheless, if Lieberman is "Bush lite," as his opponents claim, Edwards would be Clinton lite: microprogrammatic governance sold with feel-your-pain stories and hokey Americana mythmaking about farmers, teachers, and union members (who, despite Democrats' assertions otherwise, are opposed to progress without stultifying regulation, free trade, accountability, ending corporate welfare, and killing government-run or -sponsored monopolism).

Gephardt would be a reliably boring, non-Third Way quasi-socialist who would fail to get much of an agenda through Congress. With luck, we'd all sleep through his one term in office, waking up in 2008 to pull the lever for anyone else in 2008, just to refresh our political souls. (Ted Nugent, anyone?)

After that, things get hairy -- and I'm not referring to Sharpton's coif (not exclusively, anyway). Dean would be a bad choice, if only because he is campaigning on false pretenses. The old, moderate Dean of Vermont would be an oleaginous, Clintonesque president, full of pander, declaring war on everything from homelessness to psoriasis (maybe even on terrorism, if they happened to accidentally blow up a Montpelier bike path in an attempt to kill Americans). The current Howard Dean comes across like the whacked-out id of Michael Dukakis awkwardly spot-welded to the transparent populism of late-2000 Al Gore. The man seems to bleed disingenuous love for the hoi polloi in his "You have the power!" scream-fests. However much "power" you may have, you don't get the feeling that he loves the grip-n-grin life. In fact, it seems to be your power that he's interested in. He loves the people -- in theory.

Wes Clark would be disaster in argyle. I think if I surveyed the political/cultural landscape right now, the last conclusion I'd draw is that we need some pompous ass from the military running the show.

John Kerry embodies the word "effete" the way Clinton embodied "slick." He gives the impression that he would fix all the problems in America by giving them his "gravitas" stare and threatening to "take things seriously." He's a master of limousine-liberal condescension, reducing every policy issue to a tunnel-vision secular morality -- as though if you disagree that government can efficiently and/or effectively accomplish goal X, you must disagree with the idea that X might be a fine goal, otherwise achievable. I have no time for thinking that shallow, a mind that insulated from debate.

I'll not even bother with "Sharpie and Kuci," as you call them. Either one of them in the Oval Office would only add credence to the saying that we get the government we deserve.

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