DEMOCRATIC CATTLE CALL….I was over at Daily KOS last night and read through the comments on his weekly cattle call for the Democratic race. I left a comment myself, and then decided I should expand on it a bit so that a year from now I can remember what I was thinking way back in mid-2003.

At the moment I know almost nothing about the candidates, but paradoxically I think that’s a plus. Eventually I’ll get to know every little thing about them, and this will change my thinking, but the fact is that the vast majority of voters ? even in November ? are pretty much like me right now: they have only a vague idea of what the candidates stand for. So for a brief period I probably represent the typical moderate liberal who sorta cares about politics but, you know, not really all that much.

So, then, here are my predictions for the top contenders. As you can see, they are all predicated on the idea that national security is by far the most important issue for any candidate:

  1. John Edwards. I think that in the end it’s going to take a reasonably hawkish candidate to win next year, and Edwards has been reasonably hawkish. He’s also an attractive candidate, probably fairly appealing to Reagan Democrats, thinks well on his feet, and obviously knows how to raise money. The fact that he’s only been a senator for four years is a minus, but W had only been a governor for four years when he started running, so who knows?

  2. Joe Lieberman. Yeah, he’s too conservative for a lot of Democrats, and his preachiness turns off some people too. On the other hand, he’s got name recognition, his actual voting record isn’t really that horrible, he can raise money, and he’s got good hawkish credentials. Definitely a contender.

  3. Bob Graham. His national security cred is good, he’s popular in Florida, and he seems to be fairly well liked among the Democratic faithful. Being an ex-governor is a plus. On the other hand, the fact that he announced his candidacy over a month ago and still doesn’t have a website isn’t a very comforting sign. He also might be a little too old.

  4. Howard Dean. Dean is the John McCain of the 2004 Democratic race: iconoclastic, straight-talking, and a media darling. Unfortunately, even if he’s popular with the base, history shows that these media darlings never even get nominated, let alone elected. I just don’t see him holding up.

  5. John Kerry. This is just a gut feel, but I don’t think Kerry has legs. All politicans like to straddle issues so as to piss off the fewest possible voters, but Kerry is wishy-washy in a way that seems wishy-washy, and I think that’s a death sentence. Plus he’s a northeastern liberal, and that hasn’t exactly been a winning combination for the past 40 years.

And Wesley Clark? Please. He might be a good running mate, but it’s a joke to think of him heading the ticket.

I didn’t mention anything about these candidates’ positions on domestic issues, and that’s because I really don’t know where any of them stand. In any case, there’s no telling at this point which domestic issues will magically become important by this time next year, so it’s impossible to say anything intelligent about it.

And who am I going to vote for? Beats me. As usual, I imagine that the nomination will be all but sewn up by the time the California primary is held, so I won’t have any say in the matter anyway. I’ll just wait to see what the rest of y’all do and then vote for our guy in November.