Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Where We Might Have Been

Well over a year ago, I attended a small (less than twenty) meeting with Joe Lieberman, at which I told him that I thought he didn't have any campaign theme. He didn't catch onto the Bush-hating theme, and he lacked a set of powerful issues of his own. But what if Lieberman had gotten his act together and somehow won the nomination (I know, this would have always been a longshot, but stick with me)? Can anyone tell me that this race would be even close? Does anyone doubt that we would all get to go to sleep early tonight? The point is that even if Kerry pulls this out tonight, this race shouldn't have been close. An iffy economy, a war in Iraq that isn't going well, a record of shilling for corporations in issue after issue (if you doubt this, see David Brooks' op-ed in the NYT): any half-decent challenger should have won with these issues. A candidate with a serious ability to appeal to social conservatives could have picked up VA, WV, and maybe a couple of other Southern states.

So please, if Kerry wins, let's not congratulate him. He was always a lousy candidate, and the people who voted for him in the primaries should be ashamed of themselves.


JGug1 said...

Sorry, this seems specious to me. John Kerry has really run an aggressive campaign. He looked very good in the debates. He beat Bush soundly in the first and did no worse than tie in the last two. He made no real mistakes.
Joe Lieberman is a Republican in Democratic clothing. His campaign started out with his wife announcing that she would keep a kosher house in the White House if he won. Who cares? Why is that important to say? Kerry talked about religion only when "asked" to by Bush. By that, I mean that he spoke of religion only when compelled to by Bush emphasizing his religion. That is as it should have been. If Kerry loses it is because of the fear of the American electorate. We are far more like other people than we want to admit. What I am saying is that many of us chose Bush because he presents as a mighty leader, willing to attack. Just because most of us here beieve that is a reason to NOT vote for him doesn't mean that that persona doesn't resonate. So, no. I don't agree that Lieberman would have won going away. Not at all.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows Kerry is a bad candidate... but he has a good team, and I belive that worse than Bush.. well it's kind of hard.
On the other hand, if not Kerry, then who? Lieberman wouldn't be supported inside his own party... there was nobody else.

salas said...

General Wesley Clark would've been a better candidate - he's tough, plain-spoken, has a core base, and is smart. The first three are what Bush has, and the fourth is a bonus. I would say it's second-guessing and stupid at this point but it's not - we're going to go through this again in four years. Let's take away better lessons this time.

MWS said...

One thing Democrats have to do is stopping treating Middle America as a bunch of bozos that are too stupid to vote for us. It's just not productive to wonder why people don't vote their pocketbook--values are important for most people, including liberals. Having said that, I don't know how the Dems can appeal to such social conservatives without totally alienating the base of the party. It's not like you can split the difference. Nevertheless, I think the Dems need to find some way to accomodate, even if only superficially, differences on social policy, much as the GOP does by trotting out ostensible moderates like Giuliani.

I also think the Dems have to develop an alternative vision of the country that would be appealing. I saw an article by a former Kerry speechwriter suggesting that the Democrats should have taken Bush's theme of an "ownership society" and developed their own program which would incorporate actual choice along with maintaining a safety net (e.g., allowing people to invest a portion of Social Security funds yet still maintaining some degree of security). I never heard anything like this from Kerry.

I think Lieberman might have made a good candidate vis a viz Bush. I heard from a lot of moderates who ultimately voted for Bush that they would have voted for Lieberman. But he could never get nominated.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to feel ashamed of myself because the Republicans have successfully exploited rank bigotry, prejudice and homophobia to win a presidential race. If you truly believe that the evangelical christians would vote for someone that repudiates the divinity of Jesus Christ you're dreaming. You probably believe that Colin Powell has a plausible chance of being president too. He does not. He would lose the south in a landside that would make Mondale's race look close.

The Democrats have not been competitive in the south since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965. The south over night switched party loyalties because the Democrats made African Americans living in the south full citizens of the United States. Pure and Simple. That was moral and correct. I am proud of my party.

Frankly, the red states can have their values. Let them embrace a ban on stem cell research. Thats wrong and other countries will pass us scientifcally. Let them appoint Scalia type judges that will overturn Roe v. Wade which is hung on the right to privacy. Let them pratice bigotry against gay people. They're wrong and they're immoral and I'm not afraid to say so to their face.

Our fiscal irresponsibility leading to record deficits which is giving China unparalleled power over our economy and our currency is part of our undoing as a superpower in the long run. Our building am empire much like Britain is sowing the seeds of our future mediocrity and decline.

In four years a Democratic president is almost an guarantee in my judgment. Iraq is a disaster of epic proportions and it may not be apparent to the American people now, but it will be in four years.

I fought for John Kerry before Iowa and I'm proud.
Erick Holmberg
Boston, MA