How To Beat Howard

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I really think Howard Dean has only a very tiny chance to beat Bush, should he win the nomination. I think there are two candidates would have a much better chance than Dean: Dick Gephardt and John Kerry. I like Kerry better than Gephardt, and think he would appeal to more people, but his campaign is imploding, and that leaves Gephardt, unless Kerry could turn it around real quick.

So if I am a Democrat, and want to win the White House, I want Gephardt to win the nomination. Dean has many flaws: he contradicts himself often, he lacks a high degree of poise and presence, he has very few coherent and detailed plans. Gephardt has none of those problems. Gephardt is direct, consistent, confident, unwavering, and has an abundance of well-thought-out plans. And in addition, he is more moderate on some of the issues that the country is clearly more moderate than Dean on, especially defense and security, and he has a lot more knowledge and experience in international affairs.

Simply put, he has a better chance to beat Bush.

What to do to get Gephardt the nod over Dean? Gephardt must do well in Iowa, preferably winning it outright. He can't win in New Hampshire, not with Dean and Kerry -- both New England politicians -- in the hunt, but he can finish top three. If he does both, then in the next week, Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards should all drop out and support Gephardt. Clark too, if he is willing. Put together, their votes can defeat Dean, especially in South Carolina, and from there it's a monthlong two-man race to Super Tuesday.

It's funny, many Democrats I know think Dean is the best chance for the Democrats. He isn't. You are mistakenly seeing your own admiration for him and thinking the rest of the country will think as you do. Some will, maybe even most Democrats, but the middle -- the people who decide the election -- won't. They will see his fumbling for words and self-contradictions as a sign of dishonesty. They will see his anger as unbecoming. They will see his desire to raise everyone's taxes as irreponsible. They will see his opposition to the war and the Patriot Act as signs of weakness.

The only way Dean can beat Bush is if Bush beats himself, with a horrible economy or big scandal; and while the economy is not a sure bet, you'd be foolish to bet against it, unless it was your only hope. But it isn't your only hope, because there's Gephardt.

Now, I dislike Gephardt. I dislike most of his policies, I dislike his manner, I dislike him. And while many other people will dislike him too (the main reason I would prefer Kerry as a candidate, were I a Democrat), they won't loathe him like will loathe Dean.

Mark my words ... you've been warned ...

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