Friday, December 05, 2003

Goodbye, Senator

What I failed to mention in my post yesterday, was some think that Mickey Kaus pointed out in such harsh, but true prose:

"The more I think about it, a turning point in the Democratic presidential campaign has to come with the first N.H. poll showing Clark ahead of Kerry and in second place. It could come any day now. Clark's only three points behind in one poll and only two in another. [well within the margin of error; see yesterday's post] And Kerry's fading while Clark is rising. ... When the lines cross, several things will happen: 1) The main surviving rationale of Kerry's campaign--"I'm the electable alternative to Dean"--evaporates. It turns out there's a more electable alternative. Kerry's vote asymptotically approaches zero. 2) The #1 versus #2, Dean versus Clark match up will get lots of play in the press because Clark's strengths are Dean's weaknesses, yielding a story line that is simple and compelling: "Peacenik McGovern II versus Electable Military Man. Which will the Democrats Choose?" ... 3) Clark will get a lot of favorable treatment in this new round of coverage--in part because the press feels guilty about giving Dean (as The Note notes) a relatively easy time so far, in part because the press wants a close race. If Clark's ready with an appealing message when the spotlight turns to him, he could give Dean a scare and at least come close enough to winning to get a boost for the post-N.H. primaries. ... "

Earlier, Kaus tries to think up good withdrawal speeches for John Kerry. I feel sorry for Kerry, about the same why I feel sorry for Al Gore...What a nice smart man, who is a horrible candidate with lots of woulda coulda shouda. True, Kerry is dead because of Dean's rise, but Dean rose because he was pointing out Kerry's flaws, the ones that make him unelectable even in Massachusetts in the primary (Dean leads him in two polls).

In truth, Kerry's campaign collapsed in October 2002, when he voted for the war because he thought that would be politically expedient. He was trying to make up for a bad vote on the 1991 war in Iraq, but instead, he voted the wrong way both times. The Gulf War was justified (Iraq had violated the sovereignty of, happily for us an oil-rich country, but a country nonetheless, which violates the most basic part of the UN charter) whereas "Operation Bush/Cheney 2004" was not. Even Al Gore figured that out, having voted for the Gulf War and opposed the current one.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Headline in 54 days: Dean wins NH

If you had hopes that Kerry could stage a come back in NH, or that anyone might give Dean a scare up there, you better give up now. Not one but two polls show Dean destroying everyone and Kerry flopping further and Clark ticking up to be close to 2nd place, thanks to a $221k ad buy.

A Zogby Int'l poll, conducted 12/1-3, surveyed 503 likely Dem primary voters (302 Dems; 201 indies); margin of error +/- 4.5% (release, 12/4).

Dem Primary Matchup Now 10/03 9/03 Dem Ind Fav/Unfav
Howard Dean 42% 40% 30% 44% 39% 78%/12%
John Kerry 12 17 20 15 9 64 /28
Wesley Clark 9 6 n/a 9 9 50 /23
Joe Lieberman 7 3 5 6 9 55 /35
John Edwards 4 6 2 4 4 52 /16
Dick Gephardt 3 4 6 2 4 52 /31
Dennis Kucinich 2 0 1 2 1 21 /25
Al Sharpton 0 1 1 0 0 12 /58
Carol Moseley Braun 0 0 0 0 0 25 /27
Not Sure 19 19 22 18 22

An American Research Group poll, conducted 11/30-12/3, surveyed 600 likely Dem primary voters (430 Dems; 170 indies); margin of error +/- 4% (release, 12/4).

Dem Primary Matchup
Now 11/20 11/5 Fav/Unfav
Dean 45% 38% 38% 69 / 7
Kerry 13 17 24 57 /18
Clark 11 7 4 43 /12
Gephardt 5 4 3 51 /22
Lieberman 5 5 4 43 /38
Edwards 3 4 4 42 /18
Kucinich 2 3 1 23 /17
Braun 0 1 1 21 /15
Sharpton 1 0 0 15 /46
Undec. 15 21 21

OK in the 40s with 9 people in the race? Its over baby. Even if Kerry can get 2nd in IA (see yesterday's post), which isn't going to happen, he still has no chance in NH. And I don't know how Kerry can think that he can get enough money or support if he can't win the state that has seen his TV ads for over 20 years. And if he is losing his own state to Dean. Quit while you are behind Senator. Its beginning to look like a Greek Tragedy for Sen. JFK. Now I see it as a race between Gephardt Edwards and Clark on second fiddle to Dean. Who will it be?

Gephardt, even if he wins IA, won't have any $ left. Will the cash come when he wins? Maybe, but will it be enough to keep him afloat? I doubt it.

Edwards has as many ifs as Clark: both have to place so high in IA (or in Clark's case NH) to have a shot at SC. or do they? Could they all just leave NH and IA for Dean and make sure they beat him on Super Tuesday Jr. ? The problem with that idea is Dean has sooo much money, he can do both (win IA and NH and put up ads in 2/3 states). I wish it weren't true but unless they clobber Dean in 2/3 and or Gephardt wins IA, don't see how Dems are going to stop the train wreck that is Dean from being the nominee. Gulp

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Iowa end game

Al of a sudden, the Hawkeye State became important for 2 other candidates, or at least they suddenly realized it.

  1. Kerry figured out he has to do well in IA to have a prayer in NH, and since he wasn't getting much traction in the "Live Free or Die" State (great motto by the way), and was closer to Dean in IA than NH he might as well try for 2nd/"1st" since his campaign spin is still that he will win IA and NH and the nomination (riiight).

  2. Edwards figured out that if he had a strong 3rd and knocked out Kerry, he could get a strong 3rd or 2nd in NH and all of a sudden be in shape to win the whole thing. Look where his ad budget and visits are going. Not a bad idea, since Kerry was sinking faster than Michael Jackson record sales.

Ok reality check time: the most recent Zogby Poll Sez: Dean 26, Gephardt 22, a difference within the margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. (The poll of 501 voters who say they are likely to participate in the caucuses was taken Monday and Tuesday. )

In the latest poll, almost three in 10 voters, 28 percent, were undecided -- close to the level of undecided voters in October. And the rest? Single, laughable digits:

Kerry 9 ; Edwards 5; Clark 4. Kucinich and Lieberman 1 percent. Moseley Braun and Sharpton were at 1 percent or less.

So what's going to happen? Either a Dean blowout or a narrow Gephardt win. This is because each caucus group gets to convince the undecides to join with them, and Dean has a huge org network to babysit for caucus goers, drive them to and from and lots of supporters in every single one of IA's 99 counties. Gephardt has risidual support from his '88 days and his career as a labor man in the House...

As for third place? Clark could sneak up on Kerry or Edwards with volunteers, you never know. the fact that he is even within striking distance of those two (w/ the MOE) is a sad statement to those two who have blown, I mean spent 100s of thousands on TV and so on there. Clark spent like $50 in comparison.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

No rest for the week

Appologies for the lack of posting over the Holiday. I needed to relax and read some books, watch some movies and only take one practice LSAT. I have at least 2 this week and then the big kakuna on Saturday morning. But after that, I am free man...sort of.

In the meanwhile, Dean is getting hit hardest on where he is weakest, hipocracy and national security. The whole Aspen-skiing-with-a-bad-back-draft-dodging makes Clinton look good. Now I wonder, do people really care about that. After all, most men that age either tried to get out of it or lucked out when their number wasn't called. Maybe those who had to go because they were poor, etc will resent him, but clearly those people aren't giving money to Democrats now and are most likely not voting in IA or NH in January. Will Kerry or Clark be able to use it to their advantage with Vets? Maybe in SC or AZ, but those are later and Kerry will be gone by then if he doesn't win these are only helpful to Clark other than making Dean look bad.

In a unsurprising move, Lieberman is attacking a fellow candidate, Dean, this time on his poor record of hiding his records. In a Bush-like move, Dean has sealed records on his 10 years as governor, keeping Gephardt's, Kerry's and maybe Bush's oppo researchers at bay. Look for a possible court order if it gets really ugly. My quib is this, if you go around bragging about what you did as governor, why on Earth would you want to hide the records? Its like the Senators/Congressmen sealing their voting records or Clark his military records or Sharpton sealing his court/criminal records. Its just pretty indefensable, but lets watch him try.

"I'll unseal mine if he will unseal all of his," said Dr. Dean, about Bush's Texas records. Gee, this is another one of those things in common with Bush you don't want to have or want to compare yourself with, like his national security/foriegn policy experience. Dumb all around.

According to the Times, Judicial Watch plans to file a lawsuit, perhaps as soon as this week, to gain access to the records, which were sealed under the executive privilege exemption to the Vermont Public Records Act and include reams of correspondence with the state staff.

"He has been acting like he has something to hide," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, who went after Clinton in 90s and has gone after Cheney's energy commission.

Dean had wanted a 24-year seal, because "we didn't want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor." Could 'future endeavor' be code for 'Presidential Run'? Gee, that's a tough one.