Dean, Kerry, et al
On a less happy note than the Bondra deal, of course Howard Dean called it quits today. I'm disappointed, of course, because I've been supporting Dean. But it's really been coming ever since New Hampshire, so today's announcement was no surprise. I suppose the most disappointing part is yet again I don't get the pay-off of actualy getting to vote for my preferred candidate in the primary and have it be meaningful. It's yet again all over before Ohio's primary. I guess if I ever want my vote to count, I'm just going to have to move to New Hampshire.
One of the reasons I was supporting Dean in the first place, and one of the things I still think he did right, after all was said and done, is that he managed to convince a lot of people who had never been active before, or who had grown disgruntled with the Democratic party and the electoral process, to get involved. I just hope now those people stay involved. On some of the Dean listservs I belong to, a lot of people are saying they won't vote for the Democratic nominee, especially if it's John Kerry. I hope they reconsider that before November, because while I'm not the biggest Kerry fan in the world, he's a hell of a long sight better than Bush. I voted for Nader in 2000 because I didn't see a lot of difference between Gore and Bush. I wouldn't go so far as to say I deeply regret that vote now, but I will say that, having lived through the past three years, there's no way I'd vote for a third-party candidate this time around. There's too much at stake.
As far as the Ohio primary itself, I'm leaning towards Edwards. Of all the candidates who have cycled through this process so far, he's the one who has gone up the most in my estimation after watching him in debates. And even if he can't win the nomination, I think he'd be a good vice-presidential choice.
I actually went to see Kerry tonight, as he was here in Columbus today kicking off the Ohio campaign. I have to say, it was a better speech than I expected. Of course, it was in a labor hall before a largely union crowd, so it was a speech geared towards the sorts of issues I value the most -- health care, jobs, inequality, etc. I can vote for this guy in November. He may not be my first choice, or even my second or third, but I can vote for him.
For what it's worth, John Edwards is supposed to be in Columbus this weekend. So, if nothing else, I can go see him and see how he compares in person to Kerry. And I will have seen three of the candidates "in the flesh" this year...sadly, none of them were the guy I was actually supporting (the third one was Al Sharpton).