Thursday, January 22, 2004

On a dime

The one constant in politics is change...Oh and money. Those who have the money-- Dean and Clark-- need to change rapidly (six days) to ensure that they don't lose out big time.

Kerry finally changed his message and tone, sort of a half-Dean, half-Edwards populism with a little bit of veteran/Vietnam plugging on the side. Polls are all over the map in terms of actual numbers, but the results/trends are about the same: Kerry is close to or narrowly ahead of Dean, who is falling, and Clark is in third, with Edwards nipping ahead of Lieberman.

People who would vote for Kerry or Clark are basically the same voters, as Josh Marshall pointed out: "Those voters are moderate-ish Democrats, people for whom the electability pitch is an important one, people who warm, for various reasons, to the candidates’ military credentials. So that's the big fight." What Clark needs to do, is to argue, as Edwards has done, that Yankees can't do well in the South and therefore I am more Electable and better able to Beat Bush than Kerry or Dean.

Clark needs to alter what he is doing now that his momentum as evaporated and not soundesperatete or too liberal. Bashing Kerry's military creditentials won't get you anywhere. Bashing Kerry's "Washington Democrat" status could be a good move. You are the outsider now, do it.

As for Dean, he needs to stop the bleeding and sound like an adult, not sound bites for Techno. If he holds on to his support and gets back a few folks that were moving to Kerry or Clark, he is back. He can do it by being the outsider again, but it will be hard when he has Gore, Bradley, SEIU and AFSCME on his side. The other route is to just out organize everyone and make us believe in the magic of the internet again.

Edwards is the big mystery man. Could he sneak up on Kerry, Dean and Clark while they bleed each other dry? He doesn't need to do well here, if he gets a strong fourth even, I think he will be fine going into South Carolina, and if he beats Clark, then hprobablyly wins South Carolina. Keep on keeping on kid.

The trouble for the Iowa duo is that they spena lotot of cash (same with Dean) on the state. Kerry is trying to raise a million by Tuesday. Edwards is doing something similar. But Clark and Dean have put the troops and ads in the field in many future states. Can Kerry carry (sorry) his momentum, assuming he wins New Hampshire, into South Carolina, Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and New Mexico by February 3rd along with Tennesseese and Virginiana by February 10th?

I don't see JFK creeping into first in any of those states until Michigan or Wisconsin which come a week after that. At this point at least, Clark is looking good in SC, AZ, DE, OK, ND, TN, and VA. Dean's numbers in all those states will collapse to a degree due to his Iowa and New Hampshire showing (assuming he loses NH). Can Clark's campaign successfullyly spin a 3rd place in NH as a win? If he wins South Carolina somehow over Edwards, I think smiley is in trouble. Clark need to win several states on 2/3 to stay in it, with or without a strong NH showing. Either he or Edwards will win TN and VA but Michigan and Wisconsin will probably go to Kerry or Dean.

After that who knows? He who is best at rapid change while still semi-consistant always wins (see Bush's "Reformer with Results" in SC and Dean's mimic "Deliverer with Results" in NH). My bet, if Edwards wins NH, it is all over, but that won't happen. My Groundhog says it will be at least another month of campaigning. This just got interesting. :)

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