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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Sunday, May 18, 2003

Democratic Candidate's past Voting Records

Soapbox Canyon has the goods on the voting records of the Dem hopefuls. He found some surprises. By his criteria, (which most liberals [see update] would agree with) their overall scores are as follows:

Kucinich - 89%
Gephardt - 59%
Moseley-Braun - 58%
Edwards - 44%
Graham - 39%
Lieberman - 38%
Kerry - 36%

UPDATE Robert left the following comment explaining his criteria:
After some thought, I think one of the problems is that a lot of the votes I used as criteria - NAFTA, GATT, the Communications Decency Act, various anti-crime and anti-terrorism bills with grave civil liberties implications - were things that progressives opposed but were things that the Clinton Administration was pushing for. It goes far to show the difference between a "progressive" and somebody who is merely "liberal", and also the attraction of many to Nader in 1996 and 2000. I don't know that most liberals would agree with all my criteria since I think that Democratic Party partisanship often gets in the way of principle, but most progressives would. In any case, Dennis Kucinich's voting record rocks (except on abortion), and if I were to wake up one morning in November, 2004 to hear the words "President-Elect Dennis Kucinich" and maybe "Vice President-Elect Barbara Lee" over the TV, that would totally make my decade.
We can always dream. The more pragmatic part of me agrees with Nathan Newman and others that liberals and progressives need to coalesce now around an electable candidate so we can concentrate on defeating Bush. I just don't agree that John Kerry is that candidate.

My thoughts:
While I admit that Kucinich, Braun, Sharpton, and, less so, Dean, are long shots, I'm not resigned to pragmatism just yet. I'll save that for after the primaries. I keep coming back to my image of a tug of war....when the strength is at one extreme, does the opposition pull from the center, or pull from the other extreme?
What keeps it in balance the best? If the Democrats pull from the center and the Republicans are at the extreme right, we will never find a balance.
If Kucinich, Braun, Sharpton and Dean can pull support in the early primaries they have a good chance of influencing policy. Michigan is an early primary. The interest and values of the Greens have to be acknowledged or the Dems will be forfeiting a huge part of the voting public. They are an active, informed and inspiring force that can't be discounted. They are willing to work to get Bush out, but they need to feel validated, which isn't happening right now. Kucinich is, by far, the candidate that most closely reflects my views and is continually brave enough to speak his mind. Supporting him is also supporting his views on the issues, regardless of what his chances may be.
Before the primaries is the time to dream, with 66% of voters not even being able to name a Dem hopeful, my dreams lead to a wide open field. I do think it's imperative that the Democratic Party craft a cohesive opposition right now, but discounting anyone, at this time, is not productive. The time to coalesce is after the primaries.

**an aside: I was surprised with Gephardt's voting record, as with Kerry's, and I believe that, although Robert doesn't have abortion issues as criteria, you'll find that Kucinich abstained from most votes on the issue. Personally, I don't feel Lieberman is electable regardless of his name recognition.

posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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