"Anyone but Bush in 2004!" That may sound like a rallying cry but it's more one of desperation. Its logic seems kinda like one of the Bush administration's rationalizations for attacking Iraq: Saddam was a bad guy and everyone is better off without him in power no matter what the means and consequences of his overthrow. In other words, "Anyone but Saddam!"
Like Saddam, though perhaps not on the same demonic level, Bush's actions make him indefensible to his opponents. As Shimon Rura says, "Let's face it: if this election is about one man, it is about George Bush." We want him out and we'll back anyone who convinces us that he can oust Bush. This, by the way, is the one we shall anoint "The Electable One."
The first opponent of Bush in the race was of course Howard Dean and he sounded great and he gave many of us hope. William Greider explained in The Nation what it was that inspired the good karma that surrounded him. David Corn, who "dis-endorsed" Dean after he switched campaign managers, described this good karma thus:
There has always been a disconnect in the Dean campaign between the man and the movement. If two years ago someone cooked up the idea to create a progressive, reform-minded grassroots crusade that would focus on harnessing "people power" to confront Washington's money-and-power culture and a leader for such an effort was needed, Dean's name would not have jumped to mind. Senator Paul Wellstone maybe, not Dean. Yet thousands of Americans were yearning for such an endeavor, and Dean found a way to tap into their desires. It was not the most natural or conventional of couplings, but it happened. And he was propelled to the front of the presidential pack.
The first sentence (emphasis mine) is the detail that got lost once Dean was "propelled to the front of the pack" and The Limelight spotted him. The race among the Bush opponents became about Dean, the phenomenon. There was a veritable anti-Dean campaign and The Limelight loved him for that. However, those of us hoping for some due diligence on this promising candidate found very little that was illuminating. The Limelight loved Dean only for his persona and it beamed at the impolitic tendencies that he freely exhibited. Seeing little else, we decided that he was not The Electable One. The Limelight immediately lost interest in him and effectively all but rendered him irrelevant.
Now The Limelight has found John Kerry and the struggle continues among his remaining contenders to steal it from him. It would seem that we have found The Electable One and it also seems somewhat likely that our wish for "Anyone but Bush" will be fulfilled. I want Bush out as much as the next gal who wants Bush out but I'm uneasy about the prospect because I'm afraid that that will be just another example of The Limelight's fickleness. When it ditched Dean, it was unfortunate, not so much for Dean but for the good karma that he inspired and which The Limelight didn't seem to have much use for. In November, when The Limelight once again chooses the winner, I have no reason to believe that I won�t remain blinded by its glare and still groping for the good karma, the existence of which will continue to be denied.