of the first week of May 2003, there were nine democratic presidential candidates
vying for the nomination from their party to run against George W. Bush in
2004. It would be too easy, and perhaps premature, to point out the
obvious difficulties the democrats will have in 2004. Instead let’s
see what America’s Democratic choices will be in the next presidential election.
In no particular order...
Howard Dean on PBS, “I believe that Iraq does have chemical
and biological weapons, and they are a threat to many nations in the region,
but not to the United States. Therefore in my view, the United States ought
not to attack unilaterally.” Further, “I have no problem with supporting
a United Nations attack on Iraq.” And, “Saddam must be disarmed. He is as
evil as everybody says he is.”
Finally, when it came to whether Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein,
Mr. Dean told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “We don't know that yet. We don't know
that yet, Wolf. We still have a country whose city is mostly without electricity.
We have tumultuous occasions in the south where there is no clear governance.
We have a major city without clear governance. We don't know yet, and until
The USA Today on Al Sharpton: “Sharpton probably is best known
for his association with Tawana Brawley, the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., black teen-ager
who falsely claimed to have been kidnapped and raped by several white assailants.
Sharpton, who became a high-profile adviser to Brawley's family, accused
a local prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of taking part in the rape. Pagones
sued Sharpton for defamation and three years ago won a judgment. With the
help of some black businessmen, Sharpton paid the $65,000 award, but he has
never retracted the charges or apologized.”
On CBS News Sharpton said, ‘“I'm qualified, probably more qualified than
any other person who is expected to be on the Democratic ticket for 2004,
because I actually have a following and I speak for the people," said Sharpton,
who has never held public office.
Sharpton is also reported to have called white businessmen in Harlem, “interlopers.”
Senator Bob Graham on announcing his candidacy on May 5, 2003, “The
Bush administration has reneged on America's promise and jeopardized our
future.” And, “Instead of pursuing the most imminent and real threats
to our future -- terrorism -- this Bush administration chose to settle old
scores with a war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein.” Mr. Graham on his
own website on April 10, 2003, “I share the jubilation of the Iraqi people
as we see statues of Saddam Hussein falling to the ground in Baghdad, and
I share all Americans' pride in the skill and courage of our victorious men
and women in uniform.”
John F. Kerry: “Why can't America have a strong military
that advances our values around the world?” Apparently Mr. Kerry believes
that America’s military, at least until the date of the democrat’s first
debate on May 3, 2003, has not advanced America’s values.
Speaking about the possibility of war with Iraq in a NY Times article
on September 6, 2002, Kerry said, “Those who think that the inspection process
is merely a waste of time should be reminded that legitimacy in the conduct
of war, among our people and our allies, is not a waste, but an essential
foundation of success.” Mr. Kerry seems to believe that only the UN
can give legitimacy to America’s pursuit of its own security.
Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, threw his medals away and over the White House
fence in protest. He later admitted they weren’t actually his real
medals. Mr. Kerry later explained that he didn’t have time to go home
and get the real ones.
Carol Moseley Braun on PBS: “I believe that this administration
is on the absolute wrong track, particularly as regard to using the war on
terror as a subterfuge, as a cloak, if you will, for what is really an extreme
On February 19, 2003, Slate reported the following, “Though she was
never indicted or punished, Moseley-Braun had some close calls with the law.
The first occurred during her 1992 Senate campaign, when it came to light
that three years earlier, she had deposited a check for $28,750 into a personal
money-market account. The check in question actually belonged to Moseley-Braun's
mother, who owned a property in Alabama on which she'd sold the timber-harvesting
rights; the $28,750 was a royalty payment. Edna Moseley was staying in a
Chicago nursing home at the time and relying on Medicaid to cover her expenses,
something ostensibly reserved only for the near-indigent—not people with
$28,750 checks to their name. The royalty should have been used to reimburse
Medicaid; instead, Moseley-Braun divvied up the money with her two siblings.
When the situation came to light, she apologized and paid Medicaid $15,240.
The Illinois Department of Public Aid declined to launch a criminal probe.”
Dennis Kucinich, who, up until the time he decided to run
for president of the United States in 2004, had been consistently pro-life.
His spokesperson was reported in National Review to have said last
year, “He absolutely believes in the sanctity of life and that life begins
at conception.” However, times have changed -- along with Mr. Kucinich’s
ambitions -- and now he says, “I support a woman's right to freedom of choice,”
adding, “I do not believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.”
And, “as president, I would protect that right [to abortion], and I would
also make sure that appointees to the Supreme Court protected that right.”
Perhaps Mr. Kucinich had an epiphany and sees the error of his ways as a
once devout Catholic.
To an audience in Iowa, Mr. Kucinich said he wants to create a new governmental
department: “The Department of Peace will create a structure of government
that will look at where violence starts. Poverty and homelessness are weapons
of mass destruction it is not too late to seek a newer world.” There
appears no truth to the rumor that Mr. Kucinich keeps unicorns in his magic
kingdom behind his house.
Joe Lieberman. In the words of William F. Buckley in National Review,
“when he signed on with Al Gore, his servility to his patron was judged,
by some, to be excessive. He modified his stands in favor of vouchers for
private schools, modified his advocacy of privatizing a part of Social Security.
He had already temporized on the gravity of Bill Clinton's misconduct. And
his call on Hollywood to mitigate the sex and violence or invoke "legal restrictions"
was entirely neutralized. In Hollywood he promised that if elected, his ticket
would go no further than to "noodge you" on sex and violence. The Washington
Post published an editorial entitled, "Where's the Old Joe Lieberman?"
Though Mr. Buckley did say that the old Joe Lieberman is back.
John Edwards. “It is a test of presidential leadership
to lead in a way that rallies others to our cause," he said. "This president
has not done that.” Mr. Edwards was for using military force against
Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. However, he seems despondent over the
fact that while the White House claimed fifty nations were with us in our
fight against Saddam Hussein, France, Germany, and Russia were not.
Evidence from Iraq is beginning to show us all why those countries wanted
Saddam to stay in power. Hopefully, Mr. Edwards will find a different
issue to harp upon.
The Hill newspaper is reporting that Mr. Edwards recently
found himself in a bit of a quagmire over campaign contributions. It
seems a number of otherwise not very politically minded law firm workers
maxed out contributions to Mr. Edward's campaign, with at least one of them
saying that they expected reimbursement for the contribution.
Dick Gephardt. Congressman Gephardt has proposed
an all encompassing healthcare plan which was described by fellow democrat
Howard Dean as a “pie-in-the-sky radical revamping of our health care system.”
A USA Today article explained, “He would pay for the plan by
rolling back the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cuts enacted at the behest of
President Bush in 2001 and repealing any further tax cuts. He also would
cancel the existing employer tax deduction for offering health benefits and
use the savings.
Nevertheless, his proposal would increase the federal budget deficit.
The bulk of the cost to the Treasury, more than $100 billion a year, would
be the tax credit for employers. In addition, states and localities would
get $53 billion to $62 billion a year to offset 60% of their employee health
costs. An additional $60 billion to $70 billion would subsidize coverage
for the jobless and others.”
While it is true that no one is perfect, it boggles the mind that out of
the millions of democrats in this country, these folks are the top nine.
Paul Walfield is a freelance writer and member of the State Bar
of California with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and post-graduate
study in behavioral and analytical psychology. He resided for a number of
years in the small town of Houlton, Maine and is now a California attorney.
Email Paul Walfield
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