Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Recovery Efforts

Nevsky thinks that I'm not worried enough. But I'm not panicked and worried about the house falling down because the house already fell down. It fell down when the Patriot Act was passed. It fell when the Congress gave our cowboy/frat boy President carte blanche to start war. It fell when our Congress, our elected officials whose SOLE job is to work in our best interests as a people, started passing bills that had names in direct opposition of what they actually do - such as "No Child Left Behind". An unfunded mandate is useless to me. Worse yet, it is useless to the children of America and that means the future of America.

A hurricane of bad policies and politics has ripped our country apart. What we need to do now is grimly determine who will work on the recovery effort. We aren't who we were as a nation, so now we have to determine who we will be. That is the criteria I use when I look at the candidates to oppose George W. Bush.

Kerry is considered the current frontrunner because of his wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. As well as suffering from a charm deficit (Nevsky's brother is right - Lurch, but without all the charm), Kerry was also a of very little use as a Senator. He was neither a strong leader or a good follower. (Sorry, but a good politician is either one or the other and a great politician is both.) I would love to see Kerry in charge of the Veterans Administration - it is in dire need of help and he has a strong passion for the work. I would hate to see him as President. As Nevsky just wandered over and pointed out, he comes off as FrankenKerry. He has all of the same things going against him that Al Gore did, but without any of the benefits. Kerry will not be able to lead our national recovery effort.

Lieberman is in last place of the 'serious' candidates right now, and for good reason. Lieberman excels at negotiation, compromise, and getting along with Republicans. Lieberman will not be able to lead our national recovery effort.

Clark came late to the party and is now only hanging out with people he thinks will like him. People who worked with him either loved him or hated him, a classic profile for a brown-nosing Golden Boy. Being an approval seeker myself, I don't want one in the White House. Tough decisions are hard enough to make without secretly wondering how everyone else feels about it. If he won the Presidency I would entirely expect him to bound up to the stage and say, "You like me! You really LIKE me!" As far as military cred is concerned, I like Kerry's better. Clark will not be able to lead our national recovery effort.

Edwards seems earnest enough. Did he mention that he dad worked in a mill....? I wouldn't be bothered by an earnest President with populist tendencies. I like most of his voting record and stated views, especially on education when he pointed out, "The president continues to tout private school vouchers. I oppose them because they divert resources and energy from reform and divert students into the only schools that don't have to meet high standards." His youth bothers me a bit. Would the UN put him at the kiddie table? But the pace of the campaign seems to be taking a toll on him so it's quite possible that he will look like an adult by November. I sincerely doubt that Edwards will be able to lead our national recovery effort.

Dean was the frontrunner right up until the voting started. I still believe that when the dust settles in November Dean will be the last man standing. You may not agree with Dean, but you have to respect him. Reviewing his record he proves to be both a strong leader and a good follower - and is judicious in his use of both talents. I find him to be charming and intelligent. He's trying very hard to get people to understand the relationship between taxes and programs - something I've been trying to do for years but have never seen a politician do before. Dean doesn't get along with Republicans but he is willing to handwrite a note of apology if, in his own opinion, he has tripped over disagreement and into insult. He doesn't worry overly much about what other people think because he trusts his instincts and his own mind. (He's like Captain Kirk, but without the Orion slavebabes.) He's a top-shelf manager, has infectious enthusiasm, and has been the only candidate to change the landscape of future elections with his campaign. He has managed to give hope for a brighter future along with a dose of pragmatic counseling. Dean is already leading our national recovery effort. Now all we have to do is move him into the White House.

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