The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 June 2003

The Democratic dilemma

The Baseball Crank is pretty certain about it:

[T]here's really nothing the Democrats can do to defeat George W. Bush in 2004. Which is not to say he can't be beaten, just that what can do him in is mostly a combination of external circumstances (the economy, setbacks in the war) and missteps by the Administration.

No one can beat Bush but Bush himself. At this point in time, it seems a fair assessment. Is anyone out there on the Democratic horizon?

[I]f you wanted to design a perfect candidate to challenge Bush, you'd want someone who could pose as a moderate; who had impeccable national-security credentials; who's got a long record as a spending hawk; and who is personally identified with opposing the cozy relationship of big money to power in Washington.

Then again, we've seen that perfect candidate already, and he lost to Bush in the primaries in 2000.

Which leads to the next question: since some consider said candidate a Republican "in name only", is it conceivable that he might switch parties between now and the beginning of the primary season? And if so, would he be embraced — or shunned — by the Democrats?

Yeah, yeah, I know: are the Democrats in a position to shun anyone at this point?

Posted at 8:39 PM to Political Science Fiction

Well, two things:

1) McCain has repeatedly stated that he will not change parties, so that kind of rules out him running as a Dem next year. He won't even consider running against Bush in a primary; he'd destroy his career, and he knows it.

2) Despite his "moderate" credentials (and some noticeable lurches to the left recently), McCain is *way* too conservative for the core of the Democrats. He might have had a chance in a less crowded field, but he'd be competing against Lieberman and Graham for the moderate wing of the party. If he were to jump into the race, I strongly suspect that the most marginal candidates (Mosely-Braun, Kucinich), and one or two of the more mainstream candidates would bail and throw their support behind the leftmost remaining candidate (probably either Kerry or Gephardt) in order to make sure the Democratic nominee is sufficiently liberal to placate the base.

Posted by: timekeeper at 12:38 AM on 18 June 2003