Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I have read recently a lot of comments to the effect that this years election has come down to “handicappers”, and the rise of the civilian pundit. The argument is that the election is now about the process and strategy and not about substance. This is a continuing trend, of course, but this year’s election has seen its peak.
In general I agree, I think the substance is extremely important. Voting for someone simply because you think they’ve had the best campaign strategy is like going to war to test a strategy, regardless of its moral or ethical considerations. While you can certainly admire the strategies (and I do) you still have to make a decision as to whether you agree with what’s being sent your direction.
In this particular election, however, I believe such an argument can be set aside. To an extent whichever democratic candidate gets the nomination will be (“I can predict it,” said Sen. Boxer last night on Tavis Smiley, “It’s going to be a John.”), for most democrats, acceptable. The questions of delectability and strategy are relevant when the main idea is to remove the incumbent.
If you ask me I think people have been considering substance as much as style. Edwards’ jump in Wisconsin was not simply a last minute blast of attention and energy on the part of his campaign, but I think it also reflected the fact that a lot of people looked at Kerry and said, “you know, my feelings about trade are more in line with Edwards.”
That and the ladies love him.
Edwards’ ideas appeal to people while Kerry looks to be a great candidate to run against Bush (although, the way Rove is running things, they might be able to get away with just about anyone). Personally, I prefer Edwards, but I never thought Edwards would get this far. Still, if the Bush campaign keeps up its goofball routine, Edwards could run right over him; he’s young, southern, and has a good if brief record. The experience question could hurt him a bit, but it wouldn’t be the first time a relatively inexperienced candidate beat his more experienced opponent.

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