THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD….Markos evaluates his choices for the Democratic presidential nomination:
Hillary? Yeah right. Edwards? If he hadn’t taken public financing, I’d probably go for him….That doesn’t mean I think Obama walks on water. Far from it. The guy is going around idiotically attacking Paul Krugman, dancing with homophobic preachers, and while his rhetoric is beautiful upon first listening, an hour later you’re left wondering if he said anything of substance at all (and the answer is usually “no”).
I confess that this attitude puzzles me. I guess it’s human nature to obsess more than we should on flaws and weaknesses, but honestly, these three are all pretty damn good Democratic candidates. With the possible exception of the Dr. Jekyll half of LBJ, any one of them would be the most liberal president in the past half century — and unquestionably the most liberal since 1969.
And electability? They’re all electable. Every single one of them is an almost certain winner next November if they run even a merely competent campaign.
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.
Republicans, on the other hand, are really and truly screwed. Every party has suffered through bad fields in the past, but off the top of my head I’m having a hard time remembering one as bad as the 2008 GOP crop. They’re the ones who should be pulling their hair out.