Saturday, February 22, 2003

Campaign 2004 round up

The Democratic presidential primaries in 2004 are already heating up with a whole slew of candidates sticking their fingers into the wind to see if they can win the top prize. Here are just some of the things that happened last week.

Broder: Iraq stance dogs Gephardt
David Broder wrote a pretty good piece Thursday – both syndicated and in The Washington Post – about how hammered Rep. Richard Gephardt is getting in Iowa for backing Bush on the Iraqi war resolution:
It did not take long for Rep. Richard A. Gephardt to grasp that Iraq will pose a big challenge to his hopes of making the Iowa caucuses the launching pad in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. At Gephardt's first news conference as a declared candidate, held at a college here Wednesday evening, seven of the 12 questions centered on the former House minority leader's decision last autumn to help President Bush win congressional approval of a resolution authorizing force to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The others dealt with campaign strategy and prospects.
Gephardt, of course, defended his stance, but it is not playing in Des Moines as numerous Democratic activists – many long-time peace activists – questioned Gephardt on his vote. Iowa Federation of Labor President Mark Smith was quoted in the article asking, "What's the hurry to go to war?"
Good question. But what people do not realize is that this whole "back the president on Iraq" policy was cooked up by DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe and former President Bill Clinton in an effort to win the House for Gephardt last year. They believed that by eliminating the war issue, the Democrats could then capitalize on the failures of the Bush administration [Enron, collapsing economy, etc.] and spend millions in negative ads to influence voters into supporting them. Aaaaant! Wrong answer. The strategy did not work and instead of standing up for their values and losing, Democrats like Gephardt sold out and lost. Pathetic.

Kucinich shines on 'Crossfire'
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, was on CNN’s "Crossfire" Friday night and he was dazzling. Not only did he hold his own against the blustery Robert Novak, but Clinton bootlicker Paul Begala seemed impressed with Kucinich.

Kucinich also defended his pro-life abortion position. Here is the exchange from CNN’s Web site transcript:

NOVAK: Congressman Kucinich, there's one thing I used to admire you for. You are a pro-life liberal. You had a perfect, 100 percent anti-abortion voting record, and last year you completely switched. You didn't vote for a ban of partial birth abortion and other proposals you voted against. What -- were you -- do you think to get in the Democratic Party now you have to be pro-abortion?

KUCINICH: Not at all. I think that one who leads and who intends to lead from an even higher office has to show a capacity for growth. And as you pointed out, I was...

NOVAK: You changed. You did a switch-over.

KUCINICH: No, I expanded my view, Bob. Because what I believe is this -- this is a very divisive debate, and I think that it's important to simultaneously affirm that a woman has a right to choose under the constitution, and at the same time work, as I have my whole life, to see that abortions are not necessary by having sex education and birth control and then prenatal care, postnatal care and childcare.

NOVAK: But you voted for every single anti-abortion proposal in the Ohio legislature.

KUCINICH: My voting record is clear, and you're right about that, but I will tell you this, there is a move on in the Congress today to try to criminalize abortion, to repeat Roe v. Wade. I've never been for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Roe v. Wade. I think that we need to have someone who can take a unifying position, who said that we'll do everything we can to make abortions less necessary and at the same time to protect a woman's right to choose, which is constitutionally protected. So I think that it's possible to take that kind of acrimonious debate and try to heal this nation so that we're not divided and that we can accomplish two things, and that is, protecting life within the constitution and making sure that a woman's right to choose is also protected.

But it was only after tangling with Vito Fossella, R-NY, about the impending war with Iraq did Kucinich get fired up, again, from the CNN transcript:

KUCINICH: OK. There's a lot of buzz words here, and in the whole campaign to go after Iraq is just made-up of buzz words. It's not made of any facts. They cannot prove that Iraq had anything to do with 9-11 yet. The day after those planes hit the World Trade Center, according to Bob Woodward in a book, "Bush at War," page 49, Donald Rumsfeld was already talking about attacking Iraq. They're just trying to create a pretext to go after Iraq for any reason whatsoever. They haven't made their case, and yet they're going to cost, you know -- invasion or bombing, invasion, occupation, it's going to cost this economy $1 trillion. We don't have that money. We have money to blow up bridges over the Tigress and Euphrates and we don't have money to build bridges in our major cities. We have money to destroy the health of the Iraqi people and we don't have enough money to repair the health of our own people in this country. There is something fundamentally wrong with the direction this administration is taking its foreign policy, and I intend to change that if I am elected president of the United States.
This is the type of stuff we need to hear from the Democrats.