The Sleaze-o-meter: Democrat Edition

AMERICANS DON’T VOTE FOR CANDIDATES. Americans vote against candidates.

Unfortunately, the news media has reported little of this cynicism. Instead, headlines are awash with the idea that, for once, Americans might have something positive to look forward to this Election Day. A candidate they’re excited about.

History proves the networks wrong. Our post-Watergate age of high scandal and reality television has no place for optimism. We have no business cashing in the idea that a vote really makes that much of a difference, or that it could do anything but slow our country’s inevitable spiral to oblivion.

As such, I thought I’d do my readers the service of ranking the candidates in terms of how little you could trust them. Policy has no place in this ranking — only how not-respectable they are, and how dishonest.

Ranking the Democrats by sleaze-tacity isn’t quite as fun as ranking the Republicans, but the Democratic sleaze ranking is all the more relevant because the policy differences are so minute. Among the three still running, two are still viable and only one is likable.

I’ll let you guess which is which.

1. Hillary Clinton. She’s more or less stable in her philosophies — unless you count her initial support for the Iraq War and her current campaign against it — so there isn’t much to count against her on a pure policy point of view.

Forgetting for a moment that she’s an android with a broken personality algorithm, the Clinton campaign represents the most violently reprehensible Democrat in what was once a crowded field of surprisingly qualified-if-unelectable candidates.

Does the Whitewater ring any bells? The best shot the Republicans have to win the election is to re-register as a Democrat and vote Clinton in the primary. She has more political baggage than a political-baggage-carrying jumbo jet full of political baggage.

That’s a lot of political baggage. And no, that isn’t a sexist joke. Give me a break.

2. Barack Obama. This Obama guy might be more sleazy than Clinton. Trouble is, he hasn’t had much time to prove himself, except by talking so prettily.

The Clinton campaign had launched a volley of attacks not too long ago that seem to have connected Obama to a Chicago slumlord. If this pans out, he’ll almost have caught up to Clinton on the Sleaze-o-meter, but not quite.

Clinton launched the attack, after all.

He’s relatively new on the national scene, so this campaign is the official Obama testing ground. His campaign is pretty overzealous in attacks, but this hardly distinguishes him from Clinton.

For now he has the benefit of the doubt, but not so much that he rates even lower on the Sleaze-o-meter.

3. John Edwards. Edwards dropped out of the race last Tuesday. Too bad for him — the biggest thing I had against him was his $400 haircut.

4. Mike Gravel. The lesser-known the candidate, the less scrutiny they face. Such is the case with longshot Gravel, a former Alaskan senator who held office during the Nixon years.

He stands out. Of course, he’s also a 77-year-old man who is outright crazy, by all appearances to the untrained eye.

I’m not sure where to rank this guy, but he speaks out against the Iraq War quite vociferously. That probably means he’s sane. Sanity, unfortunately, has nothing to do with sleaziness.

The pertinent question: Does anyone know how much Gravel paid for his haircut?

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