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Saturday, November 08, 2003

How Utterly Depressing
I know I'm supposed to be a good little anybody-but-Bush soldier and congratulate Howard Dean on his success at convincing a lot of people that he is the best candidate to beat Bush, but I can't do it. He is the front-runner for the nomination, getting millions in campaign donations and tons of free publicity--Time and Newsweek covers, full hours on Meet the Press, lots of press coverage whenever he says something smart or stupid, and there have been plenty of both--because the powers that be are allowing him to be the front-runner. He opposed the war when it couldn't be stopped and supports it now when it could; he's friendly to the corporations, keeping the Pentagon money flowing and keeping the insurance companies' profits safe with his health care plan; and he supports the death penalty, capital's ultimate lever on labor. He'd rather appeal to southern rednecks than northern liberals, but lots of northern liberals support him anyway, for some reason. And now he's breaking a promise he made eight months ago:

March 7, 2003:

"Howard Dean committed Friday to taking taxpayer dollars to finance his presidential campaign.... He promised to make it an issue in the Democratic primaries if any of his rivals decide to skip public financing, as President Bush did en route to winning the Republican nomination in 2000. 'It will be a huge issue,' Dean said. 'I think most Democrats believe in campaign finance reform.'"

November 8, 2003:

Front-Runner Howard Dean became on Saturday the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to reject taxpayer money and avoid the accompanying spending limits, saying he had to act to compete against President Bush's cash-rich campaign. "We have supported public financing, but the unabashed actions of this president to undercut our Democratic process with floods of special interest money have forced us to abandon a broken system,'' the former Vermont governor said at a news conference.
-- from Big, Left, Outside

Of course Dean would be better than Bush--any object on the planet, animate or inanimate, would be better than Bush. But we need to change the system so that no more Bushes are possible. Bill Clinton obviously wasn't the one to do it, and neither is Howard Dean, with this latest capitulation to corporate interests as the clearest evidence. Kucinich, Sharpton, and maybe Mosely Braun offer a chance for real change, and with a lot of wishful thinking I can see some hope for Clark, Edwards, or maybe even Kerry. But Dean is for sale, and is all about coming up with a strategy to beat Bush and Rove at their own game, playing on their field by their rules. Even if he wins, he will have taken so much corporate money to do so that we won't see any big improvements, only a slowing in the rate of decline. And Jeb will be there waiting for him in 2008 with $500 million in the bank.