February 20, 2004 | Peter

Bye Bye Howard

Once front runner Howard Dean is out of the race for Democrat candidate in the next US presidential elections. He somehow squandered a healthy lead and some $50,000,000 (whew! a lot of money for nothing). Now it looks like a shoot out between Kerry and Edwards, with Kerry the big favourite.
What does it all mean?
Well, it probably most means that you still can’t get far without the big boys behind you, in this case the Democrat party machine. And it means you have to be very careful in front of the cameras, because one tricky ‘moment’ and you are cactus.
Senator Kerry of course is seen as electable exactly because he is an experienced Washington insider – in other words, just the sort of opportunistic polly people are fed up with all around the western world and who are behind the crisis of legitimacy of democracy itself. He is an absolute mainstream polly who always sniffs the wind before acting. In other words, yet another claimant to political leadership who just follows the crowd.
Congressman Edwards is probably the best bet for someone with a genuine agenda, and we should watch this smiley face for the future (as perhaps an alternative to Hilary Clinton).
The Dean e-campaign did impress many people, even if it ran out of steam eventually. There is talk of trying to leverage it to rejuvenate the Democrat Party. If so, and if it works, Dean may wind up having more impact on US (and therefore world) politics than any of the other candidates, even if they become president.
The Democrats are a real chance to shift US politics to the left (and Bush et al have gone so far to the right that will be easy) if they can organise themselves properly. The demographic trends are in their favour, but they must overcome the usual problem of the poor not voting and the superior Republican organisation. Whether the poor will move onto the net soon is doubtful, but clearly the Internet is a new way of organising human effort and gathering money. No doubt all sorts of smart boys and girls will be moving on this. This is Dean’s legacy.
Meanwhile our Mark is doing OK here in Oz. As he said himself, as leader he is too busy to get into much trouble. At least he is something different to the tired old tricksters like Howard, Beazley and Crean (and, if he doesn’t watch out, Costello). Meanwhile, Abbot continues to show how uncomfortable he is if he isn’t being negative. His face just comes alive when he’s in attack mode, but when it does those of us who think politics is a serious matter can just switch off.
I wonder what Costello will do with Abbot when he becomes opposition leader?

Posted by Peter at 5:41 pm | Comments Off on Bye Bye Howard |
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