Liberals and Mediocrity (or, "Anybody But Kerry")
It's sort of amazing, if you think about it. One could hardly dream up an incumbent president who would be easier to defeat than George W. Bush, and yet the Democratic Party is getting a run for it's money because it chose one of the least inspiring, mediocre candidates imaginable. With liberals like the Democrats, who needs conservatives? I never thought I'd say this, and it makes me sick to my stomach to even contemplate, but I wish that wanker Edwards were heading the Democratic ticket...
I found myself in a very awkward position after the results of the Iowa Caucus came in earlier this year. It was already upsetting enough to secretly hope the despicable Howard Dean would win the Democratic nomination. I couldn't stand most of his policies, but at least he stood for a small handful of things that would take the country in a better (if not decent) direction, and at least he could beat George W. Bush. Those were the only things I was certain of. Dean would truly energize a part of the electorate that typically never shows up at the polls, and we would of course get all the usual suspects, too, without threatening elites enough that their media would turn on him in favor of Bush.
(Yeah, that's a real mouthful. Most readers have probably decided I am insane just after that paragraph.)
But, when Dean lost Iowa and it looked like Kerry's only challenger was Jon Edwards… well… then it was really time to swallow every ideal I have ever held and hope that Edwards, for whom I have so little respect it's almost not worth discussing, would get the nomination. I was truly heartbroken for three (maybe four) seconds when it became obvious that Edwards stood no chance, either.
My reasons, as a radical, for wanting Dean or even Edwards to win the Democratic nomination are the same reasons why most liberals wanted Kerry: because (1) he could beat Bush and (2) he is better than Bush. I thought then, and believe more than ever now, that Dean and Edwards were both better than Kerry (perhaps not so much, but perceptibly), and that they both were more inspiring than Kerry.
You see, it is not the traditional “base” of Democrats that needs to be energized. It is the 50% of American adults who usually do not vote but nearly all of whom would prefer a “liberal” president to a conservative one, whom the Democratic Party needed to energize.
I have never heard any non-Democrat give a reason to vote for Kerry other than that he is not George Bush. Sure, there are policies on which he is better than Bush, but none on which he is outstanding; none on which he is even moderately inspiring; none on which he is outside or even on the edge of the status quo. Kerry has no plans for doing anything good for this country or this world. The man's aspirations revolve around not doing as much damage as -- and in a few cases undoing some of the damage done by -- George W. Bush, while still doing a good deal of damage of his own in order to make sure his corporate cohorts stay in favor.
I guess the upshot is, at least they didn't nominate Lieberman, the only candidate who would have been less inspiring and worse for the country than Kerry.
Thank goodness I live in New York and my vote doesn't matter. If it did, I'd have to find the energy to pull myself out of bed on November 4th, forego any number of activities I could do that would have a better impact on the world, and trudge over to the polling place to pull a lever for Kerry/Edwards. My biggest fear -- having resigned to and accepted that Kerry is the only hope we have against Bush -- is now that others will not be inspired enough to register and show up at the polls in places where it does matter.
Yes, of course those people, among whom I have counted myself since reaching voting age two presidents ago, would have been profoundly disappointed (though not surprised) by the terrible president they got in Dean or Edwards, but at least we would have gotten someone other than Bush. If we get Bush again, we'll have only the liberals to blame. You'll know who they are: they're the idiots wandering around Iowa and New Hampshire with bullet holes in their feet.
(Next installment, “Mediocrity and the Left”)