10.28.2003

MY TAKES

Two things from yesterday caught my attention, both of them from Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review.

1) In his column yesterday, Ramesh ponders whether the Clinton's pushed General Clark into the race to HELP Howard Dean.

Maybe the Clintons knew that Clark would crash and burn, to Dean's benefit, and pushed his candidacy anyway — because they want Dean to win the nomination and Bush to win the election.

I agree with this sentiment, though not the conclusion.

For starters, I believe Dean is the ONLY candidate that can beat Bush, with my prediction being that Bush will win because he'll find a way to exploit Dean's temper. But back to this, though Dean is campaigning as an ultra-liberal RIGHT NOW, he has a very moderate record to fall back on. As Governor, the Cato Institute scores him better than many Republicans fiscally. He believes in State's Rights and isn't a gun grabber. Liberals ask how a White NorthEastern Democrat can win the South? By being good on guns and state's rights, that's how!

And the Clinton's, if nothing else, believe in just one thing...power. I'm not sure I buy into the Clinton-supports-Dean-to-help-Bush-win scenario. By Clinton NOT endorsing any candidate, it's a win for Dean. I think this has all been orchestrated. Clinton stays out in the Primary, only to come on strong in the General helping trumpet Dean's moderate (ie, DLC-approved) record, rallying the Party faithful who may otherwise be alienated by Dean. In the process, Clinton would become again relevent in the Party, perhaps taking a cabinet position, an ambassadorship, or a spot as DNC Chairman himself?

But, going back, Clark getting in the race does nothing but help Dean. Think for a moment of the psychology of a Clark voter. WHO, before Clark got in, was that voter supporting? Clark draws from Edwards (South), Kerry (military experience), Gephardt (big healthcare), and the others. But he doesn't really do much to draw from Dean. Clark weakens Dean's opponents, and doesn't do much to bring him down other than a)lower expectations and b)steal some earned media. Clark at this point, is one of Dean's best supporters!

2)Ramesh's other brain teaser from yesterday was a Corner Post on the "New Investor Class" - a name I'm glad has remained and not replaced with something as awful as "Nascar Dads"!

His post links primarily to a Washington Post article that reports on a poll they conducted to find the political leanings of those who have their money invested, be it directly in stocks, in mutual funds, in 401(k)'s, etc. The conclusion of the poll is that those invested directly in stocks are more likely to be Republicans, with those even in non-direct investments (funds, 401(k)s, pensions, etc) still holding some of the policy views of Republicans, but with actual partisan support much less obvious than those directly invested.

After reading his pieces on the topic that he links from the post (especially the one from the RNC's 'Rising Tide' - the best of the links), I still remain unconvinced...Note, my questions aren't whether Republican policies are more helpful to investors, or taking issue with the results of the poll itself...No. I agree with all of that. My question is whether the poll is putting the cart before the horse. Are investors Republicans, or are Republicans investors? The difference is subtle, but critical.

I don't have an answer, I just raise the question...

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