With the Arizona primary just around the corner, I offer this voting primer. It's only for Democrats, because Republicans are tied to an albatross, and Independents don't deserve to vote in primaries.
If you don't have the conviction to join a party, just wait around until the general election, and screw things up then. (I've decided that Purgatory--not the ski town, but the shadowy limbo between heaven and hell--is populated with independent voters, NFL replay referees and other people who never could make up their damn minds.)
For each candidate, presented here in a completely random order, I've included some quick background information, who's in their corner, and their odds of winning the Arizona primary and the Democratic presidential nomination. To make the aforementioned odds more understandable, I've also included a category called "Odds In Bush Terms," meaning what those odds translate to, were they transferred to the president. For example, 4-1 odds would be George W. Bush's chances of putting together a matched pair of socks if he were handed three identical socks.
WES CLARK: Used to be known as "Wesley" Clark as recently as about a week ago ... Used to be known as a Republican as recently as about a month ago ... Hugged Michael Moore on TV and made everybody think of that scene in Along Came Polly when Ben Stiller is guarding the fat naked guy in basketball...
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Clintonistas, Desert Storm junkies
MAIN CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT: Rob Reiner
CHANCE OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: 10-1
CHANCE OF WINNING NOMINATION: 25-1
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: That the prez will be able to produce Osama bin Laden for an October Surprise. (Add several zeroes for the odds that bin Laden will be "captured" any time before October.)
DENNIS KUCINICH: Campaign rhetoric makes Dean's guttural scream sound rational by comparison ... Used to be a mayor or a governor in one of those states in the Midwest that really isn't important ... Way smarter than George W. Bush, but then so, too, are Dennis Quaid, Dennis Weaver and Dennis the Menace ...
CLAIM TO FAME: Outlasted Carol Moseley Braun
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Pot legalizers
CHANCES OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: None
CHANCES OF WINNING NOMINATION: Even less
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: Convincing people that the war in Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with his daddy.
REV. AL SHARPTON: Somewhat amazingly, manages to come off as a wittier, less-abrasive version of Jesse Jackson ... Hair still looks like he belongs in a doo-wop group, circa 1962 ... Getting some credit for making Dean come back to the pack ...
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Tawanna Brawley
CHANCES OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: 150-1
CHANCES OF WINNING NOMINATION: 250-1
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: Producing documentation that he actually did a little bit of National Guard duty.
HOWARD DEAN: Did brilliant job as stalking horse for the real candidates who have at least some chances of beating Bush in November ... For a while had computer geeks convinced that the Internet could be used for something other than porn, Viagra sales and online gambling ... Got Wellstoned by the media for showing a little enthusiasm after poor showing in Iowa caucuses ... Clip of Dean rallying followers shown on TV more times than promos of new episode of Friends ...
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Guys who still live at Mom's house and will vote any way James Tiberius Kirk tells them to
BIGGEST CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT: Al Gore (Remember him? He's the guy who beat Bush by almost a million votes in 2000.)
CHANCE OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: 10-1
CHANCE OF WINNING NOMINATION: 15-1
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: Chances that even one of his big-money supporters will lose so much as a dollar this year.
JOHN KERRY: Lazarus-like campaigner risen from the dead in just a couple months ... Kicks the livin' piss out of Bush in terms of actual military duty ... Seen by some as too Beltway ... Could use some freakin' personality ...
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Democrats
CHANCES OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: 5-1
CHANCES OF WINNING NOMINATION: 2-1
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: Not knowing what to do with that extra sock from the example.
JOHN EDWARDS: Speaks often of "positive campaign," but his openness about class warfare regarding disappearing middle class has longtime Dems nodding in agreement ... Bitch-ass Sean Hannity doesn't like him, so that's always a plus ... 50-year-old Edwards dismissed as "The Breck Girl" because of his Dorian Gray youthful appearance ... Has "vice-presidential running mate" written all over him ...
CORE CONSTITUENCY: Guys who don't like Howard Dean; guys with (ahem) Stars 'N' Bars on their pickup trucks
CHANCES OF WINNING ARIZONA PRIMARY: 20-1
CHANCES OF WINNING NOMINATION: 30-1
ODDS IN BUSH TERMS: Remembering 1974.
JOE LIEBERMAN: Nice guy; no chance.
IN TERMS OF BUSH'S RE-ELECTION: No guy, nice chance.