Saturday, July 10, 2004

Full Disclosure
We're all carrying a torch for somebody--a person we can't completely forget. Even though the relationship didn't work out as we'd hoped, the experience of having that person in our lives never entirely leaves us. The memories smolder inside and we're never the same.

Damn, I miss Howard Dean.

Dean pretty much cut Ralph Nader to ribbons in an NPR debate yesterday, exposing Nader as a candidate who represents his personal ambition more than any constituency or moral principle. Earlier in the week, Dean wrote an op-ed for a Colorado newspaper neatly summarizing the most egregious ways the Bush Administration has made science subservient to conservative politics. I'm reminded again of Henry Clay's famous quote, that he'd rather be right than president. So far, Dean's still right.

In the interest of full disclosure, I went back through some old blog entries to find some of what I said about John Edwards during the campaign last winter. Last November 12, I wrote:
Edwards has helped me understand what bugged many people about Bill Clinton. Lots of people--even some people on his side politically--saw in Clinton an offensive, smarmy, say-anything slickness. Now it seems to me that a certain degree of smarm is essential in anyone who runs for high office. In the most successful politicians, like Clinton, it's genetic and they can't hide it. Clinton's slickness also never bothered me because he was usually the smartest person in any given room, which was acknowledged even by people who didn't like him, and I'd rather have smart than dumb. But Edwards seems to have all the smarm and practically none of the substance. He may be the creature of unlimited, avaricious ambition that some people think Hillary Clinton is.
So I admit I wasn't wild about the guy--but you're taking your chances with the analysis here anyhow. (A few days later in another entry I said, "Kerry is toast.") Edwards seemed to grow into his ambitions between November and February--indeed, I might have ended up voting for him in the Wisconsin primary had Dean absented himself before then, if only as an alternative to Kerry.

And here we are, one year after the Dean explosion, with Kerry/Edwards. You will find plenty of stuff out on the Web about how Kerry is a corporate whore and Edwards is an Israel-obsessed tool of the Bilderbergers, and suchlike. Are they the best we could do in the best of all possible worlds? Certainly not. But I am taking to heart Dean's own words as he chided Nader: "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

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