Friday, January 02, 2004

Money y Mano

Some say who cares about how much money people raise, it is about how they stand on the issues. Of course, no one will hear about how they stand on the issues if they don't have money. That's because, unlike you and I, most people don't care about this stuff. Most people won't vote in the primaries, and the half of all elidgible voters who vote in the general election don't decide until the fall. So free coverage and paid coverage are the way to go. NH Union Leader looks at the Race nicely for everyone though.

On the other hand, Clark got free coverage based on doing stuff for his paid coverage, whereas Kerry got coverage for his failing of getting paid coverage. "After relentless fund-raising in his late-entry presidential campaign, retired Army general Wesley K. Clark raised between $10.4 million and $11.1 million in the final quarter of 2003 and will be eligible for up to $6 million in federal matching funds," his staff told the Globe in a fundraising total story with Clark as the headline, not Dean or Kerry.

Right along with what I said yesterday "Senator John F. Kerry, who recently loaned $6.4 million to his campaign, raised only $2.5 million in the fourth quarter." Meanwhile, Clark has raised $20M for the year, and he started in late September. This means he passed Lieberman (the supposed money raiser), Gephardt (Mr. Union $), Edwards (fresh face Clinton Jr), and the jokesters, who all had 12 months to do this. And also keep in mind, Clark spent a month or two screwing up.

Clark has $6M CoH, but he "has already paid for much of his January television advertising in New Hampshire, and his campaign expects to reach the spending caps in New Hampshire. He is also airing ads in South Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, and North Dakota, and plans to advertise soon in Virginia and Wisconsin." Another $4M is coming in via fundraising next quarter, and another $6+ M in matching funds in January and February. "Aides say they expect Clark will be able to spend $25 million through Feb. 3."

According to the Post's Jim VandeHei, "Clark is the only candidate moving up in New Hampshire, according to public polls and internal surveys by two rival campaigns, though he trails Dean and Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.). If Clark can overtake Kerry, the retired general could storm into the seven states holding votes on Feb. 3 with significant momentum. With more money than many of his rivals, Clark is planning a sustained media campaign in South Carolina, Tennessee, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona for four weeks until those states vote, a top adviser said. The campaign is also planning to buy television airtime in Wisconsin and Virginia. Dean is the only other candidate advertising on television in so many states."

If you add the $3.7 million plus the $11.1 million, you get pretty close to the $15+ Million Dean raised. Also, there is no CoH statement left on Dean's campaign, who knows how much money they are going to spend on making sure they win Iowa.

All this means while Dean, Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards are trying to get something going in Iowa, Clark will free to campaign in New Hampshire (about 2 weeks worth of fun). Granite Staters crave all that attention. My bet: look for Clark to move up to second at around 15-20%. Kerry will slip to 10% and Dean will get 35-40%. (see latest tracking poll numbers of NH here) By February 2nd, Clark might have more CoH for all those states than Dean, and if Dean does win both NH and IA, he will be in some serious trouble.

"What the fund-raising figures show is that there are only two candidates who have the resources to win the nomination, and that is Howard Dean and Wesley Clark" said Clark strategist Chris Lehane [who got fired by Kerry and used to work for Gore in 2000], citing both candidates' fund-raising success and showings in early polls. "The empirical data fit the assertion that this has boiled down to a two-person race." For once, I agree with him. And so does Will Lester of AP. The Daily Kos, a Dean supporter and liberal-bastion blog, also sees it as a two man race. He thinks Clark's "I'm the only electible guy of the two of us" strategy is bad for the party.

"Of course, Clark has had the good fortune of having Dean in the race. The general has slipped in mostly under the radar while everyone else trains their guns on the frontrunner.

Look for that to change as the others, seeing Dean far ahead, look to outlast the rest of the pack (and thus consolidate the hypothetical "anti-Dean" bloc).

Gep is locked into a tight battle against Dean for Iowa, so look for Gep to keep hammering Dean. But Lieberman, Kerry, and (perhaps most of all) Edwards all need to knock Clark down a peg or two. It's too late for them, really, but they'll try anyway. "

In Clark's words: "If you are sick, hire a doctor; if you have legal trouble, hire a lawyer; and if your country is going in the wrong direction, you need a leader."

The influential Times collumnist Paul Krugman also sees it as a Dean-Clark race, but decides to tack on a comparison between Lieberman's Dean-bashing to the right to Nader's Gore-bashing to the left.

In Clark's words: "If you are sick, hire a doctor; if you have legal trouble, hire a lawyer; and if your country is going in the wrong direction, you need a leader."

In the New Year, look for more "Dean's actually not that liberal" stories that might hurt him in the short term but might help him against potential Rove attacks, assuming he wins the nomination. The LA Times finds Environmentalists in Vermont that hate Dean.

Happy New Year everyone. My New Year's resolution: get fit and get into law school and get Wes Clark in the White House. What's yours?

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Don't cry for me, Ames Iowa!

The Boston Globe did some more of its famous piling on to US Senator John Kerry, estwhile Democratic Presidential Frontrunner. Today's article brings Kerry's rollercoaster year to an end. He started out on top, and is ending with a whimper.

According to sources, he is struggling to get $2 to $3 million this quarter, which means he might very well get beat by Lieberman, and even maybe Kucinich, who has $1.5+ with a goal of $1.7 million.

'I'm dying out there,' a Kerry fund-raiser told the Globe "a veteran Democratic moneyman who spoke on the condition of anonymity." 'There was so much excitement about John Kerry early on, and now there's none.' ... "Top fund-raisers said they began this last quarter, on Oct. 1, with a $4 million goal, but said it was incrementally reduced over the last three months." that was a pretty weak goal.

Wasn't Clark's $12 million? Wasn't Dean's $15 million? Sounds like it is a two man race, and when it gets that way, Dean is in trouble, according to my friend Stirling Newberry at BOP.

"It is a delicate dance - if Dean knocks out other contenders, then there is only one place for the "anybody but Dean" vote to flow: Clark. And Dean does not do well in a two man race with Clark. Where as, with several smaller candidates drawing a few percentage points off here and there, and burning money to hold on to support - even the Kucinichites are making passionate pleas to their base to hold on to their man and not defect to Dean or another candidate - it allows Dean to be the first among equals, and "win" with only 40% of the vote."

"While Dean is the front runner, he has not made the sale yet. This means anti-Dean support will form around one person, and that person will, sooner or later, be Clark. Dean hopes it is later - then Clark becomes another speed bump. Clark hopes that it is sooner - after Iowa preferably."

People have also talked about these 527s, the new soft-money havens that Clintonities are stashing away with a goal of $100 million for that black out period of spring to summer for the Democratic nominee. The question is, will they hold off their money if its Dean, or will they use it to attack him if it is still close? "Does Dean really want the party's message in this crucial period shaped by the very faction of the party with which he's picked a fight?" asks Mickey Kaus.

Rumors from pundits abound that Clinton's pick is Clark and his people are hence going to bat for Clark, and that there is a civil war going on in the party between Gore and Clinton. Surely Dean and Clark are more than proxy fighters. Methinks things are looking up for the "old machine" after all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

4th Quarter Thoughts

Well, the money for the fourth quarter is pouring in for Presidential Candidates and it just confirms what we already know:

  1. Dean is leading
  2. Kerry is toast
  3. Gephardt's back virtue of his position in Iowa
  4. Clark is becoming the no. 2 behind Dean
  5. Lieberman and Edwards are like those NFL teams that needed help to make a wildcard spot
  6. Kucinich is being kept afloat by liberal Democrats worried about the Nader factor

Dean, according to the rumors they have been spreading, has $14 million with another $400,000 coming in tonight at their Gore/Dean house party/phone-a-thon. In a statement to supporters yesterday, Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi offered a new plea for more funds, saying: "Wes Clark and other candidates are waiting for us in South Carolina and Arizona and the five other states that come on February 3d. All their money together is aimed at stopping our campaign, even as we need to focus on Washington state and Michigan and the other races beyond -- and George Bush himself in the general election." All of this is of course true, assuming they make it that far.

Meanwhile, Clark has $10-12 million and will get $3.7 Million in matching funds coming in January, the most of any candidate, and much more in February for this 4th Q. Sounds like he has about 3/4th of Dean's CoH (cash on hand, AKA money left over after spending) even though he didn't start until September 17th.

Geppy has close to $6.3 million this quarter, which is amazing considering he looked like flotsam earlier in the year. Slow and Steady just might win this race. Their burn rate has slowed significantly.

Kerry has borrowed $6 million from his Beacon Hill mansion and has said nothing about how much he has raised. Sounds like Kerry is coming up very short. When asked how much, his campaign said this about Howard Dean "We're going to make him spend it all"

Kerry is going to do a two-stage Alamo, hoping for a strong 2nd or 3rd in Iowa and then a miracle in NH. But after he flops, he will be out by the end of January, having spent all his money and credibility up.

So who does he endorse? He has famously bad instincts politically (see War Resolution votes), almost as bad as Lieberman (see Department of Homeland Security, 2002 elections). If Gephardt wins Iowa, maybe he will be tempted to prop up Gep, not realizing that now is Clark's turn to take a hammer at Dean. Personally I would be surprised but not shocked if he got behind Dean, which could sink Dean right there ;) poor Kerry.

Lieberman had an uptick in fundraising since Gore's announcement but it is mostly sympathy cash. I would be surprised if he got better than 4th in NH. Edwards, haven't heard from his folks in a while and my feeling is, no news is bad news. The jig is up.

Kucinich is closing in on 1.7 million for this Quarter. Not much, but a lot more than the other jokesters. Hey he might even beat out Kerry, Edwards, or Lieberman in cash raised this Quarter, and boy wouldn't that spell their doom?!

As for the rest, they had to borrow a quarter to call some one who cares.

Monday, December 29, 2003

news happens even when we don't want it to

Plus, News flash: Dean wants it both ways and is arrogant

During the holiday season, families want to be left alone and manage to tear their eyes away from TV (except for sports like NFL football) but meanwhile, the world keeps chugging along.

For example, there is a huge disaster in Iran that has got about 30 seconds worth of attention on local and national news. 25,000 people are dead! Single digits die in California's mud slides or similar earthquakes and we have reporters standing by. OK well it is closer to home, Iran isn't very western-friendly to say the least and so on, but still! It also goes to show that California building codes are the only thing keeping massive amounts of people from dying there. Now they just need to stop more building from happening. Then there wouldn't be so many bad forest fires and successive mudslides. That state is just one big natural disaster.

In other news, Libya is opening itself up for real WMD's inspections and is trying to get back into the oil business it seem. Finally its dictator wised up and decided he was tired of being super-poor and on the verge of being bombed into the stone age.

On a CNN/Faux News level, BSE or Mad Cow disease hit the US. People are freaking out and it could spell a disaster for the beef industry and the economy, but I think the dent will only be temporary.

People got stuck in the airport over Christmas because of semi-vague terror threats, which were delayed thanks to the French leaking the information before the flight. Now we want armed guards on flights going into the US. Yay, guns for everyone.

Dean to supporters: it's me or nobody

In political news, Dean is calling for double standards and sending left wing code messages again. The ex-Vermont Governor wants DNC Chairman Terry McAulifee to make the other presidential candidates stop attacking him, because they might end up working. Of course when Dean was making much worse attacks on his rivals, he was fine with Terry staying out of it.

"Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here," he said, referring to himself. "If Ron Brown were the chairman, this wouldn't be happening." Meaning, if the Clinton's hadn't gotten their man in there, things would be better. Even worse he also implied that many of his supporters,wouldn't support another Democrat if he loses.

"I don't know where they're going to go, but they're certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician," he said. [Ed: What about Clark?]

Sunday he claimed that his support was "not transferable anymore" and that endorsements, including his own, "don't guarantee anything." Which must be why he and Gore said after his endorsement that it means so much and that people should just throw in the towel and get behind the good Doctor.

I am glad that Dean has gotten new people involved in politics and campaigns but I think it is highly presumptuous to say they will take their ball and go home like little spoiled children if he loses. Sounds like the 'Dean will be a third-party candidate' old post (see below) might be valid after all. Sounds like the first signal to his supporters to join him on a Nadereque campaign of arrogance to win the presidency from the left in a three-way race.