Thursday, June 26, 2003

Why I believe Dean is the most electable candidate

There is something to I would like you to consider when it comes to the question of how the war in Iraq will play as an issue in the upcoming election. Consider what will happen if Dean gets the nomination. His anti-war stance will become a major factor in the general election campaign. For good or for bad I think there are few who would dispute this. What this means is that the whole question of whether we should or should not have gone into Iraq will be a major topic of conversation for the four months leading up to the general election. Considering how WMD questions continue to haunt this administration and how the situation in Iraq is falling apart, it is reasonable to believe that the last thing Bush/Rove will want is an extended debate about the merits of the whole endeavor. Now consider what will happen if any of the other major candidates get the nomination. All of them (Kerry, Gephrdt, Edwards, Lieberman) supported the war (Graham and Kucinich did not, but I think they are long-shots, at best, for getting the nomination). If any of them get the nod then there will be no discussion on the advisability of going into Iraq. The entire discussion will become moot in the eyes of the campaigns, the media and the American people. The assumption will continue to be that it was the right thing to do, that Bush did it, so he is the right man to lead the country. Put simply: if the public verdict on Iraq is that it was a good thing overall then Bush will win. Dean is the only major candidate who can make a reasoned and consistent argument against this position. He is the only one who can attack Bush on this point. The other candidates will, at best, have to settle for grudging "me to but I would have done it differently" positions. That will not sell. I will support the Democratic nominee if it is not Dean. But I am much less optimistic about their chances precisely because they will have to cede to Bush such a vitally important part of the political dialog. And that is why I continue to believe that Dean is the most electable candidate for the Democrats.

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