January 14, 2004
Richards for Dean

Looks like former Texas Governor Ann Richards is about to endorse Howard Dean for President.

Like Al Gore, Richards, whose not-so-narrow loss to Bush in 1994 set the stage for his meteoric rise, helps Dean make a key argument about his '04 electability. The argument: Few people are more viscerally focused on beating Bush than Richards and Gore, so they presumably wouldn't back Dean unless they believed he could win.

It was unclear whether Richards would issue her endorsement Thursday or Saturday. In any case, mark our words: she's with Dean.

She's no Deanie-come-lately, either, as this interview on Larry King (which I got via Kos) indicates.

Now, I haven't fully decided yet. I love what Dean has done with his campaign and will support him enthusiastically if he's the nominee, but I'm not totally sold. I've always liked John Edwards (though in my secret heart of hearts, I wish he'd stayed in the Senate), and I'm warming up to Wesley Clark, who I think will be the greatest asset among the Democratic contenders to Congressional and other down-ballot candidates around here in November. But I really have to hand it to Dean for snagging so many high-profile endorsements thus far.

Thanks to JD for the tip on this.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 14, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

It would not surprise me a bit if Wesley Clark went on to win the Democratic nomination. He takes away the "L" word (liberal) from his candidacy while being left-of-center at the same time. His military background does not hurt, especially when combined with his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. He effectively can with both the South and Northeast with that juxtaposition.

Howard Dean's problem is that he is percieved as being too liberal for many Democratic voters. At the same time, if all it took to become President is to be angry at the world, I would probably win in a landslide. The income tax plan will not win any votes from the wealthy, and his "confederate-flag bumper sticker" statement does not win him a lot of minority votes.

John Edwards is to the Democratic Party as John McCain is to the Republican Party. They're more effective as senators than they would be as president.

Gephardt and Kerry are too much of "recycled candidates" and the rest should just get out.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 14, 2004 3:24 PM

Wesley Clark has completely and irrevocably lost me with his massive giveaway tax proposal for parents with minor children.

I thought the Bush tax cut increasing the "per child" tax credit from $400 to $1000 was intolerable. This just makes me sick.

Posted by: Tim on January 14, 2004 4:56 PM

The Democratic Party desperately needed and has gotten a good, hard-fought battle for its nomination. The Party needed a fight to determine who's going to lead it (it has seemed rudderless since Clinton left) and to prepare for the battles that lie ahead this summer. Dean and Clark have energized a Party that hasn't had a good 3 1/2 years and needed something to get excited about.

Tim, couldn't agree more with your assessment of the tax proposal giving money away to those with minors. It underscores a growing undercurrent of resentment between those with kids and those without kids (especially singles).

Posted by: Double B on January 14, 2004 7:19 PM

Please, please, please never use the phrase "heart of hearts" again.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on January 14, 2004 10:40 PM

OK, I've been a Deaniac for quite some time, and came in for a great deal of scorn and laughter when I always used to call him, "Howard Dean, Wave of the Future." I admit that even I thought it was something of a joke.

That said, I am beginning to look seriously at Wesley Clark. He has impressed me, becoming a better campaigner before my eyes. Though I don't find anything Dean has said all that offensive, he has offended people I know and trust. And I was already compromising, moving to the right for Dean. (I find it funny that Dean is seen as too liberal, when, on the record, he is probably to the right of anyone else in the field except possibly -- but not definitely -- Joe Lieberman.)

Dean has the most realistic health care plan of any of the candidates I've seen (though Kucinich has the one I want ultimately). I like his line about how people won't mind paying Clinton era taxes in return for a Clinton era economy, even if I don't think that there's a causal relationship there. Edwards gave my favorite campaign speech I've seen so far at Georgetown last summer, but has no traction. But Clark's tax plan is fairly progressive, and his stances have seemed properly nuanced. Even when I disagree with him, he seems thoughtful.

My current plan is to continue to vounteer for Dean, but to send Clark a check. I'd be happy to volunteer for either of their general election campaigns. My biggest worry about Clark is that, since he's in the public financing system, if he wins the nomination, he'll get battered by $150 million worth of "primary" advertising by the Bush campaign before the convention and won't be able to respond. That's what keeps me volunteering for Dean.

Does all this make me a Bush Hater?

Posted by: Ron on January 15, 2004 11:49 AM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The solution to everyone's problems, and the surest way to get a Democrat in the White House again, is a Dean/Clark ticket. I think Dean would be a better president, and I think Clark would bring things to the ticket that would be great, and should be given a heavier hand than the average VP in military/foreign affairs.

Posted by: Amy on January 15, 2004 11:31 PM