Readers, I know you're busy, I am too. But that is no excuse to neglect the American government. This election is an incredibly interesting one. We've got 9 democratic canidates, and 1 (*cough* war hungry *cough*) Republican Canidate. With so many Democrats to keep track of, I thought that I would make it easier for you. I have broken this election down to the basics and included links to the canidates own sites. So , here you go (In no particular order):
-Sen. John Kerry (Massachusetts): A Vietnam vet turned US Senator. He's generally a solid liberal. He has supported some education reforms that were opposed by the teacher unions (like ending tenure and allowing lateral entry into teaching). You may recognize his wife's name "Heinz." Yes, folks, she owns all 57 varieties, making Kerry the richest member of Congress. But he always says he won't spend her money to get elected.
-Gov. Howard Dean (Vermont): As the Governor of a rather tiny state, Dean stayed below the national political radar for most of his career. Dean's obscurity ended instantly, however, when he signed the controversial Civil Unions bill into law in April 2000 (a law that granted full legal recognition and rights to same-sex couples in the state). From that point forward, Religious Right activists targeted Dean as a supporter of "gay marriages." Not only has Dean refused to back down from his support for civil unions, he stated that his political career would have been "meaningless" had he had not been willing to risk everything to stand up for a significant civil rights law he supported.
-Rep. Richard Gephardt (Missouri): He's run before. As you may know, we've never had a President Gephardt. He's lost before. Gephardt's whole campaign is basically based on unions. He loves 'em. Having the unions could work for or against Gephardt because you get a lot of votes with unions. However, he looses many small business owners because they are not unionized. While Howard Dean and several others loudly positioned themselves as the anti-Iraq war candidates, Gephardt stood out for his early and solid support for the Iraq war
-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut): He was Al Gore's VP running mate in '00. Lieberman was the first Jewish candidate ever to be nominated on a major-party national ticket. But, some Dems are unhappy with Lieberman's strong support for Bush on the War on Terrorism. Lieberman has been compared to a moderate Republican. This has caused him to loose some liberal states, namely Iowa.
-Gen Wesley Clark (Arkansas): Clark was a General in Kosovo before Clinton fired him. This is interesting because it is reported that his biggest supporter and advisor is Bill Clinton. Upon entering the race, Clark let it be known that he is pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights (including "taking another look" at ending the ban on gays in the military), pro-environmental protection laws, pro-affirmative action, and is harshly critical of Bush's decision to launch the Iraq War (he flip-flopped on the issue during his first few days as an official candidate). In my opinion, he says what we want to hear. This can be fantastic if he's telling the truth and lethal if he's lying.
-Amb. Carol Mosely Braun (Illinois): Why is she running? No, seriously, WHY IS SHE RUNNING? Braun has no money (We'll talk about funding in the next post). And, with the exception of Illinois, NO ONE knows who she is. She has no chance so I refuse to talk about her.
-Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio): Kucinich had a solid pro-life stance on abortion for nearly three decades (he even cast votes to criminalize the performing of abortions). But he seems to have shifted to a pro-choice stance sometime in mid-2002, right around the time he began considering running for president. Kucinich first came to national attention in 1977 when he was elected Cleveland Mayor at age 31. A financial crisis forced the city into declaring bankruptcy, and caused Kucinich to lose his 1979 re-election bid. It took 15 more years (1994)before he was able to re-start his political career and win a State Senate seat. Two years later, he was elected to Congress.
-Sen. John Edwards (North Carolina): Edwards is kind of in a catch-22. He is a US Senator(North Carolina). The catch: this is his first term as senator. This brings up questions about his lack of experience. As for ideology, Edwards falls in the liberal-to-populist range. Basically, he's pro-choice, an environmentalist, and pro-health care reform.
-Rev. Al Sharpton (New York): Al Sharpton is New York City's answer to Jesse Jackson. He is barely a real politician and we know that he, like Braun, won't win either. He has no money and news of a pending IRS audit of Sharpton's personal financial records in Summer 2003, and stories about his debts, are diverting some attention away from his campaign.
So, there you have it. Our democratic canidates. I hope this makes everyone's life a little easier.