THE 2004 CAMPAIGN….In reponse to some email I got about my proposal that gay rights might be a useful campaign platform for the Democrats in 2004, I should clarify a bit: I’m certainly not suggesting that it be the centerpiece of anybody’s campaign. National security is almost certain to be the primary issue of the campaign, whether anyone likes it or not, and economic issues will also be front and center. But I do think that as a secondary issue it has some possibilities. It likely wouldn’t hurt with any Democratic core constituencies, it might appeal to suburban moderates, and it could bring out some serious foaming at the mouth among the paleo-Republican crowd. It’s just a thought.

(Of course, what we really need to make this work is some nice, modest war hero who comes out of the closet after the war is over and then gets discharged because of it. It would also be nice if this person had a chest full of medals. And it would be really nice if our hero was a Republican who then decided to switch to the Democrats and spoke at our convention. Dreams, dreams….)

Of course, there are times when I wonder if any of this policy stuff even matters. In truth, most elections seem to be decided in favor of whoever seems like a more likeable person. In the last 50 years, the only exception I can think of to this rule is Nixon and, maybe, Carter. But Carter wasn’t really unlikeable, and he had the tailwind of Watergate anyway.

So what does this mean? Among the serious candidates, the likeable ones seem to be Dean and Edwards, whereas Kerry, Lieberman, and Gephardt are all either stiff or else not very sincere sounding. So that’s it: we have a choice between the governor of Vermont and a first term senator. More discussion of this between me and Jesse Berney of Wage Slave Journal is here.