Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Now what?

Now that Kerry and Edwards pulled huge upset victories over the old labor giant Dick Gephardt and the internet-driven Howard Dean, what happens to everyone else's campaign and especially, New Hampshire?

Well, let's look at those polls. I am not one to site only favorable polls. So let's look: Latest NH tracking polls: John Kerry 27%, Howard Dean 24%, Wesley Clark 17%, John Edwards 9% (Globe/WBZ, 1/19-20); Dean 25%, Kerry 23%, Clark 16%, Edwards and Joe Lieberman 7% (MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby, 1/18-20); Dean 22%, Kerry 20%, Clark 15%, Edwards 6% (7News/Suffolk Univ., 1/19-20) and Dean 33%, Kerry 24%, Clark 18%, Edwards 8% (Fox/WCVB/WMUR, 1/17-19).

Edwards hasn't ticked up much in New Hampshire and I think it will be extremely tough for him to even get 3rd or 4th there. If he is smart, he will take his show on the road to South Carolina and hope that either Dean or Kerry wins, making Clark that much weaker in his formerly must win state (I think Iowa give him an excuse and cash to stay in longer).

Hats off to Kerry. He really pulled out all the stops and I guess it shows once again what he is capable of when his back is against the wall like it was in 1996. But the question remains, how much money and support does he have outside the Granite State. After all, he isn't taking matching funds and spend nearly $3 million on Iowa (less than Dean did but still, Dean has much more than he does).

In my boat, the internet revolution lost the battle and is seriously in doubt. Sure, it is a great way to raise money and to keep your supporters involved when they live far away from the action of the early primaries, but it didn't get caucus goers to show up in Iowa. Dean lost by 20 points! It also shows that his message was too angry, too focused on Gephardt and the war, and not what Dean would do if president (besides the exact opposite of Bush).

I would honestly be happy if Kerry or Edwards win the nomination, and feel pretty ok about their chances, assuming Kerry picks a Clark or a Graham to balance himself regionally. Dean just worried me, not because of the internet, but because he was railing against Clinton and Bush with almost equal vigior. I don't think a single one of his fans knows one of his proposals other than raising taxes (rolling back the Bush tax cut). Dean looks to be in major trouble. If he even gets second in New Hamphire, I think the media will pronouce him DOA and much of his following will evaporate. He will still have a lot of money and rapid supporters in many states, but I think losing two states they really should have won would be very demoralizing.

As for Clark, he is in trouble too. His whole campaign needs to rethink its strategy now that there isn't a Howard Dean to beat up on as much. If Clark haddn't "bobbled the question" in September on the war, he could go after Kerry on the war, but I guess he can leave Dean for that. Most of Clark's losses in New Hampshire (from 24% to 17%) have gone to Kerry and were mostly Kerry's dissolutioned supporters. Clark has the harder task of taking from both Dean and Kerry to bring himself back into second place and even contention for a win. If he does his job right in the next couple days, we could see a 3 way race for 1st place, instead of 3rd place.

Lieberman, is just like Dick Gephardt, a Dead Man Walking, but he still is refusing to leave saying he won't quit even if he can't get 3rd in NH which clearly is going to happen (he might not get 4th). When will Joe call it a show? please let the farce end soon. Al From, (and Bill Clinton) please give him a call, tell him enough is enough.

Speaking of Dick Gephardt, I would like to wish him happy trails. A man who spent nearly 3 decades in the congress as a tribune for the working man and woman, to the union laborers. He was classy the whole way, and gracious in defeat. I might have disagreed with him on the war or trade, but we can all still respect him. Please make him the next Secretary of Labor or head of a union lobbying group (like SEIU AFL-CIO or something). Gephardt said goodbye on Monday night that didn't leave a dry eye in the house.

Dean's curtain call, in contrast was horrible on Monday night. The former frontrunner was anything but gracious or calm and gave more fodder for the opposition with his scream routine. My father, who donated to the Dean campaign (don't ask me how much-- makes me sad just thinking about it), said "I want my money back!"

Kerry, as usual, droaned on way to much. There were some really good points in that speech and it was right for him to take a victory lap. But if I hear one more "And I say to you" I am going to scream myself. Just Say It should be their motto. No more "Frankly" or "And I say to you" or "In the words of" ....just say what you mean in plain English, thank you.

Edwards gave the best speech overall. Crisp happy and bullet pointing his message, which is a good one. The "two Americas" routine is excellent. The more he talks about what he will do to make it One America again, the better. Three cheers for Johnny.

Clark got too fiesty with Bob Dole on Larry King. He made me look bad in front of my family after I had talked him up so much. There is still time for him to get back second or even first, but he has to focus like a lazer beam on his domestic issues and foreign affairs, and not quibble with how many years Kerry spent in the services. Also, February 3rd and 10th seem like the days he can mount a comeback on the emmerging Kerry/Edwards threat with big wins, let alone Dean.

I didn't see Bush's State of the Union last night, but it sound like his greatest hits: The War on Terror Continues; Keep the Tax Cuts Perminant; Reaching out to the Swing Voters; and Tough Talk, Weak Action. When will he get it? Never, that is why we need a new president. One who cares about exploding health costs and the uninsured, about diplomatic relations, global treaties, the environment, homeland security, poverty, education, balancing budgets.

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