Rick Perlstein of the Village Voice thinks so and has written a devastating overview of the Lieberman effort: ["Day of the Spoiler"].
"It works like this. He has already conceded Iowa, but let's suppose Lieberman doesn't do too poorly in the other early states, picking up some delegates here and there, perhaps even winning a primary, say one of the five on February 3, the week after New Hampshire, when his name recognition will help him because no one will have time to campaign in all these states. Thus emboldened, he campaigns harder - by intensifying his pattern of tearing down his opponents as dangerously liberal - and remains committed to staying in for the duration. Then, as his star fades, he'll have only one viable strategy left, a manic, all-or-nothing strategy: trying to convince Democrats that the front-runner must be dumped altogether, using the dark arts of opposition research, trying to dig up something purportedly embarrassing from the front-runner's past that the jubilant Republicans might even have missed if left to their own devices."
Wow, talk about hitting it right on the head. Also, Perlstein's Al Gore in 1988 example is a great one. Gore attacks against Mike Dukakis were then picked up by Republicans and the Duke went from a 17 point lead to losing all by a handful of states. However, Perlstein missed a very important part of the puzzle: The fact that Gore hammered Dukakis long before Super Tuesday. The Willie Horton allegations were exposed by Gore during a televised Boston debate with the late radio talk host Jerry Williams - weeks before the New Hampshire primary.
And then there is this:
"How many Democrats will be willing to work their hearts out for the guy single-handedly responsible, in his kid-glove non-investigation as chair of the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, for the Bush administration emerging from the Enron scandal scot-free? How many, for the man whose most enduring work in the Senate was preserving the favorite accounting dodge, the non-expensing of stock options, of disgraced high-tech companies like Enron and Worldcom?"
Exactly. Why will all of us working folks out here support a Lieberman candidacy when we already have the guy in office. Big "R" or Big "D" - what difference does it make? They are both essentially the same.
Kerry on 'Hardball'
I missed John Kerry on 'Hardball' earlier this week. Thankfully, Adam Reilly of the Boston Phoenix and Eileen McNamara of the Boston Globe, didn't: ["John Kerry whiffs at the Kennedy School"]
"But the most promising moment for Kerry and his supporters came when Matthews botched the introduction. "My guest tonight, John Kennedy -- I'm sorry. John Kerry." Kerry entered to a lengthy standing ovation. But then he opened his mouth, and any serendipitous momentum disappeared. Instead of letting Matthews' gaffe seep, undisturbed, into the minds of the audience, Kerry quickly described a time when Ted Kennedy made the same mistake -- and just like that, the error was rendered mundane rather than magical. Next, Kerry singled out his daughter Vanessa, who was sitting close to the stage and looked visibly embarrassed when the cameras found her. And then, for 15 uncomfortable minutes, he tried to clarify his stand on the Iraq war."
Here's McNamara's biting take on it: ["Faux politics in full force"]
The host has a more discernible political bent than the audience, which might as well be at a screening of "The Blues Brothers," another of Kerry's favorite movies. Dawn Birch, the crowd warmer for the MSNBC show, is so good at her job that she gets the Ivy Leaguers to applaud on cue with the same frenzy, whether it is for a Kerry comment or a commercial break. "I'm going to be wearing these pretty white gloves," she says of the hand signals she will send when she wants a big, big show of enthusiasm. "I see a lot of people chewing gum. Not good on television. Remove the gum," she instructs before the cameras roll. When did college students become so good at doing what they are told? Handpicked students -- just the right mix of gender and ethnicity -- are led to microphones to ask prescreened questions. "Your parents paid tons of money and pulled every string they could to get you here," Birch reminds them. "They are looking for you to ask a question tonight." Not just any question, though. "No Iraq, no Medicare, no health care," instructs one handler, patrolling the aisles in search of some predetermined balance.
Well, what the hell is the point? No hard questions? Come on. The JFK School has been the home of some raucous debates over the years. Why not have a good political pillow fight? Pretty sad. Glad I missed it.
'Well I was born in a small town ...'
Who would have thought that such brilliance would come from John Mellencamp?: ["An Open Letter to America: It's Time to Take Back Our Country"]. It will be great to see if he endorses or works to organize for a candidate.
23% of Voters in Poll say Nader Should Run in 2004
by Tom Squitieri/USA Today/Wednesday, October 22, 2003
"Nearly one in four voters want Ralph Nader to run for president in 2004, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll released Tuesday. The poll found that 23% of those surveyed said Nader should run in 2004; 66% said he shouldn't. Poll numbers may not translate into votes, but a surprised Nader said the numbers show that "people are looking for alternatives to the Democratic and Republican duopoly."
Nader got 3% of the vote as the Green Party candidate in 2000. He also was its candidate in 1996. He said he will decide in December whether to run in 2004. He asked the California secretary of state to place his name on the Green Party's presidential primary ballot for March. A Draft Nader organization is setting up in all 50 states. Party officials said the likely choice for vice president is Erin Brockovich, a consumer activist and investigator for a California law firm. She had no comment.
In the poll, 52% rejected the idea that Nader's 2000 run cost Democrat Al Gore the presidency; 41% said it did. Some blamed Nader for drawing votes in Florida and New Hampshire that cost Gore those states. In the poll, 28% said they have voted for an independent or third party candidate for president; 71% said they haven't. The poll of 1,003 people Sept. 19-21 has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points."