Thursday, February 20, 2003

Bob, weave and duck
The name of a dance move? New band? No, it's the Democrats running for President. An old song asks the question, "doesn't anyone stay in one place anymore?" Apparently not if you're running for President where there have been more position changes than in last weekend's Daytona 500. For the sake of simplicity, I won't even touch the two silly candidtates- Braun and Sharpton.

John Kerry the current front runner and undisputed King of bob and weave. This guy changes his positions more often that most people change their underwear. He voted in favor of giving the President authorization to use force against Iraq, but has managed to contort himself into several yoga like positions since then. In the early 90's Kerry gave a speech questioning affirmative action, but now he has voiced full throat support. And the man is a living pander-a-thon. Recently, he spoke of his Jewish ancestors and how he had just uncovered the lineage. The Boston Globe reported this story several years ago. But keep in mind Kerry was speaking to a Jewish political group. Surely there are better ways to connect with voters than by insulting their intelligence, Senator!

Dennis Kucinich is one of two dove candidates, the one who thinks poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. On the same day he announced his candidacy, he also "clarified" his position on abortion. He had been a pro-life Congressman with a particularly good voting record in the eyes of various pro-life groups. Only now that he is running for President as a progressive he does not want to alienate the predominantly pro-choice liberals who his anti-war stance resonates with.

Joe Lieberman used to be a reliable moderate New Democrat. That was up until he joined Team Dukakis (oops, Gore) in the 2000 Presidential sweepstakes. Since then, Lieberman has come back into the New Democrat fold more or less. The one glaring flip flop though is on affirmative action. Afraid of alienating black voters in South Carolina, Lieberman has become a major booster of affirmative action. The surprising part is Lieberman, as much as any other white candidate, has the most bona fides on the race issue as someone who participated in the Freedom Summer.

John Edwards is a man who would make Machiavelli proud. Realizing that he faced a very difficult re-election for his Senate seat, Edwards decided to "trade up" for a shot at the White House. Not to be outdone in the important contortion category, Edwards has said that he will personally abide by the NAACP's boycott of South Carolina, but that his campaign will not. Huh? Edwards likes to portray himself as a man of the people, but he is actually a multi-millionaire trial lawyer. He has been noted for his "NASCAR" strategy, but somehow I think the good ol boys swilling their Budweisers will see through this.

Dick Gephardt has gone through more political personalities than Michael Jackson has nose jobs. Gephardt went from a supporter of Reagan's tax cuts to Clinton's tax increase. From an opponent of the first Gulf War to a supporter of the use of force in Iraq. From pro-life to pro-choice. At times he has been a self described moderate New Democrat, only to follow that up with support for protectionst trade policies. Will the real Dick Gephardt please stand up, please stand up?

Howard Dean is a bit of a different creature. Aside from his incoherent stance on the use of force against Iraq, Dean actually seems to believe what he says and sticks to it. As far as Iraq goes he has been against the use of force, but hedges by saying it may be appropriate if weapons of mass destruction are found. (Duh!) But Dean has held onto positions that are rather controversial, including his support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples and universal health insurance.


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