The Good: Kucinich’s major political accomplishment was presiding over the city of Cleveland as it defaulted on its loans and nearly went bankrupt. (See “The Worst Mayors“) His candidacy is being ignored by serious democratic partisans.
The Bad: Kucinich is the Gary Bauer of the race — a fringe candidate with such an extreme agenda that he’s best ignored rather than engaged on the campaign trail.
He flip-flopped on the crucial issue of abortion when he announced his presidential run (coincidence, of course) — and then had the nerve to claim his new position was consistent with his long-held views.
The Verdict: Kucinich will win the all-important LaRouche vote.
The Odds: A cold day in hell.
The Good: Lieberman is, for the most part, an honest, likeable fellow. His centrist positions play well with moderate voters, and his anti-hollywood crusades play well with the two or three conservative democrats left in the party.
His real problem, though, is his character: he’s too damn nice to attack any of the current frontrunners and save his campaign. Lieberman needed to separate himself from the pack by claiming the party was on the wrong path, and more stridently declaring his hawkish and family values positions.
In doing so, the race could have been framed as Dean vs. Lieberman: A Battle for the Soul of the Party. Gephardt would have been eclipsed by the bolder Lieberman, and Kerry would have been seen as a waffler in comparison.
Instead, Lieberman is seen as Kerry lite — a tad more consistent but less electable. His disappointing fundraising totals are indicative of this problem.
The Verdict: Ignore the national polls. Lieberman began the race as a marginalized candidate and he’ll stay that way. Everyone respects him, but few will vote for him.
The Odds: 10-1
The Good: ?
The Bad: Sharpton is a rather appropriate example of the state of the Democratic party’s relationship with its black bloc. The party, which claims credit for embracing and nurturing diversity, cannot produce any black leaders with a national profile to counter an albatross like Al Sharpton. Therefore, the other candidates are forced to glad-hand him for fear of offending the presumed Representative of All Black People.
Sharpton has never apologized for his role in the Tawana Brawley mess. However, he has somewhat made amends for his history of spewing anti-Jewish invective. He is clearly hoping his presidential run will give him a Jesse Jackson-esque bounce in prestige, vaulting him from his Brooklyn stronghold onto the national stage.
The Verdict: While Sharpton may consider himself the new Jesse Jackson, he’s more like this year’s Alan Keyes. Sure, the party faithful love to hear him speak, but in the end, no one will support him.
Sharpton’s only votes will come from disappointingly ignorant black voters.
The Odds: 1000-1
Go to Democrat Derby #2…