I don't think my brain has really shifted back to politics yet, but I found a few intriguing, and connected, posts that I want to take note of:
- First, Kos says (and demonstrates) something that ought to be carved in stone: Lieberman is not a Republican. And he's not just a Democrat on paper, either. On most issues he's well to the left of any Republican.
- Next, Ampersand wonders why progressives like Dean and don't give Kucinich as much support as his positions deserve. As usual at Alas, a great discussion follows in the comments section.
- Kevin Moore continues the discussion of Dean and Kucinich at blargblog (just added to the sidebar).
- And finally Kevin Raybould finds an interesting reason to be pleased that Kucinich is in the race.
Put all those posts together, and they've started me thinking about why I slapped a Howard Dean bumpersticker on my car awhile back. I've thought about plastering the bumper with stickers from all the Democrats (okay, I might skip Lieberman, even though I'd vote for him) because I really don't have a favorite. I like some things about each of them, and dislike other things. I'm not sure that would make any sense to anyone, because that's not how the game is played, but that is where I am politically at the moment. Getting Bush out is far more important to me than electing any particular candidate.
When people write about Dean's appeal to progressives, two words come up all the time -- electability and anger. But I don't especially like Dean because I think he's electable. I don't know if he is or not. For all I know, he may be no more electable than Kucinich. And while hearing someone voice a lot of the anger I feel is appealing, Kucinich can do it just as well, and he's angry about more
of the same things I am.
So why Dean? I think what I like about him at this point is not so much what he has to say to me as what he says to the other candidates. When Dean started attracting a lot of money and attention, the other candidates began losing a little of their caution. Kerry, especially, seemed to suddenly remember some of the things that got him into politics thirty years ago. When Kucinich got into the race, I hoped he would have that effect, raising concerns about war, empire, and civil liberties that the Democrats seemed determined to ignore. I never thought he had a chance to win, but I hoped his presence would force them to deal with those issues. It hasn't happened very much. Kucinich has simply been too easy to dismiss, and I don't think you can blame lack of support from progressive Democrats for that. Whatever intangible quality it is that inspires people and makes them want to hear you out, Kucinich seems to lack it. But I continue to pay attention to what he says, and I hope he'll prove me wrong.
I don't particularly care if Howard Dean ends up as the Democratic nominee. On many issues, I prefer Kerry, or even Gephardt. But I would like whoever ends up as the nominee to have a little of Dean's fire lit under him (I'm assuming, of course, that the nominee will be male, which I think is a safe assumption, although far from a reasonable one). I'd like him to have proof -- and I think Dean offers that proof -- that he'll be rewarded for speaking up, not for caution.