Re-Handicap the Race after Iowa

Old Pat’s showing in the Iowa caucus, or the straw poll at the Republican State Convention (I’m not sure which and I think that Dewey may have them confused, too) was the first warning for the unaware that the State GOP was changing from an outfit dominated by the economic opportunism of the Farm Bureau to an organization run by and for the Jesus wing of the citizens-against-sin. The change has had dire consequences for the State since that outfit now holds the swing votes in both houses of the state legislature and leaves precious little room for the pragmatic art of politics. I can’t help but think that the Jesus wing looks at Iran and is secretly envious of the Council of Guardians.

Incidentally when Bush One was running he wowed the locals in the face to face small meetings at civic clubs, country clubs and private homes.

I just saw Dean’s speech - man, the guy’s almost nuts. Screaming at the top of his lungs, shaking his fist in the air - someone needs to tell him to tone it WAY down. He’s taking this, “I’m the really angry guy” schtick past the point of self-parody.

I think Dean’s finished. And if by chance he does get the nomination, the Dems deserve the ass whupping Bush will lay on him.

What, now? Dean was hardly the press’s darling. He received more negative press than any of the other candidates—including our incumbent president. Call it justified or not, it’s not fair to say that Dean was the darling of the press. The press was pretty complicit in spreading the “angry Dean meme.”
As to the race: well, I’m surprised. I figured it could go to either Kerry, Dean, Edwards or Gephardt, but I didn’t expect anyone to get such a lopsided victory. Kerry came in first with 38%, followed by Edwards at 33% (I’m pretty sure; I mean, I’m doing this from memory.) Dean was a distant third at a lot less, and Gephardt was even further back. I’m surprised to see Kerry vaulting so far ahead, and I’m even more surprised to see Edwards where he is, too. And I didn’t think Dean and Gephardt would be so far back in the pack.

What’s it all mean? Well, Gephardt is expected to drop out. No surprise there. If he couldn’t win big in Iowa, he couldn’t be expected to do well anywhere else. This certainly doesn’t help Dean. Dean can by no means be counted out, but he’s got to do better. If Dean doesn’t pull off a strong win in New Hampshire, that’ll be the beginning of the end. This does make me uncomfortable, vis-à-vis the Dean candidacy. A week ago I predicted Dean would be the one marching on toward Boston this summer; now he’s in hot water. Or lukewarm water. Whatever. He’s like a frog in warm water that… oh, never mind.

This makes Edwards more of a contender. Edwards won’t win New Hampshire, but he’ll likely have a better showing there than one might have expected. This will help him in the Southern primaries, particularly in South Carolina. I still don’t think Edwards will be able to win the nomination, but he seems to be trying to make himself seem like a viable vice presidential candidate. I’m dubious about that, too. He’s geographically correct, but I dunno…

So what’s this mean for the big winner? Well, it’s hard to say. Iowa winners aren’t always the nomination winners, but this is still a shot in the arm for Kerry, whose candidacy had been dismissed as dead in the water by a lot of pundits (including myself.) Kerry’s propects in New Hampshire are improved, where he’ll scrap with Dean and Clark, who are both doing well there. It remains to be seen how the news from Iowa will affect Dean in New Hampshire. A strong showing for Kerry in Iowa might translate as good news for Clark elsewhere. We’ll see. If Clark pulls support from Kerry in New Hampshire, then Clark looks good for contests in the South, considering that Kerry has a geographic advantage in New Hampshire. If Clark draws support from Dean, then all bets are off. Clark will most likely eat into Kerry’s constituencies, though, and wreak havoc on the Kerry campaign in the South.

I figure by February 3 Kerry won’t be looking so hot. Clark will rise, with Edwards snapping away some support, and Dean still as the X factor. If Dean can rally the troops for February 3, he’s still in this, but he’ll need a strong win in New Hampshire to do that effectively. At this writing, Dean still has the most delegates of all the candidates, but things can change. Kerry, Dean and Clark are the front runners now, with Clark’s star rising fast. Dean needs to lurch forward, and Kerry needs to preserve momentum. Edwards needs to prove to the eventual nominee that he’d make an excellent vice president, who’d help them at least carry North Carolina.

On Super Tuesday, Dennis Kucinich will surprise everyone by winning all twelve states. The Democratic Party will be thrown into chaos. Journalism will reach a new height in quality as all the heads of the executives at Fox News simultaneously explode. (Well, not really, but that sure would make good copy, wouldn’t it?)

If Dean simply thanked the crowd, hugged his wife, and said ‘its on to New Hampshire’ - it would have been boring - but he’d still have a shot. But his Bob Knightesque performance tonight was about the most embarassing spectacle I have ever seen. His putdown of the man who implored him to be more “neighborly” with Bush probably caused Dean’s debacle. Even if the man was a Republican shill, Dean could have handled him with far more tact, instead of going off on him. I don’t see him coming back easily unless he makes a fundamental change in his behavior and public personality. However, Howard Dean is simply too authentic and honest to make himself into someone else for the benefit of being more electable. If he can’t win New Hampshire, he’s history.

The guy that impressed me was John Edwards. He looks barely 40 (although he is 50), and has little experience compared to most presidential candidates (though he does have as much or as George W. Bush did in 2000). Up until now I was dismissive of him, but he actually took the opportunity - perhaps his first true chance to address a big part of the voting public as a serious candidate - to make a very gracious, reasoned, and solidly delivered speech that actually attempted to connect to those who were not blind partisans to his candidacy. I truly think he is likely to emerge as the front runner in February when this heads to states like South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico.

Kerry was perhaps too tired and hoarse to make a similar appeal. He can’t just run on being the guy who won Iowa. That will be old news in two days.

The only question mark still left for me is Wesley Clark. He could upset all of this in New Hampshire next week!

You know the saying-- there’s no such thing as “bad” publicity. We won’t be seeing him on the cover of Time and Newsweek again. Yeah, the press has loved reporting the bad along with the good, but they loved reporting about him. And that’s what matters.

Well, let’s look at the probable future of the race, first in no particular order before I rank them.

Dean: He has been slipping ever since he started acting like a petulant little child, and if you thought the 2000 Bush campaign lacked “gravitas” then you’re in for a repeat with Dean. He seemed really odd tonight, rambling a list of states remaining in the primary campaigns and ending with some bizarre “rwaaarrr” noise like he’s a bengal tiger. But he does have alot of money, and a national focus, and still plenty of support, so I really think he could stay in this thing a long time. The number of delegates that anyone could wrap up through Iowa, New Hampshire, and So. Carolina isn’t enough to win squat at the Convention. He also has an assortment of Dem establishment figures’ endorsements, though I suspect some of those guys may be regretting it now that Dean is on the decline.

Clark: He’s a general, but other than that he has nothing to distinguish him. The veterans seem to be heading to Kerry’s camp, so unless Clark pulls out a big win in NH, he’s out of the race right away. Which is what I predict will happen, he’s gone.

Kerry: All the momentum, and unlike previous Iowa winners, he’s basically going home for NH. The nomination looks like his to lose, and he’s definitely in the race at least through the multi-state primary weeks regardless of what happens in NH or in SoCar.

Edwards: Polling in the single digits in NH, could rise this week. But the prospect of victories in the South, and the fact that “ability to beat Bush” seems to be the #1 quality Dem voters are looking for means Edwards has too much of a chance to drop out before the multi-state primary weeks either. In fact, I’d say Edwards could start to look VERY appealing to Dem voters, as his Southern origin doesn’t seem to detract from his definitely left-wing positions on domestic issues. Plus, as Kerry had previously been the Iowa frontrunner months back, Edwards’ rise is even more surprising and could give him even a bigger boost.

Lieberman: Nice guy, but he’d need a miracle in NH to stay in the race. His prospects in South Carolina are basically zero, so he’ll drop out after a poor showing in New Hampshire.

Two of the nine have now called it quits, and Sharpton and Kucinich’s campaigns were never realistic to begin with, credit them at best with trying to get a few different issues on the table in the debates (unfortunately, Kucinich’s interesting plans to radically alter US drug policy never got any media attention.)

So I’d rate it like this now:

  1. Kerry - He’ll get all the media attention this week because of this comeback victory, that should propell him into the limelight and give a definite advantage.

  2. Dean - Despite mediocre performance tonight, still has supporters spread across the nation, and has had all the media focus (perhaps too much focus) for months, primaries attract more casual voters than a caucas does, so I think he still has a shot.

  3. Edwards - He’s Southern, he could cut a dent into the “red states” of the electoral map, he’s young, has a good image, is very good in debates, and manages to articulate a pretty mainstream Dem position on the issues without sounding like an artifact of a prior age (Gephardt), a spoiled child (Dean), or someone whose familiarity with the party’s platform is limited to talking points somebody handed him in a pamphlet (Clark.)

  4. Clark - Good numbers in NH give him a shot, though I think it’s dim. If Dean drops late in the race in NH like he did in Iowa, Clark could slip up from second place. But Kerry is right behind him, and Clark may not be the beneficiary of Dean’s defectors.

  5. Lieberman - He’s just a step above Kucinich and Sharpton, he’s got nothing.

I think NH will finish: Kerry, Dean, Clark, Edwards. 3rd place won’t be enough for Clark, he and Lieberman will drop out. So then we get a three-horse race the rest of the way, and there’s good reason to think all three will stay in it for quite awhile, much longer than we’ve seen in recent years.

I saw bits of the Dean speech and I agree it was horrendous. I think his chances of winning the nomination have been seriously hurt but I wouldn’t rule him completely out. I thought Kerry was down and out a few weeks ago and look at what he has done. But Dean has his work cut out for him. He needs to be a lot more disciplined and look more presidential. As I mentioned in an earlier thread his tax plan is a liability and Kerry attacked it relentlessly and successfully. OTOH he has been suprisingly successful at lining up endorsements from Democratic bigwigs and I have always thought that he is a lot cannier a politician than he seems. Let’s see if he has the stuff to recover.

At this stage , though, Kerry looks like the best bet (though not by a huge margin) to win the nomination and he is certainly a safe bet to fight the general election effectively. He is isn’t nearly as good a speaker as ,say, Edwards but he doesn’t really have any major weakness. And he gave a decent victory speech today. He and Edwards would make a great ticket. Incidentally for those of you wondering how Kerry pulled this off this article provides one explanation: a political operative called Michael Whouley who also helped Gore win the primaries in 2000.

Incidentally I disagree that Clark made a mistake in skipping Iowa. He entered the race too late to build a good ground operation in Iowa so it made sense to concentrate on New Hampshire. And if Dean had won Iowa then Clark would have been in a great position to position himself as the anti-Dean . Clark has been doing decently in New Hampshire in any event. He has also raised a lot of money so I think he will able to survive a defeat in NH. The key for him is probably South Carolina.

The snippets I saw were really disturbing. I feel for the guy, it was quite a blow after being the presumptive nominee in the press for awhile. But creepy nonetheless.

Does anyone know of a link to the whole thing?

Once Gephardt withdraws, we’ll be down to Dean, Kerry, Edwards, Clark, Leiberman, Kucinich, and Sharpton. The latter two never were ‘real’ candidates anyway. Leiberman has to do really well in NH to stay alive (if you think it was a gamble for Clark to skip Iowa, here’s a guy who definitely has all his eggs in one basket), and it ain’t gonna happen. Dean’s probably toast.

I don’t know about handicapping, but I’m starting to root for Edwards. He’s saying all the right things from my POV, he’s obviously connecting with voters while doing it, and he’s got that optimistic happy-warrior groove working. Don’t underestimate that, folks: Clinton had it in '92, and Bush had it in 2000. (But seems to have lost the mojo lately.)

What Edwards has to do in NH to stay in contention is a reasonably strong tie for second, or better. Then the fight comes to his part of the country.

Same is more or less true of Clark, although having skipped Iowa, I think a rough tie for second leaves him weaker than it would Edwards. Having shown he can woo and win voters in Iowa, Edwards doesn’t have to prove as much in NH.

I think Kerry really needs a win in NH to keep it going, and I think he probably will win NH. Because when the action moves south, both Edwards and Clark are on their home field. If Kerry places second or worse in NH, then he’s not gonna look very strong going south.

Here’s the thing - and I’m borrowing this from the year-end issue of the NY Times magazine piece - they may not really need the South. The piece was about a new ‘forget the South, we can’t win there’ school of thought in the party. I believe the piece pointed out that Gore could have won the Presidential election regardless of Florida if he’d just swept New England. The Democratic strategy could be to look away from the South because it will be so hard to win there, and to go for other, more likely swing states elsewhere in the country.

I agree that Clark is in trouble. I’m not sure he could’ve done well in Iowa because of his late start. But he was running, at least in part, as the anti-Dean. Dean is no longer the clear favorite, so that niche has been co-opted. Kerry has many of the same selling points as the General (decorated veteran, etc.), and he lacks the questions - i.e. loyalty to the Democrats, confused position on the war.

Dean is likewise in trouble. He’s very smart and on some issues, mostly related to health (not surprising), I think he’s still got the best position. But his personality flaws have become a real problem. The New York Times today compared him to Howard Beale from Network (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”). His negativity and the fact that he’s been the punching bag for the other candidates has really hurt him.

Edwards is a big winner. He’s inexperienced, but I agree with John Mace - he’s upbeat and sunny, which (South or no South) could help Kerry, who’s neither.
[Pure hypothetical for a moment.] If Edwards served a term or two as VP, that would take care of the age and inexperience thing, and he could be a good Presidential candidate a few elections down the road.
In the past few days, I’ve been really impressed by Kerry personally, and he won a great victory tonight. It’s true that the Iowa winner winner doesn’t often go on to be the nominee, but Kerry didn’t run a traditional Iowa campaign. (Another indicator, although this is a weird year: the nominee is almost always a guy who places third or better in Iowa - sorry, Mr. Kucinich - and that may also be trouble for Clark.) Kerry’s definitely got momentum, he’s experienced, and I don’t think he has any characteristics that will immediately turn people off. Exciting stuff, and I’m that much more curious to see where it goes now.

I’ve been a Kerry supporter the whole way, but Edwards is in a very good position.

Kerry has more experience and a military background, but those things don’t seem to matter as much as people think they do.

What seems to matter more is personality, looks, and voice. All of which Edwards has over Kerry.
They are very similar on most issues, but it seems to me that Edwards is more moderate, while at the same time being capable of making speeches that sound exciting.
I liked Edwards’ speech about taxes. Instead of talking about getting rid of tax cuts, he talked about getting rid of tax loopholes. Which makes sense - the very wealthy have always made great use of tax loopholes, and it was sort of understood, though not explicitly said, that their higher tax rates were a counter to their loopholes. Now that they have cut their tax rates, its time to get rid of the loopholes too.

I like both Kerry and Edwards a lot, and I dislike all the other democratic candidates. It could go either way, but I’m going to guess that Edwards’ charm and his campaign of hope will trump Kerry’s experience and military record.
Prediction: Edwards gets the nomination.

My preferred results would be:

Kerry for president, Edwards for vice president.

I think the Iowans did a remarkable job at winnowing the field for us. I think the race is now Kerry’s to lose. My reaction to each candidate:

John Kerry A remarkable metamophosis. He’s got the experience, he’s statesmanlike, he now gives a very good speech. He’s going to pull the veterans away from Clark, he’s going to pull Dean voters that are a little uneasy over Dr. Howard’s temper.

Howard Dean We like Ralph Kramden but we didn’t elect him president. His speech after Iowa makes us wonder if he can hold his liquor.

John Edwards Seems as comfortable as an old rocking chair. A Kerry-Edwards ticket, or the reverse, seems quite formidable. Did an amazing job in Iowa taking the high road and remaining positive. That approach kept him a serious candidate.

Dick Gephardt Very wisely packs it in. A good and gracious public servant. We will miss him.

Wesley Clark Don’t look now, general, but Kerry pulled the rug out from under you.

Joe Lieberman Will finally get the message in NH. You’re fun to have around, but we didn’t want Dick Cavett for president any more than Ralph Kramden.

Dennis Kucinich Nice guy, but going nowhere fast. What a deal with Edwards, I’d be interested to see if it ever worked in Dennis’ favor.

Big loser in Iowa- George W. Bush. One year from today, he’ll be harmless.

I’ve been saying this for years. Like you said, had Al Gore won one more state—any state—he would have won the presidency without Florida (the non-voting Washington, DC elector notwithstanding.) Things have changed a little since then, what with the South having a net gain of four electoral votes (I count Texas and Oklahoma as the Southwest, for the record,) but essentially a Northern formula would work for the Democrats. Sweeping the Northeast completely, plus winning the Rust Belt (Ohio in particular,) the Grain Belt and the West Coast, they’d pretty much have it sewn up, with no Southern state going Democratic.

However, it wouldn’t make sense for the Democrats to ignore the South; concentrated efforts in certain states would make sense. Florida sits on the fence, and the Democrats could do well in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, with a little effort. (With a Southerner on the ticket, this job would be easier.) Barring victories in those states, paying attention to the South would help the Democrats in that it would keep Bush on his guard in those states and it would help the Democrats in certain sections of non-Southern states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Missouri. All those states will be battlegrounds, so every bit helps.

I won’t fret if Bush sweeps the South; I expect him to win at least a majority of the electors down there, if not all of them. But if the Democrats shine in the Northeast and the Midwest and stay solid on the West Coast, they’re looking good. If they pick up a few Western states, they’re far better off. The 2000 Democratic state of New Mexico will be up for grabs again, as will the 2000 Republican states of Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. That accounts for 29 electoral votes that could definitely swing things one way or another.

I’m not sure, Marley23, if Dean’s in trouble. He certainly isn’t in as comfortable a position as many of us (including me) previously thought. As a Dean supporter since April, I have to say his “We’re gonna take New Hampshire! And South Carolina! And Oklahoma!..” speech was embarrassing to watch. Me, I’m up for voting for any candidate who can beat Bush, and I still think Dean can do it. Kerry just doesn’t seem viable to me, despite his great showing in Iowa yesterday. Same with Edwards. I could be wrong, sure, but those are my hunches. I’m reluctant to comment on Clark; he remains an untested quantity. We’ll know for sure about him by February 3.

**John Mace—**I disagree that the media reporting about someone is necessarily a boost. Remember all the negative press Al Gore got, compared to the greater amount of positive coverage that George W. Bush got? Also, it seems the media are rejoicing too much in Dean’s poor showing in Iowa. This adds up. I wonder when they’re going to start claiming that “angry Howard Dean” invented the internet? Anyway, Osama bin Laden got lots of reporting done on him, too. Very little of it was positive.

Ahem. If you had bothered to look at the link I provided, you would have seen a page from the Des Moines Register showing caucus results (and not state convention results) since 1972. Additionally, there is a link on the page to an essay on Iowa caucus history, which notes Robertson’s second place finish in 1988.

There’s no need to be confused, or to suggest I was confused, because I provided a clear cite to a valid source for that data point.

Kerry/Breaux 2004

There’s your ticket (and bumper sticker)

Didn’t Kerry spend a lot more money in Iowa than most of the other candidates? Is he going to be able to keep spending that amount, especially considering that he turned down government funding? I know his wife has a lot of money, but it will still get pretty expensive.

Contrary to several previous posts, I do not believe Wes Clark is in dire straits. On the contrary, he, and now John Edwards, continue to do an absolutely masterful job of campaigning “above the fray”. They have both staunchly refused to engage in attack politics, and the few stabs Edwards took at Dean during some of the early debates a) made Edwards look bad, and b) were not duplicated in later appearances.

Kerry’s showing in Iowa could be attributed to similar methods. Prior to Iowa, and in preparation for NH, Lieberman played the biggest heavy, hacking at Dean until he finally lost it and hacked back. While Kerry did the same thing to a lesser extent - by the time he started showing up on Iowans’ doorsteps, he had shifted away from attacking Dean to promoting himself. See, even in saying “Dean is a schmoe”, Lieberman was still making it about Dean, not himself.

If I were a political strategist, I would find all this very interesting from a strategic perspective, and frankly playing out very well thus far for the Democratic party.

-raving northeast liberal whips the party into a frenzy, boosting interest, turnout, and grassroots fundraising. The contest is successfully defined most importantly as a way to get rid of GWB.
-raving northeast liberal goes too far, prompting questions of electability. The party base, though, is already energized by the drama of stark raving lunacy, attack ads, wacky debate antics, etc. High voter turnout during the primaries and the general election is seemingly assured.
-plodding centrist candidates, sensing opportunity, decide to engage in good old fashioned mudslinging at the raving liberal. They are so out of date they do not realize that it damages them just as much as their target.
-his ego stung by the attacks, raving northeast liberal whines and mudslings back, forgetting that it was anything but old-fashioned political tactics that made him the front runner. In the process, he looks like an ass.
-the less strident, more visionary, more progressive candidates at last become the hot topic of coverage. Having benefitted from the mobilization of the electorate by the catfight among the competition, people are now primed to focus on message over fist-shaking.

Lieberman did his job - he hacked Dean relentlessly until Dean-o took the bait and spit back. After a 5th place finish in NH, Joe calls it quits and publicly endorses Kerry.

Kerry proved (with the help of the Iowan citizenry) Dean cannot be elected. Kerry wins N.H.

Clark is one of the principal beneficiaries of the Dean Iowa loss. Dean backers will begin to flock to Wes, in large part because he has managed to tap into the same internet activist Clintonite constituency as the Mad Vermonter. It’s an easy transition, and Kerry’s pro-war Congressional vote will keep the anti-war crowd away (as it will for Edwards). Clark will try to shore up his anti-war credentials, despite earlier evidence he waffled a bit, as the principal differentiator between him and Kerry. Clark comes in 2nd in NH.

Dean takes 3rd in NH by default. Poor sap - spent all that time and money, and it all washes out in the span of two weeks. The guy is a good mouthpiece for the disgruntled Democrats - everybody likes to vent every now and then - but he refuses to chill. But it’s still a good tool to inspire voter turnout. Angry people are more likely to actually do something.

Edwards a very strong, very close 4th in NH, possibly even 3rd. Why? Because regardless of what they may think about the corn-sucking Iowans, NH voters got the message they need to think about who can beat Dubya. Edwards’ message and abstention from old-style attack politics will pay dividends.

Kucinich waits until SC to withdraw, where his endorsement of Edwards will pay off the most. This should secure the Green vote for Edwards throughout the remainder of the primary process.

Sharpton sticks with it throughout the South. I don’t know if he’ll ever formally withdraw - he might just stop showing up. However, I guarantee several rousing stump speeches in the Deep South will make headlines. If nothing else, he will continue to hammer Dean on minorities, further decreasing the Mad Vermonter’s electability.

It will come down to Kerry/Edwards voters vs. Clark voters.

Clark’s pluses are his outsider status, his antiwar stance, Southern origins, and military record. But his lack of liberal credentials will make it hard for him to stay on message. He is too vulnerable to the vicious mudslinging Karl Rove is sure to employ in the general election.

Kerry boasts the war record, the Democratic credentials, and the experience. Undeniably a good choice for President. But man, what a stiff. His pro-war vote on Iraq will hurt, as will his lack of appeal in the South (no charisma, patrician heritage, etc.).

Edwards, defying all conventional wisdom, takes the Democratic nomination. He’s been consistently vocal on anti-war, so people will willfully overlook his pro-war Senate vote. If Dubya takes potshots about his level of experience, all he has to say is “Governor of Texas?”. Plus a savvy choice of running mate (your guess is as good as mine, but definitely someone to offset security concerns - Bill Richardson was a good guess, or Max Cleland).

There is absolutely no comparison between John Edwards in a general election and George W. Bush. Put them both on a stage and ask them questions on TV? Puh-leaze. Edwards was a trial lawyer for heaven’s sake. No contest. I guarantee there would be JFK comparisons, too - young, photogenic, a visionary, positive message, but without the elitist New Englander baggage. This election will not turn on Dems stealing Pub votes, or Pubs stealing Dem votes. It will be who can get more of their 50% of the electorate to the polls on Tuesday. Edwards by 5-8% margin, all attributable to minority turnout and an epiphany among socially conservative dirt-poor Southern whites that the Bush family is actually a bunch of fat cats with a summer compound in Maine.

Let me add to the wishful thinking by adding that Dean is not is as bad a shape as some people think. His concession speech will probably hurt him more than the third place finish. However, he has the most money and has shown the willingness to go negative effectively. He thought his opposition in Iowa was Gephardt so he unloaded on Gephardt and knocked him down to 11%. It may have cost him some votes in Iowa but one of his opponents is now gone. He achieved one of his goals in knocking out Gephardt. Gephardt’s union supporters are most likely to head towards Dean since he has courted them the most. Kerry and Edwards will not be able to stay above the fray if Dean starts attacking them and there is plenty of material. Both Kerry and Edwards were pro-war, and Edwards helped write the Patriot act. Clark will now be on hand to split the Kerry veteran vote and Lieberman will be around to split the Edwards moderate vote. Money is more important outside of Iowa and New Hampshire and Dean still has the most. Dean has shot himself in the foot so many times he is about to run out of toes, but don’t write him off yet. He was the frontrunner for a reason and most of those reasons still stand.

You could be right, but I think you’re missing the point about the press coverage. You have to look at the target audience. In Dean’s case, it isn’t the Pubs who like Bush that he’s after, but the Dems who are angry. In ObL’s case, he isn’t courting Westerners. He’s trying to drum up suport from Arabs and Muslims, and he’s been pretty successful. Perhaps you remember the dancing in the street in some Arab/Muslim citites post-9/11. “Bad press” didn’t hinder that.