Indecision ’04, indeed

Obviously, I have myriad problems with the candidates running for election. I wish I could fall in love with someone, other than throwing my practical brain behind John Kerry, but it just doesn’t seem likely.

For instance, I’m watching a Howard Dean rally in Arizona on C-SPAN right now, and he’s infuriating me. I’ve been slowly putting my finger on what it is that makes me dislike Howard Dean. I may never get the full answer to that question, but another piece of the puzzle has become his constant “I’m am the outsider” argument. I understand why he’s doing it. It obviously worked well in the last election. I just wish that wasn’t an argument that worked with voters. Is there any other job in America where you can go in to the interview and say, “I have no experience with what you’re doing, but I have a lot of opinions about it.” and then you get the job? I can’t think of any. Wait, now he’s making the argument that he does have the experience, because he’s been governor. “Washington is the only city where they think sitting on a committee counts as experience.” You can’t have it both ways, my friend.

Oh, wait, you *can*.

Beyond this, he’s making a lot of noise about John Kerry being a special interest clone. Again, I understand why he’s making the argument, but I hate it. HATE it. I hate it emotionally, of course, because it’s damaging to Kerry, but I also hate it practically. I don’t object to companies and causes contributing large amounts of money to candidates and parties; it’s hard to believe that anyone who is targeting the votes of people who subscribe to the beliefs of those special interests would have a legitimate concern about the effect of those donations on a candidates’ willingness to still make his own decisions. If Howard Dean becomes the nominee, does he expect to fund his campaign without the contribution of PACs?

I hate the words “special interests.” It’s become such an evil phrase when it doesn’t necessarily need to be. It’s not like every special interest is funded by three cigar-smoking multi-billionaires sitting in some penthouse deciding on what’s good for business. Many of them are actually funds that raise their money through their thousands of members. I know well that the only way the small amount I’m able to contribute can even enter the race in a meaningful way is if it’s combined with the money of many, many others, so I like my PACs and I wish them well. But then again, I’m one of the few crazy Democrats that believed McCain-Feingold wasn’t constitutional.

There are points of the rally that have really resonated with me, though. I like Dean’s vision of a Democratic party that wants no one left behind, a party with goals that are clearly different than those of the Republicans. I like the idea that the party might somehow benefit from this discussion… I’m not sure I like it enough to sit through 4 more years of W, but it has that achy-painful feeling that probably means it’s healthy.

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