Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Iowa Caucus Wrap-up

John Kerry won the Iowa caucus last night. Although I’ve been officially supporting Howard Dean, I found myself more relieved at Kerry’s victory.

Earlier in the season, it was my initial instinct to support Kerry. Having lived in Massachusetts for nine years, I was already familiar with his record. I was persuaded by a friend of Mark’s to support Dean, based on the populist/grass-roots nature of his campaign. But during the week leading up to the primary, I began to feel that Dean—admirable as his stances are and motivated as his supporters are—is not electable on the national stage. Meanwhile, there was a compelling interview with Kerry on This Week with George Stephanopolous, which confirmed to me that my initial instinct was correct.

True, Kerry voted to authorize the war in Iraq, which I’ve had very mixed feelings about. But, frankly, I have to ask what difference that would make now. We’re there. And if this were 1968, I would still favor Bobby Kennedy even though he was an early proponent of the Vietnam War. Dean, if he were elected, wouldn’t be able to jump in a time machine and undo all that has gone on in Iraq. And Kerry, I feel, would be more able to build a coalition and come up with an exit strategy than either Dean or Bush—so, I’m seriously considering switching my support to Kerry.

It goes without saying that Kerry is just as strong on gay issues as Dean.

As for the other candidates:

Edwards has managed to score a come from behind surge to get 2nd place in Iowa. Yet he still rubs me the wrong way. He strikes me as a weaker version of Clinton, and not the kind of man to take an unpopular stand if needed—a poll driven politician. On a more personal note, I am sick of Southerners in the White House. The last Northern President we’ve had is Ford, the last true Northeasterner—JFK. (Yes, Bush Sr. was originally from the Northeast, but his more recent residency and political stances marked him as a true Texan. And I know Reagan was born in Illinois, but he was a Californian through & through.)

Kucinich is my congressman and he’s doing an excellent job there—that’s where I want him to stay. I do NOT want him as my President.

Sharpton is playing the same role Jesse Jackson played in 1988, keeping the other candidates on their toes from the left.

Clark is basically a Republican, and his record in Kosovo will leave him open to criticism in the campaign.

Lieberman is so conservative on social issues, if he were nominated, I would probably decline to vote in the Presidential race and hope for a strong anti-Republican backlash in 2008.

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