The thoroughbreds are in quest of the Triple Crown, while the equus asinus (all nine of them) are in quest of the Democratic presidential nomination. But what do any of them really offer, apart from the negative vitriol of those who decry, but offer no solutions?
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., has name recognition, but apart from his support for the 1991 Gulf War Resolution and the war with Iraq, he’s best known for his malleability.
Lieberman has flipped, flopped, and then flipped again on abortion, school vouchers, privatization of social security, affirmative action, corporate corruption and tax relief – to mention but a few. He has been referred to as a devout man of faith, but devout men of faith do not sacrifice their convictions for political expediency. If Lieberman sacrificed his convictions to become vice president, what will he sacrifice to become president?
Former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt., may, in his own mind, be best known for taking his state from red ink to black, but in the mind of those who count (the national electorate), he is best known for signing the civil unions bill – a law giving full legal status to same-sex couples and his over-the-top anti-war virulence.
Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., failed to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 against Al Gore, Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson. As Minority Leader of the House, he has failed in four election cycles to lead Democrats back to majority status. “[A]round the table [in Iowa, Gephardt] was viewed dismissively as a candidate from the past, and the names of newcomers … prompted far more favorable responses” (Dan Balz, “Presidential Hopefuls Court Iowa,” Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2003).
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., while popular, may not be the answer either. During the Iraq War, he likened the Bush presidency to Saddam Hussein’s and called for a “regime change” in the United States. His comments were baneful and over the top, but not out of character for Kerry.
Kerry has voted in lock step with Ted Kennedy 94 percent of the time. He claims to be for fiscal responsibility, but consistently votes for higher taxes and against tax cuts. He voted against the Balanced-Budget Amendment at least five times.
Kerry is an extreme liberal, supporting federal funding for abortion and voting against a ban on partial-birth abortions. He has a lifetime rating of 26 percent from “Citizens Against Government Waste.” He is an extreme environmentalist, who voted nearly 100 percent of the time with the liberal activist group “The League of Conservative Voters.” His lifetime liberal vote rating from “Americans for Democratic Action” is five points higher than Ted Kennedy’s. He has voted consistently for reductions in defense and military spending necessary for our national security.
Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., is pro-choice, pro health-care reform and an environmentalist. He has had to return thousands of dollars in questionable contributions.
The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into his campaign, in response to questions surrounding trial lawyers giving well beyond the legal limit through employees, promising to later reimburse them. His closest supporters are his fellow personal-injury trial lawyers.
Sen. Robert Graham, D-Fla., is a liberal populist who did not believe America could combat terrorism and fight a war with Iraq. Popularity in his home state does not translate into a viable national campaign.
Sen. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, is one of the only members of Congress to oppose the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, arguing the U.S. response to 9-11 should have been police action, not a war. His anti-defense spending, pro-universal health care, anti-free-trade positions are a matter of record. And just in time to announce his campaign, he abandoned his 30-year pro-life record to become pro-choice. He has also formed close ties to the “Natural Law Party,” founded in 1992 to “bring the light of science into politics.”
Former Sen. Carol Mosley-Braun, D-Ill., brings her jaundiced, quasi-egalitarian positions and her strong support for the most brutal of African dictatorships, to the field as an attempt to siphon votes from Al Sharpton.
Al Sharpton, D-N.Y., needs no introduction. Apart from grabbing headlines and concessions, he has absolutely no chance of winning. His campaign is about replacing Jesse Jackson and embarrassing the Democratic leadership.
The equus asinus are approaching the gate – have fun handicapping this one.