Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Campaign 2004 Round Up

Senator John Kerry, who has raised over $100 million in three months, may be spending too much time in search of Mammon. Wearing his energies thin. Keeping his eye off the prize.

I can understand, however, the almost fanatic desire for the Democrats to pimp out their asses for scrilla, as Al Gore, when the sitting Vice President, ran out in the last days of campaign 2000, ran out of paper. Even Vice Presidents can fall flat when faced with an opponent who pimps out hard for the corporate cheddar. But the search for the almighty dollar is actually hurting the sharpness of Kerry's campaign. Bush has the bully pulpit, he doesn't need to chase the corporate dollar -- they come to him. All he needs to do is lead -- give America a sense of security in this dangerous age.

Granted, sharpness is not something that comes to mind when discussing the Kerry campaign's unfocused, lackluster trajectory of late. He won Iowa because he seemed stable, safe, a good provider with an impressive head of hair. And after Iowa, New Hampshire followed, and, after that the deluge. My own candidate, John Edwards never had a chance. Note to Kerry: you need to light a fire under your ass: you only get one shot at this.

The polarization of the House continues apace on the campaign landscape. Every day another hallowed tradition of bipartisan cooperation is raped, lost forever, making us a meaner nation. Today, the New York Times notes, "(a) seven-year-old unofficial truce discouraging House members from filing ethics complaints against one another disintegrated Tuesday when a freshman Democrat accused one of the most powerful members of Congress, the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, of 'bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering and the abuse of power.'"

The Corsair picks up a glass of 20 year old champagne with flavors of roasted nuts and caramel, sips, silently pronounces it good, and then continues from The Times:

"The Democrat, Representative Chris Bell of Texas, who is leaving Congress because he lost a primary election, filed a 187-page complaint against Mr. DeLay, also of Texas, with the House ethics committee. The complaint accuses the majority leader of illegally soliciting campaign contributions, laundering campaign contributions to influence state legislative races and improperly using his office to influence federal agencies."

Of course, Bell lost the election because of DeLay's hardball redistricting of Texas, so personal bitterness plays a major role here beyond the intense polarization of both houses of Congress. The Hill notes that the partisan fighting is now intramural, with conservative Republicans fighting against the Centrists:

"More than 20 House conservatives met recently at the Hunan Dynasty on Capitol Hill to discuss how to put some conservative backbone into the Senate, among other political and legislative priorities. Many of them believe that Republican centrists in the Senate are as much to blame as Democrats for their policy frustrations."

So, if there is any summing up of the campign season it has to be the word: chaos. Pandemonium on the world stage and internally in our own affairs. How prescient Daniel Patrick Moynihan was, in retrospect. Ambivalence among Democrats for their guy, their "good provider," (why does this seem more and more like a bad marriage, Midwest --er, Iowa-style) with the desire to fire the current Administration capturing more passion than the presumptive leader. And, among members of the House, the erosion of tradition and courtesy, hallmarks of the conservative worldview. And within the Republicans, a struggle between the right and center, and, to a lesser degree, but significantly, within the Democratic Party, the struggle between the Naderites -- who are getting quite the boost from Kerry's Gorean lack of charisma and crisp sharpness of message -- against the Bush-Must-Go-At-All-Costs Air America wing of the party.

Pandaemonium is right, Mr. Moynihan.

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