Thursday :: Jan 15, 2004

New Endorsements for Clark and Dean

by Mary

Posted by Mary
Today Carol Moseley Braun dropped out of the race and threw her support with Howard Dean. Dean also picked up the endorsement from Elaine Kamarck who Josh Marshall says is one of the founders of the New Democratic network. She says she had reduced her candidate set to Wesley Clark and Howard Dean because they were real outsiders and as she said:

Clark, like Dean, is unencumbered by the air of tormented compromise that engulfs the other serious candidates. Neither one of them appears to filter their thoughts through a fog of focus-group blather. They've come this far because they both project that most coveted of all attributes - leadership.

She ultimately decided that Dean had the best chance to beat Bush. She sees Clark's main weakeness is that he is a one-dimensional candidate and that dimension (strong military background) is suseptible to being destroyed by the VRWC. Dean on the other hand has a real record to run on and this will be much harder to tear down. She first notes that Dean's record belies the charge that he is too liberal. Then she says Dean's combativeness is not a problem, but rather a real strength and one that calls back to Truman. Her last point is about his organization:

But the most compelling reason to support Dean is that only he can change the nature of the political game. No Democrat will win unless he can make the country see through Bush, and Dean has been so good at this that by last fall all the other candidates were mimicking his outrage.

Furthermore, if Democrats play old-fashioned politics, they lose, plain and simple. George W. Bush is the incumbent; he has the Executive Branch, Republicans control Congress, and this White House has shown an uncanny ability to bamboozle and intimidate the national press corps. The Republicans own the "Establishment," and they will use it to raise $170 million or more to destroy the Democratic candidate.

Dean has built a primary campaign that makes the Establishment pretty much irrelevant. The only way a Democrat wins in November is to keep it that way. By the end of last year Dean probably had at least 300,000 individual contributors. If Dean wins some early contests and locks up the nomination by mid-March, each of these people will have a great story to tell to 10 new contributors. How much could Dean raise from these 1.5 to 3 million people (you do the math; the numbers of potential donors are huge) in the months before the Democratic convention?

Wesley Clark had already gotten a strong endorsement from Madonna, and today picked up Michael Moore's support. Moore is a highly visible progressive and should make a lot of the more liberal Democrats take another look at Clark.

I have decided to cast my vote in the primary for Wesley Clark. That's right, a peacenik is voting for a general. What a country!

I believe that Wesley Clark will end this war. He will make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. He will stand up for the rights of women, African Americans, and the working people of this country.

And he will cream George W. Bush.

I have met Clark and spoken to him on a number of occasions, feeling him out on the issues but, more importantly, getting a sense of him as a human being. And I have to tell you I have found him to be the real deal, someone whom I'm convinced all of you would like, both as a person and as the individual leading this country. He is an honest, decent, honorable man who would be a breath of fresh air in the White House. He is clearly not a professional politician. He is clearly not from Park Avenue. And he is clearly the absolute best hope we have of defeating George W. Bush.

Just as Michael Moore shores up Clark's liberal Democratic credentials, Kramack's vote for Dean gives him more credibility for a more moderate voter. The strategists are clearly trying to decide the best way to counter Bush and the Rove machine. Will the election ride on the national security front and only a visible Democratic war hero create the conditions that overcome the odds? Or is the ability to work outside the establishment, essentially building a totally new system, the key to a Democratic victory? This is part of the gamble and game the Democrats are trying to assess right now. And many of us that don't have a vote in the primaries hope that those who do collectively make the right decision.

Update: Krugman's take on what it will take to win:

So what's the answer? A Democratic candidate will have a chance of winning only if he has an energized base, willing to contribute money in many small donations, willing to contribute their own time, willing to stand up for the candidate in the face of smear tactics and unfair coverage.

That doesn't mean that the Democratic candidate has to be a radical — which is a good thing for the party, since all of the candidates are actually quite moderate. In fact, what the party needs is a candidate who inspires the base enough to get out the message that he isn't a radical — and that Mr. Bush is.

Mary :: 6:55 PM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!