Monday, December 8, 2003

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Is this the ballgame?

The AP is reporting that Al Gore is going to endorse Howard Dean for President (link via Drudge):

Former Vice President Al Gore intends to endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination, a dramatic move that could cement Dean's position in the fight for the party's nod.

Gore, who lost to President Bush in the disputed 2000 election, has agreed to endorse Dean in Harlem in New York City on Tuesday and then travel with the former Vermont governor to Iowa, sight of the Jan. 19 caucuses which kickoff the nominating process, said a Democratic source close to Gore.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Dean will return from Iowa in time for Tuesday night's Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

Dean's campaign declined to comment.

Quick hits:

1) If there was ever a sign that the Democratic establishment now sees Dean's nomination as inevitable, this is it.

2) Not to be too cynical, but what is Gore getting out of this? I'm not saying that he's selling out his principles by endorsing Dean -- it's just that I don't see the upside of making an endorsement at this point in time unless there's a backscratch in there somewhere.

3) This exposes the faultline between Gore and the Clintons, who fear Dean because he has a money stream independent of the Democratic Party establishment (run by Clintonite Terry MacAuliffe, remember). Tapped's Nick Confessore links to a Washington Post story that explains the political cleavage emerging for 2004:

large number of influential Democrats, many of them former high-level advisers to President Bill Clinton and state leaders, are growing increasingly concerned that Dean's antiwar, anti-tax-cut campaign could doom the party's chances of winning back the White House and Congress. If Dean can't quickly exhibit an ability and willingness to broaden his appeal, especially in the South, these Democrats may join together in a campaign to stop him, several said.

Gore's endorsement would throw a significant monkey wrench into this Southern Strategy. [Wouldn't the Clintons be happy about this, since it increases the odds that Hillary will be able to run in 2008?--ed. Five years is a lifetime in politics -- and Dean's ascension means that the Clintons now have a formidable rival]

4) Just think of the language John Kerry's going to have to use now to gain anyone's attention. However, as Maureen points out, Joe Lieberman can't be too happy right now either.

5) If, against all odds, someone else were to win the nomination, Al Gore would become the official unlucky charm of Democrats everywhere.

More reaction from Josh Marshall ("stunned") and Atrios ("laughing"), Mark Kleiman ("I'm banking on them [50,000 Clark supporters] rather than Gore") and Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO's the Corner ("No word yet from McGovern, Mondale, or Dukakis") James Joyner collects additional blogosphere reactions. Time has a roundup of mediasphere reaction. Nothing on Dean's official blog -- or this one either.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has reactions from other campaigns. It's not pretty:

Gore's scheduled endorsement caught Dean's rivals by surprise. A number of the candidates sought Gore's support, but one Democrat close to Gore said Dean was particularly energetic in reaching out to Gore and his wife Tipper throughout the year. During the run-up to the war last winter, according to a knowledgeable Democrat, Dean spoke with Gore several times, largely to seek reassurance about his opposition to Bush's policy at a time when opposing the war appeared even more politically risky than it does today.

Dean's rivals said they were disappointed by the latest development. Lieberman issued a statement saying he was "proud to have been chosen by Al Gore in 2000" as his running mate and noted that he had stayed out of the 2004 race until Gore decided not to run. He added: "Ultimately, the voters will make the determination and I will continue to make my case about taking our party and nation forward."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement that he had endorsed Gore's candidacy early in the 2000 cycle. "But, this election is about the future, not about the past" and will be "decided by voters, across the country, beginning with voters in Iowa."

Erik Smith, press secretary to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), said, "We're clearly disappointed because Dick Gephardt fought side by side with Al Gore to pass the Clinton economic plan, pass the assault weapons ban and defend against Republican attacks against Medicare and affirmative action. On each of these issues Howard Dean was on the wrong side."

LAST UPDATE: Another reason for Kerry to use strong language -- from today's Chicago Tribune:

Several campaigns were unclear what to make of the news, including Kerry's aides, who accidentally fired off an e-mail to reporters, saying: "I don't think Kerry should comment unless asked at a press event." Minutes later, a fresh response arrived from the senator.

"I respect Al Gore," Kerry said in the statement, adding that he had endorsed Gore in 2000 and worked on his behalf. "But this election is about the future, not about the past."

TNR's &c. has the actual e-mail.

posted by Dan on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM


Also: must be rather a blow to Lieberman. I mean, he his running mate.

posted by: Maureen on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Hmm, does a presidential candidate have to ACCEPT an endorsement? Smart move by Dean would be to reject the support (tongue in cheek here).

I mean, Al Gore? Credibility maker? Gravitas provider?


posted by: SteveMG on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Dean would be a fool to reject the endorsement. He'll take some hits from those who aren't happy with Gore over what happened in 2004, but the surge in credibility and /perceived/ strength he'll get from it will far outweight those intangibles. This is a net gain for Dean if he plays it right.

And Dan, would you mind leaving off the use of the word "Clintonista"? It's a fairly offensive and none-too-apt term that really detracts from your writings--unless, of course, you're simply throwing rhetorical bread to the conservative masses, who seem to think that everything Democratic has something to do with the Clintons.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

It may appeal to wingers, but Ramesh Ponnuru's comment is particularly inapt and simply offensive. Al Gore did win a majority of the popular vote in 2000, after all. The other three didn't come close to that.

posted by: Ralph E. Luker on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]


I changed the terminology.

posted by: Dan Drezner on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Dean is far more like Bush than either Dems or Repubs would like to admit. Like Bush, he's trying to do this "aura of inevitability" type thing that steam-rollers intra-party opposition. This is just one more canny step of a smart political operator. Dean's also clever enough to swing hard to the middle after he get's the party base to vote him in for the nomination. There are more parallels between Bush and Dean as far as their operations go and their political dispositions relative to their party base than most people will admit or care to contemplate.

posted by: Oldman on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Given that Gore lost his home state of Tennessee despite his nation-wide plurality (a first for a major party candidate - think of this as Gore's No. 1 claim to fame as it cost him the election), and as a Bush-supporting Republican myself, I think this is a most wonderful Southern strategy for Dean.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Dan - Thanks.

Tom - I don't see how a Gore endorsement translates into a Southern strategy for Dean. Unlike Gore, who foolishly wrote off the South in 2000 (thereby contributing to the outcome of that election), Dean is making so such mistake. His campaign has a huge presence in Arizona, Florida, and other key states; Louisiana just elected a Democratic governor; Arkansas is easily in play; and Democratic mobilization in the abovementioned Florida is fevered for obvious reasons relating to the last election.

There's simply no comparison. Gore's endorsement does not tar Dean with the spectre of the former's ill-fated campaign if Dean doesn't fall into the same strategic traps.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

As for Gore's motivation, if he indeed sees Dean as inevitable, this may be an attempt to head off a bruising primary fight. The more inevitable Dean seems, the less likely the rest of the group to try to shoot him down with last ditch mudslinging. Just a hypothesis.

Now, for a real show, let's see a Clinton endorsement of Clark. That'd be something to watch.

Good for the dems in that maybe they can wrap it up early and focus on Bush. Bad in that Dean is far from the best candidate to make the anti-Bush case (and lord, what a case it is).

posted by: Jeff L on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

The only people who kept seeing and talking up an "imminent Hillary candidacy announcement" were conservative pundits and other professional Hillary haters.

posted by: SurelyYouJest on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Why do I get the odd feeling that Howard Dean actually thinks Arizona is a Southern state?

I think Dean can do OK in the South (by "OK", I mean "win at least one state other than Florida"), but that's probably going to require both a southern Veep candidate and a realization that he can't win Louisiana or Arkansas on the transplanted Yankee and black votes alone.

Luckily for him he has six months to come up with an explanation for his meandering commentary on the Confederate flag and patronizing attitude toward the conservative values shared by many southern Democrats.

Unluckily for him, that is going to be plastered all over the South--and beyond--by independent advocacy groups who can say the stuff Bush's campaign can't (for example, "how can Dean say he's 'the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their trucks' when he thinks gay people should be allowed to marry and would have let Saddam Hussein continue to rule I-raq?").

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

SYJ: uh, you're the first person to even mention the possibility of Hillary running in this thread. Way to refute something nobody even said, dude (or dudette).

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Neither WJC nor HRC will endorse Clark--Gore's endorsement of Dean pre-empted that; neither Bill nor Hillary will risk dividing the party in such a way. It would be foolish and disastrous, and could only work to help Bush in the long run.

There are unsubstantiated rumors that one of the Clintons will get in line behind Dean as a way of shoring up the party establishment behind one man, but I doubt it--the Clintons have repeatedly stated that they will not endorse a candidate for the primaries. And IMO, it would be better for them to stay out of it entirely, as Bill or Hillary getting involved with anyone's '04 campaign could only work to alienate disaffected conservatives who might otherwise fall in behind Dean.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Clearly Dean has a liability regarding the South, and an awareness of it - as his remark regarding the Confederate flag has evinced. His strategy will be to pick a southern running mate - either Edwards or Clark - who politically will bring something to him (trial lawyer lobby and South, or military credibility and South). The commentary around here including Dan's would be better if so many static model projections weren't used. Life like a chess game is dynamic. You must not only anticipate what someone will do given current circumstances, but what they do when circumstances change. Clearly, Dean will shift his strategy after he's consolidated his hold on the nomination - this may include reaching out to the Clinton money machine which he will need to go up against Bush in 2004. Internet or not, he's going to need every dollar he can get his hands on in order to go head to head with the money juggernaut of Bush fundraising. This is what he's laying the groundwork for in bypassing Federal funding. The reason why Dean is winning is simply because he's running a better political campaign operation dollar for dollar and voter for voter than any other candidate. This is even withstanding that he has a serious policy shortfall.

posted by: Oldman on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Oldman - You might be interested in Dean's "Restoring the American Community" speech, given just yesterday in South Carolina. That's another Southern state in which Dean's campaign has hot, and I think stands as a good bellwether of his Southern strategy.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Chris - No; I misinterpreted a comment Dan made on the main blog. I thought he was referring to HRC being pissed off because she can't run in '04, when it turns out he's assuming she's rooting for a Dean loss in '04 so she's in a good position to run in '08.

Anywhoo...oh, these are fun times. Gore endorsing the Doctor; Harkin mayben ext; and then The Big Dog will come around by the convention.

posted by: SurelyYouJuest on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

According to the FEC website, Gore only got 48.38% of the vote in 2000. That's not a majority, although it was better than Clinton managed in either 1992 or 1996.

Parsley Boy

posted by: Parsley Boy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Oops, my mistake. Clinton did get 49.24% of the vote in 1996.

Parsley Boy

posted by: Parsley Boy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Yes, Parsley, that's not a majority if you count Bush, Nader, the WWP, et al as one candidate.

posted by: chun the unavoidable on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

I have been saying for a long time that Howard Dean’s capture of the nomination is a foregone conclusion. Heck, I’ve been convinced for something like the last four months! Al Gore desires to get on the winner’s bandwagon before it pulls out of the station. Also, the former Vice President substantially blames Bill Clinton for his loss in 2000. This action solidifies the split between the two men. Joe Lieberman is far too conservative for the current Democrat Party. Lastly, so is the Bill Clinton of 1992!

“That's another Southern state in which Dean's campaign has hot, and I think stands as a good bellwether of his Southern strategy.”

There is no such thing as a viable Democrat Southern strategy. These electoral voters are firmly in Republican hands. Creating any so-called Democrat strategy is similar to my devising a strategy to humiliate Shaq O’Neal on the basketball court. In other words, it’s doomed to failure before the action even starts.

posted by: David Thomson on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

"I mean, Al Gore? Credibility maker? Gravitas provider?"

Popular vote winner?

Dean's the one. I'm starting to believe in that "the internet will transform politics" theory - what is politics going to look like when a Democratic candidate no longer has to spend his campaigns sucking up to business PACs? Can't say I think it'd be bad for democracy.

posted by: Jason McCullough on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]


Gore endorsement = kiss of death.

Additionally Dean's campaign is so white it squeaks. He's one of the weakest possible Democratic candidates in terms of the black vote, so he's got nothing in the South.

Worse, Dean needs a lot of black votes in the North just to keep pace with Gore in 2000, and I don't see that happening. As an example, James Carville described Pennsylvannia as "Philadelphia and Pittsburg with Alabama in between." I.e., it will go Republican unless there the black turnout in Philadelphia and Pittsburg is significant. Dean is in a hole right there.

I'm talking standard turn-out electoral politics here. Dean can get the Democratic nomination with the white liberal vote, but I don't see how he has a chance in the general election given electoral vote distribution, irrespective of war issues.

posted by: Tom Holsinger on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Quick primer:

Majority = 50% of the vote, plus one.
Plurality = the most votes of any candidate in the election. (A majority winner is, by definition, also a plurality winner. The converse is not necessarily true.)

No presidential candidate has received a majority since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Not that the nationwide popular vote matters. The only tallies that count are the statewide totals in every state and DC and the per-congressional district totals in Maine and Nebraska.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

posted by: Chris Lawrence on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

“Worse, Dean needs a lot of black votes in the North just to keep pace with Gore in 2000, and I don't see that happening. “

I have long predicted that Al Sharpton will run on a third party ticket. It would truly surprise me if I’m mistaken. I expect Sharpton to blast Howard Dean for his alleged insensitivity on race issues. This will be his convenient excuse.

The consensus is rapidly forming that President Bush is unlikely to lose in 2004. The resulting mindset guarantees an “every candidate for themselves” attitude.

posted by: David Thomson on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

“Dean's the one. I'm starting to believe in that "the internet will transform politics" theory - what is politics going to look like when a Democratic candidate no longer has to spend his campaigns sucking up to business PACs? Can't say I think it'd be bad for democracy.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. A democratic society works best when candidates must eagerly work for the support of all sectors of society. Not all cooperation between Democrat candidates and the capitalist class is mere “sucking up.” The odds are overwhelming that a growing gap between the Democrat Party and sensible economic policies will be the result. Like I’ve said a number of times before--the Brad DeLongs and James Fallows’ will probably have to do some real soul searching on election day. The New Democrats will no longer be welcomed.

It was strongly rumored months ago that Robert Rubin told Howard Dean that it would be hard to raise money on Wall Street for his campaign. Dean reportedly told Rubin that he could essentially care less. Once again, the Bill Clinton of 1992 could not capture the nomination this time around.

posted by: David Thomson on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]


Playing "make it-take it," any halfway talented 5'10 high schooler would beat O'Neal more than half the time in a one-on-one game. He can't put the ball on the floor against someone that small and keep it, and he can't stay in front of even a moderately quick person that size. If he stayed under the rim, he'd get drilled by open fifteen footers. Your analogy is thus flawed.

posted by: chun the unavoidable on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

“...and he can't stay in front of even a moderately quick person that size. If he stayed under the rim, he'd get drilled by open fifteen footers. Your analogy is thus flawed.”

You are so kind. Unfortunately , the analogy is not flawed. My basketball talent is far below that of a “halfway talented 5'10 high schooler.” Try to imagine grade school!

posted by: David Thomson on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

"Also: must be rather a blow to Lieberman. I mean, he his running mate."

Was in the previous mellenieum. First rule of Politics:

"If you want gratitude, buy a dog."

Why do I think that this is going to get weirder before it gets over?

posted by: Robert Schwartz on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]


You're too humble about your prowess on the court. Of course you're more like 6' 4" than 5' 10" as I recall.

So does Terry MacAuliffe get to keep his job post convention? Guess it depends on whether he can meet quota. Hero to Zero. Story of my life.

posted by: Red Auerbach on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Professor Drezner,

I think you have it with your 3rd point. As is said, knowledge will not always serve as well as simple observation. And the simple truth here is that this is Gore's opportunity to be a 'case against'. That is to say, aligning himself with a rival power-block for control of the party - much as we saw on the macro-scale with the Franco-Etas-Unie ruffling in the run-up to the war.

By all accounts, he was never very happy with Clan Arkansas. Unfortunate bit about cutting his friend Lieberman adrift. Something there about character and expediency, no doubt.

posted by: Arthur Wellesley on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Look forward to Catsy's continued support of replacing handy, short-hand descriptives of like-minded political groups that she deems offensive with more sterile fare.

Though she'll probably be too busy over at buzz-flash to do much constabulary work here. Perhaps some deputization will be necessary...

posted by: TommyG on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Tommy - Way to misrepresent my position. I give you a 6 for imagination, but a 3 for sarcasm usage and a 1 for factual basis.

I don't go around calling GOP members "Rethuglicans", and despite my loathing of the man's policies I don't call Bush "Shrub", "The Smirking Chimp", or any of the popular slurs. Things like that simply have no place in civil political discourse, and detract from the credibility of the message behind them--and while Mr. Drezner is free to say what he wishes in his own space, I commend him for recognizing that. His writings usually have the integrity to be above that sort of thing, which is why I and many other liberals look to him for news and analysis from the conservative side of the aisle.

You might want to take a page from his book.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Gore's decision not to call Lieberman personally before his endorsement of Dean says volumes about Gore. This is indicative of a lack of character and judgment, and might explain why he wasn't able to win his own home state in 2000. Most reasonable people realize that Bush is probably going to be returned to office in 2004. I think Gore is hoping to lay claim to Deans leftovers going into 2008. Given his history as politically tone-deaf, I doubt he will pull it off. In addition, Gore has burnt as many bridges as he has built with the way he handled this endorsement.

posted by: DBrooks on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

(Bangs head against wall) Moderation is dead. (bang, bang, bang) I remember when Gore was a "New Democrat." (bang, bang, bang) The polarization of the parties is driving me insane. (bang, bang, bang) Is there nowhere for us centrists to go? (bang, bang, ouch this hurts)

You know, I just don't care, I switched parties to vote for Lieberman, and I'm still voting for Lieberman even though he has no shot, and I'm going to go to the polls on election day and write in John McCain because I refuse to choose between a bankrupt, dishonest fiscal policy and a bankrupt, moral relativist foreign policy.

posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Aaron, I share your frustration.

As for Gore's endorsement being a kiss of death. Well, not for Dean, but certainly for the other candidates. All it demonstrates is that the other candidates (except maybe Clark) are toast. The only real way for Clark to pull ahead will be for B. Clinton to come out swinging for him. I think we have a real intra-party fight brewing here, though. A populist New Yorker (from Park Avenue) versus the Machine politics of the Clinton/McCauliff faction. Frankly, I still can't understand why McCauliff kept his job after 2002.

I don't think Dean will win next year, but I think it's cool that he found a way to undercut the basis of the Clinton's power in the Dem. party: his fund-raising prowess. Dean simply went out and found new sources. I wonder if those sources will hold-up for the task needed in the next several months.

posted by: Scott on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

To: His Grace Arthur Wellsley, Duke of Wellington

My Lord Duke:

"his friend Lieberman"

What, if anything, made you think that those two were friends?

Politicians, like soverign princes, have no permanent friends, they have only permanent self-interest.

posted by: Robert Schwartz on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Aaron, I would urge you to keep an open mind as to whether voting for a Dem other than Lieberman means accepting a "bankrupt, moral relativist foreign policy."

For one, though Dean is clearly ahead, Clark's still alive; I've read, e.g., that he will report raising more than Dean in Q4. Say what you want about Clark's foreign policy views, they are clearly not those of a moral relativist.

And should Dean win, listen to what he says and who he would have as an advisor. His supporters, without question, are often annoyingly self-righteous and some are pacifist to a fault (actually, beyond a fault). But most Dean supporters are not. And I very much doubt the candidate is, either. I have no doubt that Dean would use force to protect American interests; only that he did not think that invading Iraq served those interests.

posted by: TedL on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Dear Catsy,

Congratulations to you for your recommendation of high-minded civil discourse. While the old man has been known to rail at opponents sometimes, he does so after establishing their logical fallacy first.

Taking away the south from the Republicans is not only possible, but a party switch happened within the last few generations and it can happen again. It won't happen overnight, but saying it's impossible is the result of overheated cariacture driven absolutist thinking and not the mark of insightful analysis.

Dean's collaboration with Gore is good for him on two fronts. It allows him to establish credibility with the mainstream to centrist Democratic factions, while also boosting his outreach to minorities whom always favored the Clintonian regime.

Let us remember basic electoral mathematics here. Last time around Gore won the popular vote. All Dean has to do is pull hard a strong minority turn-out in key southern states and he can possibly tip a few key ones his way. It won't be an overwhelming victory, but the electoral votes of the South such as Florida - anyone remember the tedious recount last time around ? - are significantly more in play than Republican commentators would like to admit.

posted by: Oldman on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Well said, Mr. Schwartz. Momentary laps of reason...Where have you been?

Have you read the new girl, Miss Catsy, yet? No misnomer she.

posted by: Art Wellesley on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Does anyone else think the chances for a reprise of the unfortunate 2000 situation in which the Democratic candidate won the popular vote but lost the electoral college pretty good?

The foundation of Gore's popular vote lead was the large majorities he ran up in California, New York, and Illinois, plus New England. All of these states appear likely to support the eventual Democratic nominee strongly next year, if only because Bush is so unpopular with so many key constituencies in each. Bush by contrast has a fair shot at reversing his narrow 2000 losses in states like Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Iowa, and the states he won last time will gain electoral votes for the coming election. But Bush's margins in heavily Republican states may not be what they were three years ago. No Democratic candidate offers quite the incentive for Republicans to get to the polls that the prospect of ending the Clinton/Gore era did.

I'd be both amazed and dismayed if we returned to recounting the votes in any individual states to decide the outcome, but an election won clearly by one side in the popular vote and by the other in the electoral college is a strong possibility. The consequences for American democracy of this happening twice in a row would be unfortunate.

posted by: Zathras on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

It's worth noting that the person behind the Catsy moniker is male--though it's an understandable mistake.

Zathras brings up some good points. I'd hate to see a reprise of 2000, but while I think the chances of different outcomes in the electoral and popular tallies are good for all the above reasons, I don't think it's likely that we'll see a reprise of the court battle. People on both sides of the aisle are going to be watching this one with infrared goggles and a sniper scope. There's simply no way, for instance, that things like the purging of legitimate voters as felons and roadblocks in minority districts will happen again, with the scrutiny that'll be leveled on this election.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Mr Zathras,

I'm not sure that the Union could survive another electoral college technical vicotry, especially if the voting was disputed as could happen in these rather queasy electronic voting schemes. Whoever won might be seen as illegitimate. It could conceivably lead to all sorts of fifth column conspiracies and possibly civil war - stoked precisely by the wedge social issues my fellow Republicans have been using to divorce voters from voting with their economic interests which generally lay with Democratic style policies for the majority of voters. This on top of the yawning abyss of potential military conflict with the emergent super-power of China over Taiwan and Korea, and the continued economic disenfranchisement and attendant economic unrest of most average Americans (cf nice article in on teachers being priced out of home buying markets).

posted by: Oldman on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Mr. Catsy,

It should be noted that the poster known as Wellesley is particularly known for whining, prejudiced, prima donna style cattiness that has little to do with insightful commentary and more to do with prideful pique in the face of all contrary evidence. Demolishing Arthur would be a simple peice of work, hardly more difficult than showing up the obvious irrationality of Thomson. It goes without saying however that the scorn of such fools are the laurels of the wise.

This is something that those who would do ad hominem ought to remember, whatever you can do the oldman can do better including fight dirty. So keep it clean, or you'll learn the true meaning of what it means to receive an outrage.
;-) The oldman prefers to fight clean, but he prefers winning more.

posted by: Oldman on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

I think NM is less in play than some people think. It was a very narrow victory in 2000 for Bush, yes; but that is because NM has a very significant Green Party presence. _Especially_ if Nader doesn't run, or doesn't run as the Green Party candidate, a lot of those votes will swing to the Dems.

posted by: Brian Palmer on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Oldman - I prefer my barrel-bred fish to at least have a sporting chance.

That said, I wrote and deleted several times a reference to possible civil war in my last post, precisely because it's the kind of rhetoric I want to avoid in the highly-charged atmosphere politics have these days. Dave Neiwert has been doing a really amazing job of cataloguing the disturbingly rapid increase in eliminationist rhetoric over the last few years, and I really don't want to contribute to GOP delusions about liberal conspiracies by playing into them with talk of revolution.

That said, if we have another court decision in 2004 on a level of ignominy equivalent to Bush v. Gore, I fear that civil war is the worst-case scenario of what we will have. In 2000 and 2001, no less than a fifth of all Americans polled felt that George Bush's presidency was illegitimate, and legal scholars from across the political spectrum have denounced Bush v. Gore as one of the most stunningly flawed rulings in SC history. Let's say that the election is again close (very likely), and that it comes down to a few swing states (likely), and that irregularities in voting once again make a recount necessary (possible).

How long after a reprise in the form of, say, Bush v. Dean do you think it would be before that one fifth of America who feel Bush is illegitimate take to the streets in protest? We had all of us better hope that the GOP plays on the level in this election, or else we could be looking at civil unrest the likes of which has not been seen for over thirty years.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Brian - This is purely speculation at this point, so please treat it as such, but New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has been mentioned in a variety of circles as a likely VP candidate for Dean if he takes the nomination.

I realize that much of the CW revolves around Clark emerging as the anti-Dean and the two of them joining forces as a ticket, but I don't buy it for a lot of reasons. Richardson is a good match for Dean on a variety of ideological and policy levels, and his UN Ambassadorship gives Dean foreign policy creds without overshadowing him as a Dean/Clark ticket could. It also powerfully bolsters the Latino vote.

I mention this not because at this point it's a move I'd put money on, but because Richardson is a popular man in his home state, and his presence on the Dean ticket would likely translate to a much stronger presence in (at the very least) New Mexico and Arizona.

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Hah! Oldman, you're just pissed because you thought catsy was a chick.

Congrats on the first 'AH' post in awhile. Usually it's the new people trotting out that tired old bat.

Oh, well - Glad to see your still around. What do you think of ol Al's performance on the evening news? Cheer up, I'm sure your as pissed about that performance as I am about my man's having to take it UTA from the Chicoms. Now that was truly grotesque.

posted by: TammyG on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Here's an intriguing thought, what happens if Lieberman is piqued enough that after the primary he refuses to endorse Dean? Assuming the war is still on the front burner (which it will be with the economy roaring), Lieberman could be tempted to endorse Bush as being the only responsible candidate on defense. This would cause a nuclear meltdown in the democratic party, as dems struggling in their congressional races have to decide whether to tether themselves to a sinking Dean or cross over to a Bush with coattails. The Jewish vote would be in play.
Outside chance certainly, but a total disaster for the long term future of the DNC.

posted by: Mark Buehner on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

Mr. Catsy--

Perhaps I'm missing context, but there are such people as Clintonistas. I tend to think of Messrs. Carville and McAuliffe as Clintonistas: People the Clintons installed in the DNC and other entities, or who had their profile raised by the Clintons. I don't personally use it as a term of derision -- it identifies a faction. You weren't talking to me, of course, but I think of it the way I think of "Bushies" or "McCainiacs." If I encountered it in Prof. Drezner's writing or elsewhere, I wouldn't think of it as a jab. Just my $0.02.

posted by: DrSteve on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

More on Gore and Dean here

posted by: Dan Drezner on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

DrSteve - You won't find anyone who's fond of the Clintons using the term. I'm not fond of them, but I'm also getting very tired of 1) the near-pathological hatred that so many on the right have for the Clintons, and 2) the increasingly polarized and vitriolic state of politics in America.

I really hate to delve into technicalities, because I feel like this should be fairly obvious, but think about the linguistic origins of the term "Clintonista". It's a direct play on the term "Sandinista", in reference to the Ortega government in Nicaragua that caused so much trouble in the 80s. To anyone familiar with this era of politics, it carries a number of none-too-subtle implications about the former President of the United States and those with connections to him.

A person may agree or disagree with those implications and what they say about the Clintons, but to deny that the term is intentionally derogatory is like denying that the habit of appending the "-gate" suffix to any potential scandal in DC is a reference to Watergate and an attempt to yell "Hey look! A scandal!"

posted by: Catsy on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

I suppose I get the point about the -ista suffix, although I remember the Sandinistas getting a lot of love from a lot of the Hollywood and DC Left for a good part of the 80s and some of the 90s as well. Shouldn't it be a point of pride?

And weren't there also Perotistas at one point? In any event, I'll try to study the usage more closely in the future.

posted by: DrSteve on 12.08.03 at 05:39 PM [permalink]

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