I'll admit from the start, that I have certain basic standards in a candidate -- and that virtually all the Democrats meet them. It's nearly impossible to imagine a scenario where I would vote Bush in November, but in some other election I can at least imagine voting for an alternative candidate as a protest for certain alternative Democratic choices. I voted Gore in 2000, not Nader.
Anyway, this is not a problem in 2004, and certainly not in the New Hampshire primary. I can see plausible arguments for voting Dean, Clark, Kerry or Edwards, the likely top vote-getters.
Right now, I'd think hard about voting for Clark or Edwards to make sure they survive into the next couple of weeks. I'm not ready for this race to boil down to a couple of New Englanders. I've long liked Kerry, but harbor strong doubts about his national electability. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but I'd prefer a presidential bio that doesn't include "rich guy who went to Yale."
That is a strike against Dean as well. His anti-war position was originally exciting, but at this point all the Democrats (save Lieberman) are trying to be anti-Bush on the question of Iraq. Dean keeps emphasizing his balanced budgets, but that just doesn't excite me that much. Perhaps it should. Still, I can think of lots of good ways to spend your money that you don't even have (that's a joke).
So, if I had a vote in New Hampshire, I guess I would vote for Edwards or Clark. In part, I'm assuming that Dean and Kerry are going to get 55 to 65% of the vote anyway and will still be there for later reconsideration.
Since I've written so much about Clark and everyone knows his military background, here's the lowdown on Edwards:
Born in 1953, Senator Edwards grew up in Robbins, a small town in the Piedmont. His father, Wallace, worked in textile mills for 36 years. His mother, Bobbie, had a number of jobs including working at the post office.His Senate website covers his legislative accomplishments.
A product of North Carolina public schools, Senator Edwards was the first person in his family to go to college. He worked his way through North Carolina State University and graduated with an honors degree in textiles in 1974. He earned a law degree with honors in 1977 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Update: Dean was on "The Daily Show" and the skit just wasn't that funny. His performance last Monday night was more entertaining.