casual day in the presidential race

Right in my own proverbial backyard, we had 8 of the 9 remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination appearing at a Rock the Vote forum/debate at Fanuial Hall. I missed the debate, both in person and on TV, but have been checking on the stories to find out what the deal with Howard Dean's confederate flag comments were. Now understanding the context, I have to say that I do think Edwards and Sharpton were wrong to attack him for it BUT that Dean did an embarassingly bad job defending himself. If you're going to take the route of a defiant defense, you should be able to put up a good one, and Dean didn't. The shame is, he did have a good point, but even I didn't get it until his last remark. And his initial comment didn't provide ANY of the context which made the remark a statement in support of racial diversity rather than pandering to racial tension.

The other thing I noted in the candid photographs of the event is how all of the candidates were clearly getting along, inspite of the bickering that went on in the debate. That is a powerful image that the Democratic Party NEEDS to use. Primarily elections need to be divisive, but we also need to show a unified front. I trust that is the belief of everyone in the race (though I have concerns about Sharpton due to past behavior, and Kucinich due to current remarks) and this needs to be stressed. The primaries are important, but do not show a lack of resolve on the part of Democrats. It better not, anyway. Any progressive who tries to claim there is no difference between a Democrat and George W. is going to look like a damn idiot now. They did back in 2000, mind you, but Nader was able to sway enough people with his false advertising. We mustn't let this happen again.

The other big issue, of course, is what they were wearing. To appeal to young voters, the candidates went casual to varying degrees. Mosley Braun, um, well she looked normal. So did Lieberman and Sharpton who came in wearing jackets which they both shed for the forum. Which actually left Sharpton looking kinda silly since his was a three-piece suit and he kept on an unbuttoned vest. Meanwhile, John Kerry lost a jacket, but he was already tie-less. Dean had no jacket, it seems, but he did have his sleeves rolled in a manner even I (a compulsive sleeve roller-upper) found goofy. And finally we had the turtleneck twins, Clark and Kucinich who just seemed out of place. Clark had on a black suit with a black turtleneck, which was really forboding on camera. I think Kucinich did the same, but lets face it, he will never look forboding.

Other then that, I have no idea what happened. Eh, I'll find out tomorrow on The Daily Show. I really need to pick a horse soon, though. I was really high on Kerry, but I'm still quite open to Clark and Edwards. Massachusetts' primary elections are early enough that they might still matter, but late enough to lose the non-starters.

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