Mickey Kaus reveals that according to a new Zogby poll, 77% of undecided voters disapprove of Bush’s performance in office, but when asked “Do you or don’t you like John Kerry as a person,” the undecideds revealed that they dislike Kerry by a 3-to-1 margin!
Slightly more than that, actually: the results were Dislike 52%, Like 16%. Sayeth Kaus:
It’s almost as if uninformed Iowa voters in a front-loaded primary system anointed the one candidate who might through sheer force of his own unappealing personality lose the race to a vulnerable incumbent!
This fits in nicely with something I was discussing with my roommate earlier. I speculated that, all things considered, Dick Gephardt — the first of the “big six” Democratic candidates to drop out — might well have been, in retrospect, the best, most electable choice, because unlike all the others (and unlike the White Knight, for that matter), he didn’t have that many negatives.
Sure, he’s boring and nondescript! But even if Gephardt didn’t have many positives either, that would have been okay — as it turns out, as vulnerable as Bush is, all we needed was a candidate without major negatives!
Back in January, though, we thought we needed a great candidate, and so we reached for the stars, and somehow ended up with a handful of mud. (Maybe we were drunk?) If only we’d settled for merely a passably competent candidate, we’d be golden right now!
Why Gephardt? Kerry, as we all know, is a flip-flopper (and maybe a liar!), and a terrible, terrible campaigner, and, well, a horribly unappealing person generally. Edwards would have been (much) better than Kerry, but the Bushies would have savagely attacked his inexperience, and in light of the war focus, it might well have worked. Who else? Dean’s a loony lefty and a nutcase (or at least seems that way), Lieberman’s too conservative (Nader would be in double-digits!) and Clark’s an all-around disaster.
But Gephardt? He’s your basic piece of cardboard, a dull but competent candidate — he’s the unnamed Democrat who we always hear about in the pre-primary general-election polls. And you know what? As it turns out, the unnamed Democrat would beat Bush!!
Alas, John Kerry won’t.
Iowa, of course, is the state that ended Gephardt’s run for the presidency, even as it boosted Kerry toward his date with inevitability. So if I’m right that Gephardt would have been the most electable candidate, now we have even more reason to “thank” the Hawkeye State for our current predicament.
Darn you, Iowa! Darn you to heck!