Saturday, November 08, 2003

Circular Firing Squad

I have to say in my visits to various Democratic news discussion forums I'm pretty disheartened by the degree of "my candidate rules your candidate is a twisted lying evil unelectable loser" rhetoric going on. Look folks, it's a primary, there will and should be some competition between the candidates. To some degree what doesn't kill them will make them stronger, and whoever gets the nomination will hopefully have their message honed by the time the general election rolls around. I'm all for honest criticisms and appraisals of the candidates strategies and statements, but I've seen too many people writing and recycling RNC spin points about the various candidates.

It's part of the reason I've tried to stay out of the primaries lately. I originally intended to try and focus on defending the candidates from unfair press smears, but once the campaign heated up the smears by the press and the RNC and the candidates smearing each other started becoming indistinguishable. I'm all for the candidates going after each other to some degree, but I don't want them to let the media lead them on this one. Live by the Heathers, die by the Heathers.

As for me, I think all the conventional wisdom is roughly wrong at this point, but that doesn't mean I really know what's right. I don't think that the nomination is inevitably going to Dean. I don't think Clark's military experience and Southern origins makes him a strong candidate (though he might be a strong candidate for other reasons). I don't think John Kerry is out of the running, though I do agree that his vote for the Iraq war resolution is the primary reason for his disappointing showing. I don't think that suddenly the economy is no longer an issue - even if my doom and gloom predictions turn out to be incorrect, there's going to be a decent amount of structural and long term unemployment which are going to be serious issues for a lot of people, as well as state finance problems. I think if Edwards could raise enough money, he could probably still be in this thing, though that's a big 'if' of course.

But, in any case, keep your eyes on the prize people. I know that peoples' devotion to a particular candidate is largely a consequence of their belief that their Chosen One is the One True Hero to Vanquish Bush. But, we can't all be right on that score, and anyone who claims to be is just blowing smoke. You might be right, you might be wrong, but far more important than fighting for your particular candidate is fighting to convince the country that Bush has to go. Until the candidate is chosen, too much within-party "partisanship" is damaging.

When the candidate is chosen, it's going to be important to rally behind him (sorry Ambassador Moseley-Braun, but....), with your time, energy, and wallets. Don't lose sight of that.