Thursday, June 26, 2003

What I did

I was leaning towards Dean for the MoveOn primary but chose Kucinich in the end, mainly because of my friend Cheryl, who was lobbying for Kucinich, not so much because she thinks he can win the nomination but because she feels if he can increase his presence in the process then it will push the whole debate to the left. She included a message from a group called that swayed me:

An interesting exchange occurred at Sunday's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Candidates' Forum, in answer to a question about the "Digital Divide" that separates minorities and the poor from middle class whites in computer access. Congressman Dennis Kucinich received warm applause when he declared: "As long as we're spending so much money for the Pentagon, and so little money for education, we're going to have all kinds of divides in this country. The only way we're really going to close the divide in this country is to start cutting the Pentagon budget and put that money into education."

Howard Dean spoke next and commented: "I don't agree with Dennis about cutting the Pentagon budget when we're in the middle of a difficulty with terror attacks."

That's a stark contrast on one of the biggest questions facing Democrats. Dean describes himself as a fiscal conservative adamant about balanced budgets. But if the soaring Pentagon budget is untouchable, are we being candid with voters about delivering them an enhanced domestic agenda that Democrats can be proud of?

Perhaps Dean just thinks that in these fearful times, saying you want to cut the Pentagon budget is a dangerous position, but of course the Pentagon isn't going to save us from terrorists, and Cheryl suggests he should educate people rather than pander to them.

Tomorrow MoveOn will tell us how the vote went.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Meanderings on who to run against the president select

MoveOn, a progressive organization devoted to battling the evil currently personified by GW Bush, has decided to let all its members vote on what candidate MoveOn should support. Each Democratic candidate was asked for a statement and was sent a few questions to answer. I haven't read the statements but I looked at the questions. Lieberman obviously doesn't take MoveOn seriously, since he just basically send the url to his website and didn't answer the questions. But no one at MoveOn is any more interested in a Republicrat (or is that a Demoplican?) like Lieberman than he is in us.

The most instructive question is the one on Truth, in which the candidates are basically asked if they're willing to call Bush a liar. Most of the candidates tip toe around this one, saying, I want to know the truth, I'm determined to learn what the president knew and if any information is withheld, but three, Carol Mosely Braun, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, are pretty open about their mistrust of GWB. They are easily the most appealing candidates.

Truthfully, they all say sort of similar things - war is bad, environment is good, poor people shouldn't starve to death - all those things that differentiate the two parties, but some express those ideas more strongly than others. John Edwards says a number of good things, really, but there's something slippery about many of his answers. Gephardt says some good things but I have a generally unfavorable concept of him as a middle-of the road political insider. Kerry seems pretty good, and likes to throw in a lot of facts and talk about specific plans, which I like. Sharpton tosses off short, rather vague answers that suggest he was sitting in the bathtub while his secretary took down answers he came up with off the top of his head while thinking of something else.

So now the question is, who do I vote for? I like Braun, but I think she'd be as surprised as any of us if a black woman became the president of the US in this decade. My theory is she's running just so Sharpton isn't the only African-American representive. My favorite is certainly Kucinich. He's as liberal as they come, and while all the candidates more or less talk the talk, Kucinich walks the walk like crazy. Other candidates say, we shouldn't have had a war with Iraq, but Kucinich is the only one saying, I voted against the war. At the same time, Kucinich has long shot written all over him. The Daily Show had clips of some of the candidates asking about where the weapons of mass destruction are, and Jon Stewart said you could tell how viable a candidate was by how vociferous he was on the matter, with Kucinich's shouted outrage pegging his as the longshot. It's an interesting point, and really, the most liberal candidate never wins. Often the least liberal wins, which is why Lieberman worries me.

Dean is interesting though. He seems as liberal as Kucinich, but simply doesn't have the same proof as Kucinich that he will put his money where his mouth is. But he's very good at phrasing things in such a way as to make Bush sound dangerous - he likes referring to him as a radical, and I think that's the right approach. So I think he might be the liberal who has some chance of winning.

But I wish MoveOn's sites had little videoclips of the candidates, because I can't tell from their words who is charismatic and who will put people off. We need a Clinton, not a Gore, not in terms of policy but just in terms of likability. I'm leaning towards Dean, but don't know if Dean has charm. The picture of Edwards on MoveOn's sites is the best, with him looking rugged and handsome, and Kerry has a Herman Munster look that could be a problem, but who's going to be good in a debate?

At any rate, a rabid dog would make a better president than GW, and right now I think everyone acceptable except Lieberman and Sharpton (I'm not going to even bother explaining why Sharpton is a bad idea).

Friday, June 20, 2003

The obligatory introduction

Welcome to Opinionade! I review videogames for the New York Times for a living, and I love spouting off my opinions on videogames, but I have opinions on so many other things and I feel I need an outlet to spout off about everything. So now I have joined the world of bloggers and when I have an opinion I will post it here. Will anyone actually read this? No idea, but I can pretend that it is being read by many, many people.