Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with D
-=I guess this means that Kerry is the new front runner. He learned from Dean that feisty works. His Nightline interview, and his acceptance speech, were heavy on Bush admin attacks. Plus, he managed to mention past tussles with Nixon, Reagan, and Gingrich. Signature quote: "People want a fighter in the White House who's on their side."
-=According to NPR's Juan Williams, Joe Trippi's analysis is that Gephardt went so negative that he destroyed his own campaign and seriously damaged Dean's. That sounds about right to me.
-=Dean is caught in a self-fulfilling prophecy loop. The knock on Dean was that he wasn't electable. This drove soft supporters to Kerry and Edwards, which led to a weak poll showing for Dean. And presto, you've got empirical evidence that Dean isn't electable.
-=Speaking of electability, I think part of Kerry's success comes from the fact that Democrats concerned about electability think that Kerry doesn't share Dean's weaknesses. Kerry has more political experience than Dean, so there won't be as much new dirt to dig up on him. He's also built a strong record on Foreign Policy. Kerry is starting to share Clinton's ability to exude mastery of a broad array of policy questions without sounding like a wonkish know-it-all. Dean, on the other hand, is an odd mix of Bush and Gore. When he knows his stuff he sometimes sounds arrogant, but there are also times (as is no surprise for a governor in the early stages of a campaign) when he just doesn't sound up to speed on national issues.
-=And what about Edwards? If he follows this up with a strong showing on February 3 — which he might, as one of two southerners in the race — he could turn into a real player. Apparently he had a deal with Kucinich that Kucinich's supporters would switch to Edwards whenever Kucinich didn't hit 15% in any caucus. So Edwards' numbers may be inflated. But how many Kucinich supporters are there?
-=The stat that really sticks out to me is that Kerry beat Dean 34%-29% among Democrats who strongly opposed the Iraq War.
-=Kerry, unlike Edwards, has an established network in the party. Now that he's shown that he's a serious player (and Gephardt appears to be out) Kerry may see more support from skittish donors.
-=A lot is going to depend on who Gephardt endorses. He doesn't seem to like Dean. Though Kerry is in the Senate and Gephardt in the House, they probably have a long-standing working relationship.
-=John Edwards had a strong showing and stayed positive. If Trippi's right about what happened to Gephardt, and if everybody else stays negative, then Edwards might make a move. Signature quote: "The politics of hope can overcome the politics of cynicism"
-=It looks like Dean has to win New Hampshire to remain viable, because February is going to be tough for him.
-=ABC reported that 40% of caucus goers claimed to have made up their mind in the last week. So they made up their mind after Dean's Iowa bashing came to light.
-=I haven't seen Dean's concession speech in its entirety, but the sound-bite seems to be a bombastic roll call of states followed by a bizarre attempt at a 'yee-hah.' One of Nightline's political analysts described the speech as 'maniacal.'