The Electability Canard -- I'm seeing all kinds of discussion today about electability and the next Democratic Presidential nominee. A more dangerous or delusional discussion I can scarcely imagine. Didn't anyone learn the lesson of 2004? John Kerry's campaign emerged the victor out of Iowa, swept New England and steamrolled to the nomination, because some boobs in Iowa got panicked by all the support for Howard Dean, and all the scuttlebutt that he wasn't electable. So, they chose Kerry instead, because they heard (and they bought into it, presumably) that he was the most electable.
Electability! Who decides this? Is it some received wisdom that we all agree upon? No! At some point in the primary race, we start hearing that candidate X isn't electable, but candidate Y is. And Democrats, who are afraid of another McGovern or Dukakis, line up to vote for Y because they've been told he is electable. Talk about lemmings following one another over the cliff!!!
Any candidate who can't win support on his own merits, isn't all that electable -- as the John Kerry campaign should prove. If you have to hold your nose to vote for someone...if you're not voting for someone else because the media has convinced you that your favored candidate isn't electable...if you vote for someone you don't actually believe in, instead of voting for one you do like...don't you think you may be voting for the wrong candidate?
It's your vote!!! Cast it for your guy or gal -- If the press is trying to convince you there is a candidate your party should nominate, because he's supposedly the one who has the best chance of winning the general election...and you can't think of another reason to support that candidate, do not vote for that cadidate.
If you can't enthusiastically support and vote for a candidate in a February or March primary, a majority of voters are going to have the same concerns in November. I promise you that if you cast your primary or caucus vote for someone you don't think is all that great, that candidate will lose in November, because the rest of the country is going to have the same reaction. They will vote for the other parties' candidate in the general election.
Vote for someone who has won you over with their arguments, or their passion -- or even their resume, if that's how you decide who should be President. Just don't vote for someone because the media has convinced you that person should be the candidate...that he or she is the most electable.
Reid-- Clinton Rumor: I come to the above argument, because the DailyKos republished a piece claiming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has offered to support Senator Hillary Clinton, to succeed him as the Democratic Leader in the Senate, in 2009! According to the piece, it seems that the offer is a quid pro quo -- Clinton is to stay out of the 2008 Presidential race, and Reid will agree to step down and support her for the leadership position. See http://dailykos.com.
Of course, this is not just political horsetrading. This is virtually blackmail, because it suggests that the carrot is also a stick -- that Sen. Reid will not seek to advance Hillary to the leadership post, should she decide to seek the 2008 nomination. This offer suggests great fear, in some corners anyway, that Clinton could win the nomination...and then doom the general election.
I guess the good news is that if Hillary did win the nomination, it would be because she will have won over the Democratic voters. It won't be because some nameless power-brokers or opinion-makers have deemed her to be the most electable candidate. If Hillary has genuine support, then I say 'Run, Hillary, Run.' The Party needs a candidate who has enthusiastic support.
On the other hand, if Sen. Clinton would prefer a surer deal...and a chance to be the biggest player in the Senate -- the one who shapes the Democratic agenda, then I will bless this choice, as well. I think she'd be awfully good in that job -- which should be the only criterion for supporting her candidacy, for either job.