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Monday, February 23, 2004

You're so vain...
You probably think the election's about you, don't you?

It's his personal vanity, because he has no movement, nobody's backing him. The Greens aren't backing him. His friends urge him not to do it. It's all about himself. -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson

Let me tell you something, Bill. The last time we had a president who wasn't vain was, well, we've never had one. And if you're not vain, thinking that you're at least comparable to sliced bread if not decidedly superior, you won't even think ONCE about running for president. Unless you've got a plus-size ego to feed, it just isn't worth it. If you eliminate all of the vain candidates, you'd have to start completely over; not really a bad idea, but...

On February 6, the night before the Michigan caucus, a group of us drove into Detroit to see Dennis Kucinich. He arrived about twenty minutes late. His plane out of Spokane, Washington had been fogged in, and his travel plans had been completely screwed up. He arrived in Kalamazoo forty minutes late for his 12:30 pm rally, the first of six scheduled in Michigan that day encompassing the entire width of the state. Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Greenville, Flint, Pontiac, and finally Detroit. Press, crowds of supporters, long car rides, little time to eat or rest after his all-night travel odyssey. But he showed up in Detroit and the crowd gave him a rousing ovation. He lit up, and went into an interesting and animated variation on his usual stump speech.

Of course I believe that Kucinich is sincere in his desire to improve the world. But he is vain. Even if he doesn't comb his hair enough, he is vain. He has to be to put up with a schedule like that, especially when the polls and lots of people who should be supporting him are telling him he doesn't have a chance. You could see him light up when the crowd greeted him, and you could tell that that was what made it all worth it. If you don't have a hungry ego demanding to be fed, there's no way that you'll put up with that type of schedule. While I'm sure he's vain to some fairly large degree, I suspect that Wesley Clark's fairly weak run and quick withdrawal may have been because he wasn't vain enough.

So calling Nader vain doesn't distinguish him from any other presidential candidate, past or present. Heck, John Kerry is married to half a billion dollars, and doesn't seem to have any clear agenda for changing the world, at least none that he can articulate clearly. Why would he go through all this nonsense if he didn't have an enormous ego? He could summer on Martha's Vineyard and winter in the Caribbean forever with the money he's got.

Calling Ralph names won't cut it. Democrats need to deal with Ralph by dealing with him; talk to him, and incorporate some of his platform into theirs. Then they and their vain candidate will become truly worthy of my support.