Friday, January 25, 2008

The death knell for John Edwards’ campaign...



I really don’t like to get too political on this blog, partly because it would be kinda presumptuous for me to preach to you about my views and…well, partly because it would be presumptuous for you to do the same. But I feel it’s my duty to point out to you in the interest of public service that John Edwards’ campaign is not long for this world.

That’s because I’ve decided to throw my support to him in the Georgia primary February 5th.

I’m the kiss of death when it comes to presidential primary campaigns. I think a lot of this is due to the fact that unlike a great many voters, I reject the whole sports metaphor of “going with someone who can win.” Four years ago, every Democrat I bumped into was saying that John Kerry needed to win the nomination because “he’s the only one who can win.”

Suffice it to say, I don’t have to tell you how that turned out.

1988 was the worst. I first went with Bruce Babbitt; even though his keen intelligence and ready wit was a sure handicap among voters…he ended up dropping out. I then switched to Paul Simon…and the same thing happened. Ditto with Joe Biden. (At this point in his career, he had not quite become the long-winded foreign policy expert I would later come to know and despise.) I wound up with Michael Dukakis by default. 1992 was just as bad. I started off with Tom Harkin, who was just what I was looking for, an old-fashioned Democratic populist. When Harkin bowed out, I went with Jerry Brown because I really didn’t like Bill Clinton, who reminded me of a used car salesman. Bill ended up becoming my 1992 Dukakis.

In 2004, I supported Congressman Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic primary. My parents, as is their wont, thought I was crazy. (And maybe I am…) But to be honest, I liked Dennis. As a rule, he said what he believed and many of his proposals—radical as though they may seem to “weak as water” Dems—reflected a lot of my beliefs. I don’t, for example, think for-profit insurance companies should make decisions regarding healthcare for patients (I think that’s why doctors were invented)…so that’s why I supported Kucinich’s stand on a single-payer healthcare system. His positions on getting out of Iraq, campaign finance reform, same-sex marriage, our bloated military budget and the “war on drugs” all matched mine to the extent that when I did vote for him in the 2004 primary, I felt a profound sense of calm knowing that I could look myself in the mirror and be satisfied that I clung to my principles.

Come 2008, I was still in Kucinich’s corner (and he was in mine, blog-wise—I had a Kucinich button linking to his website). He was the only candidate who believed (as do I) that the namby-pambies that call themselves the Democratic party should get off their collective spotty behinds and impeach the President and Vice-President for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as it so eloquently states in the urine-stained document (since the Bush administration got hold of it) known as the U.S. Constitution. Granted, I don’t agree with every stand he takes—Kucinich is a vegetarian and my opinion is that if God in His infinite wisdom didn’t want us to eat animals He wouldn’t have made them out of meat. And that whole New Age-y Shirley MacLaine thing he’s got going on…well, include me out, as Samuel Goldwyn once reportedly remarked.

Kucinich has announced his intentions to drop out of the 2008 race today, and it’s not going to take a rocket scientist to figure out why. His grassroots support isn’t even close to what he had four years ago, he’s not been able to raise the necessary “mother’s milk of politics” to keep going, and as in 2004, the major television news networks ignored him at every turn—either portraying him as some sort of UFO-spotting wacko or dismissing from the debates altogether (Las Vegas, I’m talking to you!), Part of the fun in watching the Democratic debates was in Dennis’ participation; he would stand there and frustrate the hell of the moderators with his insistence on discussing bread-and-butter issues as opposed to playing their little horserace-horseshit games. Well, Kucinich fought the law (“but the law won”)—he’s no longer a mosquito to the MSM and they can concentrate once again on the utter idiocy of forcing a female candidate and an African-American candidate to gambol and frolic in their political mud wrestling match.

I’ve watched nearly all the Democratic debates so far, and with each debate I've become more and more impressed with John Edwards. His fiery, anti-corporate populism (a great deal of which, I’m sure, was "liberated" from Kucinich) has struck a cord with me…despite that I still had some reservations regarding his sincerity. (I’m not talking about the $400 haircuts, which is an idiotic topic for anyone to be obsessed with, but his troublesome Senate record: voted for the Iraq war and later regretted it, voted for No Child Left Behind and later regretted it, voted for favored nation trade status for China and later…well, you get where I’m going with this.) But let’s face facts: Obama gives a nice speech, but he’s all icing and no cake—I can’t get a fix on what he stands for, other than “hope.” And I won’t vote for Hillary Clinton even if you put a gun to my head; I’m not willing to endure another eight-year soap opera with the Clinton dynasty. (I love how Michael Eric Dyson once put it on a Hardball appearance: “Give someone else a chance!”) Here’s how fun it is at my house: my mother is a diehard Clintonista and my Dad is sold on Obama. Oddly enough, they’re still sharing the same bed.

If I commit myself to a candidate, I don’t like to, as a rule, back out on my obligation (I told one of Kucinich’s people that while I was strapped for cash at the time they called me the Congressman still had my vote). Yet I seriously considered supporting Edwards’ candidacy by voting for him on February 5th. (Lucky for me, with Kucinich’s departure, I can now do this and feel no guilt or remorse.) But if anyone reading this blog feels the way I do, I should warn you that my track record on picking presidential winners is positively dismal; the only time I came out on top was in 1992 and 1996 and even then I was asking myself “What the hell have I done?” the morning after. The talking heads are in agreement that John might become the “kingmaker” in the Democratic Party…well; we’ll see what happens now that I’m on board…

4 comments:

Sam said...

There was only one reason to see Kucinich this go around. TO figure out how in the Blue Hell he got a smokin' redhead of a wife like that. Did Satan tell him he could either have the woman or the presidency, 'cause that is like a heck of a call there...

The Baby said...

I was so depressed when Edwards dropped out. It's like...why didn't he wait until Meta-Tuesday arrgh.

Amaranth said...

You write very well.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Thanks always for encouraging my behavior, Amaranth...