T Nation

New Republic on Democratic candidates

The recommendations of The New Republic are in at “tnr.com”. There are arguments for Clark, Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman. All great reading for Democrats and independent registered voters.

The editors very sensibly endorsed Lieberman. Too bad he is unelectable – If one were willing to view his statements as the VP on the Gore ticket as an aberration and as a concession he needed to make for his VP slot, he would almost provide an alternative to those economic conservatives displeased with some of Bush’s recent pork and pandering.

Instead, it looks as if Dean is going to get the nomination, which means Bush can lurch leftward in a classic Clintonian triangulation to position himself as a moderate without losing his base (see his recent health and illegal-alien amnesty bills as evidence of this type of calculation). About the only risk he takes is that a certain portion of his base will stay home, but they are likely scared enough of Dean to suck it up and vote anyway.

Within his own party, the odds are against him, but against Bush, I think he is electable. I think the country wants a leader with a more nuanced view of policy initiatives that favor democracy abroad and economic growth at home.

As a hawk, Lieberman can make issue of the billions of dollars the Pentagon leaves unaccounted for every year. He can take the administration to task for arming our country like it’s still fighting the Cold War and not the war against terrorism.

Off the top of my head, he can rightly criticize the handling of the occupation and the serious lack of proper first-response funding.

Also he (and Kerry) have the support of the Green Party for his record on the environment. He has a long view on this issue, which many Americans are starting to find desireable.

And he wants to keep middle class tax cuts, even offering them further tax incentives.

If there is a Democratic candidate who can attract swing voters, it’s Joe Lieberman.

I’m not a registered party member but I hope to vote for Lieberman or John Edwards, perhaps even Gephardt, against Bush.

I agree with Boston. Bush will move left in order to gain even more support in this falls election. Am I happy with Bush? No!

However, he is far superior to any candidate who claims that we are keeping to much of our hard earned pay! Howard Dean, if elected, has promised to repeal the Bush tax cut.

Government is not efficient enough to spend what it has appropriately, and Dean wants to add to this bureaucratic mess. Also, I don’t think being Governor of Vermont with a population of half million people qualifies you for the presidency of the United States! Most large cities have a population that dwarfs Vermont.

If Dean does capture the nomination I see the fall election as a landslide for President Bush, perhaps 57% to 43%. Dean maybe wins 10-12 states. Think back to the last two northeastern democrats who captured their parties nomination and went on to resounding defeats in the general election: McGovern and Dukakis.

When will the democrats learn if they want a chance to win the general election they have to nominate a good candidate from the south, as they did the last two times that they have won: Carter, Clinton.

Even then Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated Gerald Ford (the Nixon pardon hurt him). And if Ross Perot were not in the race, George Bush would have come much closer to defeating Bill Clinton. Clinton did not even gain a 50.001% majority in two presidential victories!

Yes, it’s difficult for the democrats to win, even when they have a good candidate from the south.

As for Lieberman, he is the best of an awful field of democratic candidates. And he has no chance for the nomination, as has already been pointed out. He is not nearly liberal enough to for the primary voters of the democratic party to give him the nomination!

If the Liberal democrats would just accept that, regardless of media rhetoric, middle america does not want more gun control, and nominate a semi-moderate candidate such as Lieberman, then I think that they could win the upcoming election.

I am a staunch conservative (read extreme right) and I have been very unhappy with some of the decisions and actions of President Bush.

With that being said, I would have to add the caveat that as long as gun control is an issue, then regardless of anything else, I will always vote for the Republican candidate.

President Bush needs to realize that each time he swings left, he loses twice. He makes a liberal concession, with no gained votes from the democrats, and dissappoints his supporters, which could lose him votes.

Lieberman is terminally boring. Sad to say that many voters want a president who looks good on TV, sounds good etc. Lieberman is way too dull to cut the mustard.

Also, I see no point in replacing one religious zealot (Bush) with another (Lieberman). I don’t think religious fundamentalists should be making public policy.

The fact that Liberman is Jewish will alienate a lot of the so-called swing voters that Bush supporters are claiming he can pick up. Bottom line is that Lieberman is about as electable as Sharpton.

Dean is a moderate who will look more and more appealing to swing voters, the more they learn about him. This is Bush’s election to lose, it is not certain he will win again but it looks probable. Dean makes the mistake of trying to explain his positions and reason with the public… Nobody wants to hear that. Voters do not care about facts or statistics, they want to hear the president say “everything is taken care of” and that’s it. Most people do not have the time or inclination to study the issues, they want someone to handle things so they can get on with their day to day activities. That is one thing that Bush does well. People criticize Bush for not being informed on details or reading the newspapers, but when he is confronted by a problem he says simple things like “We are looking into the issue, and we will take appropriate action”. THAT’S what people want to hear, they do not want to hear Howard Dean (or anyone else) explain the various points and statistics. People want someone to act like “Dad” and tell them everything is going to be okay.

Unless Dean can act more presidential and talk about vague BS like “America’s hopes and dreams” and stop burdening people with facts and statistics, he will not win. I think that is one of the many reasons why Gore did not win, he was trying to get people to understand the issues, while Bush told people not to worry because HE would take care of the issues for them.

American voters do not want to be burdened with thinking about facts and statistics. Sad, but true.

Lumpy, that is a very cynical view of the American people. First, of all I do think most Americans–particularly the self-proclaimed “moderates” who are swingvoters–would elect a Jewish candidate. We are not an antisemitic country and we would not likely kowtow to antisemitic elements in the world we despise.

However, I do think Bush was elected because for those voters he represented “American privilege,” that is having relevance to history for what he is–white, age 25-55, upper income, male, American–rather than his actions (such as Gore’s record of civil service). But that I think was because Americans felt detached from their history, and wanted to project themselves on their leader, not to feel inferior to them (as they did to Clinton, who although was from the lower classes, was a kind of prodigy).
But 9/11 showed us that just “being American” wasn’t enough if wanted to justify our country in the face of aggressive nationalism. Now people want a president who can make a deeper case for our national interest and self-image. If you read their policy literature, I think both Lieberman and Edwards are capable of this.

Also, Dean is not a “moderate”! He’s not the “radical” he’s being painted as, but what is truly radical about him is how little he knows himself in the world of policy, seizing on different positions, that quickly contradict each other and often his self-professed values. His list of prospective military and foreign policy advisors is ridiculous, responsible the failures from the bad move of every administration since Carter’s. And he comes off as much of a “cowboy” as Bush!

Lieberman actually doesn’t bore me. He has a cadence that’s kind of uniform but points of emphasis rise above the rhythm, and these points always entreat his audience to think deeper about the issue. It’s the perfect antidote to Bush’s tendency, which is to tell America, “think a little bit less about the issue; it’s simpler than you think.”

Scott, both Dean and Edwards are soft on gun control.

Lumpy, also just because someone is an “orthodox” Jew doesn’t make them a “religious zealot.” Sheesh.