Tuesday, January 27, 2004
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New Hampshire thread
Talk amongst yourselves, however. I'll open with the following: did Dean and Clark do well enough to have a viable chance of winning the nomination?posted by Dan on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM
Probably not (Dean) and definitely not (Clark). In fact, Clark should get out now. That might make Dean more viable and keep this blood bath going.posted by: Erick-Woods Erickson on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
---Howard Dean will be the Democrat nominee. John Kerry is still a French speaking “elite university” snob. Also, according to Mickey Kaus and others, the Massachusetts Senator is something of a snake in the grass. His alleged character deficiencies will become more obvious over time. The biggest winner this evening was, of course, President George W. Bush.
---My prediction concerning John “Dorian Grey?” Edwards was right on target. He’s finished and will spend the rest of his time campaigning for Vice President. I was simply stunned that so many people took him seriously. Could it be that Edwards was the Rorschach test candidate?
---General Clark might wish to punch Michael Moore in the mouth. The latter gentleman destroyed Clark’s last remaining chance.
---Senator Joseph Lieberman will soon suffer a long, hard, night of the soul. He is morally obligated to support President Bush.
---Hey, remember Al Sharpton? He will get a boost in the South sufficient enough to cause mammoth problems for the Democrats. The odds are increasing that he will run on a third party ticket.
What about Dennis Kucinich? Who in hell is he?posted by: David Thomson on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
The length of the blood bath is primarily a function of the remaining cash. Dean has plenty, so he'll be hanging around for a while. Ditto Kerry and Edwards. The question is how much money Bill wants to raise for the general he fired.posted by: Mr. Davis on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
The lesson Democrats absorbed from Iowa is that going negative is bad. The lesson they should have learned is that going negative is bad in Iowa. Kerry is on a glide path to the nomination unless someone knocks him off it, and that means someone has to go negative, with all the risks that involves.
There is a lot of material to work with, but as the differences among the candidates on issues are smaller than usual going negative will involve hitting harder on personal issues -- trust, background, credibility. This race will either get nasty very soon, or it will be over very soon.posted by: Zathras on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Sure. Dean finished second. How's that going to knock him out of the race? And Clark edged into third. Clark's a long shot anyway, but not really any longer than he was before today. The key thing is, neither Dean or Clark did poorly enough to be branded a hopeless cause, so voters next Tuesday shouldn't be scared off. You've got to figure that either Clark or (more likely) Edwards is going to do well next Tuesday in SC, MO, OK, AZ, and so forth.
Liebarman looks done, though.posted by: a random person on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
The existentially challenged Roger L. Simon says it best:
"It's bad because a two-man race of this sort will push the Democratic Party to the left, particularly on the war. With Dean surging like this, and pushing on Kerry, the contest will become about which candidate more despises the War in Iraq. Intelligent discussion of the most important subject of our day will be minimized. Nuances on the subject will disappear."
The Democrats have little chance of winning if they cannot earn the eager support of a Mr. Simon. End of story. I really don’t need to add much else.posted by: David Thomson on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I think Clark gone, pumping for a couple of months in NH and then getting short of even a lousy 15% doesn't speak well for his prospects.
Dean, has the money and the organization to stick it out for a while. Whether that will be enough is up for grabs.
Edwards is one smart cookie. He will probably take SC and then angle for a VP slot, which the craggy, top heavy-haired John Kerry (The French looking Senator who by the way served in Viet Nam - Thanks Taranto for the chance to repeat that) is only ahead until the media start to take an honest look at his VVAW activities and that will torpedoe his chances.
Or so it seems to me.posted by: gmroper on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I mentioned this night before last, and apparently Hobbs did as well;
No Democrat in recent history has finished lower than second in NH, and won the general election.
So, it'll be Dean and Kerry one way or the other as the nominees. Everyone else is rotting meat.
posted by: Bithead on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Dean has the money to continue and the Clintons will keep Clark in the race for the forseeable future. Dean has to win something next week to remain significant. Edwards has to win South Carolina and run strong elsewhere to be viable. Lieberman and Kucinich are history.posted by: bob on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I think that after tonight, only Dean and Kerry are viable. If one looks at the delegate counts, Dean and Kerry are way ahead with ~110 and ~95 respectively. Edwards has ~36 delegates, and didn't pick up any tonight. Edwards would have to do crushingly well not only in SC but in several other states as well to make up the difference.
If Dean doesn't pick up soon and do something to close the "electability" gap, he's toast. If Dean doesn't start winning states by next Tuesday, however, expect the Democrats to close ranks around Kerry.
Which brings us to George W. Bush. Andrew Sullivan has a good point that the Democratic base is highly energized to beat Bush, while Bush has done almost everything possible to de-energize his base in the process of trying to bribe^H^H^H^H^Hreach out to various groups that will never vote for him. I'd say at this point, Bush Jr. has an even-odds chance of going the way his father did, for pretty much the same reasons.posted by: Tom Ault on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
As I said in my previous prediction that came just after the Iowa Caucuses, Dean would finish first or second with Kerry the horse to beat, and Edwards would start stalling on organization and money issues (in addition to the fact that being the favorite second choice is worthless when people can vote for their first choice). Looked good then, looks really great now as a prediction.
Despite Kerry's large percentage win, as Ault noted he's not that far ahead in delegate count. Tonight for instance, Kerry only picked up four more delegates than Dean - 13 vs 9 out of 22.
The Oldman's Predictions?
Too bad Dean isn't smart enough to hire the oldman, ;-), he could get this thing wrapped up then.posted by: Oldman on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Edwards will win SC, but will put all his resources into it. Clark has a fairly safe lead in Oklahoma, and can spread it around to other states. It's not inconceivable that Clark could be next week's big come-from-behind story.posted by: Brian Ulrich on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
The posted comments seem uniformly harsh on Kerry, who just achieved 38% and 39% of the vote in consecutive 4 and 5 man races. Dean is viable only because he has money and a temperament that will not allow him to drop out until it is finally clear to him he has no chance. When this will be is up for debate, but I think the writing on the wall may be clear to everybody except Dean as early as next week.
I would not be surprised if Dean does not win any states on Feb. 3. Clark and Edwards are in the process of making themselves irrelevant in their bid to be the 'southern' candidate. By the time one of them breaks away from the other, Kerry will have enough momentum to be unstoppable.posted by: Craig on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Please don't misunderstand, the oldman respects and admires John Kerry as a person, a veteran, and for his long service to this country. However, even John Kerry has shot himself in the foot by saying he didn't need the south to become President and to the charge of being a liberal, that if that is the worst anyone can say about him then "Bring it on!" which is his new mantra.
He may in fact win the nomination, it's just that it's not a done deal yet though Kerry has the edge. I don't expect Dean to win a single Feb 3.rd State either, the challenge is more likely to be from Edwards and Clark who may combine to deny a significant number of delegates to Kerry. This combined with continued second string showings by Dean in the States where Kerry will perform, will drain delegates that might have gone to Kerry.
What we're looking at here is an "electoral college" delegate marathon. It's not just the popular vote ratio, but the delegates received. For instance Lieberman got 9% of the votes in NH, but he didn't get 9% of the delegates. In fact, only Kerry and Dean got any.
This means that "momentum" while important won't be the only deciding factor. Kerry has the momentum now, but he's got to keep it up on a brutal schedule - one that could foot fault or technical foul the best frontrunner ever born. So it's not over yet. Besides, the fat lady hasn't sung yet. That's what I want to know - can the Dem's get Aretha Franklin for this year's national convention? ;-)posted by: Oldman on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Me? Lifelong resident of MA. Been voting since 1975. Have had to pay attention to John Kerry for all of my adult life. He has no ideas. He has no passion other than ambition. He has no firmly held beliefs. He is a colossal bore.
Dean, on the other hand, is everything John Kerry isn't. He has a vision for the country, love it or hate it, that is firmly held and for which he has a tremendous passion. He goes over the top some times but, so what? That's what passion does.
Unless GWB continues to screw the pooch on the deomestic agenda, and therefore escalates the alienation of his base and the moderates (who he will need on his side to win), he will win a second term.
But the U.S. will have the opportunity to be a much better place if Dean and Bush are battling for the White House than if it is Kerry and Dean. We will have had the debate, cast our votes, and decided to move forward by choosing someone as President who actually has a vision for the country.
Full disclosure: when voting I've never, ever checked the box next to a Democrats name.posted by: steve on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I'm still not sold on Kerry winning the nomination. I find it hard to believe his phony populism and aloof, droning style has much mass appeal. I doubt his support is very deep and voters could easily shift back to Dean, or possibly even Edwards. The one thing that may keep Kerry on top is the fact that all of the other candidates have major flaws as well.posted by: Randal Robinson on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
After thinking about this some more, 've come to the conclusion I was a bit offbase.
Kerry won't want Dean anywhere near his campaign; he's too downright loopy, even for Kerry. And Dean has demonstrated in both word and deed he is not a team player.
(Point to ponder: someone too loopy for Kerry!)
My take at the moment is for a Kerry/Edwards run. Kerry's too strong for Dean, and Edwards will be needed for the "Southern Strategy for any winning campaign, particulalry if Edwards does well in the southern state primaries, such as next week's.posted by: Bithead on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I look at this and am puzzled on how anyone but Kerry gets the nomination. To do well under the brutal schedule that's been established, you have to have momentum, media exposure, and money.
Edwards did not do well enough in New Hampshire to have momentum. That will probably cost him media exposure. Since Edwards is pretty rich, he probably could self-fund his campaign. I don't think the expected win in South Carolina (without another win or close finish in Missouri next week) gets his campaign moving enough to reverse New Hampshire. Too bad.
Clark also did not do well enough to have momentum. He might pull a surprise somewhere, though. He's got name recognition and money. Problem is, the minute the General surfaces, he'll say something stupid and the media will dutifully report it. The idea of Gen Clark, and most of his policy positions, is really fairly good. The reality -- alas -- is something that looks a lot like Captain Queeg. Again, too bad.
Dean now looks like a loser. (Sorry, Oldman. Your guy deserves better, even if I don't think I could bring myself to vote for him) The only way he stops looking like one is actually winning a state next week that isn't New Mexico. And none of those states looks friendly. Dean's got money to keep on going -- but I think the CW has solidified too hard for the guy to even be given a chance. That's too bad as well.
So Kerry wins. Kinda by default. Which is the only way a guy like Kerry is ever going to win. Guess I'll go prowl his campaign's website before I utter my proposed verdict of "Bletch."
posted by: appalled moderate on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
There is something deepy wrong with a campaign where the central issue is who is "electable."
Sure, electability should be part of the calculus, but truly "electability" is the battle call of those who are interested only in power, and have no principles to speak of. Apparently, for the Dems this time around its all about getting your mitts on the levers of power, and not so much about what you will, or should, do with them.
Running on "electability" strikes me as a con - I don't trust my ideas or character to carry the day, so I will run as the person most likely to win the horse race. Blecch.posted by: R. C. Dean on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Could someone clarify for me what advantage the Clinton's have in supporting/electing Wesley Clark? (that seems to be the CW). I am assuming that HRC will run in 2008; assuming Clark were to win the nomination and the election (I realize that chance approaches zero as a limit) why in the world would he step aside for HRC in 2008? If the argument is that promoting Clark keeps the Clinton's hands in the DNC, I can buy it--otherwise, doesnt seem like a reasonable strategy to me. Can anyone elucidate? Thanksposted by: RogerA on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
The key things to keep in mind are:
Consequently, the Clintons backed Clark to stop Dean from taking over the DNC. Now that Dean has shown himself to be a weaker candidate and Kerry a stronger candidate than 2003's conventional wisdom believed, I think the Clintons don't really care about Clark all that much. Instead, they are probably to use what influence they have to try to insure that whomever comes out of the nominating process is weakened enough that they lose to Bush in the Fall.
To tell the truth, I don't think the Clintons have as much influence as the "conventional wisdom" says they do. So much of who the Democratic nominee is and how he fares in the Fall is out of their control. They might be able to push things one way or another in a brokered convention, but their influence on the final result in November will be pretty small.posted by: Tom Ault on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
R. C. Dean wrote:
There is something deepy wrong with a campaign where the central issue is who is "electable."
I wholeheartedly agree. I would also add though that when a candidate is sold to primary voters for his or her “electability” it is a tacit pitch to the voters who are primarily motivated by their desire to oppose the candidate in the other party. While “I am the only candidate who can beat George Bush!” may play well in the primary but it will have little benefit in the general election where hating the incumbent is not seen as so virtuous.
To tell the truth, I don't think the Clintons have as much influence as the "conventional wisdom" says they do. So much of who the Democratic nominee is and how he fares in the Fall is out of their control. They might be able to push things one way or another in a brokered convention, but their influence on the final result in November will be pretty small.
I agree with Tom, does it strike anyone else as odd that we are still talking about the Clintons as if they mattered? IMNHO, you start to loose a proper sense of perspective about politics when what you do not like about the other side or like about your own side is embroiled in a particular personality.
Politics is or ought to be about issues, policies, and the particular world view, philosophy, principles, or yes ideology upon which you base the sort of society in which you wish to live. The whole business of candidates, campaigns, and elections is just a means towards those ends and not an end onto themselves.
posted by: Thorley Winston on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Clark is done. Kerry's success in Iowa caused him to usurp Clark as being the tough-on-terroristm Democrat. Clark gambled by skipping Iowa - and lost.posted by: Zach on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Tom Ault: Thanks for you analysis! I appreciate it, and found it persuasive.
Dear appalled moderate,
You don't haveta be sorry, I think what is happening now is better than what woulda happened if Dean had won Iowa. People are starting to examine what they truly think and believe about the candidates. A Dean who woulda swept Iowa and NH woulda had no chance at all against Bush in November. Some say he never had a chance at all, but then again just a month ago allot of people were saying (not me among them for the record) that Kerry shoulda dropped out. Nine days before the Iowa Caucus I could already tell there was softness on the ground and in the media for Dean support.
In the same way, I'm predicting now that even if he doesn't win a single Feb 3rd state as long as he trails in a decent second picking up delegates, then he can still come back. Whether or not he should is a question people can debate and I'll respect their positions. But as long as Clark and/or Edwards do sufficiently well to prevent Kerry from pulling too far ahead, then Dean can still stay in the race though he'll be clearly behind. And that's a fact. Here's the Deanster saying it himself to law-makers according to MSNBC while they argue about the very same issue:
"In the call with lawmakers, Dean expressed his determination to remain in the race, and said he hopes to finish at least second in the upcoming round of primaries and caucuses.
At the same time, several lawmakers bluntly told the former Vermont governor that he needed to demonstrate his ability to win in states — and that second place wouldn’t suffice..."
So don't be sorry. What worries me more is that Dean has replaced Trippi (deservedly, nice guy but not a winner) with a guy from Gore's campaign. That could be the kiss of death. That scares me as a Dean supporter more than him not winning any Feb 3rd State. Gore's campaign in 2000 was utterly botched. This has freaking red flags all over it.
But expect Dean to fight on, and the fight isn't over yet no matter who says it is. :-)posted by: Oldman on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Howard Dean merely needs to hold on until the convention. He would be foolish to drop out of the race until that time. Ultimately, the trustworthiness of the candidates will decide the contest . John Kerry is a snake in the grass. Andrew Sullivan highlighted Noam Scheiber’s piece in TNR which posted the following letters Senator Kerry wrote to his constituents:
“Turns out I was giving Kerry too much credit. Rather than take a side--albeit the one he thought was most expedient--Kerry actually stood on both sides of the first Gulf war, much like he did this time around. Consider this "Notebook" item from TNR's March 25, 1991 issue, which ran under the headline "Same Senator, Same Constituent":
"Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war."
"Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf."
Needless to add, I want President George W. Bush to win. Neither Kerry nor Dean will be able to beat him. President Bush can only beat himself.posted by: David Thomson on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Well for the record Dave, you and me agree on this one. Wonder of wonders. Kerry does have the current advantage, but his advantage isn't as great as the media would have us believe - just as his former disadvantage was clearly not as great as it was held out to be or how Dean's imminent demise was greatly exaggerated after his "Yeargh!" moment.
The race is far from sown up, and it's amazing how many people want an "instant candidate" without going through the full democratic process. Only two states have weighed in so far. Maybe we ought to wait for at least a few more of the 50 total to chime in before we come to a conclusion about who "must" win!!!
The greatest danger is that Dean won't be able to make the distance. He overspent (for TERRIBLE ads) in Iowa and got not much better ads in NH. Trippi was a nice guy, great rally organizer, but hardly a campaign organizer. I do worry about this Neel guy from Gore. He seems okay, but let's face it Gore's campaign stunk. If the new guy just focuses on org it might be okay. Dean still needs better advisers [like the oldman for instance ;-)].
Ironically it's possible strategetically for Dean to not take a single state on Feb 3rd and still win the Democratic candidacy, but he may "have to" win at least one or two just to keep people believing in him. As long as he's got money and the core support of his die-hards, then he can make this into a long distance delegate marathon race. Especially if Edwards and Clark start knocking some of the wind out of Kerry's sails.posted by: Oldman on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
Well, my predictions were:
Kerry 40 (39)
Not bad overall.
I hope that Lieberman stays in the race because I think he will do better in the South. I think he will do surprisingly well in Oklahoma, beating Dean, Clark, and Kerry, but not Edwards.
Also, I think Clark continues to fade. He's a bigger nutcase than even Al Sharpton. Clark might pull it off in Arkansas, but I think an Edwards, Kerry, Clark, Sharpton, Leiberman, Dean order in Arkansas is possible.
Sharpton will get only about 20-30% of the Black vote, because most Black voters, especially southern black voters, are smart enough to realize he doesn't represent them at all. This means South Carolina tops out at about 15% of the vote for Sharpton.
Kucinich is Ralph Nader in disguise. The longer he stays in the race, the lower the likelihood that Nader runs again. So his candidacy is a net positive for the Dems.
Now to the real contenders. Edwards needs to convert his southern charm into votes in the south. I think he will.
Dean is going to ignore the South, and concentrate on the West. I think this is a good strategy for him. Dean is right to ignore Trippi's advice to ignore Feb 3rd and Focus on Michigan Feb 7th.
Kerry is going to consolidate his eastern stranglehold and otherwise do well everywhere because of his perceived frontrunner position.
Top Three finishers in next weeks primaries:
Arizona: Dean, Kerry, Edwards.
Michigan: Edwards, Dean, Kerry (I think this will be a virtual tie between the top three candidates.)
To me, anointing Kerry is way too early. I think Kerry takes the Northeast, Edwards takes the South, and Dean takes the Westcoast, and much of the upper Plains states. This leaves the Midwest as the key battleground.
Key states of PA, WI, MI, OH, IN, IL, MO, and MN will decide this contest, along with NY.
Whoever takes Wisconsin on February 17th is the eventual winner.
Michigan would be more important, but I think the 3-2-2 score on Feb 3rd will confuse voters in Michigan who have only 4 days to interpret Feb 3rd results. Edwards "Two Americas will resonate well in urban Detroit, along with his large share of the Black vote in the South. But he won't have enough time (or money) to convert it into a convincing win in Michigan. Gun Control is THE big issue in Michigan, not jobs and this might hurt Kerry. But his win in Missouri will be touted up by the press, as will Dean's win in Arizona.
Dean's will be further weakened after Feb 3rd in the delegate count, but his big landslide in Washington on Saturday will firm up his West Coast support making it highly probable that he snags the big prize of California.
I see a three way split on Super Tuesday with Dean getting California and Minnesota, Kerry taking Massachusetts and New York, and Edwards taking Texas and Georgia. So Ohio is the deciding factor, and Ohio favors Edwards culturally.
The press, instead of enjoying the race, is going to continue to try to call it early. I think Gephardt might re-emerge as the power broker at the Convention. Neither Kerry or Dean is going to be willing to budge, so the most electable candidate, Edwards, throws his support behind Kerry and Dean's people get pissed. They stay away from the polls in Novemeber, and Kerry/Edwards loses in a landslide.
A couple more comments: Despite his Northeastern heritage, Dean is more of a West Coast liberal than the other two major candidates. And I think he eventually gets more delegates than Kerry or Edwards. But his margin of victory will not be enough to ensure he gets the victory at the convention.
Kerry has proven one thing by his record. He has the ability to adapt his message to whatever crowd he is trying to please.
Soldier - acts bravely securing the admiration of his fellow soldiers.
The man is a chameleon, changing his colors to whatever background he stands against. This is a very substantial political skill, but it is not leadership.
On the other hand, Dean exudes vision and passion. And Edwards has detailed proposals and a consistent coherent message.
There is one thing I have read this week that sticks in my mind. Kerry is the "fallback" candidate. He's the safe haven for undecided voters. And his victories are not so much due to his strength, as to the weakness of his opponents. When Dean started imploding, voters went to the fallback position.
I think Dean can reclaim his message and get back on track. And I think he can beat the stuffing out of Kerry in a national campaign. But Dean needs for Kerry to knock-out Edwards in the South. The biggest danger for Dean is the survival of Edwards, because if Dean gets 35-40% of the vote, and the other delegates are split evenly between Kerry and Edwards, then Dean ends up losing out. Edwards supporters will not back him, over Kerry. But if Edwards is gone, then Edwards supports stay home, and Dean can whip Kerry.posted by: Scott Harris on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
I think Dean and Edwards represent the true split in the Democratic Party. Kerry will get the nomination because either group can live with Kerry, but Dean supporters won't back Edwards, and Edwards supporters won't back Dean. Ironically, this means a Dean/Edwards or Edwards/Dean ticket would be the strongest possible challenge to Bush. But I just don't think those two camps can live with each other.posted by: Scott Harris on 01.27.04 at 10:13 PM [permalink]
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