Markos Moulitsas offers his assessment of the Democratic frontrunners over on Daily Kos (triggered, I suspect, by his buddy Jerome Armstrong’s declaration that the party’s nomination is Hillary’s to lose).
Moulitas begins by declaring he “digs our field” and then proceeds to succinctly articulate their flaws in a ways that many of us on the right will admire. Starting with Hillary:
[Hillary’s] done a great job bamboozling people into thinking she’s anti-war, even though she’s a proponent of the “residual force” strategy of leaving 50,000 or whatever troops in Iraq holed up in remote bases to — what? — hunker down as massacres happen around them and mortar shells land on their compound?
Meanwhile, she refuses to see anything wrong with her war authorization vote. Of course, that’s a sign of poor judgement, but it’s compounded by George Bush-like refusal to acknowledge mistakes. We’ve had plenty of that with Bush. I’m not eager for more of the same.
She’s surrounded by people like union-buster Mark Penn, who have clear influence on her positions. I’m amazed at how “tough” macho-man union bosses are giving Hillary a pass even though her closest advisor runs a company dedicated to helping corporations crush unions.
And finally, while Hillary should have as good a chance as any Democrat to win the White House, she’ll kill us downticket in House and Senate races in the South, some parts of the Midwest, and the Mountain West. None of the other guys would necessarily help us in those races, but they wouldn’t hurt either the way Hillary would. We’re talking negative coattails here.
Then on to John Edwards, supposedly the netroot favorite among the Big Three on the Democratic side:
The more time passes, the more his “haircut” deal pisses me off. Why? I see it as a stategic, tactical, and personal failure, and one that was so easy to avoid that it makes me question his judgment in a long, tough, presidential battle.
Strategic: There are two narratives Edwards’ opponents are building against him — one, that he’s a “pretty boy”, and two, that he’s so rich he’s out of touch with “regular” people. And in one fell swoop, Edwards reinforced both negative narratives!
Tactical: The only reason anyone knew about that haircut was because it was in campaign finance disclosures. Why was it in those disclosures? Because he used campaign funds to pay for the haircut! If he wants his pimp haircuts, I couldn’t care less. But why do it in such a way that it’s easy for your enemies to use against you?
Personal: I don’t know Edwards’ net worth, nor care. But he has a lot of money. I’m willing to bet that most of the small dollar donors Edwards has solicited don’t have that much. For them, that $20 or $50 or even $100 contribution is a big sacrifice. Yet given the choice between taking out his own checkbook or having his campaign pay for the $400 the haircut cost, someone made the choice to put this on the contributors. More than anything, it’s this that offends me about this incident. People expect their money to be well spent by campaigns, not used as personal slush funds for whatever luxuries they may want.
(Does anyone else get this weird, queasy feeling when you agree with Kos?)
Then on to Barack Obama:
The candidate least tainted by DC baggage, most able to run an innovative and transformative campaign. Yet he’s got his stable of traditional consultants, like David Axelrod, stocking up on cash so Axelrod’s media firm can then run tens of millions of dollars of ads. All the while, the campaign is being built not to win, but to not lose. Where are the innovations? Where are the risks? Why the stultifying caution?
We are looking to elect a leader. Yet during the supplemental fight, Obama refused to lead. He refused to even say how he would vote. Then, when the vote was open, he and Hillary sat and stared at each other until the very end, when he finally cast his vote against, followed seconds later by Hillary. Profiles in courage? Leadership?
It comes down to this — while in the Senate, has Obama ever advocated for anything that wasn’t safe? Has he taken a leadership position on anything controversial?
Kos also isn’t impressed with Richardson.