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Saturday, January 31, 2004
This Ain't Good

I haven't blogged much on the Iranian election standoff between Pres. Mohammed Khatami and his reformist allies and the hardline clerics who are trying to prevent reformists from being elected, but this is the kind of news that always makes me think of Mikhail Gorbachev taking a "vacation" in 1991 for his health. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope that Pres. Khatami is well and his reformers can prevail. I've said before that I believe within a generation Iran will be America's staunchest ally in the Middle East; Khatami may be able to bring that about sooner.

New to the Blogroll

Beast of Sound, known to longtime BotML readers as Tarheel Scott, has his own blog now. Go read. I'll still be here when you come back. I hope.

Friday, January 30, 2004
Poll Watch

MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby Tracking:

South Carolina

Edwards 25%
Kerry 24%
Dean 9%
Clark 8%
Lieberman 5%
Sharpton 5%
Kucinich 0%
Undecided 22%


Kerry 45%
Edwards 11%
Dean 9%
Lieberman 4%
Clark 3%
Sharpton 2%
Kucinich 1%
Undecided 22%


Clark 27%
Kerry 19%
Edwards 17%
Dean 9%
Lieberman 5%
Kucinich 1%
Sharpton 1%
Undecided 23%


Kerry 38%
Clark 17%
Dean 12%
Edwards 6%
Lieberman 6%
Kucinich 2%
Sharpton 1%
Undecided 18%

Sing along, everybody:

"And now, the end is near;/And so I face the final curtain./My friend, I'll say it clear,/I'll state my case, of which I'm certain./I've lived a life that's full./I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;/But more, much more than this,/John Kerry is a mortal lock for the nomination, and there's not a snowball's chance in Hell anyone can stop him. Oh, and by the way, I did it my way."

Kerry's looking incredibly solid at this point, within striking distance of Edwards in South Carolina and a close enough second in Oklahoma that it won't hurt him. The Missouri race is startling, especially given that it's the biggest single prize on Mini Tuesday.

The weakness of Howard Dean's position can't be overstated. His best showing is a weak third. He's in low-double or high-single digits across the board, and with no advertising and minimal campaigning, his hope for a long slog of a campaign is dimming.

John Edwards is in big trouble if he can't win South Carolina, and right now, his lead is tenuous at best. Wes Clark may be the only candidate whose name doesn't rhyme with Lon Berry to win a state on Tuesday, thus cementing him as the Lamar Alexander of 2004. Lieberman, Sharpton, and Kucinich are toast, and Joe really, really should have dropped out after New Hampshire.

Barring scandal or other bizarre circumstance, John Kerry is looking like a mortal lock at this point. Not bad for a guy who was dead, dead, dead one month ago.

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Hints and Allegations

I must agree with Ezra that the charge that the Kerry campaign was playing shenanagans against Dean in Iowa and New Hampshire, while a sexy story, is still rumor and innuendo not proven by fact. Indeed, I don't think there's even probable cause to pin this on Kerry. (I'm not saying it couldn't be Kerry, just [as Ezra notes] that it could be Rove, Clark, Gephardt in Iowa and someone else in New Hampshire, and so forth.)

Hey, folks, I know you're hurting, but Howard Dean ain't going to be President. Tonight's wan performance in the debate didn't help him any. He's fourth of the big four and fading quickly. And by the time Michigan rolls around, Howard Dean will be done. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to cope with this fact.

As for whomever pulled shenanagans--shame. We're supposed to be above this. And if you must pull shenanagans, save 'em for the general election. Internicine warfare is inappropriate.

The Transformative Effect of Transformation

The Deaniacs are grumpy. It's not bad enough that their guy had to flame out spectacularly in Iowa and New Hampshire, it's not enough that Dean fired Joe Trippi, now their campaign is flat broke.

Poor Deaniacs.

Still, their righteous indignation at All Who Do Not Worship The Dean continues unabated.

The general line is as follows: "I could never vote for a borderline Republican like John Kerry. If we're going to accomplish anything we need to transform our party into something completely new, and a Washington insider like Kerry won't do it. I just can't see myself supporting him."

And thus, the favorite Dean meme is perpetuated: that Howard Dean, and only Howard Dean, has a pure, true message of People Power that will sweep the Terry McAuliffes of the world from power and bring in a new era of sweetness and light.


Leave aside the fact that John Kerry is arguably more liberal than Howard Dean. The question on the table is whether the Democratic party is some kind of cesspool of corruption, a GOP lite, that only sweeping change can cure.

It isn't.

Oh, I have my problems with the Democratic party. I disdain McAuliffe as much as the most hopeful Deaniac. I think the Clintons have clung too much to power. I think Al Gore was a bad candidate in 2000. I think Tom Daschle is a pusilanimous Minority Leader, and I think Nancy Pelosi is worse. I think the party spent four years arguing for Medicare benefits and nothing else.

Despite all of that, though, the Democratic party doesn't need sweeping change. It just needs to reawaken. And--listen closely, Deanies--thanks to Howard Dean, I think it has.

Howard Dean was an insurgent candidate, and like all good insurgents, he helped set the tone of debate in a way it never would have been set if only the establishment types had their way. Dean's anger at Bush was the issue in the pregame warmups. He roused the party, wakened the dormant anger of a hundred million people who were sick of seeing the terms of debate dictated by the RNC. He gave voice to those of us who wanted to actually take it to George W. Bush and the Republican party, those of us who believed that the Democratic party needed to stand for something, and stand for it proudly--not hide behind mealy-mouthed sloganeering and poll-tested, focus-grouped ads.

In 2003, the Democrats woke up. Dean was not alone in doing this--the blogosphere, Al Franken, war protesters--all gave voice to righteous fury.

But 2003 is over, and in 2004, we have to put up a candidate.

And Howard Dean, like so many insurgents before him, just isn't the right man.

That's not a moral failing. Howard Dean should have a role, and a prominent one, in the Democratic party. (Heck, his strong partisanship makes him an ideal choice for DNC Chair.) But he wouldn't make a good President, and not just because of the yell.

He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the office. Yes, one can argue that the current occupant of the office fails to understand its gravity as well, but that doesn't mean we have to unilaterally disarm. Dean doesn't understand that the President--and therefore, those who aspire to the Presidency--must watch his words carefully, because what the President says means something. John Kerry and John Edwards seem to understand the gravity of the office they seek; I'm not as sure about Clark, but I think he has a good idea. Howard Dean, meanwhile, is too much the insurgent to moderate his tone. That's great for an insurgent, lousy for a President.

In the end, Howard Dean's role in the 2004 campaign is similar to that of Paul Tsongas, or H. Ross Perot, or Reagan in 1976, or Gene McCarthy, or George Wallace. He's not going to win. He's not even going to get a major party endorsement. But by giving voice to an issue that people care about, he's set the tone for his party and for the election. (History will tell us whether he was right; not all of the candidates I listed were. But they all gave voice to the voiceless, and they all affected their respective campaigns dramatically.)

Listen to John Kerry, to John Edwards, to Wesley Clark. Their stump speeches now mirror the ideas that Dean initially set forth. They now take the fight to Bush, rather than waiting for the fight to come to them. They have learned the lessons that Howard Dean taught--and they are ready for the next round.

I can't guarantee that a John Kerry-. John Edwards-, or Wesley Clark-led ticket will sweep to victory in November. But those three give our party the best chance at victory. And one of them, most likely Kerry, will be the nominee.

But when a man who is not Howard Dean is addressing the convention in August, please don't be downcast, Deaniacs. Your candidate has helped bring our party to a point where we can win this November. That is the transformative effect you hoped to have. For that our party owes you a debt of gratitude. I hope you can realize that, and vote for the eventual nominee.

Because insurgents rarely win, folks. But their legacy lives on in their partisans.

Howard's End

Still don't think Dean is toast? Jonathan Chait has hung up his keyboard and ended the Dean-o-Phobe blog for lack of reason to continue.


Jesse has the Joe-mentum Hall of Fame. Heh.

Good News Drives Polls! In Other News, Sun Rises In East, Sets In West

Ezra Klein has already nicely torched this piece of condescending drivel from Chris Bowers:

As many of you know, through the use of Google News, I have been monitoring total media coverage of every candidate since August. During that time, three campaign stories received by far the most coverage. In order, those stories were:

John Kerry's victory in the Iowa Caucuses (1/19-1/24)
Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean (12/07-12/14)
Wesley Clark's entry into the race (9/16-9/26)

All three of these stories were very positive to the candidate in question.


Overall, Kerry saw a national bounce of around 20 points immediately after he won Iowa. Considering what appears to be a clear correlation between massive, positive news stories and huge swings in nationwide Democratic preference in all three of these cases, I draw the following, depressing conclusion: Democrats are Dittoheads who will do whatever the Political Opinion Complex tells them to do.

Either that, or when a candidate gets good press, people look around and say, "Gee, I didn't know anything about Wesley Clark/that Al Gore liked Howard Dean/that John Kerry could win that convincingly. Maybe I need to take a closer look at Wes/Howard/John."

I know that here in Blog City, Blogosphere many of us follow the campaign with psychotic intensity. In the real world, however, people have jobs, families, lives, and so forth. They don't spend their breaks analyzing whether Roy Neel is a good fit for the Dean campaign. Heck, they've never even heard of Joe Trippi.

That's not a moral failing. Most people have a good idea of what Howard Dean stands for--or at least, what Howard Dean has said he stands for. When the time comes to vote, most people will grab a newspaper or watch the nightly news and make up their mind based on what they're seeing. And--surprise!--if one of the candidates happens to be getting good press at the time it will make a difference.

But as has been noted before: if John Kerry's win in Iowa sparked a jump in the polls, what caused him to win Iowa?

Look, the media can drive the story. We all know it. But pretending that we live in a nation of bumpkins because not everyone spends every second breaking down whether Wes Clark finishing a few hundred votes ahead of John Edwards means that Clark will have more momentum--that's idiocy.

Today's Song That's Stuck in My Head

The theme to "Dora the Explorer". Those of you without toddlers can't understand. Those of you with toddlers understand all too well.

Those Evil, Inside-the-Beltway....Huh? Oh, Never Mind

As you all know by now, Howard Dean has fired Joe Trippi. (Officially, Trippi resigned. Yeah. That's it. Resigned, that's the ticket.) In his place Dean gets longtime Gore aide and telecom lobbyist Roy Neel, an insider's insider who has been a key figure in such brilliant campaigns as Gore 2000.

A few thoughts:

1. So you predicate your entire campaign on being against Washington insiders, and then when things go wrong you pick a telecom lobbyist to helm the campaign. Is it me, or does that kind of undercut your anti-insider message?

2. I was right when I said:

Want to know what a candidate who's toast says? It's this:

"If you would have told us a year ago we would come third in Iowa, we would have taken anything for that."

Yes. And if I'd told you two weeks ago you would come third in Iowa, you would have fired Joe Trippi.

3. Dean is toast. You can't fire your campaign manager right after two consecutive losses and a week before Mini Tuesday and pull out of a death spiral all at the same time.

So thanks, Dean campaign. It was a nice run. But it's over now. Time to start picking your favorite Anyone But Kerry.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
New Power Ratings

As shown here:

Kerry 52.8
Dean 27.7
Edwards 7.9
Clark 3.8
Sharpton 3.8
Lieberman 3.2
Kucinich 0.3

Lieberman has fallen below the Sharpton line, FWIW.

Bring It On

So New Hampshire is done, with the following results:

Kerry 39%
Dean 26%
Clark 12%
Edwards 12%
Lieberman 9%
Kucinich 1%
Sharpton 0%

Well, I think it's safe to say that Kerry's the frontrunner now.

I actually feel bad for Howard Dean today. He rebounded a little bit from his nadir, he finished a distant--but closing--second, but it feels like he underperformed. All thanks to the crazy outlying Zogby poll from Sunday and the newsmedia that bought the exit polls hook, line, and sinker. When the evening begins with CNN claiming you're within a few points, and the evening ends with you getting blown out by 13%, you look weak.

Wes Clark is not dead yet, but 12% doesn't stir up much excitement. He still is searching for a reason to remain in the race--I don't think he's going to become "Anyone But Kerry," and he needs some reason to keep on chugging along.

John Edwards finished a disappointing fourth, but for him, it's all about South Carolina and, to a lesser degree, Missouri. If he can win South Carolina and finish a strong second in other states, he's got a shot. But not a very good one. His campaign is being honest by saying they must win South Carolina. Even if they were lying and saying they didn't need to, though, they would need to.

Joe Lieberman. Joe-mentum. Joe. Do you really believe you finished in a tie for third? Because--and I'm surprised you didn't learn this after 2000--elections are not like polls. There's no margin of error. You finished fifth, Joe. Fifth. Fifth. And not a close fifth, either. You can continue to go on--for some reason, you seem to want to. But you need to be aware that you are not going to win.

At any rate, many questions remain. I'll answer.

Can John Kerry be beat?


Well, actually yes, but it's not bloody likely. Winning New Hampshire doesn't assure a candidate of the nomination, but winning New Hampshire and Iowa pretty much does. You can come up with scenarios where Kerry loses--Edwards does well on Mini Tuesday, winning South Carolina and Missouri, and takes off from there seems the most likely--but none of them feel right. Kerry has all the momentum in the world, and I'd be very surprised if he manages to lose the nomination.

Some Deaniacs say that Howard Dean's best bet is to skip Mini Tuesday and focus on Michigan. Can that work?

Let's play this game: A candidate loses the first nine states contested--almost 20% of the states in the Union. Then he wins the tenth. Are you excited about that candidate? No? Me either.

Dean must win somewhere on Mini Tuesday. If he doesn't, I don't see him winning anywhere--period.

Joe Lieberman? Joe Lieberman?!?

I know, he doesn't get it. He isn't wanted. He isn't going to win. He's just wasting a lot of money and time. Then again, so is Al Sharpton. (Then again, Sharpton will probably beat Lieberman in South Carolina.)

Can Clark Win?

Well, he had leads in Arizona and Oklahoma, and if he holds them, he'd be in good shape. But I just don't see it happening. At least he came in third in New Hampshire; fourth would've knocked him out completely.

How 'Bout Edwards?

He's got the best shot--other than Kerry, that is. But I don't see it for him, either.

And Kucinich?

Mortal lock. For Vegan Presidential Candidate of the Year. Other than that, no.

Anyhow, it was fun in New Hampshire. We laughed, we cried, and now it's time to play....

Who's Up, Who's Down, Who's Out

Who's Up

Big Winner: John Kerry

In three weeks, Kerry has gone from moribund to mortal lock. It's the biggest surge I've seen since Ventura won in '98.

Why Kerry? Because he can beat Bush.

He looks like a President. He sounds like a President. He seems like a guy who understands what the Presidency is, unlike Howard "Yeargh!" Dean. Yeah, he's got some inconsistent votes on Gulf War II: The Vengeance, but many of us have been on both sides of the war (yours truly, for one), and besides, it's a fait accompli.

Is Kerry a perfect candidate with no weaknesses? Please. But he's a credible candidate, and he's got a great shot. And he's leading Bush in at least one poll.

Who's Down

BIG LOSER: Howard Dean

It's so damned unfair. Dean worked so hard, and built up such a lead, only to blow it after Iowa. And then he comes back, works his butt off and arrests the slide into oblivion, and he still gets crushed.

In early January, he was leading Kerry by 27%. He lost by 13%. That's a forty point swing in less than a month. That's not the mark of a strong candidate. Oh, Dean appears to be ready to swing back at Kerry, but so what? He has to win, and his position on Mini Tuesday is not strong. And if Kerry wins six of the seven states on Mini Tuesday, does anyone care about Michigan? (Indeed, if Kerry wins six of seven states on Mini Tuesday, can Dean win Michigan?)

The Deaniacs Reply: Blah blah blah Clinton '92 blah blah blah. Well, yes, Bill Clinton lost Iowa and New Hampshire in '92. But Paul Tsongas didn't win Iowa in '92--Tom Harkin did. (Nobody else even competed.) Clinton finished a strong second in New Hampshire (as a Southerner against a New Englander) and went on from there. Howard Dean is from Vermont, folks. He didn't have the regional disadvantage of Clinton in 1992.

When candidates win both Iowa and New Hampshire, they go on to get the nomination. I don't think this year will be different.

Wesley Clark

Like the old man in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he's not dead yet. But the gravedigger is waiting with a shovel. If you skip Iowa, you should do better than 12%. He must win somewhere next week. Not come in second, not do well, win. If not, hey, it was fun.

John Edwards

He wasn't a big loser--he really just had to get into double digits to stay viable--but by finishing behind Clark (and underperforming media expectations) he makes his job more difficult. A clear third would've effectively ended Clark's campaign, and given Edwards the South with no credible intraregional competition. Now, Clark soldiers on, and Edwards' job just got more difficult. He is still the most likely Anyone But Kerry, though, and that may be enough to keep him on life support. He must win South Carolina convinicingly to have a shot.

Who's Out

Joe Lieberman

Fifth. 'Nuff said.

Dennis Kucinich

Am I the only one who thinks that Dennis Kucinich's skin might one day split, and the alien robot controlling him may pop out?

Al Sharpton

Hey, he'll get 12% in South Carolina, which makes him as credible a candidate as Joe Lieberman. That's the problem.

Power Rankings and Odds

1. Kerry (1) 1:2
2. Dean (3) 20-1
3. Edwards (2) 15-1
4. Clark (4) 40-1
5. Lieberman (5) 10,000-1
6. Kucinich (6) One Trillion-1
7. Sharpton (7) Two Trillion-1

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
The Truth About WMDs

So a number of righty bloggers have been fond of saying the following:

You can bet that if when the Hussein/Al Quaeda connection, and the full story about WMDs, finally is told, these bilious, hate-drenched cowards will wiggle away from their statements faster than you can say "Yummy Yellowcakes".

(Sorry to pick on you, Mitch but...oh, wait, you were picking on me with that statement. Oh, never mind.)

Anyhoo, now that David Kay has said that there are no WMDs in Iraq and were no WMDs in Iraq, and now that the administration is sending big shots around the globe to say "hey, we never said anything about WMDs!", and now that the best our Preznit can cite is Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction-Related-Program-Activites-Maltodextrin, I'd say the full story about WMDs has been told, and it is this:


So anyhow, I'm just saying that we on the left happily can continue to bash Dear Leader over the head with this issue, knowing that we've been proven correct.

My question to the righty bloggers out there: Will you now do what GDub has failed to do, and simply admit that there were no WMDs in Iraq? I can tell you that I'd appreciate the candor. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Virus Alert

I've seen a few examples of this virus in my inbox:

An e-mail worm that looks like a normal error message but actually contains a malicious program continued to snarl computers around the world on Tuesday.

MessageLabs Inc., which scans e-mail for viruses, said 1 in every 12 messages contained the worm, called "Mydoom" or "Novarg." Security experts described it as the largest virus-like outbreak in months[.]

Great. Hopefully it won't destroy my computer like LoveSan did.

Bush/Giuliani '04?

I don't buy it. Hey, the wingnuts wouldn't let Bush put Tom Ridge on the ticket, and he was merely pro-choice. Rudy Giuliani is also pro-gay and pro-nanny state. As for Cheney being dropped from the ticket, I don't think Cheney will let that happen.

My New Hampshire Picks

I was way off in Iowa, but I'm usually better here.

My prediction:

Kerry 39%
Dean 26%
Edwards 18%
Clark 8%
Lieberman 7%
Kucinich 2%
Sharpton 0%

We'll see.

Poll Watch

Last one before New Hampshire! Latest ARG New Hampshire:

Kerry 35% (-3)
Dean 25% (+5)
Edwards 15% (-1)
Clark 13% (-2)
Lieberman 6% (+1)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 5% (unc)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire:

Kerry 37% (+6)
Dean 24% (-4)
Edwards 12% (unc)
Clark 9% (-4)
Lieberman 9% (unc)
Kucinich 3% (+1)
Sharpton <1% (-<1%)
Undecided 3% (unc)

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV New Hampshire:

Kerry 37% (unc)
Dean 20% (+3)
Edwards 12% (unc)
Clark 8% (-3)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Kucinich <1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 16% (+2)

The Zogby poll returns to the norm, and how. Drudge headline declaring a late Kerry surge.

The polls now show some semblance of agreement: Kerry wins big, probably by double-digits. Dean rehabilitates himself somewhat with a clear second-place showing, and Edwards gets the double-digit showing he needed to remain in contention on Mini Tuesday. Clark and Lieberman are done.

In some ways, New Hampshire may well validate Iowa--the top three here is the same as the top three there, though in a different order of finish. Kerry should be the story--he's won the only two races that matter, and he's won them both easily. Howard Dean may get props for a strongish second, but thanks to the same Feiler Faster Principle that helped him overcome the Yeargh! speech--and the crazy outlying Zogby poll of yesterday--I don't think he gets as big a bounce as one might thing. John Edwards just needed to show here, and he's come up fast enough that he'll be viable next week.

As for Wes Clark and Joe Lieberman: It's been a nice run. But you can't skip Iowa and then finish in single digits in New Hampshire and expect...well, anything. The Fecke Kiss of Death is in full effect, General. Sorry.

Monday, January 26, 2004
Sound Advice from Adam Yoshida

What wise counsel from everyone's fave insane wingnut?

While I agree that North Korea must, sooner or later, be dealt with: it cannot be dealt with by half-measures and, frankly, I wouldn't counsel any President to launch a major nuclear attack during an election year. Of course, if the North Koreans were to take further measures to bring about a crisis, it would be an entirely different matter. File this under "maybe."

Hard to argue with that.

Poll Watch II

Latest ARG Arizona, Jan. 23-24:

Kerry 24% (+18)
Clark 21% (+6)
Edwards 15% (+14)
Dean 10% (-16)
Lieberman 7% (-2)
Kucinich 0% (-1)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 23% (-12)

Latest ARG Oklahoma, Jan. 23-25:

Clark 23% (+2)
Edwards 18% (+15)
Kerry 17% (+15)
Lieberman 10% (+1)
Dean 8% (-16)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 1% (unc)
Undecided 22% (-12)

Latest ARG South Carolina, Jan. 23-25:

Edwards 21% (+13)
Kerry 17% (+15)
Sharpton 15% (+3)
Clark 14% (+2)
Dean 9% (-7)
Lieberman 5% (-2)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Undecided 18% (-11)

One of the big problems Kerry and Edwards supposedly face coming out of New Hampshire is a lack of organization in the Mini Tuesday states. You'd never know it looking at these polls. Edwards is first or second in every state, and Kerry leads in one state, is second in one, and just a point out of third in another. And Clark maintains strong support, which may go poof! at midnight tomorrow.

The big story, though, is the overall weakness of Dean's position. He's shed almost half his support in South Carolina, over half his support in Oklahoma, and two-thirds of his support in Arizona. Now, it's conceivable that a solid second in New Hampshire could help him rebound, but he's starting from a big hole and he's going to have to fill it in quickly. And that presupposes that Lieberman and Clark stay in after New Hampshire, as it seems likely that Lieberman supporters are unlikely to back Dean--and many Clark supporters were Clark supporters precisely because he wasn't Dean. Even should Dean come in a close-and-closing second in New Hampshire, he's going to have to scramble to reach a similar position on Mini Tuesday, especially since the big states up for grabs were never strong Dean states even before Iowa.

Edwards, meanwhile, looks to be positioned well to challenge Kerry, and Clark is doing well enough that he may talk himself into struggling on after New Hampshire--though it's doubtful Clark will maintain his strength if, as I fear, he gets killed there.

Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman continues his slow slide into Dick Lugar territory. Best to quit after New Hampshire, Joe.

New to the Blogroll


Pandagon Lives!

I was starting to worry, but it looks like Jesse and Ezra are back online.

Poll Watch

Latest ARG New Hampshire:

Kerry 38% (unc)
Dean 20% (+4)
Edwards 16% (+1)
Clark 15% (-2)
Lieberman 5% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 5% (-3)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire:

Kerry 31% (+1)
Dean 28% (+5)
Clark 13% (unc)
Edwards 12% (+3)
Lieberman 9% (unc)
Kucinich 2% (unc)
Sharpton 1% (unc)
Undecided 3% (-10)*

*It should be noted that Zogby has changed its methodology since the last poll, pushing leaners to select their first-preference candidate. Overall, the number of self-identifying Undecideds in Zogby remains at 13%.

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV New Hampshire:

Kerry 37% (-1)
Dean 17% (+2)
Edwards 12% (unc)
Clark 11% (-3)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Kucinich <1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 14% (unc)

Trend lines look good for a Dean second place, but how good? I'm going to tell you right now, I don't buy the Zogby poll, especially with its eleventh-hour change in methodology. It's had the look of an outlier the entire time leading up to New Hampshire, and every other poll shows undecideds breaking away from, not towards, Howard Dean. Edwards appears to be climbing, but is it fast enough to take second? Probably not. (It is, however, fast enough to come in a very respectable third, which is enough to punch Edwards' ticket to South Carolina).

Kerry should benefit from the latest Newsweek poll, which shows him as the only candidate who is beating George W. Bush right now. In a primary that's all about electablility, that's a nice number to throw around. Dean continues trying to emulate Bill Clinton in '92, but I still think that the ABD's are ultimately bigger than the Deaniacs, and I just can't see Lieberman and Clark supporters going to Dean.

Oh, Wesley Clark, what happened to you? Two candidates appear to be done for good after New Hampshire: Wes Clark and Joe Lieberman. Fourth and Fifth place in New Hampshire combined with a nolo contendre in Iowa equals done. I don't think anyone's ever going to seriously consider skipping Iowa again.

The Blogging of America

Listened to the show last night, and enjoyed it thoroughly. One quick thought: Atrios came off much better than Andrew Sullivan, who seemed intent on taking shots at Atrios' decision to stay private. Atrios, meanwhile, sounded much like the guy who writes Eschaton.

The Invincible George W. Bush, or, Notes on Statistical Ties

I missed something in the Newsweek Poll I talked about yesterday, something I shouldn't have missed:

Kerry also leads the pack of Democratic contenders among registered voters as the candidate who would have a better chance of beating President George W. Bush if the election were held today. A Kerry-Bush match-up would have Kerry up by 49 percent to Bush's 46 percent. A Clark and Bush match-up would be a close race, with Bush at 48 percent and Clark at 47 percent. Bush would have an edge over Edwards (49% to 46%). Yet, with a plus or minus margin of error, these match-ups result in a statistical dead heat. And the President would beat Dean (50% to 45%) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (49% to 45%).

It's inexcusable that I missed this paragraph, but I did. Let's lay this out one more time, in an easy-to-skim format:

Newsweek Poll, January 22-23, 2004, MOE +/- 3%

Kerry 49%
Bush 46%

Bush 48%
Clark 47%

Bush 49%
Edwards 46%

Bush 50%
Dean 45%

Bush 49%
Lieberman 45%

This poll represents a tipping point. It's the first poll that shows one of the leading Democratic contenders beating George W. Bush in a head-to-head matchup.

Now, you may say, "Jeff, you've noted before that in other polls, the Democrats were in a statistical tie with Bush. Aren't you being a bit disingenuous to now say that Kerry is beating Bush, when the lead is within the MOE?"

Well, sort of. All five races are statistical ties. But it's always better to be on the high side of a statistical tie, because the odds are just as good that Kerry is leading Bush 52-43 as it is that Bush is leading Kerry 49-46.

Does this mean that Kerry will beat Bush? Absolutely not. It's a long time 'til November, and anything could happen between now and then. But this represents the first moment that a Democrat can be said to actually be beating George W. Bush. The idea that the President cannot lose this election should now be shelved. This election is wide open.

Sunday, January 25, 2004
Notes from the Road

As I noted earlier, my good friend Andy is in New Hampshire this weekend, as it's only a short drive from his home in Boston. (He also spent last weekend in Iowa, giving him a good perspective on the race so far.) He sent out his thoughts on the race so far, and I thought them worthy of further play:

I went to see Clark on Friday night in Derry, decent turnout. Shook his hand, was face to face with him and the verdict: creepy, wears eye makeup. Creepy. Slouches, not much of a stump speaker. Kerry cancels him out completely. He is, however, a complete unreformed left-wing crazy liberal. After hearing him speak, I believe he believes the nutty left-wing things he says. Random celebs in support: Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (her mother and Clark's mother worked together in Little Rock). Sam Malone is downright frightening in person and to paraphrase Laura Ingraham: Shut the F--- up and act....

Went to see Edwards today in Nashua, the place was packed and he has a very full schedule here. People were going crazy for him and so many showed that they ended up in a second auditorium where he spoke after our gathering. Well-coordinated campaign, very good stump speaker. He is a pretty boy (and a smart pol: full on suit and tie but with trailrunner boots, all the crunchy outdoorsy NH voters noticed--points scored), mullet plays well here. He grabs at political opportunities during the speech (he says he wants to take questions, but instead says people have been asking him, "You haven't been in Washington long enough, have you?" to which he takes opportunity to portray himself as DC outsider and and gets the crowd revved up.) People seem genuinely moved by his speech, many compare him to Clinton. And these people should know....The polls seem not to reflect excitement on the ground for him. I will venture to say Edwards comes in second here, and if he does by a solid margin, this becomes a very interesting two person race through the next series of primary dates. Otherwise, everyone here is talking about a Kerry/Edwards ticket. Random celeb in support: Glenn Close.

Dean seems to be running a stealth campaign here. Not many public events and he just seems to be sinking in support He did have some kool-aid induced zealots waving signs in downtown Nashua as I ate at a brewpub that served a lot of Mich Ultra and had signs advertising Bud.

Who knows what's going to happen? All I know is I'm not driving to Plymouth, NH to hear Martin Sheen tell me (at Josiah Barlett Elementary) why he supports Dean.

Interesting. There certainly is some buried poll data to support the proposition that Edwards could zip into second. The big question is whether there's enough time between now and Tuesday.

Poll Watch

Who knows what the heck is going on here? Latest ARG New Hampshire:

Kerry 38% (+4)
Clark 17% (-2)
Dean 16% (+1)
Edwards 15% (+2)
Lieberman 5% (-1)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 8% (-4)

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV New Hampshire:

Kerry 38% (+3)
Dean 15% (unc)
Clark 14% (-1)
Edwards 12% (unc)
Lieberman 7% (+2)
Kucinich <1% (-<1%)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 14% (-4)

LatestUSA Today/Gallup New Hampshire:

Kerry 38% (+3)
Dean 25% (+2)
Lieberman 12% (+2)
Clark 10% (-4)
Edwards 9% (-2)
Kucinich 2% (-1)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 4% (unc)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire:

Kerry 30% (-1)
Dean 23% (+1)
Clark 13% (-1)
Edwards 9% (+1)
Lieberman 9% (+2)
Kucinich 2% (unc)
Sharpton 1% (unc)
Undecided 13% (unc)

So which polls are right? The ones with Kerry well ahead of the pack, or the ones with Dean closing? And is Lieberman really in third?

Well, first of all, I tend to believe polls that group together--and in this case, that's the ARG tracking and the Globe tracking, both of which indicate that this is a race for second. Zogby tends to be good at spotting trends, not so great at nailing the number. Gallup--maybe they're right, but I don't trust a poll that shows Lieberman ahead of Edwards and Clark.

At any rate, the polls are disparate enough that they must be polling different people. Averaging the polls (which makes the eyes of statisticians glaze over in horror, but which often gives a good idea of what things look like with the noise filtered out) gives us this:

Kerry 36.0%
Dean 19.8%
Clark 13.5%
Edwards 11.3%
Lieberman 8.3%
Kucinich 1.4%
Sharpton <1%
Undecided 9.8%

If the aggregate poll is to be believed, Kerry is still well out in front, with Clark fading and Edwards climbing. Third appears well within the reach of Edwards, and second is not out of the question, depending on how Dean fares over the next couple of days. (For what it's worth my friend Andy, who's up in New Hampshire this weekend, claims that Edwards will take second based on the enthusiasm of his rallies.)

All in all, it looks like Dean may not be sliding anymore, but I just don't buy that he's within 10% of Kerry. Clark continues to slip now that his raison d'etre ("I can stop Dean") becomes irrelevant. Edwards looks like the real deal, and I will bet everything I have that Lieberman does not come in third. Kucinich is barely relevant. Sharpton is irrelevant. And John Kerry will come out of New Hampshire with all the momentum in the world.

The Invincible George W. Bush

When are people going to get it through their skulls that this guy is not a popular President? In the latest Newsweek poll, Bush's favorable rating is down to 50% from 54%, down 4% after the State of the Union address--an utter disaster, given the historical bump the President gets from the SOTU. Moreover, 52% of voters say they do not want Bush re-elected [sic], against 44% who think he deserves a second term.

This guy is vulnerable, folks. Very vulnerable.

Friday, January 23, 2004
Marshall on Dean


And along the lines of establishments and organization, we'd all gotten accustomed to thinking that Dean destroyed the Democratic establishment in the Fall when he rocketed ahead of their candidates, developed a new way of fundraising, and bashed them silly for their feeble opposition to the president. But maybe that's wrong. Perhaps when he really delivered that establishment a fatal blow was in the winter when he got all of them (Gore, Bradley, Carter sorta, Harkin, McGreevey, Kamarck -- yes, we saw Elaine, we saw!) to endorse him and then, with them in tow, drove off a cliff.

He has some interesting things to say about the strenght of Kerry's organization, too.

Poll Watch

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 34% (+3)
Dean 19% (-2)
Clark 14% (-2)
Edwards 11% (unc)
Lieberman 3% (-1)
Other/Undecided 19% (+2)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 30% (+3)
Dean 22% (-2)
Clark 14% (-2)
Edwards 7% (-1)
Lieberman 6% (-1)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (+0.1)
Undecided 17% (unc)

Latest ARG New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 31% (+4)
Clark 20% (+1)
Dean 18% (-4)
Edwards 11% (+2)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 12% (-2)

Kerry continues to lengthen his lead in all three polls. I may be proven wrong, but I just don't see how a candidate who wins Iowa and New Hampshire can be stopped. Clark is slipping in the Globe and Zogby polls, but interestingly, in the ARG poll he's actually passed Dean for second. Dean, meanwhile, is trailing by an average of 11.3 percent in the three polls. If he loses by double digits--after leading this state by twenty-seven percent three weeks ago--I don't see how he can survive.

Edwards is pushing double digits--that plus a reasonable second in Iowa gets him to Mini Tuesday, but then what? Clark desperately needs to pass Dean for second in order to stay viable. Holy Joe is done. Kucinich is a crazy troll. Al Sharpton, quite frankly, has no business being called a major candidate. The best he polls is 0.1%. He belongs in the loony bin with Vermin Supreme and Lobster Man.


Blah. Nothing noteworthy, other than Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-CT) essentially admitting that he is, in fact, a Republican. (Joe: yes, you're ideologically consistent. So is George W. Bush. It's not going to get you through the primaries.) John Edwards doesn't know what DOMA is, but fortunately for him, Brit Hume looked so idiotic trying to play gotcha that most people probably don't realize it. Kerry wasn't super-exciting, but he didn't need to be, and he looked the best out of everyone. Dean couldn't attack because of Yeagh!, and while he laid out a decent case for why he is a credible candidate, he failed to lay out a case of why he's more credible than Kerry, Edwards et. al. Clark had nice words on being a Democrat, but was otherwise forgettable. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Fantasy Island) wowed everyone by displaying 8 1/2 by 11 charts to an auditorium full of people and promising the nation free ponies. Sharpton had the best line of the night on the Yeagh! speech, but followed it up with a response to a question on the Fed that proves he has no more business being in this debate than Vermin Supreme.

Overall grades:

Clark: C+
Dean: B-
Edwards: B
Kerry: B
Kucinich: D
Lieberman: B
Sharpton: D-

Kerry wins the debate because nothing much was shaken up, and that favors the frontrunner.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
Andrew Sullivan Redeems My Faith

You know, I pick on Sully from time to time, but truth be told, I've always liked the guy. He was a great editor of The New Republic and while I disagree with Sullivan on the glory that is George W. Bush and Gulf War II: The Vengeance, I agree with him quite a bit on gay marriage, social liberalism, and fiscal pragmatism.

So it's refreshing to see Sullivan actually trying to work through his feelings on President Bush:

This time, I'm leaning toward Bush for those reasons but appalled by his fiscal recklessness, worried by his coziness with the religious far right, and concerned that he has no forward strategy in the war. I'm equally concerned about the obvious irresponsibility of the Democrats on national security (and spending) at a time of great peril. But at least they're not going to bait gays and nominate judges like [Charles] Pickering. So I'm stuck, and trying to figure things out as I go along. Hence my attempt to look at the Democratic candidates as possible presidents and subject my support for Bush to further scrutiny. Why is that such a crime? Isn't part of what's wrong with our politics that this kind of weighing of options has become so taboo?

Yes, it is. I strongly dislike Bush, and doubt I could ever vote for him. But those who support Bush are not automatically idiots, blinded by avarice and bloodlust. Many are people of conscience who believe, for whatever reason, that Bush is the best man for the country.

I hope Mr. Sullivan can be persuaded that candidates like Clark, Kerry, and Edwards would not surrender unilaterally to al-Qaieda. I hope he comes to realize that our current President has said very pretty words, but his war in Iraq has sidetracked us badly. I hope he comes over to support the Democrats in this election.

He's welcome, as all moderates should be. And if, after careful consideration, he decides to continue his support for the President? Well, fair enough. At least he's weighing his options. And that should be applauded.

Incidentally, he closes out his post with the following:

Matt Welch pans the SOTU and hammers [James] Taranto for calling opposition to the PATRIOT Act the al Qaeda cheering section." Glenn [Reynolds] shares my feelings about Bush's domestic drift right now, but is unenthusiastic about the Dems as well...Is the blogosphere turning against Bush? A little, I'd say. The president is in a lot more trouble than he seems to think. His cocky partisanship Tuesday night was unnerving.

Indeed he is. All the more reason to applaud the Democrats for looking for a winning candidate.

Now Watergate Does Not Bother Me, Does Your Conscience Bother You? Tell the Truth.

So GOP staffers evidently hacked into Senate servers and stole sensitive, confidential Democratic memos, which they then passed on to the press.

Hmm...a break-in...stealing the opposition's internal who was it who did something like that?

Funny, our buddy Robert Novak shows up again:

Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs.

Citing "internal Senate sources," Novak's column described closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees.

The Republican defense?

As the extent to which Democratic communications were monitored came into sharper focus, Republicans yesterday offered a new defense. They said that in the summer of 2002, their computer technician informed his Democratic counterpart of the glitch, but Democrats did nothing to fix the problem.

Other staffers, however, denied that the Democrats were told anything about it before November 2003.

Or possibly, the technicians informed the Republicans of the glitch, and they did nothing to inform their colleagues across the aisle of the problem. wouldn't ever happer that way, right?

At best, the GOP is guilty of dirty tricks. At worst, this is criminal activity. Either way, the Republican leadership in the Senate should apologize immediately and fire the staffers involved.

I'm not holding my breath.

Poll Watch

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ-TV New Hampshire Tracking Poll:

Kerry 31% (+4)
Dean 21% (-3)
Clark 16% (-1)
Edwards 11% (+2)
Lieberman 4% (unc)
Other/Undecided 17% (-2)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 27% (+4)
Dean 24% (-1)
Clark 15% (-1)
Edwards 8% (+1)
Lieberman 6% (-1)
Kucinich 1% (-1)
Sharpton 0% (-0.1)
Undecided 17% (+1)

Latest ARG New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 27% (+3)
Dean 22% (-4)
Clark 19% (+1)
Edwards 9% (unc)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 14% (+1)

Latest Zogby Bush Favorable/Unfavorable

Overall Favorable/Unfavorable:

Favorable: 49% (-4)
Unfavorable: 50% (+3)
Delta: -1 (-7)

Deserve to be re-elected?

Yes: 41%
No: 48%

Kerry looks to be moving onward to victory, and Dean appears dead in the water. The debate tonight may tell the tale--if Dean can somehow get up off the mat...but I just don't see that happening. The big question now: can Dean hold off Clark? Dean can maybe claim to be alive and limp into Mini Tuesday with a second-place finish. A third-place finish and he's done.

Bush remains vulnerable, and the Democrats now appear to be searching for the candidate who can take him out. It's a nice change of pace from the years where Democrats would search for an ideologically pure, unelectable candidate.

What the Hell? Politics

A nice Iowa caucus story here, and a fun look at Joan Jett's politics:

At age 43, Joan Jett still looks every bit the ass-kicking rocker. But then, as she tuned her guitar, the musician explained why she supports Dean. What came out of her mouth couldn’t have been more surreal had she broken into a quiet, wide-eyed acoustic chorus of "Kumbaya." "Deficits," she said. Joan Jett is a deficit-hawk. To inspire the great unshaven liberal masses, the original riot grrrl revealed that she was inspired to campaign for Dean because he balanced the budget for 11 consecutive years as Vermont’s governor.

Entertaining. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Dollar Bill Y'all

Kerry raised over $365,000 overnight, and John Edwards raised over a quarter million dollars after their strong showings in Iowa. Dean, meanwhile, has called on supporters to raise $1 million by next Tuesday, but his campaign declined to say how much had been raised--raising the question of whether $1 million is possible for a candidate who is clearly circling the drain.

Lileks is Good For Something

The techno remix of Howard Dean's Yeagh! Speech is pretty damn funny.

Poll Watch II

Latest Boston Globe/WBZ New Hampshire Tracking:

Kerry 27%
Dean 24%
Clark 17%
Edwards 9%
Other/Undecided 23%

Latest ARG New Hampshire Tracking:

Dean 26% (-2)
Kerry 24% (+4)
Clark 18% (-1)
Edwards 9% (+1)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Gephardt 2% (-1)
Kucinich 1% (-1)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 13% (unc)

Here's a question: could Dean actually finish third in New Hampshire? I doubt it...but anything seems possible at this point.

The Night Ed Muskie Cried

In 1972, the insanely right-wing Manchester Union-Leader wrote a vicious editorial about the wife of a presidential candidate.

Jane Muskie, the wife of Democrat Ed Muskie, was a drunk and a loudmouth, with a vocabulary like a sailor--at least, according to the editorial.

It was libelous, and Muskie--the Democratic front-runner and the man Nixon feared most--rented a flatbed trailer out front of the Union-Leader's offices. He stood on the trailer and he delivered a speech condemning the paper, condemning the editorial, and defending his wife.

At one point, his voice caught, just a little. A little sob. Maybe the hint of a tear.

It was a little thing, a tiny moment. But it was a moment too much. The press reported that Ed Muskie had broken down crying, and though he went on to win New Hampshire, his campaign never really recovered.

Of course, those of us born after 1945 may wonder what all the fuss was about. A man crying a bit while defending his wife from scurrilous attacks? Hell, he wouldn't be a man if he didn't cry. But 1972 was not 2004, and a man who would cry could never be taken seriously as President. Muskie went down in flames, and it was George McGovern and his ill-fated candidacy that ended up earning the Democratic nomination.

Thirty-two years later, in a ballroom in Iowa, Howard Dean had his Ed Muskie moment.

He had just finished third in Iowa--a crushing, disappointing third, when just weeks before he had been a prohibitive favorite. It was perhaps a time for reflection, to congratulate his opponents, and to vow to fight on.

Instead, Dean came out charged up. He stripped off his jacket and handed it to Sen. Tom Harkin, rolled up his shirt-sleeves, grabbed an American flag and waved it, and tossed an orange stocking cap--the emblem of his supporters--into the crowd. And then, in a dull roar, he told the crowd that the campaign would roll on:

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York. And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. To take back the White House. Yeagh!

In print, it looks fine. But delivered--with Dean's voice hoarse and throaty, his brow furrowed, his hand jabbing repeatedly--it looked, and sounded, insane.

By the time Dean was shouting "Viva New Mexico! Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede! Si se puede!" he looked like a joke. He looked like the caricature of Howard Dean--the guy who was too angry and too unhinged to be President.

At the time, I laughed at Dean, reminded myself of why I wasn't supporting him, and moved on to considering what would happen in New Hampshire.

But as the day went on, I kept coming back to the speech. Radio shows were using his strangled "Yeagh!" as a quick soundbite. The Daily Show tied the speech to the announcements for monster truck rallies. And I started to realize that this speech had become more than a speech--it had become Dean's denouement.

From the moment Dean gave the speech, his fate was sealed. Even if he recovers to somehow win the Democratic nomination--bloody unlikely, now--all the ammunition the RNC will need is contained in that speech. He looks unstable. He looks like a guy who should not be allowed near the button.

He doesn't look a bit like a President.

Howard Dean's ultimate failure is his inability to understand that Presidents--and by extension, candidates for the presidency--must guard their words carefully. Much has been made of Bush's gaffes, but never have I seen George W. Bush jumping around the stage, acting like a lunatic.

Howard Dean lost on Monday night. He lost for good. He will not be President. He will likely lose the nomination. And he is finished as a positive force for this campaign.

It is lamentable. Like so many politicians before him, Dean had interesting ideas, a potentially powerful persona, and a base that could carry him to victory. But like so many politicians before him, he was unable to recognize in himself any flaws, and thus, unable to rectify them.

For Dean, the Muskie moment has come, and there can be no undoing it. He will limp on--he has the cash to do so. But after he loses in New Hampshire next week, he should do himself, his supporters, and the party a favor and quit. It's the least he can do.

Blah Blah Blah

"It was the worst Bush SOTU yet. Maybe the occasion wasn't up to the previous ones. But the speech lacked a real theme; it had only a few good lines (at the beginning, on the war); offered no new vision or any concrete future direction in foreign policy; and revealed complete insouciance toward the deficit and, more importantly, toward those who have not yet benefited from the economic recovery. A pretty bad political misjudgment in my view."

What crazy left-winger said that? Atrios? Pandagon? Michael Moore?

No, Andrew Sullivan, to whom I will give credit to for actually daring to question Dear Leader.

As for the speech: Platitude Platitude Tacit Call for Anti-Gay Amendment Platitude--it was tripe. But arguably better than the Democratic response (who in the wide world of sports thought Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi were the best standard-bearers for the Democratic party? Hello?)

Poll Watch

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby New Hampshire Tracking:

January 18-20

Dean 25%
Kerry 23%
Clark 16%
Edwards 7%
Lieberman 7%
Kucinich 2%
Sharpton <1%
Undecided 20%

Interesting to note that two of the three days of polling were pre-Iowa, and that in the first post-Iowa day of polling Kerry actually led Dean by 2%. If these numbers are correct it's bad news for Clark, worse news for Dean, and spectacular news for Kerry. I'm curious to see what the ARG poll looks like.

Can Dean now be said to be in freefall? He's all but surrendered a 27% lead in less than twenty days. And as I'm going to note shortly, I think he may have had his Ed Muskie moment on Monday night.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Census Data Used to Set Up Anti-Terror Database

Yes, the report is in the Washington Times, but still...yikes.

As Hit and Run notes, it's also against the law, but hey, that never stopped Ashcroft--and our friends at NASA (all together now: Whaaa---?) before.

SOTU Preview

Hey, the State of the Union Address is tonight! I bet Karl Rove was giggling aplenty when he scheduled the SOTU right after the Iowa caucuses, expecting that Bush could steal the thunder of Howard Dean, who would have just won an easy, boring race.


I don't know if anyone even remembers the SOTU is on tonight, but just in case, here are the things I think you should look for tonight:

1. The state of our union will be "Strong," "Good," or "Excellent," or some other generally positive term.

2. The President will make a tortuously contrived case for why it was okay to invade Iraq even though Iraq did not, in fact, have any WMDs. Bonus prediction: Bush may hint that there are, in fact, WMDs in Iraq.

3. Bush will do something to try to co-opt a Democratic issue--health care reform would seem to top the list.

4. The President will mention Mars and Luna. He may even use them to frame the speech.

5. John Kerry, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman will be conspicuously absent from the proceedings.

6. At some point, Bush will point to a soldier in the gallery and tell everyone what a wonderful person that soldier is. He will not point to any widows or widowers, however.

7. The speech will last about 90 minutes, and few will remember anything said in it tomorrow. However, it will give Bush a 2-5% boost in the polls.

Good Stuff

Tom Schaller over at DKos has a great Iowa postmortem that you should read:

...I'll preface what follows by saying that I know the people reading this site are going to get pissed and shout me down and tell me it ain't so, but it is so, and here it is: Dean was organized, but in a very superficial way.

At Precinct #63, which caucused at the same, East High School as Precinct 37, there were ample Dean signs. The precinct captains had the super-looking yellow T-shirts that with blue lettering that read "Dean Precinct Captain, January 19, 2004." On the back it read "It starts here, it starts now." The Dean campaign had not one, not two, but three observers in the room. Amazingly, Kucinich had two, but neither Kerry nor Edwards nor Gephardt had any. But so what? What counts are the people in the caucuses, not the ones watching from the sidelines.

More damning, the Dean precinct captain on the floor was ineffective and diffident. I watched with amazement as a more-motivated, more-mature Edwards captain named Susan Voss (sans T-shirt, sans sideline coaches) went over to the Gephardt folks in Precinct 63, who at that point had only seven members but needed nine for viability. Susan sat down at their table, looked them in the eye, appealed to them about how Edwards is an "articulate, bright, caring person." You can tell not only that she meant it, but that she could personalize it. She didn't have any training, and it showed - it showed as authentic, that is.

Read the whole thing.

The New Power Ratings

As determened here:

Kerry 44.0
Edwards 29.1
Dean 7.5
Clark 3.5
Lieberman 3.0
Kucinich 0.2
Gephardt (12.9)
Sharpton (14.5)

Wowie Wow Wow Wow

Well, I imagine you're all familiar with the Iowa Results, but they bear repeating:

Kerry 38%
Edwards 32%
Dean 18%
Gephardt 11%
Kucinich 1%

Holy moly. Folks, fasten your safety belts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Many questions, I'll provide my answers.

First of all, in a race that was by consensus Too Close to Call, how did the two candidates with the least organization win--and win big?

Well, never underestimate the annoying nature of Deaniacs. My friends who visited Iowa said you couldn't get away from the orange-hatted throng, even though you desperately wanted to. The "Perfect Storm" folks were energized, arrogant, and annoying, and may well have turned off as many people as they turned on.

It's also pretty obvious that the "1s" that the Dean campaign were counting on turned out to be a bit undependable. Such is the double-edged sword of having a youthful army of supporters: college students have better things to do than go to a damn caucus. The elderly, who overwhelmingly backed Kerry, have nothing better to do.

As for Geppy--well, he was banking on 20th-century economy folks, and as many union supporters as not went for someone else.

Second, why was Howard Dean acting like he was drunk?

I don't know, but it's a good question. Shouting the names of all fifty states while making faces suggesting you're about to have a myocardial infarction is not the way to convince moderate and independent voters that you're a good choice for them. Also, he claims to be taking Tom Harkin with him to New Hampshire and onward. Is Harkin going willingly, or is he just afraid Dean's going to rip his head off?

Can Kerry parlay this into something bigger?

There's no reason to think he can't. The latest ARG Tracking Poll, which covers Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, looks like this:

Dean 28% (unc)
Kerry 20% (+1)
Clark 19% (-1)
Edwards 8% (unc)
Lieberman 7% (+1)
Gephardt 3% (unc)
Kucinich 2% (+)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 13% (-2)

Kerry is back in second in New Hampshire, and well within striking distance, especially now that people know he can win a state. Kerry once had the lead here, and lost it to Dean. But now he's clawing his way back up the ladder, and he has at least a reasonable shot at winning, and more important, a spectacular shot at finishing a close-and-closing second.

How 'bout Edwards?

I must admit, John Edwards is the guy who has me questioning my allegiance to Wes Clark. He sounds good. He sounds Presidential. Hell--he sounds Kennedyesque.

He has no shot in New Hampshire.

Good news for Edwards, though: he does have a good shot in South Carolina, where he was only five points off the pace before his great showing in Iowa. Edwards is doing the right thing by putting in a showing in New Hampshire, but the real tale of his campaign will be shown in South Carolina.

What now for Clark and Lieberman?

This was bad news for Wesley Clark, and worse news for Joe Lieberman. Clark had been rising partly because of his military experience and moderate credentials, but also because he was viewed by many (including me) as the one guy who could stop Dean. Now there are at least three guys who can stop Dean, and both Kerry and Edwards have some advantages over Clark. Clark has already fallen out of second in New Hampshire, and it will be interesting to see whether Kerry can keep charging ahead in the coming days.

As for Joe Lieberman: it was a nice run. He sat out Iowa, and now looks poised to finish fourth or fifth in New Hampshire. You can do poorly in Iowa or New Hampshire and survive; you can't tank both. And any hope that South Carolina might rescure Holy Joe faded with a resurgent Edwards. Besides, Kerry, Clark, and Edwards are all relatively moderate. Lieberman's cry that he was defending the DLC rings more hollow when he's running against someone other than Howard Dean.

So Who's Up, Who's Down, and Who's Out?

Glad you asked!

Who's Up

BIG WINNER: John Kerry

Eight days ago, I said:

He made a bit of a run in Iowa, and for a moment, it looked like he could vault Gephardt for second. But now, it looks like his best hope is third.

Thus proving that I can be an idiot sometimes.

Kerry won because he fought for Iowa with everything he had. He won because he just plain wanted it more. And he won because, at the end of the day, he's a guy you could see in the White House. Is he the most exciting guy in the race? No, but he's the most experienced, and guess what, folks: experience matters. And unlike Howard Dean, he doesn't frighten small children. A close second in New Hampshire puts him in the upper echelon; first place in New Hampshire cements him as the guy to beat. As it is, pencil him in at #1 right now.

John Edwards

I said last week that Edwards had the faintest glimmer of hope. That glimmer is now a full-blown floodlight. In many ways, Edwards is the most appealing of all the candidates, a self-made man, a Southerner, and a candidate who's actually for something. If he can climb into double digits in New Hampshire and win South Carolina, he's got an excellent shot. And should he fall short of the nomination, he'd make a great VP.

Who's Down

BIG LOSER: Howard Dean

Want to know what a candidate who's toast says? It's this:

"If you would have told us a year ago we would come third in Iowa, we would have taken anything for that."

Yes. And if I'd told you two weeks ago you would come third in Iowa, you would have fired Joe Trippi.

Dean is wounded badly by this. Much of the past two months has been spent positioning Dean as the inevitable winner. He was too organized, too popular, and had too much money to be beaten, or so the story went. Oh, maybe he'd get edged out here or there, but he was in it.

But in Iowa he didn't just get edged out, he got destroyed. A twenty-point defecit, third-place finish (and not even close to second) is not the kind of result Howard Dean could abide. All of a sudden, the democrats who moved to Dean because Dean was the prohibitive favorite have a reason to look at the opposition. All of a sudden, the people who planned to give Dean money because he could take it to the General have a reason to play coy. All of a sudden, Dean has gone from being a safe bet to a long shot.

Dean has a lot of money and crazy supporters, but he must win New Hampshire to stay in the game. A loss in New Hampshire would end it for Howard. He must win New Hampshire; even a close second is not enough.

Wesley Clark

I've already detailed the reasons why this was bad for my boy Wes. He has to somehow beat Kerry in New Hampshire to stay in the game. I just don't see that happening.

Who's Out

Dick Gephardt

Actually out.

I feel bad for Dick. By all accounts he's a decent guy, and he had the decency to quit after the 2002 electoral debacle. But everyone save Dick Gephardt knew that he wasn't going to win. Even had he avoided utter annihilation in Iowa, he still was at the Kucinich line in New Hampshire. I hope a Democrat wins, because Dick Gephardt would make a good Secretary of Agriculture. But he's never going to be President.

Joe Lieberman

Has no reason to run anymore, and he's got no shot. The question now is who will Lieberman's supporters back once he's out of the race? (My prediction: George W. Bush).

Dennis Kucinich

The Wacky Troll will keep campaigning into March, because he's too dumb to quit. Interesting side note: the crazy tone poets who played his rally in Iowa made a big point of telling the assembled people that Kucinich was actually leading in the polls. The crowd laughed, until they realized that the crazy tone poets were being serious. Then, the crowd became frightened.

Al Sharpton

Huh? Oh yeah, Al eighth-place finish there, Al.

Power Rankings and Odds

1. Kerry (6) 4-1
2. Edwards (5) 5-1
3. Dean (1) 5-1
4. Clark (2) 10-1
5. Lieberman (3) 50-1
6. Kucinich (8) Off The Board
7. Sharpton (7) Off The Board

Dropped Out: Gephardt (3), Moseley Braun (9)

Monday, January 19, 2004
Five Score Years Ago....

By the way--a good Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to you all. As always, a wonderful reminder of the fierce urgency of now, be it the Iowa Caucuses, the War on Terror, or the continuing struggle to affirm that all of God's children be treated equally in our nation.

Three Shiites To The Wind

That's easily the greatest punchline to a joke I don't know--ever.

Anyhoo, big enough news to momentarily bump Iowa:

"The sons of the Iraqi people demand a political system based on direct elections and a constitution that realizes justice and equality for everyone," Hashem al-Awad, a representative of [Ayatollah Ali] al-Sistani, told the crowd. "Anything other than that will prompt people to have their own say."

In response, the crowd chanted: "Yes, yes to elections! No, no to occupation!"

Saying he had a message for the United Nations and the U.S.-led coalition, al-Awad told the crowd: "No regime can exist without a role for the people."

But fortunately, we're getting Kofi (Minnesotans: he's One Of Us) Annan involved, and we know how much the administration respects the United Nations.

Poll Watch II

Final MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby Iowa Tracking:

Kerry 25% (+2)
Dean 22% (unc)
Edwards 21% (+3)
Gephardt 18% (-1)
Other/Undecided 14%

Second Choice:

Kerry 25%
Edwards 21%
Gephardt 15%
Dean 13%

Tracks with other polls. The second choice numbers are very interesting, especially if (as Kos suspects) Gephardt or Edwards falls below 15% in parts of the state.

For What It's Worth

My friend Chris, who like me has been unsure of who to support in 2004, went down to Iowa for the weekend with--well, pretty much everyone but me. (Such are the joys of having a seventeen-month-old: somebody has to watch her, and that somebody this weekend was me. Well, I couldn't very well force the Wife of the Moderate Left to single-parent two weekends in a row, could I?)

Anyhow, I digress. Chris called me this morning to tell me that he's very impressed with John Kerry--that far from being a wooden campaigner as the media claims, he's dynamic and inspiring. Chris has been toying with Clark, but he seems convinced right now that Kerry is the guy.

Apropos of nothing, he also said that Edwards had a few smarmy moments, Kucinich had hippie tone-poets at his rally, Dean caused anger and resentment by crashing a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rally, and most of all, he regretted not getting a "We Love Dick" chant going last night during a Gephardt rally.

Sorry I missed the fun. But tonight should be interesting.

The Official Jeff Fecke Power Rating

The Jeff Fecke Power Rating is now available for your enjoyment. The Power Rating ranks the candidates based on delegate count, states won, states in which a candidate finished second, and the candidates' perfomance against expectation. Results are a bit skewed right now as we've only had the DC Primary, but hopefully this will be semi-useful. Or if not, fun. So enjoy!

As of right now, the ratings are (out of 100):

Dean 23.5, Sharpton 10.6, Gephardt 8.2, Kerry 7.6, Clark 4.0, Lieberman 3.5, Edwards 2.2, Kucinich 0.3.

I'm expecting that to change significantly after tonight.

My Big Fat Iowa Prediction

As Gregg Easterbrook says: all predictions guaranteed wrong or your money back.

At any rate, here's my snapshot of what I think is going to happen in Iowa:

Kerry 26%
Dean 25%
Gephardt 24%
Edwards 20%
Other/Uncommitted 5%

When all shakes out tonight, I see John Kerry with a slight lead on delegates, with Dean and Gephardt very, very close behind. Edwards finishes strong, but just not quite strong enough. Somewhere in Iowa, a few candidates like Kucinich or Clark will get 15% of a caucus, enough to get a few delegates.

If I'm right, Kerry vaults into front-runner status, and validates everything he's done. Dean is wounded, but not critically. Gephardt is 2% shy of viability, but it's 2% too much. Edwards had a nice run.

Tomorrow, we find out.

Last Poll Watch Before the Caucuses

You've probably seen it by now, but here's the Des Moines Register Iowa Poll:

Kerry 26%
Edwards 23%
Dean 20%
Gephardt 18%
Kucinich 3%
Clark 2%
Moseley Braun 1%
Lieberman 1%
Sharpton 1%
Undecided/Uncommitted 5%

Latest ARG New Hampshire Tracking:

Dean 28% (unc)
Clark 20% (-2)
Kerry 19% (+1)
Edwards 8% (unc)
Lieberman 6% (unc)
Gephardt 3% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 15%(+1)

Clark seems to have plateaued, while Kerry is poised to retake second. Dean has settled at 28%, down from the high thirties a week ago.

In Iowa, the two candidates leading the Register poll are the two candidates with the weakest organization among the top four. Were Iowa a primary state, Kerry would look like a sure thing, between his obvious momentum and his solid lead. But it isn't a primary state, and Jebus only knows what will happen tonight.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

So with Saddam captured, all is duckies and bunnies in Iraq, right?

No, not so much:

Iraq's Shiite leaders threatened yesterday to trigger strikes, demonstrations and possible confrontation with U.S. troops if election demands are not met, while the United States' top civilian in Iraq said the U.S. might alter its plan for selecting an interim Iraqi government but that the June 30 deadline would hold.

Now, right now we're having our biggest problems in the soi disant Sunni Triangle. The Shi'a south has been relatively quiet. But with this posturing, things could get bad indeed.

We don't know how things will play out. But this is another easily forseen eventuality that GDub appears to be unprepared for.

Did Clark Support The War?

Philosoraptor eviscerates the contention that Clark was pro-war until the election. It's a long post, but it's also a must-read.

Why Dean is Fading

I saw my dad this morning. He's a more dyed-in-the-wool liberal than I, and he's just the kind of guy--strongly anti-war, not averse to paying higher taxes, seriously anti-Bush--who would seem to be ripe for the Deaniacs to pick. But he said something about Iowa that I thought was very prescient.

Dean, he said, had given voice to the Democratic anger at Bush. Anger about the war, the taxes, the mendacity of our President. And because of that, Dean rose quickly. But now, it's time to actually get serious about who would be the best standard-bearer for our party. And for a number of reasons, Dean doesn't seem to be the right guy.

That may well be why Dean is sliding now. Before go time, Dean appealed to the emotional needs of the Democratic party. But now it's time to pick who would make the best President--and that just isn't Howard Dean.

I think it's an interesting point--and one that Dean must be aware of as he continues his slide.

Poll Watch

Latest ARG New Hampshire:

Dean 28% (unc)
Clark 22% (-1)
Kerry 18% (+2)
Edwards 8% (+2)
Lieberman 6% (-1)
Gephardt 3% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 14% (-2)

Latest Survey USA Iowa:

Certain Voters
Dean 24% (-5)
Edwards 22% (+5)
Kerry 21% (unc)
Gephardt 20% (-1)
Other 10%
Undecided 3%

Probable Voters
Edwards 28%
Kerry 26%
Dean 20%
Gephardt 20%
Other/Undecided 6%

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby Iowa Tracking:

Kerry 23% (-1)
Dean 22% (+3)
Gephardt 19% (unc)
Edwards 18% (+1)
Clark 3% (unc)
Kucinich 2% (-1)
Lieberman 1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 11% (-2)

Iowa is in Too Close To Call looks like it's there for Kerry or Edwards to win, if they can get their supporters out and overcome the organizational advantage of Dean and Gephardt. In New Hampshire, Kerry has closed from 28% down to 10% down in less than a week.

Friday, January 16, 2004
Shorter Insty

Even though everyone says Wesley Clark was not relieved of his command in Kosovo, he was, and no amount of evidence can convince me otherwise.

New to the Blogroll

Creative Dissonance. Enjoy.

Poll Watch

Latest ARG New Hampshire:

Dean 28% (-1)
Clark 23% (-1)
Kerry 16% (+1)
Lieberman 7% (unc)
Edwards 6% (+1)
Gephardt 3% (-1)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Undecided 16% (+1)

Latest MSNBC/Reuters/Zogby Iowa:

Kerry 24% (+2)
Gephardt 19% (-2)
Dean 19% (-2)
Edwards 17% (unc)
Clark 3% (unc)
Kucinich 3% (unc)
Lieberman 1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Uncecided 13% (+2)

Kerry's lead in Iowa has reached the point where it effectively nullifies the organizational advantage that Gephardt and Dean have. Edwards has climbed valiantly into an effective tie for second, but it remains to be seen whether he has the organizational support to parlay it into something bigger. Kerry is Comeback Kid '04 for his charge to the top in Iowa, plus his rebound into respectablility in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Dean continues his slow fade. He has to do something, and quickly, to arrest his collapse. If Dean finishes third in Iowa--or God forbid, fourth--it may deal a blow to his campaign that he cannot recover from. Much of Dean's surge has come from his sense of inevitablility. If all of a sudden he's just part of the pack, he may not be able to recover.

Meanwhile, Kerry has to be pulling in the many people who have been saying, "Well, I like Kerry, but I don't think he's got a chance." He has a chance now--a good one. And to think, a week ago he'd been left for dead.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Pollwatch II

Lates ARG New Hampshire (change in parenthesis):

Dean 29% (-3)
Clark 24% (+2)
Kerry 15% (+2)
Lieberman 7% (-2)
Edwards 5% (+2)
Gephardt 4% (unc)
Kucinich 1% (unc)
Sharpton 0% (unc)
Braun 0% (unc)
Undecided 15% (-1)

Conventional wisdom is that Kerry and Clark are pulling from the same pool, and therefore a Kerry rise means a Clark fall. That isn't happening. Both Kerry and Clark have risen five points each since Monday, while Dean has hemmorhaged seven points. Undecideds, meanwhile, have only dropped two points, suggesting that both Clark and Kerry are pulling in disaffected ex-Dean supporters.

At this rate (and it bears repeating that political trends are nonlinear), Clark would pass Dean for first in the next few days.

New Hampshire is suddenly becoming a three-man race between Dean, Clark, and Kerry--and that means John Kerry is back. Should Kerry win Iowa and finish a strong-and-closing third in New Hampshire he would have as much claim to the front-runner's mantle as anyone. Not bad for a campaign that I--and to be fair to me, everyone else--was writing off three days ago. Talk about a reversal of fortune.

As for Dean--uff da. (That's Norwegian for "Holy F---ing Christ"). I'm starting to get the feeling that rank-and-file Democrats have done a gut check, and decided that Howard Dean just plain isn't the guy to beat GDub in November. I could be wrong--Dean has a great organization, a dedicated core group, and more money than anyone else. But it seems like Trippi and Co. have a reverse Midas touch right now. If Dean loses Iowa and New Hampshire (which is not out of the question right now, and in fact, I would suggest it might be more likely than not), it may well mark the biggest collapse in Democratic primary history.

Then again, he may just win 'em both, and three weeks from now we may be talking about Dean inevitablilty again. Things are that volitile right now.

UPDATE: Latest KCCI-TV Iowa:

Dean 22% (-7)
Kerry 21% (+3)
Gephardt 18% (-7)
Edwards 18% (+10)
Kucinich 5% (+3)
Clark 2% (unc)
Lieberman 1% (-1)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 13% (unc)

Basically mirrors the tracking poll when MOE is factored. Iowa is a three--and maybe four--man race, and Dean, Kerry, Gephardt and Edwards all appear to have a shot, though some have a better shot than others.


So I'm reading Drudge, and I come across this article that appears to blow my endorsed/cursed candidate out of the water:

Even the most ardent Clark supporter will question if Clark's current and past stand on the Iraq war -- is confusion or deception, after the DRUDGE REPORT reveals:


Holy Toledo! I'm speechless. I bet this'll hurt....

Wait a's Drudge.

So that means it's crap. Here's what Clark said in his testimony:

The United States diplomacy in the United Nations will be further strengthened if the Congress can adopt a resolution expressing US determination to act if the United Nations will not. The use of force must remain a US option under active consideration. The resolution need not at this point authorize the use of force, but simply agree on the intent to authorize the use of force, if other measures fail. The more focused the resolution on Iraq and the problem of weapons of mass destruction, the greater its utility in the United Nations. The more nearly unanimous the resolution, the greater its impact in the diplomatic efforts underway.

The President and his national security team must deploy imagination, leverage, and patience in crafting UN engagement. In the near term, time is on our side, and we should endeavor to use the UN if at all possible. This may require a period of time for inspections or even the development of a more intrusive inspection program, if necessary backed by force. This is foremost an effort to gain world-wide legitimacy for US concerns and possible later action, but it may also impede Saddam's weapons programs and further constrain his freedom of action. Yes, there is a risk that inspections would fail to provide the evidence of his weapons programs, but the difficulties of dealing with this outcome are more than offset by opportunity to gain allies and support in the campaign against Saddam.

If efforts to resolve the problem by using the United Nations fail, either initially or ultimately, the US should form the broadest possible coalition, including its NATO allies and the North Atlantic Council if possible, to bring force to bear.

So basically, Clark said that the US should pass a focused war resolution, support inspections, give inspections a chance to succeed and, if they failed, form a broad coalition to invade Iraq.

Which can I put this so even Drudge gets it...exactly what Gen. Clark has always said he said.

Why do any of us read Matt Drudge? And WTF is up with that stupid hat?

(Links via Pandagon.)

Maddux Back In Cubby Blue?

Could be.

A starting rotation of Prior, Wood, Maddux, Zambrano, and Clement?

Mmmm...even better than the Astros' rotation....

But Where Will Her Eight Votes Go?

Carol Moseley Braun will drop out of the race and throw her support to Howard Dean. Dean will thank Moseley Braun, but admit that he might only get three of her eight supporters, because "endorsements are not transferable."

Poll Watch

Latest Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby Iowa Tracking (change in parenthesis):

Kerry 22% (+1)
Dean 21% (unc)
Gephardt 21% (unc)
Edwards 17% (+2)
Clark 3% (unc)
Kucinich 3% (+1)
Lieberman 1% (unc)
Moseley Braun 1% (unc)
Sharpton <1% (unc)
Undecided 11% (-5)

Yes, you are reading correctly: JOHN KERRY IS IN FIRST PLACE IN IOWA.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

Now, as we all know, polling a caucus is notoriously difficult. Unlike a primary, you have to get your voters to commit to about 74 hours of partisans complaining that, despite the fact that the meeting is in a one-floor building, the lack of an elevator still represents a symbolic slap in the face to the disabled.

Nevertheless, Kerry is suddenly up off the mat and fighting. When Kerry was languishing about 6-8 points back, a third place finish in Iowa would've been devastating. Now, more than likely, Kerry, Gephardt, and Dean will all be able to claim victory in Iowa, and given the vagaries of the caucus system, it will be hard to dispute any of their claims.

The big question now is New Hampshire. Will erstwhile Kerry supporters, who have been abandoning their guy in droves, return from the Clark campaign where they are presently ensconced? Or will they stick with the General, who is climbing so fast in the polls that Howard Dean felt compelled to campaign there even as Kerry was passing him in Iowa?

Is it conceivable that Howard Dean could actually lose both Iowa and New Hampshire?

However things shake out, Dean appears to be in freefall right now. It's a bad, bad time to be in freefall, and (dare I say it?) Dean may be on the verge of choking away the nomination.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Those Damn Anti-War Professors

I mean, we all know how those colleges are.

Huh? What? Army War College?

Nah. Couldn't be. They don't let liberals in the army.

Stop Us Liberals Before We Kill Again!

It's looney, it's wingnutty, it's

Let's consider the example of Sri Lanka. Before DDT use began in the 1950's, there were 2.8 million malarial infections and 7,300 deaths annually. After two decades of spraying houses with minuscule amounts of DDT (grams, rather than the tonnes formerly used in agriculture), there were only 17 infections and 0 deaths. By any standard, these are impressive figures. Yet DDT had, by this time, fallen out of favor in the developed nations who had funded the house-spray programs. The money stopped and, by the end of the 1960's, malaria cases were up to half a million annually.

Yet, instead of allowing or even recommending that impoverished countries use the small amounts of DDT that could save millions of lives, the UN has come up with extremely expensive and impressively inefficient methods to deal with the problem.

Damn the UN, those blue-helmeted swine! Why, I bet they even discussed the issue, and while, sure, DDT destroys ecosystems, it's just like those pinkos to care more about birds than people.

Or maybe it's just that the mosquitoes in question became DDT-resistant. No, can't be that. Must be a liberal conspiracy.

You Know, I Haven't Heard from Adam Yoshida For a While

What's the lad up to?

What I propose is that the Congress pass a law empowering the President to issue letters of Marque to individuals who wish to act as privateers.

Ah...still insane.

Saddam Hussein Escapes, Steals Evidence of WMDs

Either that, or the buried shells didn't have any chemicals in them to begin with. But who would believe that?

Carter to Give Dean Non-Endorsement Endorsement

Well, Kos was right--Jimmy Carter is set to kinda, sorta endorse Dean. But not.

Ex-presidents typically remain neutral during the primaries--vis Bill Clinton, who may be making fundraising calls for Wesley Clark, but who refuses to endorse him--and Carter apparently will stop short of officially endorsing Dean. However, "words of praise could help boost the former Vermont governor's chances when the race turns to the South on Feb. 3."

If it walks like a duck, and it swims like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If Carter holds a press conference to praise Howard Dean, it's an endorsement.

Bad form, Jimmy. But good news for Howard Dean.