Empty suits

Kevin Drum attempts to get two dicks and a pussy in his mouth all at the same time:

In 2004 Democrats really did have a weak field. I ended up supporting Wes Clark, knowing full well that his inexperience might doom him, and sure enough it did. Howard Dean was much more moderate than his fans gave him credit for, and didn't know how to run a campaign. Edwards was pretty green as well. So we ended up with John Kerry, a compromise candidate that lots of people could support but almost no one could love.

But this year is different. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are all solid liberal candidates; all of them are pretty good at inspiring their own base; and all of them seem to know how to run a campaign. I'm still dithering about who to support, but while I have issues with all three of them, I'm mostly dithering because
they're all really good and the differences between them are, frankly, pretty small. Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

And he's got something like 156 responses, nearly all of which argue vociferously over which Democratic candidate is the most or least liberal.

To all of which, I respond:

Nearly 200 comments, and what do they have in common? Everybody looks at every major candidate and sees something different.

What does this tell us? These people are chameleons; their public facades are carefully crafted mirages, calculated to reflect back at each viewer as close to exactly what that viewer would like to see as public poll politics can feasibly attain.


In such a sea of smoke and mirrors, I'm looking for some points of objectivity to base decisions on. Every major presidential candidate for the Dems is a Senator; every single one is in a position to show leadership on any number of major legislative issues. Here's what I want to see MY next President trying to get done --

*** The War in Iraq, over, NOW. We have no right to be there. Every dead Iraqi is not simply collateral damage of an illegal invasion, they are victims of state sanctioned murder. We cannot bring back the dead or undo the damage, what we can and MUST do is STOP DOING ANY MORE. This is a moral imperative. We MUST stop murdering, raping, torturing, enslaving, and stealing from these people.

*** Bush and Cheney impeached, NOW. Please cry me a river at this point about how useless this is and how pointless it would be to spend political capital trying to do this, and while you are whimpering so gutlessly about political expediency and practicality and how we all have to live in the real world now, and therefore we should continue to ignore the rampant corruption, the deranged level of lawbreaking, the completely unprecedented level of blatant, brutal criminality that this entire regime embodies, I will puke all over your shoes.

*** Universal healthcare, NOW. No bullshit, no bibble-babble. Every American citizen gets access to solid, useful, effective, affordable health care coverage by flashing their Social Security card at their provider. How do we pay for it? How about we stop spending 20 billion dollars a month in Iraq, for starters? After that, we can start confiscating CEO bonus packages.

*** Repeal the PATRIOT ACT. Once again, NOW. Repeal that crappy Medicare Part D plan, too, and get rid of that insanely corrupt bankruptcy bill while you're at it. And as long as you've got the repeal pen out, why not undo every single encroachment into my basic civil guarantees enacted over the past century? Why does the FBI have the right to read my email without any kind of warrant at all? Why doesn't anyone even talk about this stuff any more? Bill Clinton did it, so it's okay? WTF?

Show me a viable Presidential candidate who has demonstrated ANY leadership on ANY of these issues and I will fall into line; show me one who has done anything on any two of these and I'll write them a check. Show me someone who is on the correct side (and not afraid to say so in public) of ALL these issues and I will get out there and campaign.

But there is no such candidate, and it's wildly unlikely that any candidate who tried to fight for these positions COULD get elected... not because these positions would be unpopular to a majority of Americans in and of themselves, but because these positions can be spun in such a way as to make them unpopular with idiots who can't think past buzz phrases like "socialist medicine" or "the Constitution isn't a suicide pact" or "nanny state" or "kill the ragheads" or "what do YOU have to hide, citizen" or "we have to live in the real world, politically".

If you think ANY of the Big Three Dem candidates are really liberal, you have lost your mind. All this is just the necessary sideshow; they all have to flash a little bit of progressive posturing to get past the primaries. In the general election, watch how fast the anointed Dem candidate runs back to the middle, and then past it, to try and pick up 'the undecideds'.

They'll be able to do it, of course, because all the liberals and progressives like you will be locked in... you'll all just shrug and say "well, sometimes you have to hold your nose and pull the lever anyway" and, um, "we have to live in the real world".

Here's the only shot we have at getting anyone into office who will actually try to do ANYthing besides continue to the corporate status quo --

BOTH big parties fragment because BOTH their candidates cannot hold their far right and far left wing bases. We get a Repub candidate who is trying to appeal to enough moderates to pull a win, we get a Democratic candidate doing the same thing, and at both extremes of the political spectrum, we get independent candidates. The right wing independent candidate will be truly, truly scary, but the left wing candidate might for once be someone we could actually vote FOR, instead of, you know, someone we'd push a button for as a vote AGAINST Guiliani or Huckabee.

In this scenario, an independent candidate might really have a shot at winning... and honestly, I think it's the only real hope we have of getting a White House that isn't 'business as usual'.

But the Big Three you like so much? None of them will shake any trees once they get in, and if you want proof of that, just look at how carefully they'll kept their hands in their pockets to date. I want a President with the guts to take on the entrenched interests, and who is genuinely concerned about the out of control growth of the central security state. What we have this year, however, are a bunch of sorry ass wannabes who clearly just want to take over the controls. Sorry, that's not working for me.

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