Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Drop-Out Candidate Spoor

What remains of the ghost candidates? The departed include:
  • Biden
  • Dodd
  • Edwards
  • Gravel
  • Kucinich
  • Richardson
  • Giuliani
  • Hunter
  • Paul
  • Thompson
  • Tancredo
We can think of them as an animal tracker looking at spoor or an anthropologist analyzing artifacts. They have passed from view but may not be entirely gone.

Plus, there is the zombie Huckabee. Like a Monty Python's Black Knight, he thinks his political death was only a flesh wound, at least in public speech.

His trail is disappearing as I write this. His absurd positions marginalized then vaporized him as soon as voters realized how addled he is. He'd maintain the Kennedy fixation with Cuba, he'd stay in Iraq until America wins, he'd overrule states with a federal definition of marriage, he'd spend billions on unworkable anti-immigration ploys, he'd overturn Roe v. Wade, he'd tax everything we buy instead of income and cut virtually all federal spending except for infrastructure and military. In short, he picked emotional issues for all conservatives, and a few moderates, to display in his Campaign Promises box.

He appears to be hanging around in a vain hope that the nominee will ask him to run as Vice President. Even if he is a middling bassist, he's not likely to hear McCain or Romney ringing his doorbell.

More significant is which also-ran candidates leave meaningful tracks, positions or policies that will influence the race. Consider:
  • Johnny Reid Edwards — He leaves the deepest tracks. He's still too centrist for me and too watery on equality, but he was the only real populist in the race. His dual insistence on universal health care helped keep that in the fore, and his frank pledges to reduce poverty do not allow either Clinton or Obama to soft-pedal this monster in our national closet. At the moment, he's the closest the Democrats have to a party conscience. If the next president is a Democrat, his ideas will be obvious.
  • Ronald Ernest Paul — He is certainly earnest. He comes with the expected libertarian sincerity and baggage. He's a gun-in-every-nightstand, anti-immigrant wall around the entire country, bounty-hunters-to-kill-terrorists, neutralize Roe v. Wade, out-of-Iraq-quickly kind of guy. He's nothing if not innovative. Nearly all of his positions are too extreme to carry into any new administration. He may reemerge in another election, but his tracks are ephemeral at the Presidential level.
  • Dennis John Kucinich — Like Edwards, he has fundamental Democratic and democratic positions. When voters examined the underlying platform, many aligned with him. However, his New Age way of expressing them led folk to think he could convince no one in Washington to implement them. He was the most equality-oriented candidate, but the remaining pair don't have the courage to follow his tracks.
  • Rudolph William Louis Giuliani — Tax cuts, free-market salvation for the economy, no Iraq timetable, blah blah. Short of his leftist social policies, he used typical conservative bluster and did not adequately distinguish himself. He walked largely in others tracks and voters had no reason to follow him. Socially he is really a liberal Democrat. He's gone.
Footnotes might include Fred Dalton Thompson and Thomas Gerald Tancredo. The forgettable Dem also-rans share the same fate with them. Gone, no tracks.

For the most part, only Edwards' tracks will remain on this election, and if the Democratic nominee wins, on the next administration. As I'm sure you are also fond of saying, sic transit gloria mundi.

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