Though it's not all of New England, New Hampshire is at east part of New England, and so we see New England getting its first chance to speak about who it would like to see as the next president. That person appears to be John Kerry. He's a New Englander, as is Howard Dean, but New Hampshire appears to have taken to Kerry more, primarily on the basis of electability. According to USA Today (via Absit Invidia), Democrats have an unusually strong hankering to oust Bush. They're fired up about it enough to create a Howard Dean. Nevertheless, a majority of them polled in NH think that Kerry gives them the best chance to go the distance.
It is, perhaps, the case that Dean has provided Kerry with a bit of cover up to this point. righties have spent a lot of time attacking Dean, making light of him, and are struggling to play catch-up since Kerry started commanding a poll lead. The Dean yell proved too good to pass up for them, but once they cleared their heads, they realized Kerry had run away from the pack.
Predictably, there is increased noise about Kerry. The lame (IMHO) "He mentions Viet Nam too much" has been replaced with "He threw his medals away" and such. I, of course, have had criticisms of him as the Democratic candidate, but I realize that I'm a minority within the country and I'm liberal but not a registered Democrat. So most people aren't going to agree with me, which means I have to decide how unhappy to be if Kerry wins the nomination. And I must admit, if Kerry wins the nomination in a shape that makes it looks like he's going to give Bush a real fight (not a Dukakis fight) I'll have a lot of trouble complaining.
And if he wins the general election... you won't hear much complaining at all from me.
Here's what I'm wondering, though.
I criticize Bush for dividing the country. Even in his state of the union address, he attacks divisive issues with vigor, trying to make the most political hay possible with his base. I will probably call for the next liberal president to try to bring the country together.
However, it's my opinion that Clinton did a good job bringing the country together. And I think that is part of the reason some Republicans hated him so much. It's worse if your opponent is insidiously popular.
So, is it better for a politician to ignore the opposition and plat to his base, or should a president be a uniter, rather than a divider?Posted by James at January 27, 2004 3:15 PM