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Is Kerry 'Bush Lite'?"

Nicholas Johnson's Exchange With

Host Katherine Perkins and guest Steffen W. Schmidt ("Dr. Politics")

"Talk of Iowa"
WOI-AM 640

Ames, Iowa

February 3, 2004

Katherine Perkins [KP]: Letís talk with Nick in Iowa City now.  Hi Nick.

Nicholas Johnson [NJ]: Okay, quick question near the end of your hour.

Democrats are rightfully complaining about Bush over the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the fact heís getting money from special interest lobbyists.

Does Dr. Science think the best candidate to put up against him is someone who voted for the war, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and who has raised more special interest lobbyists' money than any senator in the last fifteen years?

Kucinich said we needed somebody who really stood apart from Bush, whether itís Kucinich or not. If to win the Democratic candidate needs a platform, needs positions, that clearly distinguishes him from Bush, whatís your judgment of whether Democrats are on the right track?

Steffen W. Schmidt [SS]: Dr. Science you will have to call in California.  Dr. Politics, who has been doing this for fifteen years, will answer as follows.

That depends on whether you are a Clinton Democrat or whether you are a Dean, or a new or old Democrat.

Bill Clinton, and the Clinton Democrat would say, look, get as close as you can to the way things work and donít get too idealistic and get off somewhere where there arenít a whole lot of voters who are really interested in those things and arenít going to vote for you because of that.

And Bill Clinton was very concerned that Howard Dean, if he got nominated, would go off in a direction that would make him a McGovern and would get, you know, he might be right on the issues, like Kucinich is, but there arenít enough voters that would follow him, and thatís very clear.

Bill Clinton has gotten himself involved again in politics.  Heís the 800 pound gorilla shadow over all of this process and he went to D.C. last week to talk to the Congressional Democrats. It was a huge headline story and he was a big celebrity coming in there with his advice, because he got elected and got re-elected, and he overcame all kind of scandals, and he did it all by being almost identical to the Republicans.

He took money from the liberal group in Indonesia, from the Chinese military, from Johnny Wong, from all kinds of sleezy interest groups.  He had the biggest fund-raising machine going in American history, and a lot of Democrats held their nose and said, "Uug, this smells," but it worked.

So, it depends on what kind of a Democrat you are.

Obviously, thereís a huge disagreement in the party on this.  Thatís the only way to answer this.

KP: Well, thanks Nicholas for that question.

SS: Great question.

KP: Thank you very much.