Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Silly question? Well what got me started was the continued growing buzz over Howard Dean and his campaign's fund raising prowess over the internet. The sum of money raised means that Dean cannot be ignored, poor Sunday morning performance notwithstanding. Dean has really mobilized the democratic faithful, which makes him the opponent that the Republicans hope secures the nomination. But what does the Georgia flag have to do with it? Well the flag above lies over the political body of someone who could have been a serious contender for the nomination, a centrist southern democratic governor that doesn't have the baggage of another centrist southern democratic governor. The political career that the flag killed was that of former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes.
What about the other candidates? Well, lets take a look:
Senator John Kerry: No President has been elected from the Senate since another junior Senator from Massachusetts did it in 1960. Wishy-washy on the war in Iraq. Integrity problems (claims to be healthy...has prostate surgery, tosses another vet's medals onto White House lawn).
Senator Joe Lieberman: See above. Also tainted from losing effort in 2000
Senator John Edwards: See above. Little name recognition outside of North Carolina. Trial lawyer. Easily confused with this John Edward.
Senator Bob Graham: Health problems. What's with the notebooks?
Representative Dick Gephardt: Old news. Slow to raise money.
Sharptonkucinichmoseleybraun: (Thanks to Opinion Journal) Enough said

With the last four out of five presidents being governors, Dean does carry some advantage in that department. Even the Presidents on TV were governors. The political columnist Bill Shipp wrote about Governor Barnes' rising star as a Democratic nominee in March 2001. However things fell apart and Mr. Barnes was defeated in November 2002. While some other factors contributed as well (displeasure with education reform and the "Northern Arc") the flag issue mobilized a lot of emotion in rural areas of Georgia and a tremendous amount of those voters expressed their displeasure by electing Georgia's first Republican governor since reconstruction. For his efforts Governor Barnes won a Profiles in Courage award from the Kennedy library. Mr. Shipp provides an excellent analysis of his remarks here.
I think that Governor Barnes did the right thing in changing the flag. It was a divisive symbol and not representative of a state who's capital is the "City too Busy to Hate". I think the Kennedy library rightly rewarded him. But the unintended consequences are present today.
Dean has the momentum right now, and the others are going to have to hustle to catch up. While Dean and Kerry will do well up north, the real test will come in South Carolina. If Barnes were in the race then he would be well positioned to blunt Al Sharpton's advantage amongst black voters in that state. Without Barnes, however, Sharpton will be a formidable force throughout the south.
And the Democrats well remember the last time they ran a northern governor against George Bush.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?