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Democratic Candidate opinion
Bar Harbor
I was talking with my folks recently, and mom asked me what I thought of the various Democratic presidential candidates. I said that I hadn't been following things closely enough to have much opinion (insert guilty look here).

But I've just recalled that that isn't quite true. Joe Lieberman has perennially made a point of speaking out against the grave social ill of "video game violence". He's recently been decrying Grand Theft Auto, a truly marvelous (if violent) game that is not intended for children. As a defender of free spech, as a frequent enjoyer of violent video games, and as someone who ocassionally works in that industry (and has long discussions about ethics with his peers), I have to give Lieberman a big "thumbs down".

If it came down to him or Bush, well, I'd grit my teeth and vote for him, but I sure hope he doesn't win the primary.

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I sure am not going to vote for the man who is bragging that he made Bush create the Department of Homeland Security!

as for me i refuse to vote for anyone who claims he is an orthodox Jew, and then in the same breth claims that it is ok to work on a saturday. i'd mind som much less if he jsut said that it was ok for HIM to do it, or that he mad ethat hcoice or wahtever, but jo, he deliberatly misleads people, which is such a huge no-no that it is roughly only second to "thou shalt not have other gods before me". ugh. ok, off soap box now...

Well, to be fair, I'd vote for a trained monkey over Bush. (Probably even an untrained one.)

But I agree that, out of the field that remains (now that Gephardt has quit), Lieberman is the one who I most actively do *not* want to see win the Democratic nomination. Indeed, I find myself actually preferring Sharpton over Lieberman, which I wouldn't have expected before the candidates started stating their positions.

I agree with hungrytiger overall: Kerry and Edwards, in either order, are clearly the optimal ticket at this point. Very middle of the road, with a lot of broad appeal. Not as exciting as, say, Dean/Braun, but with by far the best chance of convincing people that there is an alternative that is clearly better than Bush/Cheney...

I am for whomever has the best chance of defeating Bush.

Anna Quindlen's column in last weeks Newsweek refers to this as the ABBA vote (Anyone But Bush Again). She pretty much agrees with it in concept but cautions that...

"...a campaign that is purely reactive never really feels like an exercise in leadership. And if the lodestar of this race becomes ABBA, it is likely to be not only unsuccessful but dispiriting to the voters.... Opposing positions is one thing; merely becoming the anti-incumbent makes the incumbent the standard. And, too often, the winner."

For the full text of her column, go to The Ghosts of Elections Past

And here's my position...

And for the record, I'm straddling the fence between Kerry and Edwards.

I think Kerry has the smarts to be an excellent President and the patience to spend time evaluating all sides of an argument before acting on it. OTOH, I think Edwards is a brilliant speaker that the public can rally behind; he may have less experience, but that also means that, like Carter, he still more of the spirit of public service that led him to politics in the first place.

What I'm really hoping for right now is that there'll be a Kerry/Edwards or Edwards/Kerry ticket. That's something I could really get behind.

Re: And here's my position...

Well, on all the occasions that I've written Kerry email (usually through the ACLU or, he's sent me nice snail-mail form letters in return, usually agreeing with what I asked him for (and with at least plausible arguments when he didn't). I figure that that counts as positive overall, though minor points off for using dead trees instead of email for the reply.

"...a campaign that is purely reactive never really feels like an exercise in leadership."

This is clearly important, if you think that the President actually originates the decisions that he "makes." It seems much more likely to me that the president is just the front man for the folks he chooses, or inherits, to originate policy. Sets the tone but not the actions, basically. So I'd rather vote on tone than leadership.

But I'll go read the article when I can -- thanks!

So I'd rather vote on tone than leadership.

While I don't really disagree with this, I think the point about the problems of ABBA still apply on that level. "Let's do everything opposite from Bush" isn't a great tone to base government on (though I'll grant that it would still be an improvement over Bush himself).

This reminds me of a personal revalation that I had in late high school. Up until then, I had been deliberately weird, and taken great pleasure in things like "freaking the mundanes". Then it occurred to me that, if I defined myself as "everything that they are not"... I was still defining myself by their terms, letting them create the definitions that I lived by. Since then, I've done my best to define myself for myself, taking what I think is good from both "weird" and "normal" societies. I am no longer ashamed of my fondness for vanilla ice cream, but neither do I feel a need to be "vanilla" in all other aspects of my life ;-)

"Let's do everything opposite from Bush"

I don't think that I've seen anyone advocating that.

Well, yeah. Lieberman is a thinly disguised Republican. He gets backing from the sorts of people who think "we need the Democrats to win" rather than "we need to support such-and-such principles".

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