January 20, 2004

Not what we all expected in Iowa, was it? My favorable impression of Howard Dean has come as much from his vaunted organization as from his passion, but if this is the best they can do, then he's gonna be a Tsongas-like footnote real soon. I don't think he's dead by any stretch, and in fact if his team learns from its mistakes (such as having inexperienced precinct captains in place, as described here and here, though things sound better here), then I think he'll be the stronger for it. If not, well, it was fun while it lasted, and I for one will give him a ton of credit for his innovations and his spark. Agree with him or not, we needed that. I don't agree with what Tucker Carlson says in that second Kos link, but it's the funniest line I've heard from the campaign so far:

"Rooting for Dean is fun, it's exciting, but in a way that adultery and drunk driving are fun and exciting - the next day, you're like, `What was I thinking?'," said Carlson.

Big Media Matt's hypothesis is that Wes Clark would have been best served by a Dean win, as that would have likely mortally wounded Kerry and Edwards. Now the two of them have the mojo, and Clark could get squeezed out in New Hampshire. I'm not so sure about that, since Clark has laid a lot of groundwork there, but who knows? I'll say this: of the four viable candidates left (sorry, Joe), Kerry's probably the least attractive to me. Other than his status as a vet, he's got all of Dean's cultural negatives without any of the outsider cred. He was also getting the full Al Gore media treatment from the get-go. Of course, the way the press has treated Dean and Clark lately, all that shows is that the media will do that to anyone.

Finally, I'm glad that John Edwards did so well. I liked him way back before I'd heard of Howard Dean, and I was always a bit sorry that he seemed to disappear without making an impression on this race. I'm happy that, for this one night, at least, that I was premature in that judgment. We'll see if he can keep it up.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 20, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

Man, Oh man,

What a disappointment. I was even going to register as a Liberal just to vote for Dean. I love watching him implode at retired folks. I would have directed the Democratic Party exactly where it needed to go...I WANNA BE A SOCIALIST!!! By golly it didn't work in the USSR and we're gonna try it in the good ole USA!!


Posted by: Michael Todd on January 20, 2004 8:27 AM

I don't put as much weight in the Iowa caucuses as the New Hampshire primary, so I wouldn't worry too much about Dean finishing third. If he finishes third or worse in New Hampshire, however (a possibility with Kerry being a New England native and Clark entering the campaign), then the fat lady might start singing for his campaign.

Kerry's test will come in the Feb. 3rd primaries, which are based in the South and Southwest. This seems to be more of Clark's territory, however, anything is possible. If people in those states take the Tucker Carlson approach to Dean, then he is finished.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 20, 2004 9:21 AM