I completely fail to understand the point of the primary in our electoral process. I know that it was supposed to take the nominations out of the hands of smoke-filled rooms and give some power to the people, which is always a nice thing, but I’m perplexed by a system that requires candidates to dismember their colleagues while the incumbent sits back and enjoys the show. I see no reason why the candidates should have to drain their coffers to fight each other while Bush sits happily on a massive war chest. I keep hearing things about candidates “proving their mettle” and insuring that only the really strong contenders survive, but this doesn’t seem like Darwin to me so much as Thunderdome.
It also seems to me to be the politic of the lowest common denominator. Instead of rallying around issues and causes, the race becomes — once again — a simple, country-wide gag test. Which of these candidates annoys people the least?
And with that, Howard Dean is out. Which is a shame, because I liked Dean. I could actually see myself voting for Dean. I liked that he was all fired up. I don’t know why he went from 60 to zero in about four seconds — I know there’s all sorts of conspiracy theories floating around as to who killed Dean off, but I haven’t seen anything concrete from any of them. If he’s truly out of the race, though, I’m glad he lasted long enough to set the tone for the Democrats. Bush seems to think that if he knocks you on the head with a pipe and steals your wallet, it’s wrong for you to complain about it. “Why are all those Democrats so angry?” the Republicans scratch their heads and wonder. Well, guys, it’s because we haven’t been duped into thinking that when good things happen to rich people, everyone benefits.
Enter John Kerry. I don’t like him. He truly, truly bugs me. Oh, I’ll vote for the guy — if the Democrats nominate a small piece of string I’ll vote for it, because it can’t be any worse than Bush — but I don’t like him, and if he gets elected I’ll keep a close eye on him. Call me a skeptic, but Democrats who voted for NAFTA, the Patriot Act, handouts for the wealthy, and the Iraq War make my skin crawl. If Kerry gets elected, expect another Clinton act, where the Republicans register unwavering disgust for a guy who pretty much gives them everything they want.
And then Nader wanders in as though he was paged. Fortunately few people are falling for this again. You’re a lovely guy, Ralph, and you’ve done a lot of good for us, but sit down. There’s too much at stake here right now for you to start meddling in it. Believe me, if I want to vote for an independent candidate I will try to get Kucinich to run as one before I’m going to go to you. Priority one is getting these liars, thieves, and cheats out of the White House and then we can work on more.
It’s going to be a hard slog. Bush has already started with the attack ads filled with lies. Check out this Daily Howler piece — scroll down to “Easily Spun”. This is going to get even uglier, and I’m not sure Kerry has the steel for it. His voting record and current claims depict someone who simply hops on whatever the current trend is, and that’s not what’s going to win. But that’s what we’re probably going to get. So much for the strong candidates surviving.