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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Electability 

Ruy Texiera at Donkey Rising writes:
Based on the exit polls though, we can confirm the message of the Iowa caucus voting that Democratic voters are increasingly focused on electability and mainstream issues and decreasingly interested in "sending 'em a message" and protest politics around the Iraq war. Consider these data from the exit poll (note that numbers here may change slightly as the National Election Pool reweights its data to reflect the final vote tally).
Now, I don't disagree that electability is a huge issue. I think it is, and I think it should be. However, I'm not convinced that these Kerry victories are also victories for "electability." Kerry was left for dead a month ago. He has shown some impressive traits that have enabled him to once again become the "frontrunner." But he hasn't been attacked like Dean was (well, if you ignore that "looks French" stuff). And I'm not sure that, when attacked, he won't fold.

I think electability is huge, but I'm not convinced Kerry, as opposed to Dean, Clark or Edwards, is the most electable candidate.

UPDATE: Joe Conason has some good thoughts on this. I'm not sure if this link will work, as you may need a subscription (or you may have to click through some ads to get a day pass. Anyway, to save you the trouble, we at G&G will do the heavy lifting and quote the operative paragraph:
The perception of "electability" can quickly become a trap. It tends to encourage excessive caution, which in turn leads to voter disillusionment and apathy. Kerry already suffers from a reputation for caution and opportunism, when he is also quite capable of daring and toughness. I first began to think that he could rouse the Democratic Party from its terrible torpor during the summer of 2002, when he called out Trent Lott and Tom DeLay as chicken hawks and threatened to filibuster against oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. He should emphasize his historical willingness to stand alone and fight for what he believes.
There is more in the article, all on Kerry, and all pretty good.

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