February 11, 2004
Remember the good old days of the Roaring '90's, where the only reason to buy stock in Amazon or AOL or Pets.com for that matter was because EVERYBODY else was going to do it, so you knew you could make money off of it?
Some of my more nerd-gastic friends may even remember the comic book speculator market from the early '90's, where it was all about variant card-stock covers gilded in silver that you kept in a hermetically sealed vault. As soon as everybody figured out that Action Comics #1 was now worth an obscene amount of money, comic specialty stores were flooded with speculators who bought up 20 copies of the 10 different versions of New X-Men #1 because they just knew EVERYBODY else was going to want it and they'd be richer than chocolate.
Nevermind that those late '90's stocks were ultimately fools gold because nobody bothered to check the fundamentals of those companies until long after they'd paid obscenely inflated prices for shares. Nevermind that none of the genius comic speculators realized that the only reason why Action Comics #1 is valuable is because it is rare, so buying up a ton of them is a waste of your investment money when the publisher has printed more copies than the King James Bible.
Which brings me to the old adage that your mother should have taught you - "If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too just because everybody else is doing it?"
And that, my friends, is exactly what the Democratic primary electorate is about to do by picking John Kerry as their nominee.
Now, this is less about why Kerry's fundamentals are weak, because that argument can be encapulated in the following sentence: George W. Bush, blithering nincompoop that he is, will embarass Kerry on National TV next fall when he reminds Kerry that he voted for virtually every initiative he'll use to attack Bush (the war, the tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, etc.). Let's not even get into the fact that the words "succinct" and "to the point" are personis non gratis to the Kerry speechwriters, thus eliminating the possibility of a pithy soundbite every night to remind people why George W. Bush is responsible for your growling stomach right now.
No, my real problem is that people are voting for Kerry because they think he's electable.
There goes that word again.
And how are they determining Kerry's electability? Why, by looking at the fact that he won the primary in the previous state. ie. Wisconsin voted for him because Washington did because Virginia did because Missouri did because New Hampshire did because Iowa did.
Think about that. We're all about to pick him because the people of Iowa voted for him. Jesus, man, there are more people on the Sunset Strip on a Saturday night than voted for Kerry in Iowa. Can we all just think about this a bit more, for God's sake?
Kerry is untested under national scrutiny. Dean had more passion. Edwards is a better campaigner. Clark had better credentials. Kerry's like the Serpentor of the Democratic Party - he's got a little bit of everybody mixed in, so people figure he's got to be greater than the sum of his parts. But does a smorgasborg really taste better than a meal that was prepared with a purpose in mind?
Apparently, these guys at The New Republic agree with me, for once.