I admit, it's mostly
about ABB. I realized, however, in responding to another diary post, that it's also being for
a candidate. And right now, the only candidate I can be for
is Howard Dean. Yes, he grabbed me from the beginning because of his stand on the war, his plan for health care (still makes the most sense to me) and his vocal support of GLBT civil rights -- but I was much more amenable 6 months ago to "getting in line" behind another candidate if necessary than I am now.
Aside from the lack of grassroots outreach, here's where the other candidates have lost me:
Gephardt: Voted for the war resolution, has focused everything on Iowa and when Dean did well in Iowa polls, pulled out the Scare-The-Seniors card by quoting positions from a decade ago and misrepresenting most of them. I don't hold Gep's former anti-abortion and anti-gay rights stands against him, and I'm tired of politicians playing catch up through attacks they themselves don't truly believe.
Kerry: Voted for the war resolution, distributed a nasty and completely misleading/false description of Dean's Vermont record on long-term care. The more he doesn't gain in NH, the more he goes on the attack. Before Dean, I thought about Kerry as my probably candidate. Now, he seems (to me) to be angry that he's not doing better and blaming others for his own missteps and, possibly, arrogance.
Clark: I respect his intelligence, service, and skill, but I'm very cautious about his ambition and desire for influence. I think there's still much to learn about his lobbying, the boards on which he served, and about Kosovo. I think the Draft movement (while filled with true believers) was started up by insiders and was tossed aside as soon as Clark entered the race.
Edwards: Until tonight, I hadn't been angry at John Edwards, but I also couldn't support him when he's only one term away from his law career and because he not only voted for the war resolution, but he helped write the Patriot Act.
In general, anyone who is now claiming that "I was deceived," or "I trusted the President/John Ashcroft to do better/not abuse their power" has no spark for me. It doesn't ring true. Most of us here knew that Bush wasn't being honest and that the Iraq plans had been in the works before 9/11, and that the reconstruction estimates his adminstration was giving were crap. So how did Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards get fooled? Answer: they didn't. They did what they thought, at the time, would be politically popular. Lieberman is worse, because he supported the policy. And Clark, in my opinion, said what his audience at the time was interested in hearing, be it CNN, a Republican fundraiser, or AK friends wanting him to run for President. And those weren't the same things.
Summary: I want Bush out and yes, I'm concerned about Howard Dean's frank way of speaking -- not because I'm offended by what he says but because it will make it tougher in the general election.
But right now, I cannot and will not support one of the other Democrats, just because he or she might be safer. No way.