Sunday, January 18, 2004

Wild ride through a wind-swept prairie!

Yea, it's a wild ride, this Democratic Party presidential nomination campaign. So many names and faces, so few new ideas or clear directions coming from the contenders. Kudos are due Gov. Dean for injecting life into the dizzy, wobbling Democratic Party. Without Dean the rest of the field would seem like a an exercise in watching paint dry. However, for political experience, D.C. savvy and military expertise, I think the scales tip toward John Kerry - with Gen. Clark as his running mate. That duo, I believe, could give Bush real problems. Both men served HONORABLY (unlike the Bushmeister) in the military. One has years of service in the Congress and, therefore, the insight and wisdom to know what can and cannot be accomplished through the democratic process.

Gephardt's record as a congressional leader is mushy and undistinguished. He caved in too many times when the Gingrich crew shoved its agenda down the throats of the nation, and he's perceived as a special-interest lackey by many - perhaps too many.

Mosely-Braun threw in the towel yesterday and sided with Dean, though I'm not sure that helps Dean.

Kucinich is a non-starter - fiery rhetoric delivered by a soft-spoken nerd.

Forget Al Sharpton - he's simply raising his own stock-value. He cannot, in his wildest dreams, believe he has a snowball's chance in hell of ever obtaining the nomination. And I don't believe his constituency can sway the black vote in the least, (is there really a true 'block' of black voters?), so forget him.

John Edwards is coming on and he looks pretty good (a' la John Kennedy boyishness). Some of his rhetoric is sensible and peppered with well-reasoned ideas. But I'm afraid his southern upbringing may be his albatross, in the sense that he is perceived as too congenial to trade punches in the arena of international politics. It's a rough and tumble game and Edwards appears too "sweet" to wield the power delegated to the president.

Lieberman, well, he's a nice old guy who's got lots of wind but little fire. I just don't see him arousing enough voters to push him over the top of the heap, despite (or perhaps because of) his run with the Gore.

No, I don't believe ANY of the Democratic candidates have stated his/her platform clearly enough to embed it in the psyche of the American electorate. None appears distinctively different from another - although clearly, Dean comes closest to achieving that distinction. But when party loyalists look at the field, they see fog and dimly-formed silhouettes.

No one has expressed the "gleaming" vision or displayed the "righteous" determination required to excite the general electorate, and when it comes to displacing G.W. one of the Democratic candidates must find that elusive "thing" that endears him to the public and lifts him above the petty hue and cry that currently defines the campaign.

Oh, I know that many say Dean has staked out a well-defined position on the issues, or that Kerry has stated his platform in rock-solid fashion, or that Gephardt and even Clark have presented themselves in definitive terms.

But I, sadly, disagree. Otherwise, why would the polls, pundits and the public all say they're undecided?

Wake up, folks. It's late in the game and it's time to decide. If the media asks the hard questions and pushes for answers, perhaps we'd have a better grasp of who these people really are ...?

I see the Dems pinning their hopes on Kerry and Clark (if Clark will accept the vp position), and I believe that ticket would have a real chance of deposing the Bushmeister.

Dean? Well, I don't think his ego will allow him to accept anything less than the presidential nomination, but I do see him as a hefty asset to the party if he commits to supporting the party's candidates. Dean's camp has built a well-oiled political machine that could catapault the Democratic nominees into the winner's circle against G.W. And that, after all, is the only true goal, is it not? We've got to dump Bush and place new leadership in the White House, not for partisan reasons but for the sake of the planet, the population and future generations.

That aside, I'm picking the Panthers and the Pats to win today. I just think that Peyton Manning is on top of his game. He's the most surgically perfect quarteback (at least in the last two games) I've ever seen, and I've seen a few good ones! And the Panthers? Well, I think the Eagles will find a way to lose, as they almost did in the game against the Packers. Were it not for Favre's errant, intercepted throw late in the fourth quarter, I think Green Bay would be playing the Panthers today. The Eagles' coaching staff is their worst enemy! The players have heart, talent and determination. But the coaches seem to be long on timidity and short on imagination. But we'll see, eh?


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