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February 3, 2004

The Primary Follies

John P. Snyder

Recall the words of the defeated politician on election night. "The people have spoken" he declared, then added quickly, "those bastards!"

It is a sentiment shared by supporters of Howard Dean and loyal Republicans nationwide. His quick descent from ‘can't miss’ Democratic nominee to political ‘has been’ is a real tragedy.

Republicans were counting on the blind hate for all things George Bush to be a guide for the voters in the Iowa Caucasus and the New Hampshire primary. They certainly let us down.

And today, if all the pollsters’ predictions are correct, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts will be the winner in the primaries taking place in South Carolina, Arizona, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Apparently, former Vermont Governor Dean had all the necessary tools to win - money, issues and energy to capture the nomination.

However, he lacked the aura of electability. Republicans knew this early on. They were hoping the Democrats didn't notice this until, say, after today’s primaries.

But no! Howard Dean had to run his mouth and get a little too testy at times. His campaign began to lose altitude, I believe, when Al Gore endorsed him. Others believe his overzealous supporters rubbed Iowans the wrong way. By the time he delivered his infamous "I Have a Scream" speech following his third place showing in Iowa, his fate was sealed.

It now looks like Senator Kerry has the nomination won, more by default than by anything else. Dispatching lightweight Senator John Edwards of North Carolina doesn't seem like a big win.

Senator Edwards, a successful trial lawyer, sounded like a modern day version of 1930's socialist Norman Thomas.

Like any trial lawyer, Mr. Edwards looked upon people as helpless pawns in a world dominated by big corporations and heartless "special interests." To Mr. Edwards, Americans as a whole are unable to navigate life's rigors on their own. He, of course, was their noble defender.

While railing about the awful effects of special interests, he never seems to mention his membership in a big one himself. As a trial lawyer he made his money suing doctors - and the like - garnering huge settlements. His campaign was funded by other trial lawyers in different states who made millions from people’s suffering and pain. He is likely to reappear as Senator Kerry’s running mate in the fall.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, of Connecticut, would have made a splendid candidate. His mistake was in maintaining his integrity and not adjusting it to appease the liberal orthodoxy of his party. He suggested during the Iowa caucus that the Roe v. Wade decision should be revisited because the technology available today has cast a different light on the viability of the human fetus after just a few days. A sensible thought!

Well, all hell broke lose among the pro-abortion crowd and within 24 hours he had to backtrack and apologize.

Rep. Dick Gephardt, despite all of his big union endorsements, was sent packing after Iowa like he was some chump who never had a chance. This after being in the trenches for the Democrats for more than 20 years.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was fun to watch. Rep. Dennis Kucinich was not. Wes Clark for what?

After today, the Democrats will have, for better or worse, Sen. John Kerry as their party’s standard bearer.

This is who the Democrats believe represents their best chance of limiting George Bush to one term, like his father was by Bill Clinton.

Senator Kerry will pose problems for the Bush campaign. He has a presidential look. There is a lot of steam among the Democrats to take back the White House this year. The media will work as an unpaid intern to get him elected.

But he is a liberal from Massachusetts. For him to be elected, some bad things will have to happen to America.

He needs a failing economy, a disaster in Iraq, a security lapse that allows a terrorists bombing and a major Bush gaffe to win.

Consider this! Due to population shifts, states that Bush carried in 2000 now have 11 more electoral votes than they did in the last election.

The new mantra for the Kerry campaign is "Bring it On."

Yes, indeed, bring it on.

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