I was fortunate enough to be a college student in New Hampshire during 2004, when all the potential Democratic nominees were gearing up for the primaries.
I saw just about everyone: Howard Dean, John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman, Lyndon Larouche, and Gary Nolan, a libertarian. I really wanted to see Al Sharpton, but I don’t think he made it up to the school.
I even saw one Republican trying to run up against W.
It got me excited about the political process. There were speeches on campus just about every day, and it was fun to pop in to them between classes or at night. I didn’t know much about politics at the time, and I’d say I still don’t, but I was an intrigued yet detached observer silently passing judgment.
From what I remember:
Howard Dean’s passion could really get a crowd going, especially a college crowd. His speech had to be moved to a larger room and I could barely hear him over the cheers. The media sure killed him off quick.
John Kerry looked a lot like Lincoln to me, for what it’s worth, but his speech was plodding and a lot of people, including myself, left early, nearly lulled to sleep.
John Edwards could only be described as naïve and cute, an idealist with no real plan, but a charming smile and southern lilt.
Wesley Clark… all I can remember is that my girlfriend at the time had a crush on him. I think I grouped him with Kerry.
Kucinich was fiery and I liked the message
Lieberman was a stutterer, and it really bugged me.
Larouche was an articulate conspiracy theorist, 80-something at the time, denounced by the Democratic Party, going on about how the Beatles were a talent-less group created by the British Psychological war division to ruin America. Actually, thinking back, I rather liked him! hahaha… He had a cult like following of intelligent and attractive youth. I felt like I was being seduced, but I had jazz band coming up (priorities!).
In the end, most of the people I knew voted for Dean or Kucinich. I actually voted for Edwards. Haha I must’ve been entranced by his storytelling and down-home approach in the intimate setting of the Pease Library basement.
When it came election time, though I supported Nader, I didn’t vote for anyone because I’d just moved to CT and it seemed a hassle to re-register. So much for my political vigor.
I was dumbfounded when I discovered that GW had won reelection. It wasn’t until I moved to Seoul that I was at a urinal in the Three Alley Pub facing a bulletin board, where I was confronted with this photo:
It’s obviously doctored, but a lot of people are convinced it’s real. (Someone even made a tee-shirt.)
Anyway, though I’m skeptical about the political process, I do intend to vote next year, and I’m looking to see if I can vote in the primaries even though I’m living abroad. It’s my duty as an Amurrrican!