There’s a signpost up ahead…

You almost have to feel sorry for the Democrats.

Over at 1600 Penn, George W. Bush is doing everything in his power to blow re-election in 2004. but the party of the jackass just can’t seem to muster a real candidate capable of taking advantage of Dubya’s gift.

A recent survey of Democratic voters in this country shows most can’t name even one of the many candidates seeking the top job. Not one. Nada. Zip.

And why should they? The current crop of Democratic candidates for President reads like a catalog of has-been, once-was and never-will-be.

According to polls, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean leads this cast of unknowns. Howard who? Exactly. Most people can’t find Vermont on the map, much less tell you who served as governor.

Dean is an unabashed liberal whose sole claim to fame while in office was the legalization of civil unions, which made it legal for gays to marry in Vermont.

While that platform might get him elected mayor of San Francisco (and invited to a lot of Hollywood parties), it ain’t the kind of populist position that carries one to the White House. Dean also opposed the war in Iraq when other Democrats either supported it reluctantly or avoided the issue altogether.

Next we have Senator Joe Lieberman, the same Joe Lieberman who ran for vice president in 2000 with Al whats-his-name, Bill Clinton’s vice president.

Lieberman casts himself as an moderate. He supported the Iraq war and thinks he is middle-of-the-road enough to attract the large cadre of independent voters that can swing an election. But he trails in both the polls and fundraising, never a good sign.

On paper, Senator Bob Kerry should be a shoo-in. Decorated Vietnam War veteran, good speaker, solid campaigner. But while Kerry clicks with the voters in his home state of Massachusetts, he has not been able to translate that appeal elsewhere. His fundraising lags and his campaign organization is split by internal dissent.

Some polls in St. Louis suggest Congressman Richard Gephardt might have trouble getting re-elected to his House seat but here he is running for President — again — and slated for an early withdrawal from the race — again.

Two Southern Senators — Bob Graham of Florida and John Edwards of North Carolina — round out the second tier. Graham is a nice-enough guy, and knowledgable on terrorism issues but lacks the organization to mount a serious national campaign. Edwards is a trial lawyer for Christ’s sake. A trial lawyer in the White House? God help us.

Finally, rounding out the bottom are Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a loose cannon who was nicknamed “Dennis the Menace” while mayor of Cleveland; the Rev. Al Sharpton, a jive-talking civil rights leader whose best talent is running up unpaid bills, and former Illinois Senator Carol Mosely Braun, a big joke while in the Senate and a bigger joke on the Presidential campaign trail.

That’s the current gang of nine. No wonder most Democrats couldn’t name them. Who would want to?

But wait. Two others lurk in the wings.

Gen. Wesley Clark, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, is “exploring” the possibility of running. Some polls say he would be an instant front runner if he decided to take the plunge. A military man running as a Democrat? Now that would confuse the voters.

And, of course, there’s Hillary. Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior Senator from New York, the woman who got elected to office even after claiming she actually trusted her husband and was shocked to learn he was doing the nasty with a White House intern. She swears she won’t run but then she also swore she believed her husband.

So Campaign 2004 is shaping up to be a choice of “who do we distrust the least to lead our country for the next four years.”

Do we stick the crook we know or elect a new, improved, and probably worse, crook?

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah thinks he has the answer. Hatch wants to change the constitution so remove the requirement that says a U.S. President has to be American-born.

No, Hatch is not driven by any overwhelming sense of civic pride or history. He just wants to make it possible for a friend of his to run for President, a friend who contributed to his past campaigns, including an aborted run for President.

A friend named Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. There’s a signpost up ahead. Your next stop, The Twilight Zone!

With apologies to Rod Serling, we passed the signpost long ago and established residency.