from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Okay -- so as this is set up I can't allow comments. Boo. I will, when I have time, try to figure out how to make this truly a dialog, and not merely my thoughts cast out into the blogosphere.

In the meantime --- some quick political thoughts (remembering that I still support Dean):

1) by not spending money on TV this week in the 7 Feb 3 states, Dean may preserve enough money to fight another week or two. He is still raising money at a pace of around 200,000/day, which probably puts everyone else (except maybe Kerry) to shame. If he does not win something on Feb 3, he will see endorsements start to peel away, but that will not necessarily stop him. As long as he stays in, Kerry will have to debate, and remember -- Kucinich and Sharpton are going nowhere. Can you imagine Sharpton turning his focus on the John Kerry who talked about walking away from affirmative action? Or Kucinich pointing out directly that leadership in Congress was his getting over 100 Congressmen to vote against the war, not sheepishly voting for a war resolution that lacked the clauses Kerry says were important - that if he really felt so, why didn't he fight for such language [and Kucinich WILL make such a charge if given the chance).

2) the stupidest thing the Democratic party could ever do is to try to shut down the process and anoint a candidate. I woold be saying that if it were Dean posisbly poised to run the table. There are several reasons for that. First, it would allow the Bush machine to immediately unload and start defining that candidate, who probably would be unable to reply, even if he (as have Dean and Kerry) opted out. Second, it would mean losing all the free attention that the press has to give so long as there is a perceived contest, free attention that keeps the Democrats in front of the public to be sure, and by that process sucks up air time away from Bush appearing as presidential.

3) Remember that in the Newsweek poll last week all 5 of the major Democrats (if you could consider Lieberman major) were at least within the margin of error of the poll versus Bush. The president has problems of his own. This raises two points. First, there may not be a significant difference between the Democrats as to real electability: either Bush will tank on his own, or if he were to totally recover, it is possible that no one would be electable. For both of those reasons, the really smart thing to be doing is to vote on the issues. Oh, what are those? All the things being swept under the carpet by the press and the process. What mandate does one have if the only platform on which you have run is "I'm not the other guy?" And ultimately one has to give a positive reason for poeple to support you, especially if you are simlutaneously asking them to elect Democrats to House and Senate seats to enable you to achieve your legislative agenda (what's that? you know, the things you'd want to actually DO if you were president!).

4) I'd really like to see someone take Kerry to task for political plagiarism. I remember that in 1988 Joe Biden went down when John Sasso, staffer for Dukakis (who fired Sasso for feeding this to the press) pointed out to the press that the Biden line that he was the first in is family for a thousand generatins to go to colelge was a rip-off of a line used by English labor Party leader Neal Kinnock. Today (SATURDAY, January 31), Kerry on NPR was heard to rip off yet another Dean line - the (not-so-)good Senator was heard to say that we are going to build the largest grassroots political movement in American history. One thinks that some enterprising media type could put the together the tapes showing case after case of Kerry ripping off lines from Dean .. which of course raises the question -- does he (Kerry) actually believe what he is saying? if so, when did he have his "Road to Damscus" conversion, since he was saying none of this until about 3 weeks ago. If not, how can anyone in the political press take him seriously, especially since they should know his mediocre legislative record in the Senate, and his inability to abide by his word when he broke out of campaign spending limits when losing to Bill Weld. Or is it because he has been around so long that the rules simply don't apply to him?

If you get from this post that I have a visceral dislike of the junior Senator from Massachussetts, I must compliment you, dear reader, on your acute observational powers. He may get elected, but quite frankly the more you know him I am sure the less you will like or respect him -- he may get elected, but he is not "electable." And by far he has been the angriest candidate in this campaign: listen to his tone of voice, and wathc his body language. Because he is the last Democrat elected to the Senate in 1984 to run for president (having been preceded by among others Harkin, Simon and Bob Kerrey) he seems to think he is entitled, totally ignoring others elected before him who have never run. I do not think he is qualified to be president temperamentally and I think he lacks intellectual honesty. Thus I acknowledge that I cannot support him even with a passive vote. Since I live in Virginia, that probably does not make a difference, any more than it did when I refused to vote for Mondale [again, because of things that I knew] in 1984. A Democrat who needs to win Virginia in order to win the presidency is not going to win the presidency.

A man I greatly admired, the late Archimandrite Sophrony, spent WWII in a cave on Mount Athos in Greece. He once wrote that during the war he prayed that the less evil side might win. I am not as saintly or holy as he. When someone tells me to pick between the lesser of two evils, my response is that you are still asking me to affirm evil, and that I will not do.

My wife has just found out that I am now posting to a blog. When she gets home, I know several things:

first - as the professional editor she is, she will catch every typo and criticize every grammatical mistake

second - she will ask me why it took over a month after she first suggested blogspot for me to do this.

and for the record -- I don't know how the clock on the blog is supposed to work, but it will be 9:17 PM EST when I hit the POST button for this message
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