Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD....Markos evaluates his choices for the Democratic presidential nomination:

Hillary? Yeah right. Edwards? If he hadn't taken public financing, I'd probably go for him....That doesn't mean I think Obama walks on water. Far from it. The guy is going around idiotically attacking Paul Krugman, dancing with homophobic preachers, and while his rhetoric is beautiful upon first listening, an hour later you're left wondering if he said anything of substance at all (and the answer is usually "no").

I confess that this attitude puzzles me. I guess it's human nature to obsess more than we should on flaws and weaknesses, but honestly, these three are all pretty damn good Democratic candidates. With the possible exception of the Dr. Jekyll half of LBJ, any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.

And electability? They're all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.

In 2004 Democrats really did have a weak field. I ended up supporting Wes Clark, knowing full well that his inexperience might doom him, and sure enough it did. Howard Dean was much more moderate than his fans gave him credit for, and didn't know how to run a campaign. Edwards was pretty green as well. So we ended up with John Kerry, a compromise candidate that lots of people could support but almost no one could love.

But this year is different. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are all solid liberal candidates; all of them are pretty good at inspiring their own base; and all of them seem to know how to run a campaign. I'm still dithering about who to support, but while I have issues with all three of them, I'm mostly dithering because they're all really good and the differences between them are, frankly, pretty small. Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Republicans, on the other hand, are really and truly screwed. Every party has suffered through bad fields in the past, but off the top of my head I'm having a hard time remembering one as bad as the 2008 GOP crop. They're the ones who should be pulling their hair out.

Kevin Drum 3:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (162)

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Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.

Oh geez Kevin - raise the bar why don't cha?

Posted by: ckelly on December 13, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

It's puzzling until you remember that Markos is a Republican.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

None of the Democrats has ever had an executive position or spent any significant time (say, more than 10 years) in national office. Even if you are a liberal (I am not), a liberal president isn't going to do you any good if he/she is ineffective due to lack of experience and training.

I don't say the Republican field is any stronger, but that is another issue.

Posted by: y81 on December 13, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is no liberal. Neither she or Obama can win in 2008 unless they can do it without a single Southern electoral vote.

Posted by: Romberry on December 13, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

All three Democratic candidates are intelligent and knowledgable and speak well. The same is true of Romney, Guiliani, and Thompson.

I think Romney and Guiliani have one advantage over the others: they have an answer to the question, "What have you accomplished?"

Romney saved the Olympics and brought universal health care to Mass.

One can dispute Giuliani's claim to have cleaned up New York City, but at least he can make the claim. Thompson, Edwards and Obama have no achievements at all to point to.

Hillary has a sort-of answer. She can claim part credit for the good economic times during her husband's administration.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 13, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Although you are clearly completely and unabashedly biased, you are right here. The Republican candidates have all flip-flopped pretty badly and essentially just pander to what they think the GOP wants.

Posted by: andy on December 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'd consider Big Bill Richardson who, contrary to Y81, DOES have exec experience in spades.

I will NOT vote for any of the top three, over Iraq.

Dispuot, Kos may not be a Republican, but he's not actually that liberal, including such outright goofiness as his "CIA is full of liberals" thoughts.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

The Democratic nominee can win if he/she makes George Bush 2 the running mate of the Republican nominee. Just keep his face front and center. We'll win. We can win this one. Have faith.

Posted by: CT on December 13, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"They're the ones who should be pulling their hair out."

Rudy, Fred and McCain have already finished that job, and Huck's made a good start.

Posted by: penalcolony on December 13, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is no liberal. Time and again, polls show Edwards doing the best against any of the Republican candidates. With long coattails, Edwards might just put the Repubs in micro-minority status in the Senate (under 40 seats). With no excuses left, the Dems might get some progressive legislation passed.

We need to nominate someone who can win at least a few southern states as well as the normal blues.

Posted by: Larry on December 13, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Markos' position on Edwards is very disappointing. His acceptance of public money may be a black mark against his character, or be a tactical mistake, but it doesn't have anything to do with what kind of president he'd be.

I thought we were trying to get beyond those purity tests in favor of trying to figure out who would actually do the best job of running the country.

Posted by: Boots Day on December 13, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

In three short years, my feeling toward Barack Obama as a prospective and then active candidate has degenerated from enthusiasm to annoyance. I can't help but find him insufferably egotistical. But to be fair, I felt the exact same way about then-Gov. Bill Clinton prior to the 1992 New Hampshire primary, but I later warmed to him over time.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 13, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you clipped out Markos' concluding paragraph, which to me brings Markos to the same conclusion you reach:

"And at the end, I'll just be excited to bid adieu to the primary wars and get enthusiastically behind whoever wins, wether it's Obama, Edwards, or Clinton."

Posted by: MJ on December 13, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Republicans, on the other hand, are really and truly screwed. Every party has suffered through bad fields in the past, but off the top of my head I'm having a hard time remembering one as bad as the 2008 GOP crop. They're the ones who should be pulling their hair out."

I've forgotten whether it was the '00 or the '04 Dem primaries that had the MSM labelling our crew "the seven dwarfs." Now that the Rethugs have fielded a crew of whom even the very best is infinitely less suited to the Presidency than the least of ours, what do we get from this same MSM? Edwards' hair, Hillary's laugh and cleavage, and "Barrack Hussein Osamabama," the closet Moooslim.

America will continue down the path to utter disolution until and unless we get our own media, and/or take some measure of control of the MSM.

Posted by: smartalek on December 13, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

How come I thought accepting public money was a good point? Doesn't it imply not being beholden to elite corporate interests after election day?

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Markos: "Edwards? If he hadn't taken public financing, I'd probably go for him"

What's wrong with accepting public financing? I am in favor of public financing. I would prefer that all elections be 100 percent publicly financed. As far as I'm concerned this is a point in Edwards' favor.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 13, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Amen! The endless nitpicking by some lefty bloggers of the Dem candidates really exasperates me at times. This is a pretty good field -- hell, even the also-rans Biden and Dodd are eminently qualified and would likely make above-average presidents. Are any of the Dems perfect? No. But we need to accentuate the positive a lot more here.

And the Repubs? Jeebus! What a collection of whackjobs, hypocrites and crooks! I think the only reason faithful GOPers aren't shooting themselves in the streets is because they're in serious denial -- a talent they've perfected during the past few years as their agenda has unraveled.

We Dems need to watch our tendency to be our own worst enemies. We have met the enemy and he is us!

Posted by: oldtimeliberal on December 13, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I said this as much as two years ago. It's an insanely bad crop of candidates for the Republicans, while our bench is very deep.

It gets even longer when you consider the people who didn't run or whom might make good candidates if they could run. Then, add in the possible vice presidential candidates, some of whom would also make good presidential candidates, either in a year or two or right now, and it's an even deeper bench.

Posted by: Brian on December 13, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards has the best policies.

Edwards would be the biggest winner.

Edwards would be best for down-ticket.

And the money thing could be gotten around.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on December 13, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Markos complaint about Edwards is tactical. There are going to be many, many months between the end of the primaries and the convention. Because he accepted public financing the Edwards campaign is going to be pretty quiet during those months. The Republicans will be free to beat him up badly. Of course, one would hope the party would have his back, and the Republicans are pretty poor right now, but as I understand it that is Markos's concern.

Posted by: copus juris on December 13, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for stating the obvious, this is a remarkably strong field.

Posted by: Raoul on December 13, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

—Kevin Drum

That's why Markos states, in conclusion:

"And at the end, I'll just be excited to bid adieu to the primary wars and get enthusiastically behind whoever wins, wether it's Obama, Edwards, or Clinton."

Posted by: Econobuzz on December 13, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm still dithering about who to support, but while I have issues with all three of them, I'm mostly dithering because they're all really good" - Kevin

Are you sure that's the reason? I'm dithering because I don't quite believe that any of them are as liberal as they pretend...

If the Democratic party truly wanted a liberal candidate they would be going for Kucinich, the only 'real' progressive in the field, short stature and all.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, MJ...didn't see that you made my point already.

Posted by: Econobuzz on December 13, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

So am I just being unrealistic in thinking there may yet be a Reagan/Bush-esque pairing of two of the top candidates? I mean, it would seem like that would be unstoppable - and if Obama were to take a veep position for 8 years he'd be perfectly positioned to run to president after...

Posted by: SMurph on December 13, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Its very interesting to hear Dems talk about their respective candidates. For the life of me I don't see how anybody with any brains takes John Edwards and his "two Americas" ( one of which Edwards the multimillionaire lives in ) rant seriously. Are any of you still stuck living in polyanna class warfare times?

I think either HRC or Obama would make for a formidable foe for the Republican nominee, they seem to have some strength of character. But Edwards? He looks to me like the dems version of Dan Quayle.

Just my view from the other side of the fence.

Posted by: John Hansen on December 13, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic party truly wanted a liberal candidate they would be going for Kucinich, the only 'real' progressive in the field, short stature and all.

While my personal platform is most inline with Kuch's, I do not believe that he is up to the task of being POTUS -- his tenure in an exec position (Mayor of Cleveland) was a complete disaster. Unfortunately, the best place for him is as a gadfly legislator.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK
….I think Romney and Guiliani have one advantage over the others….ex-laxat 4:09 PM
You neglect the old stand by Republican advantage: negative ads. It does not matter one whit what the facts are, you Republicans will cheerfully run thousands of negative ads making all sorts of bizarre claims about any Democrat who get nominated.

In this round, you Republicans are also counting heavily on your new poll-tax equivalents and other means of election fraud.

There will be the usual emphasis on your standby wedge issues: God, guns and gays. This year Nativism will have a big effect because of Republican demagoguing immigration.

As for the issue of experience, Bush claimed that and has since failed in everything. His daddy had the best resume of any recent president but is not well-regarded. When Clinton took office, he made a number of mistakes. However, he learned quickly and is now considered to have been fairly effective. His ending point perhaps would be Hillary's starting point, but any of the Democratic candidates stands head and shoulder about the pandering lot of nutjobs the Republicans have to choose from this year.

Posted by: Mike on December 13, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

But Edwards? He looks to me like the dems version of Dan Quayle.

A self-made man versus a trust-fund baby? Hardly.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

... any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.

And electability? They're all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.

Longtime and loving admirer here, Kevin, but oh, man, you could not possibly be more wrong.

Hillary Clinton is far, far more conservative than Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, certainly her husband and even George H.W. Bush (who would not take Bagdad as Hillary loudly supported or attack Iran, which Hillary already effectively voted to do.)

As for electibility, again, Hillary is the ONLY dem of ALL of them who can NOT get elected next year. She'd even lose to Huckabee.


Posted by: Yellow Dog on December 13, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me again what made the Republican field in 2000 so great - specifically what was so good about Bush that almost half the voters chose him?

Posted by: skeptonomist on December 13, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"With the possible exception of the Dr. Jekyll half of LBJ, any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.

And electability? They're all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign."

Kevin, I hate to break this to you but it is precisely because that your nominee is going to be "unquestionably the most liberal since 1969," that she or he is going to lose in 08. There's not going to be any need for dirty tricks by the GOP to win. Simply telling the truth about what electing the "unquestionably the most liberal since 1969" would mean to the average American family should do the trick.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the American people as a whole do not elect liberals to any political office, let alone to the Presidency.

Posted by: Chicounsel on December 13, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where is Bill Richardson in all this? He still ranks tops with me.

I can't choose the other because I know they will be pandering along the primary trail, and if Richardson is not a top runner, then I look at Romney.

Hillary makes little sense to economists. At least Obama knows his own inexperience, Hillary can easily fool herself.

Edwards is just a pretty boy.

Posted by: Matt on December 13, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I agree Kevin.

The Republican candidates are very interesting. Every one of them has engaged in major pandering to what is know as the Republican base. Currently, independents seem to be completely put off by that base. So you'd think they have little chance to win. We'll see.

Posted by: little ole jim on December 13, 2007 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly right, Kevin. I like all three Democratic front-runners. I gave Edwards $50 (all I could afford) when Elizabeth took on Ann Coulter, but in the general election, I'll give as much as I can to the Democratic candidate, whoever it is. Jeez, can't we appreciate the fact that there are three solid Dems and a field of GOP losers?

Posted by: melissa on December 13, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

On the brighter side, the Senate Judiciary Comm has voted to hold Rove and Bolton in contempt.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

I've forgotten whether it was the '00 or the '04 Dem primaries that had the MSM labelling our crew "the seven dwarfs."

That was 1992, and one of those "dwarves" ended up winning.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the American people as a whole do not elect liberals to any political office, ....

Umm, yeah. Out of all the Democratic candidates, Edwards is the only one who hasn't won at least two elections in his life.

Posted by: Thlayli on December 13, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

In case you haven't been paying attention, the American people as a whole do not elect liberals to any political office, let alone to the Presidency.
posted by: Chicounsel

Explain to us, dunce, what political office the American people, as a whole, vote for. Last time I checked, I (a resident of Illinois) couldn't vote in the Ohio senate race.

Posted by: DJ on December 13, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with almost every word Kevin wrote - this is really the winter of our discontent for Repubs. I guess the best we can hope for at this point is Obama being a listener. The VP choices are an interesting topic also - I think Obama could reprise Clinton's choice of Gore [sister state, new generation of leadership, etc.] by picking Bayh, probably switching a red state the Repubs can't afford to lose.

Posted by: mr insensitive on December 13, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

First, Kevin you are right and this blog is a haven of civilized discussion in a despicable blogosphere.

Second, "Hillary makes little sense to economists." posted by Matt. Huh? I dont even understand that. Unless balanced budgets and low interest rates coupled with real wage growth bringing many of the poor into the middle class stumps economists also.

Other misstatements: Hillary has already voted to invade Iran. No. Wrong. Next questions.

Hillary is more conservative than Nixon and Ford. No. wrong. Next question.

Obama is insufferably egotistical. No. He is as egotistical as them all which is a pre-requisite to running for this thankless office. Next question.

"We Dems need to watch our tendency to be our own worst enemies. We have met the enemy and he is us!" Truer words were never spoken.

"I will NOT vote for any of the top three, over Iraq" Just keep thinking: Supreme Court, before you cast your vote solely on Iraq. A vote for any Repub is a vote for more Alitos, Thomas's, Scalia's etc. Be wise!

Posted by: Jammer on December 13, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

That was 1992, and one of those "dwarves" ended up winning.

Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure that the Dem primary line-up in 1988 was nicked-name the seven dwarfs as well.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Accepting the dubious assumption all three candidates are equally worthy then the rational choice would be to pick the one who is most electable. The only one who does not have problems in swing, southern, and western states is Edwards. Therefore if you assume all three have the same positions you ought to choose Edwards.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, Kevin.

I am getting a little tired of Markos and his anti-Hillary screeds. I suspect that he is worried that a Democratic victory will limit his influence and endanger his consultant practice. I have started to take his rumblings with a grain of salt and I visit his site less and less as time goes on.

Like Bart says, the biggest danger to a Democrat is the other Democrats. Like Kos.

Posted by: Brena Helverson on December 13, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

While my personal platform is most inline with Kuch's, I do not believe that he is up to the task of being POTUS -- his tenure in an exec position (Mayor of Cleveland) was a complete disaster. Unfortunately, the best place for him is as a gadfly legislator.

Agree with this in every particular.

Remind me again what made the Republican field in 2000 so great - specifically what was so good about Bush that almost half the voters chose him?

He had the name recognition and support of the Bush Crime Family; was palatable to the neocon, business and religious wings of the party; and showed every sign of being malleable to the wishes of the real players. So scads of major GOP donors flew down to Texas with suitcases full of cash for his campaign, and that was that...very early in the race.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think the hesitancy of Markos and others is the failure to unabashedly take the fight to the other side. Edwards is really, as noted above, a strategic right-off, but the other two have just not shown any leadership. I think that's probably why Dean was so popular, regardless of many of is actual positions. He didn't try to hide that he was a Democrat, hell he basically embraced the idea he was a liberal, and took the fight to Bush when no one else would. With Obama and Clinton, they are both in the senate and are in positions to lead the party and take a stand against Bush. Instead they talk the talk but don't show up on game day. We're then left with all war funding being passed with the only damage being done is to Congress as a whole and not to the Republicans at all.

Posted by: Mike on December 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is insufferably egotistical. No. He is as egotistical as them all which is a pre-requisite to running for this thankless office. Next question.

At least the reptilian brained racists are saying he's "egotistical" instead of using the term they're biting their lips on, "uppity".

A driven black man is "egotistical"; a driven woman is a "bitch"; a driven white man, is, well, "driven".

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with Yellow Dog.

Republicans know that their candidates are fools, and they'll be inclined -- out of shame and despair -- to stay home on election day.

Unless Hilary is the nominee. Then Republicans will turn out in droves to vote for whatever Republican moron is on the ballot -- Anyone but a Clinton!!!

Posted by: aghast on December 13, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

I think if the president was selected from based who is the most qualified candidate, in terms of foreign and military policies, economic issues, and an overall understanding of how the world currently works and how it should work are Biden, Dodd, and Richardson. None appear to have much chance.

The democrat debate today was certainly refreshing after the republican debate yesterday. A more pathetic lineup is hard to image.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 13, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

y81 posted:

"None of the Democrats has ever had an executive position or spent any significant time (say, more than 10 years) in national office. Even if you are a liberal (I am not), a liberal president isn't going to do you any good if he/she is ineffective due to lack of experience and training."

Let's see, Biden has been in the Senate since the mid-70s, Dodd has been in the Senate for much longer, I believe, than 10 years, Kucinich served as Mayor (executive) of Cleveland and has been in Congress for quite a number of years, Mike Gravel was in "national office" for more than 10 years, and Bill Richardson is in his second term as governor.

Which I guess all means that you're uninformed.

Posted by: Chris Brown on December 13, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK
but off the top of my head I'm having a hard time remembering one as bad as the 2008 GOP crop.


How about was the last Republican field for an open (no incumbent running) race any better? George W. Bush, John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, and Orrin Hatch. Seriously?

The only candidate on that list that would seem above average compared to the 2008 field is the 2000 version of John McCain, who still had some credibility. And he wasn't even the nominee.

Nevertheless, despite failing to win the most votes, or even have the most people vote for them in states with a majority of electoral votes, the Republicans managed to win. So I wouldn't be too excited about the weakness of their current field.


Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo...

I've heard that often about Kucinich's stint as mayor of Cleveland. But I have a different memory having to do with his bravery in standing up for some sort of public electricity plan. I need to review all of that before I can either agree or disagree with you.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

. . . any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.

Hillary Clinton is a centrist. Edwards and Obama make some liberal noises. But as for a truly liberal candidate, Kucinich hasn't a chance.

Posted by: JeffII on December 13, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Errr, how can anyone listening to the debates not come away with the opinion that Joe Biden is a league of his own in terms of being a person up to the task of being an effective president.

His answers are far more direct and focused.

It's a shame he isn't getting more traction....

Posted by: Cybersophist on December 13, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

You're unfortunately right, JeffII.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

PS: I like to vote for him in the primaries, though, as a symbolic gesture and let everyone else in NY decide who to support as the real candidate. No surprises this time around.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK
With the possible exception of the Dr. Jekyll half of LBJ, any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.

What? I'm not convinced that either Clinton or Obama would be the most liberal President, to date, of the 21st century, much less since 1969.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

OK, just a brief defense of Kucinich. Indeed Cleveland did go into default but because....Kucinich held to his prinicples. This from PBS Newshour:

"His political success in the '90s, however, was based on one of the very things that caused his attempted recall. When Kucinich was mayor, local banks threatened to call in a $15 million loan if he didn't sell the city's municipal electrical system. He refused. Though at the time, it led the city into default -- and subsequently the recall that he barely survived and later a landslide defeat -- the move proved paramount to his later success.

In the 1990s Cleveland officials credited Kucinich with Cleveland's low electricity rates. His campaign symbol was a light bulb with the slogan "Because he was right." He won a seat in the state Senate in 1994, and two years later, in the U.S. House with the slogan, "Light up Congress."

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

He had the name recognition and support of the Bush Crime Family; was palatable to the neocon, business and religious wings of the party; and showed every sign of being malleable to the wishes of the real players.

. . . Also, he was not running in the wake of his own failed presidency.

Posted by: collin on December 13, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

His (Biden's) answers are far more direct and focused.It's a shame he isn't getting more traction.... Posted by: Cybersophist

I think it's precisely because he hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of winning that he can be candid and honest (well, as candid and honest as someone running for president who doesn't have a . . .).

I'll give Senator Clinton kudos, however, for speaking honestly about raising the upper tax brackets to where they were in the '90s and for supporting the inheritance tax.

Posted by: JeffII on December 13, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

If liberalism means choosing guns over butter, then the top three Democratic candidates are solid liberal candidates. At least LBJ gave us guns and butter.

Posted by: Brojo on December 13, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Not a fan of hillary, but I like that Bill brings 8 years of exp to back her up. Almost feel like a vote for Mrs. Clinton is a vote for Mr. Clinton.

Posted by: The fake fake Al on December 13, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Markos is so far left he can no longer find his right hand. That's why he's trashing the candidates. I used to read him, but I deleted the bookmark. Way too off the deep end.

Posted by: kim on December 13, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to belabor this point, because Kucinich is not going to be the Dem nominee in this election or any other. The Cleveland default was the result of Dennis having 'spine.' And you can't deny the wisdom of his words here, from the 2004 race:

"Well, I want the American people to see where the media takes politics in this country," Kucinich said to the loudest applause of the evening. "We start talking about endorsements, now we're talking about polls, and then we're talking about money. Well, you know, when you do that, you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people. ...

"I'm the only up here on the stage that actually voted against the Patriot Act and voted against the war -- the only one on this stage. ... I'm also one of the few candidates up here who's talking about taking our health-care system from this for-profit system to a not-for-profit, single-payer universal health care for all. I'm also the only one who has talked about getting out of NAFTA and the WTO"

As Koppel sought to interrupt him, Kucinich concluded sternly, "I may be inconvenient for some of those in the media, but, you know, I'm sorry about that."


Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

... a driven woman is a "bitch"...

Don't forget calculating. The guys, well, they just shoot from the hip.

Drives. Me. Up. A. Tree.

Posted by: junebug on December 13, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

At least LBJ gave us guns and butter. Posted by: Brojo

And this was a good thing?

If LBJ had wound the Vietnam war down instead of up, he would have easily won a second term, regardless of who was running.

Posted by: JeffII on December 13, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I agree with you completely: each of the three candidates is a perfectly conventional, liberal Democrat who will raise taxes and increase spending on transfer payments. What's not to like?

Posted by: DBL on December 13, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely - You're really not sure Clinton or Obama would be the most liberal prez of the 21st C to date? Oh, that's scary... More please.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta: I believe the Kucinich recall effort preceded the city's default, and the primary rationale for the recall was not power company ownership but his firing of his police chief for insubordination after the chief accused him of improper involvement in police affairs. (The PBS story doesn't even mention this.) Among other things, according to the Plain Dealer, the chief accused Kucinich's aides of giving police jobs to unqualified Kucinich buddies and of pressuring the cops to lean on City Council members who were anti-Kucinich.

I have no idea whether the chief's allegations are true. But Kucinich's confrontation-at-all-times style and refusal to compromise--he apparently never missed an opportunity to call the City Council and any political opposition stupid, insane, etc.--made a lot of enemies, especially among many of Cleveland's black leaders. It's interesting to me that more whites opposed his recall than blacks, percentage wise. I hadn't known that until just now.

As a voice of conscience and a gadfly in the House, Kucinich is effective. As an executive, not so much.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

"each of the three candidates is a perfectly conventional, liberal Democrat who will raise taxes and increase spending on transfer payments."

Dear heart, regardless of who our next president is, they will be raising taxes. Do try to buy a clue about the financial condition of the United States, won't you?

As for the "tax-and-spend" meme, good luck with that. The Democratic candidates have eight years of Bush and to counter that one with.

Posted by: PaulB on December 13, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Markos is so far left he can no longer find his right hand.

Markos: Edwards? If he hadn't taken public financing, I'd probably go for him

Markos is a moderate, at best.

And this was a good thing?

I do not think any of the big three will be supplying America with butter, but all have said they want to 'rebuild' the military.

The hair pulling will be done by leftists and liberals when they find out the coming Democratic president will initiate few liberal policies.

Iraq's occupation will continue. Deregulation will continue. Welfare 'reform' will continue. Aid to Israel will continue. The assualt on civil liberty will continue, as Sen. Clinton has said national security is more important.

The major costs of reducing green house gas emissions, which I support, will be placed on the average person and the large corporations will be given tax break incentives and a gamed market to cash in on alternatives.

There will be some moderate policy changes, which will increase progressive taxation, slightly decrease environmental destruction and perhaps improve product safety for consumer and pharm products. That won't help the Iraqis or Palestinians or close any foreign military bases or reduce our nuclear stockpile.

I hope I am wrong and the next Democratic president surprises me.

Posted by: Brojo on December 13, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Every liberal Supreme Court justice is over retirement age, and Stevens had Death on speed dial. I don't want a Supreme Court that's stacked with conservatives for generations. I'll be voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

Posted by: croatoan on December 13, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop - You may be right. I did read that K fired the police chief on the Cleveland 6 o'clock news. (grin) But I think the recall concerned the city default exclusively. I've also been reading about how the media had it in for K from day one so I'm not sure all sources should be taken as fact, particularly major news sources. I guess I'm just so hungry for 'principle' that I'd accept a little wingnuttery on the left. Also, K's background bespeaks his personal knowledge of what it's like to be a less-than-wealthy American. He lived in 17 places before he was 18 years old, sometimes in 'cars.' His dad was a truck driver. I brought Kucinich up in response to Kevin's comment that all three leading Dem candidates are perhaps the most liberal we've had since 1969. If that's true, then it is indeed a sad comment on liberal US politics.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

"I hope I am wrong and the next Democratic president surprises me."

Brojo, I completely agree with your forecast and join you in hoping to be surprised.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

" I'll be voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is." - crotoan

As will 99.999% of us here.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

All three would be effective presidents.

But Clinton is the only one who is reality-based, which is why she has my vote.

Posted by: Mina on December 13, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

In what way is the Republican field this year worse than the Republican field in 2000? McCain is still there, so that's a wash, and then you have Bush. I'll take Romney over Bush, any day of the week -- he's intelligent, and has an outstanding record of successful executive leadership, entirely unlike Bush. Thompson is probably a shade better than Bush, while Giuliani and Huckabee are probably a little worse, but not all that much so.

The reason, and I've said this before, the Republican field looks so weak is because the conditions are so bad for them (one of those conditions, I might add, is the need to pander to a base that is almost completely around the bend). It actually isn't a bad group, compared to, say, the Dems in '88 or '92, or, in particular, the Republicans in 2000, which is, I think, by far the worst group I've seen in my lifetime.

The Dems won in '92 (confounding a lot of expecations), and the Republicans won in 2000, which is something people should keep in mind.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 13, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

On foreign policy, Kevin, we've NEVER had a truly progressive president, and we won't get that with any of the Big Three.

As for the inane "most liberal since 69" claim, Carter was, in some ways, more liberal than any of the Big Three. He wasn't in other ways, I'll admit.

But, overall, I'd certainly call him more liberal than Clinton. Given Carter's environmentalism, probably more liberal than Obama. Assuming Edwards' "two Americas" is hot air, Carter would be more liberal than him, too.

Geez, there's been a few clunkers the last couple of weeks posted here.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 13, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, with the stance each of the Big Three has on Iraq, how can you call any of them that liberal?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 13, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is not a liberal.

Posted by: danno on December 13, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Martin Gale,

Do you think the Repubs would have won in 2000 had there been no impeachment fiasco? Btw, I like you name (user ID?).

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen

For the life of me I don't see how anybody with any brains takes John Edwards and his "two Americas" ( one of which Edwards the multimillionaire lives in ) rant seriously.

Go volunteer in a homeless shelter for a week. Talk to the guys who are there and listen to their stories. Find out how many of them are veterans.

Then spend a week as a substitute teacher at in inner-city school.

Then work for a week cutting up chickens in a meat packing plant.

Then try listening to Edwards again.

Posted by: tomeck on December 13, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems won in '92 (confounding a lot of expecations), and the Republicans won in 2000, which is something people should keep in mind. Posted by: Martin Gale

No. What people need to keep in mind about 2000 is the that the Supreme Court settled the election. Gore won the popular vote nationally (fuck the Electoral College!) and the popular vote in Florida, borne out by an independent, third party recount.

But back to the main point, the Rethug field is pathetic. None of them are worthy of the offices they've held and none is even close to being up to the task of president.

Posted by: JeffII on December 13, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

"None of the Democrats has ever had an executive position or spent any significant time (say, more than 10 years) in national office."

i disagree

Bill Richardson's experience:
U.S. Congressman
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
U.S. Secretary of Energy
Governor of New Mexico

Bill Richardson's experience is listed at this wiki link.

i watched the debate today 12/13 -- each candidate said at least one thing i wanted to hear. i think any Dem candidate far outweighs any of the repubs -- even ron paul.

he has had plenty of experience with foreign policy, energy policy, and as governor: immigration issues and domestic policy.

Posted by: peg on December 13, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

But I think the recall concerned the city default exclusively.

I really don't think so, nepeta, according to every source I looked at in my admittedly brief review. I think the police chief firing was the impetus, and there were other things, like Kucinich hiring a 24-year-old city finance director and other totally inexperienced types for his aides, arguing non-stop with/insulting City Council members who had previously been supportive or at least neutral, and refusing to compromise on virtually everything. These are not qualities I value in a president.

I've also been reading about how the media had it in for K from day one so I'm not sure all sources should be taken as fact, particularly major news sources.

Agreed, which is why I looked at the chief's allegations with some skepticism.

I understand your desire to cut a break to someone who actually stands for something progressive. As mentioned, my own policy preferences come closer to Kucinich's than to any of the Big Three's. But even if he were a real presidential contender, I couldn't say that Kucinich has demonstrated much competence as an executive. I'm simply trying to be honest about that assessment.

Posted by: shortstop on December 13, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

This really is it, if we don't do something about global climate change with the next president things will be extremely bad. they are already going to be pretty bad, but if we lose again it's hopeless. And there is a real sense of that on many other issues, this is our chance to repudiate torture, to repudiate the terrible government we have.

We need someone with the guts to bring change--real change.

We have no idea if Hillary has it, her Iraq war and hawkishness indicates she doesn't have a clue why what she did there was wrong on every single fucking level.

Edwards does have it, but that's all he has. He has severely handicapped himself for the general election, you will get the months of dead air you got with Kerry and the GOP will happily demonize him.

And again, Obama has consistently shat on Progressives in his speeches--he NEVER talks in coded language to the base, so we are to conclude he really doesn't like us. And why would we vote for someone who thinks we, we who were instrumental in the 2006 victory, who were the ONLY MEDIA IN THIS COUNTRY with the guts to tell the truth about Iraq, are part of the problem.

Posted by: MNPundit on December 13, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Understood, shortstop.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps if one of the four Democratic senators running for president exhibited more of a leadership role in the Senate against the Republicans and the Bush administration, it would be easier to be inspired to more actively support their campaigns. Unfortunately, the only choice may be to simply vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination only because the alternative is worse.

Posted by: AJ on December 13, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

MNPundit, I agree with you exactly on the issues. The environment is failing fast. And the government is corrupt. These are the two most important issues. But I can't agree on Edwards. He really is our only hope. Hillary might have a shot in a general but she will depress downticket races and without enough support no Democratic agenda, liberal or moderate, gets through. (Obama does not even have a shot) Edwards is the only candidate who has ever, ever won a tough fight in a red state. He is the only candidate capable of bringing in Dems on his coat-tails, as mentioned above. The money issue is just hysterics. Too many people want the Republicans out and will contribute through third parties.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

"Unfortunately, the only choice may be to simply vote for whoever wins the Democratic nomination only because the alternative is worse."

Sad but true... who has actually 'stood up' in either the Senate or House?

Waxman
Feingold
Kucinich
Murtha

Anyone else come to mind?

Posted by: Buford on December 13, 2007 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

And the government is corrupt. Posted by: Chrissy

Actually, the administration and its appointees are corrupt and inept. I think you will find that most of the career people are pretty dedicated and competent. The mass U.S. Attorney firings attests to this.

You have to be pretty dedicated to put up with the shit that goes on every time an administration changes, and for the less than stellar pay.

Posted by: JeffII on December 13, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen: Are any of you still stuck living in polyanna class warfare times?

tomeck: Go volunteer in a homeless shelter for a week. ... Then spend a week as a substitute teacher at in inner-city school. ... Then work for a week cutting up chickens in a meat packing plant. ... Then try listening to Edwards again.

I'm sure that those would be very educational experiences, but if John Hansen is so concerned about class warfare, he should simply ask why Republicans are waging it.

These days even Alan Greenspan is worried about it, and I doubt he's traded in his Ayn Rand fan club membership for a position with the Comintern.

Posted by: alex on December 13, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Too true JeffII. Many of the career people in DC are doing great work in the face of some formidable obstacles from this administration. It's the political side that is corrupt.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK
You're really not sure Clinton or Obama would be the most liberal prez of the 21st C to date?

Yes, that's what I just said.

Oh, that's scary...

I suppose that depends on your perspective. Its worth noting, I suppose, that I am convinced that they wouldn't be the least liberal presidnet in that time frame.

There will have been, of course, 2 prior Presidents in the 21st Century when the next is inaugurated, Bush's term having started just after the beginning of the century.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 13, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Alex

I agree with your point. I was going easy on ol' John. Usually I suggest guys like him move into a flat on the West Side of Chicago, let his kids go to school there.

Posted by: tomeck on December 13, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Kos is generally childish, but Kevin's post is charmingly liberal blindered and naive. He, of course, has no grounds whatsoever to declare Clinton, Obama and Edwards to be "almost certain winners," a year away and with no clue about who will be the republican candidate. The charming and naive part is that, even though he is a smart guy not prone to such baseless statements, I'm sure he honestly believes what he wrote.

The "strength" of the two fields is also a totally liberal perspective, yet Kevin states it as fact. The objective prior qualifications of the three top dems are very modest. The objective qualifications of top repubs are arguably quite strong in terms of McCains's long senate tenure/military service and the executive experience of Romney, Guiliani and even Huckabee. Even Thompson arguably has more experience than the dems.

In any event, anyone who at this stage predicts the 08 race as anything much different than 50/50 is not being realistic.

Posted by: brian on December 13, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely....You tricked me!!! But that's always pretty easy to do. Whew.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

And electability? They're all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.

This is what we were reading in Winter of 99-00, too.

Posted by: Model 62 on December 13, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just the personalities and resumes of the candidates. It's also the advisers they have selected.

In foreign policy, Hillary (who voted for the AUMF) has picked all the Democratic hawks who supported the Iraq invasion (at least one of them criticizing Bush for not going in fast enough). According to this article, even those of Hillary's advisors who criticized the war did not only on the details (wrong time, wrong way).

Obama, on the other hand, has picked FP advisers that were against the Iraq war from the beginning. Seems to send a different message.

Hillary's FP advisers include Albright (remember the Sudan chemical factory), Holbrooke (who in early 2003 criticized Bush for wasting time going to the UN) and Sam Berger -- the one who also supported the war and later stuffed his socks with archived documents.

Obama's advisors include Brzezinski and Richard Clarke.

Very different candidates, at least as far as foreign policy goes.

Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

tomeck - Have you ever visited a homeless shelter?

What makes you think that I have not spent time visiting homeless shelters?

I have been on various Christian outreaches to Bell Gardens Homeless Shelter, Union Rescue Mission, Orange County Juvenile Hall, and others...

I am so sick of hearing liberals think that non-liberals don't care for the poor. Grow up. Consider that maybe a conservative who thinks that private charity and work will do a much better job at ministering to the needs of the poor than publicly funded agencies just might have a different opinion.

Posted by: John Hansen on December 13, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

JS, people are not going right out to vote for Obama because Brzezinski is a foreign policy adviser. Especially when you are rather weak on the personality and resume thing.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy, I know "people" are not going to vote on the advisors. I just thought that on "Political Animal" it's something that ought to be given some consideration.

Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen, you do sound a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge talking about refuge for the poor: "are there no prisons? are there no workhouses?" etc.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Four years ago at this time, Howard Dean was dominating on the progressive blogosphere, followed at some distance by Edwards and Clark, while Kerry barely had any visible online support. And we all know how that turned out.

As an Obama supporter, I've long been worried that he would become the darling of the progressive internet, and thus be on track to crash and burn just like Dean did.

But the biggest online Obama touters I know of are Andrew Sullivan, Matt Yglesias, and Ariana Huff; elsewhere support for him is pretty cool.

So that's a good sign. The progressive internet is just not the place to go to get a real sense of on-the-ground political sentiment.

Posted by: lampwick on December 13, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

I still say a white southern guy's got a better chance at winning with a mandate than Hillary or Obama, but otherwise I agree with you. It's a sexist, racist opinion, but in sync with the changing times in which we live. So, I think, Edwards alone has the chance to emerge with the best opportunities to change things. But otherwise, for once, I agree with Kevin.

Posted by: NealB on December 13, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Consider that maybe a conservative who thinks that private charity and work will do a much better job at ministering to the needs of the poor than publicly funded agencies just might have a different opinion."

Considering that that "opinion" is directly contradicted by damn near all of the available evidence, forgive us if we don't take this whine any more seriously than we do the rest of your drivel.

Posted by: PaulB on December 13, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

"This is what we were reading in Winter of 99-00, too"

Not in the news accounts I read. They were too busy fixating on Clinton to claim that Gore was a sure thing.

Posted by: PaulB on December 13, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

"He, of course, has no grounds whatsoever to declare Clinton, Obama and Edwards to be 'almost certain winners,' a year away"

ROFL.... Well, other than all of the available evidence, sure. If you want to claim that the election isn't a sure thing and that a lot can happen between now and then, fine. To pretend that Kevin "has no grounds whatsoever" for his view is just stupid.

Posted by: PaulB on December 13, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen

And I am so sick of conservatives who mouth platitudes about "private charity" doing so much more for the poor than government. I've been hearing that for 4 decades, and yet I've seen very little coming from them. My church runs a number of programs including a shelter (over 25 years, transistional housing, job training and more. We're not exactly overrun with conservatives who want to donate money to make our programs work.

A public-private partnership is needed to even begin addressing the needs of the poor. And no amount of private charity will come close to rebuilding and strengthening public schools in the inner city to provide a good education to all children.

Posted by: tomeck on December 13, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK
Do you think the Repubs would have won in 2000 had there been no impeachment fiasco? Btw, I like you name (user ID?).

Posted by: nepeta

My guess is, no. Or to put it more exactly, had there been no exaggerated response to the Monica Lewinsky thing by the media, Gore would have won in 2000. But in an election that close, you could say the same thing about a lot of factors -- the insanity of Nader, Gore's selection of the colorless Lieberman as his running mate (which was precipitated by the Lewinsky thing), vote suppression, the Supreme Court ruling along partisan lines: any one of these, and many others, could have been the tipping point.

The important thing to keep in mind, though, is the awfulness of that Republican field. Forbes, McCain (and McCain was a relative unknown at that time), and Bush. If the strength of the candidate was a big deciding factor, the Republicans should have been slaughtered in 2000. But they weren't.

Posted by: Martin Gale on December 13, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

At the end of a two-term presidency that was defined by the Iraq war, it seems to me that Hillary, with her war baggage, should be disqualified as the person who will rid this country of the neocon legacy.

To me, this means that Obama and Edwards should be the liberal alternatives. (Edwards voted for the AUMF too, but I think he has more convincingly moved away from that, and his advisor list shows it). Haven't made up my mind yet. Leaning towards Edwards because of the electability / South issue, but he does come on as a pretty boy on TV, and there is this video that, I fear, could easily get him swiftboated in the last weeks of the general campaign.


Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

By the way the Kos post Kevin linked to shows a Kos Reader Poll of Dec 12 2007 with 14,804 respondents:

Edwards: 39%
Obama: 30%
Kucinich: 8%
Clinton: 8%

Kos says that he voted for Obama and states his reasons why he didn't vote for Edwards (Kevin left most of this out of his quote):

Edwards? If he hadn't taken public financing, I'd probably go for him... But I refuse to vote for a guy who will be broke for about seven months in 2008 while the other side beats the crap out of him. I know his partisans have convinced themselves that this doesn't just not matter, but that it's a good thing! Good for them, I guess.

So the answer is: Kos is against public financing on tactical grounds -- he thinks it handicaps a candidate too much.

Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

seriously, Where's the love for Bill Richardson?

There's not a criterion for President that he doesn't surpass the other candidates in. Or, are we still limiting ourselves to the Horse-Race Three?

(I know, you want a President that looks good on a magazine cover. What was I thinking.)

Posted by: absent observer on December 13, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Martin..

According to a recent national poll discussed on Hard Ball last night, if the election were held today,
McCain would edge out Hillary by 2 points. Edwards beats all the Repub candidates by more points than any other Dem candidate. Sorry, don't have a clue as to who did the poll, etc.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ugh...I just found out who did the poll. Fox News. I suppose that makes it irrelevant.

Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Does the Iraq war vote not count with you all at all? Nor the continued bellicosity of Clinton and Edwards well into 2006 even? I am curious why DFHs consider the top 3 to be equivalent.

Read Obama's anti-war speech -- it is not your standard issue, boiler-plate anti-war speech. In one fairly short speech he lays out all the things wrong-headed about it, in fall 2002, before the vote...

Posted by: Radha on December 13, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

off the top of my head I'm having a hard time remembering one as bad as the 2008 GOP crop.

The GOP only has to look to 1996 to remember its last pathetic field. Bob Dole would have made an okay to mediocre president, perhaps, but he was an awful candidate, and the mismatch against Clinton was just laughable. Romney and Giuliani are both far superior as candidates to Dole; even McCain is a better candidate than Dole. It's mainly the objective situation the GOP finds itself in that has rendered these jerks so laughable.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 13, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The liberals' confidence is unjustified. Both Obama and Hillary are unelectable. Given the results of the last two elections, it's clear that any one of the top tier Republicans will win in 2008.

Posted by: gregor on December 13, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Are any of you still stuck living in polyanna class warfare times?

Ok, look, back in the great depression, when bankers would come to reposses a house in foreclosure, the town would turn up in a mob with guns to drive them away. That's class warfare. When I hear a bunch of upper-middle class Republicans acting like whiny bitches that talking about poverty is "class" warefare it reminds me that the right-wing ideology is a gutter ideology for weak-minded fools and cowards, not serious-minded Americans.

You right-wing pansies were much more amusing when you were crying that Saddam Hussein was going to make your mother wear a burkha if we didn't invade. Now go back to hiding under your bed and bitching about welfare queens.

Bitching that you hate in when politicians make issues of poverty front-and-center in a campaign is rooting in nothing more than hostility and anger that politicians are thinking about the poor rather than you. The campaign isn't about you. It's about America. Grow the hell up.

Posted by: Tyro on December 13, 2007 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

You're absolutely right on this one Kevin, except I'd add Dodd and Richardson to the list of strong candidates, and I'm starting to warm to Biden.

As far as this year's weak GOP field, it's not just that they're weak of character and intellect like so many of their previous candidates since 1980, but they're also very much disliked in the GOP base. Every single one is loaded with flaws that are too much for a normally extremely accomodating party of a$$-kissers, ie. the party of authoritarian love can't like this year's authoritarian crop.

Sorry to include a taunt to the trolls, but how in god's name can anyone think Republican after the last 6 years. What will it take to purge the remaining 30% from their rolls? I'm continually amazed at how low they're willing to go.

Posted by: dennisS on December 13, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Radha, trying to stake out a presidential run on one speech given as a state legislator in '02 is pretty thin gruel. There were thousands of elected officials in state legislatures and city councils and school boards opposed to the war in '02. There were millions of just ordinary citizens opposed to the war in '02. None of us deserve to have the presidency because of it. Holding national office and opposing the commander-in-chief (boob though he was) held very different consequences than some state legislator from a blue district opposing the war. In other words, BFD.

Posted by: Chrissy on December 13, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you're right about all three of them being electable. But I can't STAND Obama. Not in a real, true, I-can't-stand-the-guy way (although that seems to be what I just said), but in a flat, depressed, weary, what-a-big-phony way.

He is SO empty. He is SO slick. There is NO substance there. He is the total apotheosis of modern politics where looking presentable is all that matters. (Look at the hope for the future in that unclouded brow and that blank expression! Huzzah!) That is EXACTLY how George W. Bush got elected.

But, dear god, anyone would be better than George W. Bush. Bring on the alcoholic janitors with histories of violence and mental instability! (Or is that George W. Bush?--well, you know what I mean.)

Posted by: Anon on December 13, 2007 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

The sad truth is that none of the top Democratic candidates are untainted when it comes to having supported neocon warmaking in the past.

Obama is no exception. For example, these statements he made in a press interview pretty clearly suggest that he thought that the US will have to bomb Iran at some point:

...us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in," he said.

"On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. ... And I hope it doesn't get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I'd be surprised if Iran blinked at this point."

These comments were made in 2004, after the Iraq invasion.

Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Obama wins the nomination, and then the presidency. Shit, I knew this back when he made his 2004 Democratic Convention speech.

Posted by: Boorring on December 13, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

JS, et al, neither Obama or Edwards plans on getting us out of Iraq, as I said before. I don't give a fuck about what Obama said about the war before he joined the Senate. I do give a fuck about his plan now, and he doesn't have one to get us out.

Dennis... "warming to BIDEN"? Sen. MBNA?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 13, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else come to mind?

What bothers me most about the Democratic nominees is only one of them was trying to impeach, and it was the vice president. None led anti-war campaigns. The Republicans look bad now, but with immigration and lots of money, they have powerful tools to arouse people's feelings. Congress will almost surely be dominated by a Democratic majority, but it is possible a Republican could win the presidency, especially if Democrats don't go to the polls and someone like Huckabee rallies the evangels.

Posted by: Brojo on December 13, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

So Gadfly who does have this plan?

Posted by: JS on December 13, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard that often about Kucinich's stint as mayor of Cleveland. But I have a different memory having to do with his bravery in standing up for some sort of public electricity plan.

Kuch's successful showdown against the corrupt bankers trying to force him to sell off the municipal public utility to their cronies was certainly a shining, and indeed heroic, point in his career. However, it's the laundry list of mismanagement (detailed in part above by shortstop) that not only, IMO, outweigh that success, but may very well have led to the showdown with the bankers in the first place.

However, I just did a little digging and discovered something about Kuch's time as mayor that I had not previously known -- he went after the mob so ardently, trying to clean up the city's involvement with organized crime, that they put a hit out on him, which he only survived because 1) he missed a planned public appearance due to an emergency visit to the hospital for an ulcer, and 2) after the city subsequently went into default, the mob figured that Kuch was politically "dead" so figured it was redundant to go ahead with the literal version.

Story here.

As someone who lives in the shadow of Chicago, I have to give super duper bonus points for executive acumen to any big city mayor who goes after the mob and lives to tell about it.

Posted by: Disputo on December 13, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean was much more moderate than his fans gave him credit for

grr. Right, because Dean's fans all thought he was the big crazy hippy the media made him out to be. For most of us, his moderation was one of his selling points.

Posted by: piminnowcheez on December 13, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

OFF TOPIC:

I've put online the Xmas card I received from my close personal friends The Edwards Family:

http://edwardsxmascard.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Anon on December 14, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I favor Edwards, but I think Hillary could win several southern states. Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, and Virginia. Virginians won't like Giuliani at all, since he embodies everything they hate about Yankees. Huckabee may well come off as too hick for them, since they think of themselves as the "classy" part of the south. Which leaves Romney with the best shot, but Hillary's centrism is gonna play well in VA.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on December 14, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Clinton is no liberal

Posted by: catfish on December 14, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

What catfish said.

Posted by: Fred from Pescadero on December 14, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

The public's collective understanding regarding the candidates on both sides of the aisles seems more astute than the "experts" analyzing them, from CNBC to FOX, from Salon to Politico, with few exceptions. What gives?

The electorate increasingly believes there's a synthesis of traditional binary opponents, producing Demopublicans, Republicrats, etc. Yet the pundits are sticking with polarized models. The most ridiculous one is that Hillary is a leftist or a true liberal. How was her vote, or the vote by any "liberal" that gave W the power to conduct preemptive actions, liberal in any way? Aside from ignoring the NIE on the prevailing circumstances, indicating she had made her mind up despite the facts, there had been a conspicuous campaign conducted by Norman Podhoretz, William Kristol and the PNAC to conduct neoimperialist actions, including a war in Iraq. What the Administration was going to do was written on the wall, so to speak, and any casual acquaintance with the Weekly Standard and/or the National Interest made this entirely clear.

Additionally, as Kucinich said when asked about Neoconistic legislation, "I didn't vote for it because I read it." The same is true for every piece of legislation regarding the "War on Terror," especially Kyl-Liberman, branding the Iranian Guards terrorists. How in the world could Hillary vote for such a bill, knowing the implications, particularly since she must have gotten wind of the suspension of Iran's nuke program? Because she wanted to look tough.

These actions are reminiscent of the rabid brand of anti-communism promulgated by Nixon and Scoop Jackson - an archetype for today's modern Neocons. Simply replace terrorist with communist and you essentially have the same sort of zealous ideology. This is the essence of Republicanism that Hillary was aligned with early on as a verifiable Republican. (see: http://internationalnews.over-blog.com/article-13832621.html)

Also, if you're counting Hillary's inflated "35-year experience" as being part of the Clinton Administration, then one has to ask, What part of that Administration was liberal? Bill playing sax? C'mon. He incorporated Gingrich's Contract with America as a core policy, gutting welfare, affirmative action and other social programs without substituting humane alternatives while enfranchising NAFTA. The poor, neglected mentally ill, drug addicts and unfortunate souls, including Vietnam vets who never found their way, walked the streets before and after Bill, looking in trash cans for that day's welfare. What liberal plan does Hillary have for them? Or how about the 2 million+ incarcerated individuals in America?

Or consider her pro corporate tack for the AMA, insurance firms and drug companies during her farcical Healthcare exploration. That was liberal?

She's never voted against a war, or against funding a war. She spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars over the summer, talking about the next war. How about talking about not going to war unless absolutely necessary like Kucinich and Paul? That would be liberal, or more precisely, sane and sound.

Sure, you can look at her recently designed plans (where was she hiding them all these years as a "liberal" Senator?) that you may say, as Krugman does, are liberal. But they are, first and foremost, the product of Focus-Group politics, fitting the policies into a traditionally conceived Democratic model. They do not come from her heart, for she is not troubled by the plight of the unfortunate. It's simply a job her political allegiance - chosen because of Bill's mating call - demands of her.

How otherwise very intelligent people have been duped by Hillary is one of this era's great enigmas. But the delusions won't last much longer. Since she put her foot in her mouth about DLs for illegal immigrants, the people have seen the charade. They smell the snake oil. And it won't be long before she's buried in Iowa, defeated in NH and humiliated in South Carolina.

Posted by: arty kraft on December 14, 2007 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

Too true about the GOP field being abysmal, but, they are the perfect representation of what that party has sunk to. Lie down with the dogs*, etc.

You want a real liberal candidate? Think FDR. I believe Edwards and Dodd are the best of the lot by a long shot. Their own personal wealth has not blinded them to the realities of life below the income stratosphere in which they live. And that Carter has spoken favorably of Edwards raises him considerably in my eyes.

*my apologies to dogs everywhere

Posted by: monoglot on December 14, 2007 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats have a terrific field of 3 electable candidates, each of whom would make an excellent president, and a bunch of unelectable candidates, each of whom would make an excellent president.

The real problem for the Democrats, and for the Republicans, isn't their candidates. It's their voters, who, judging by half the comments on this thread, are substantially comprised of whining, immature nincompoops.

Posted by: brooksfoe on December 14, 2007 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin..you are right on. I've been following prez politics since the 60's and these three Dems(and most of the others) look very good. I would be happy with any of them.

Posted by: BigRed on December 14, 2007 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

Liberal? I don't even care about liberal anymore. All I care about is having a President with some decent respect for our institutions, our standing in the world, and the intelligence to avoid the big, dumb mistakes. All of these have that.

Posted by: bob h on December 14, 2007 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever. Kos has a history of supporting homophobes, as long as they are Democratic homophobes. I stopped reading his site long ago.

Posted by: raj on December 14, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

I don't get it. I like Markos, but in his mind, accepting public financing is a worse sin than empowering a homophobic preacher, cynically propping up GOP talking points about Social Security, and providing empty rhetoric.

I questions Edwards' decision to accept public funding, but in fairness, he said he would only do so if his opponent did, as well (fat chance with the GOP). And, at the very least, his stance speaks volumes about the insidious power money holds over the political process. As Americans, we should all be appalled.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on December 14, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

no comprendo - why would it bother anyone that Edwards took "public financing?" (assuming they're talking about campaign funds, not embezzlement!) Wouldn't liberals like to see MORE public financing of campaigns?

Posted by: naive questioner on December 14, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

In three short years, my feeling toward Barack Obama as a prospective and then active candidate has degenerated from enthusiasm to annoyance. I can't help but find him insufferably egotistical. But to be fair, I felt the exact same way about then-Gov. Bill Clinton prior to the 1992 New Hampshire primary, but I later warmed to him over time.
Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

I agree completely, but must make this caveat: I did not care for Bill Clinton initially, but the more I found out about him, the more I liked him. With Obama, the inverse is true. I liked him initially, but the more I learn about him, the less I like him.

That's not a good electoral strategy.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on December 14, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

naive,

Yes, most of us (I assume) would prefer all candidates to operate under federal financing guidelines, but Markos position is that, by opting for public fundin, Edwards would limit the amount of money he could spend between the last primary and the dem convention, which would allow the GOP (whose candidate will surely decline public financing) to go into full attack mode.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on December 14, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

And electability? They're all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.

We thought the same thing about Al Gore in 2000.

Posted by: e. nonee moose on December 14, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Nearly 200 comments, and what do they have in common? Everybody looks at every major candidate and sees something different.

What does this tell us? These people are chameleons; their public facades are carefully crafted mirages, calculated to reflect back at each viewer as close to exactly what that viewer would like to see as public poll politics can feasibly attain.

Feh.

In such a sea of smoke and mirrors, I'm looking for objective fact to make decisions on. Every major presidential candidate for the Dems is a Senator; every single one is in a position to show leadership on any number of major legislative issues. Here's what I want to see MY next President trying to get done --

*** The War in Iraq, over, NOW. We have no right to be there. Every dead Iraqi is not a collateral damage of an illegal invasion, they are victims of state sanctioned murder. We cannot bring back the dead or undo the damage, what we can and MUST do is STOP DOING ANY MORE. It is a moral imperative. We MUST stop murdering, raping, torturing, enslaving, and stealing from these people.

*** Bush and Cheney impeached, NOW. Please crime me a river about how useless this is and how pointless it would be to spend political capital trying to do this, and while you are whimpering so gutlessly about political expediency and practicality and we all have to live in the real world now, and therefore we should continue to ignore the rampant corruption, the deranged level of lawbreaking, the completely unprecedented level of blatant, brutal criminality that this entire regime embodies.

*** Universal healthcare, NOW. No gobbledegook. Every American citizen gets access to solid, useful, effective, affordable healthcare coverage by flashing their Social Security card to their provider.

*** Repeal the PATRIOT ACT now. Repeal that crappy Medicare Part D program and get rid of that insanely corrupt bankruptcy bill. Undo every single encroachment into my basic civil guarantees enacted over the past century, as far as that goes. Why does the FBI have the right to read my email without any kind of warrant at all? Why doesn't anyone even talk about this stuff any more?

Show me a viable Presidential candidate who has demonstrated ANY leadership on ANY of these issues and I will fall into line; show me one who has done anything on any two of these and I'll write them a check. Show me someone who is on the right side (and not afraid to say so in public) of ALL these issues and I will get out there and campaign.

But there is no such candidate, and it's wildly unlikely that any candidate who tried to fight for these positions COULD get elected... not because these position would be unpopular to a majority of Americans in and of themselves, but because these positions can be spun in such a way as to make them unpopular with idiots who can't think past buzz phrases like "socialist medicine" or "the Constitution isn't a suicide pact" or "nanny state" or "kill the ragheads" or "what do YOU have to hide, citizen" or "we have to live in the real world, politically".

If you think ANY of the Big Three Dem candidates are really liberal, believe me, you are being deceived by the sideshow. It's the necessary sideshow; they all have to flash a little bit of progressive posturing to get past the primaries. In the general election, watch how fast the Dem candidate runs back to the middle, and then past it, to try and pick up 'the undecideds'.

They'll be able to do it, then, because all the liberals and progressives like you will be locked in... you'll all just shrug and say "well, sometimes you have to hold your nose and pull the lever anyway" and, um, "we have to live in the real world".

Here's the only shot we have at getting anyone into office who will actually try to do ANYthing besides continue to the corporate status quo --

BOTH big parties fragment because BOTH their candidates cannot hold their far right and far left wing bases. We get a Repub candidate who is trying to appeal to enough moderates to pull a win, we get a Democratic candidate doing the same thing, and at both extremes of the political spectrum, we get independent candidates. The right wing independent candidate will be truly, truly scary, but the left wing candidate might actually be someone we could actually vote FOR, instead of, you know, someone we'd push a button for as a vote AGAINST Guiliani or Huckabee.

In this scenario, an independent candidate might really have a shot at winning... and honestly, I think it's the only real hope we have of getting a White House that isn't 'business as usual'.

But the Big Three you like so much? None of them will shake any trees once they get in, and if you want proof of that, just look at how carefully they'll kept their hands in their pockets to date. I want a President with the guts to take on the entrenched interests, and who is genuinely concerned about the out of control growth of the central security state. What we have this year, however, are a bunch of candidates who clearly just want to take over the controls. Sorry, that's not working for me.

Posted by: DocNebula on December 14, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry... some badly butchered sentences in the above. Happens when you're composing in a hurry at work between supervisory sweeps. My apologies. I hope the gist of my outrage at all these gutless politicians comes through.

Posted by: DocNebula on December 14, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

So the answer is: Kos is against public financing on tactical grounds -- he thinks it handicaps a candidate too much. Posted by: JS

Oh yes. Kos, the great tactician, who has an abysmal record of supporting losing candidates.

Posted by: JeffII on December 14, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

tomeck - Why do you keep believing in liberal models when for the most part they do not work? Check out the results of Chuck Colson's organization compared to any government program.

I just don't believe that people can't see right through Edwards. He is no champion of the poor.

Posted by: John Hansen on December 14, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Private charities are also prone to lining the pockets of those who oversee them at the expense of those they are set up to assist, too. Here is an infuriating example. It was front page news on the WaPo yesterday, and 1800 bloggers went nuts.

Today isn't really a good day to tout private charities. Especially for veterans. Personally, I find it offensive that veterans even need private charities. Their needs should be met by the government they served. Period. They should not have to rely on sleazebags who get rich and pay their wives over a hundred grand a year for "editing a newsletter" all while wrapped in the flag. It sickens me.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 14, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Markos' position on Edwards is very disappointing. His acceptance of public money may be a black mark against his character, or be a tactical mistake, but it doesn't have anything to do with what kind of president he'd be.

I thought we were trying to get beyond those purity tests in favor of trying to figure out who would actually do the best job of running the country."

Kos' thing is capital-W Winning. So he tends to take a pretty hard line on tactical stuff like that. FWIW.

Posted by: cazart on December 14, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

My rule is that I do not contribute to any charities that have employees who make more than I do.

Posted by: Brojo on December 14, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Check out the results of Chuck Colson's organization compared to any government program."

LOL... Oh man, did you pick a bad choice. It's clear you haven't read up on Colson's organization.

Posted by: PaulB on December 14, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yes. Kos, the great tactician, who has an abysmal record of supporting losing candidates.

Sigh... More of this crap? Kos generally supported long-shot candidates. He admitted they were long-shots and he was prepared for them to lose. What he was doing was living up to the "fight them in every district" category that actually worked quite well in 2006.

Posted by: PaulB on December 14, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"why would it bother anyone that Edwards took 'public financing?'"

It doesn't bother anyone from a moral or ethical standpoint. It's a practical thing: Edwards would almost certainly run out of money well before the Republican candidate and would have significantly less money to spend.

Posted by: PaulB on December 14, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and John? Not only are you ignorant of the real story behind Colson's program, your reference to that program is foolish. Do tell us how Colson's program replaces Social Security and Medicare, won't you? Those overwhelmingly popular programs were put in place precisely because the private sector was not up to the task.

Posted by: PaulB on December 14, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I personally find it incredible that John Hansen who said that Edwards, because he is a multi-millionaire, can't be genuine in his support for the poor, could write this:

I am so sick of hearing liberals think that non-liberals don't care for the poor.

Pot, say black to Mr Kettle.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on December 14, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Hansen, your choice of Colson's program to highlight was particularly silly in light of the fact that Colson's program is partially funded by ... wait for it ... government funding. Now what was that you were saying about "private" organizations, again?

Posted by: PaulB on December 14, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm dithering because I don't quite believe that any of them are as liberal as they pretend...

If the Democratic party truly wanted a liberal candidate they would be going for Kucinich, the only 'real' progressive in the field, short stature and all.
Posted by: nepeta on December 13, 2007

------------

They might appear to be liberal because of the issues which need to be dealt with. How liberal one or the other might be could only be learned when their specific proposed solutions are studied. Liberal isn't JUST which issues they think are of highest priority, it's also how they propose to solve those problems.

I think their focus on issues has to do with the backlog of things Republicans haven't taken care of. Their solutions might or might not be very liberal.

This is why I think the term Progressive has taken hold just now. It identifies with Teddy Roosevelt and how he took on very big issues to force the country to make progress, but it doesn't focus as much on HOW he or today's Dems might try to solve the problems.

To make a point, I think Kucinich IS a Liberal. It's not only clear from his focus on certain issues, but how he describes his solutions. It's no joke that he is faaaar to the Left (by American standards). Still, even with that position he's respected as intelligent and a good candidate who would have the energy and focus to solve many pressing problems. I think he isn't a front-runner in part because of his more Liberal positions AND because of his personal style. He's a bit preachy and doesn't seem to me to be the kind of leader who would be able to caucus with anybody who disagrees with him in the slightest. Governing requires a lot of that.

Just how Liberal Clinton or Obama or Edwards are remains to be seen. I suspect it would depend a lot upon what kind of Congress each would get to work with. Bill Clinton also changed his positions a bit after Congress changed in 1994. Now, in retrospect, we tend to think he went too far to the Right, but at the time it wasn't so obvious to everyone.

One reason I have high hopes for Edwards is that his Southern upbringing had to have instilled some conservative traits to go along with his more lefty beliefs. His great compassion for the working poor is already obvious, but how he would deal with the national economy and foreign policy (both nation positions rather than partisan party positions) is yet to be seen. But, he comes from humble roots and has shown himself to be very intelligent and hard-working and capable, so that's a great foundation.

Posted by: MarkH on December 14, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

If you have not realized yet that the left cannot wholeheartedly embrace their own politicians under any circumstance, you have not been paying attention. As a leftist myself I have to struggle to not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, but for most of us on the left, we are much more comfortable holding our noses in disdain that wholeheartedly supporting anyone. It's one of our most infuriating characteristics - and one I freely admit sharing - but it is time t get over it. There are no perfect candidates, just fallible human beings.

Posted by: Kija on December 14, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards earned $500,000 for consulting to a hedge fund in 2006. That hedge fund owned two subprime mortgage companies. Edwards is very intelligent and probably hard working, but he did not use those gifts to stop the housing bubble, which was already apparent in 2006, before it became a train wreck. Edwards used his gifts to enrich himself. While Edwards was a senator, Pres. Clinton had to bail out a hedge fund (Long Term Capital Mgt) because it's bad investments threatened the whole financial system. If Edwards was so smart and progressive and humble, why didn't he try to do something to regulate hedge funds instead of working for them?

I have no problem that Edwards wanted to enrich himself by working for a hedge fund. I just think he should be honest and run as a Republican.

Posted by: Brojo on December 14, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "I'm still dithering about who to support, but while I have issues with all three of them, I'm mostly dithering because they're all really good..."

Based on reading you, I feel certain you will vote for Hillary.

Posted by: Jay Rosen on December 15, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Found your blog on Twitter, and I just needed to say thanks for the info!

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