Sunday, January 18, 2004

My Iowa Caucus prediction

Gephardt 25
Dean 23
Kerry 22
Edwards 18
The rest will be Kucinich and Sharpton. I doubt there will be many undecideds.
Turnout 120,000 to 130,000, whatever percentage that will be.

Monitor, Telegraph endorse Kerry:
Wow, this is a bit of a surprise. With the overwhelming amount of coverage that Howard Dean has received in the Concord Monitor, I thought for sure they would endorse Dean. Instead, they went with John Kerry, calling him "the candidate best prepared to be president." Kerry came in a close second in coverage on the Monitor's pages: ["Selective Coverage 2004"].
"Kerry's two decades in the U.S. Senate and his service on the Foreign Relations Committee have made him a statesman. He has traveled widely and met with most of the world's leaders. He has been heavily involved in seeking peace in the Middle East and an end to the AIDS epidemic in Africa. In Congress he proved that he has the ability to work with Republicans to break logjams and keep the nation's business moving. People trust Kerry when he speaks because he has thought things through and knows where he stands. He does not advocate one policy one week, another the next. And he strongly believes in what the nation is sorely missing, an open, accountable government."
Over at the Nashua Telegraph, the sentiments were similar:
"The Massachusetts's senator's experience and record, his understand of the complex issues that face America today, and his recommended solutions make him the best choice among the Democratic contenders ... Dean has good ideas, but he just doesn't have the breadth and depth Kerry has, particularly on international issues. A vote for a presidential candidate should be based on content not charisma. With Kerry, knowledge and experience for the demanding job of president would come before popularity."
[Sent via email from Kerry press aide Martin Meehan, via his Blackberry palm.]

In a sidebar to the editorial, Monitor Editor Mike Pride explained that this year's endorsement was "complicated" because the New York Times was video-taping the editorial board meeting. However, he made some interesting points in the sidebar.
First, only the top three candidates were considered for the endorsement: Dean, Kerry, and Wesley Clark. At the editor's meeting, Pride said, they added John Edwards and Joe Lieberman but quickly "talked through" their candidacies.
Here is another telling sentence: "The only other serious candidate, Rep. Richard Gephardt, ran a minimal campaign in New Hampshire."
Huh? What the hell is he talking about?
While Gephardt has concentrated more on Iowa, he hasn't completely ignored New Hampshire. I thought this was about who is best prepared to be president, not who ran "minimal" or extensive campaigns. I would contend that between the two, Gephardt and Kerry, Gephardt is better prepared to be the president - and to win - since he will be able to attract the blue collar, Reagan Democrats and working class folks, who have abandoned the party and corporate Democrats like Kerry, and bring them back to the fold.
And what is all this talk about "serious" candidates? Dennis Kucinich is a VERY serious candidate. Being serious isn't about whether you are high in the polls or raising tens of millions of dollars. Kucinich has raised millions and received federal matching funds. If this were 1992, he would be in the thick of it. Does he have a chance of winning? No, it is slim to none. But he is serious.
A more accurate sentence would have been "the only other candidate who we believe can win ..."
Two other quick important points: Pride stated that "The decision not to endorse Dean or Clark rested in part on our respect - though that is an ill-chosen word - for how the Bush campaign machine will demonize the Democratic nominee."
This is an extremely good point and on paper - with his military background and centrist politic views - Kerry looks good. But then, there is this sentence: "Dean does, however, flip around on the issues." Eh, well, so does Kerry, as noted in my column from last month: ["The Kerry choke?"].
In the end, it is a well-written and logical endorsement, and the sidebar explaining the paper's editorial process is a welcome read.

Another great report from FAIR:
Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting released a new report about when it is okay to reference Hitler in politics and the media: ["When Are Nazi Comparisons Deplorable?"].

News Corp's Fox News Channel started the controversy on January 4, airing Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie's complaint about the Bush/Hitler comparison. "That's the kind of tactics we're seeing on the left today in support of these Democratic presidential candidates," Gillespie charged, calling such tactics "despicable." The whole next day (1/5/04), this was a major story on Fox News Channel. John Gibson asked, "What about the hating Bush movement, the and George Soros sponsoring these ads that compare Bush to Hitler?"--before being corrected that the ads were not sponsored by MoveOn (or Soros, a funder of the group), and were taken down in response to complaints.
Sean Hannity accused a guest: "You guys on the left are going so far over the cliff. You're making comparisons to the president and Adolf Hitler." Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said on Hannity's show, "This is the hateful, vitriolic rhetoric that has become the Howard Dean Democratic Party." Bill O'Reilly cited the ads as evidence that "right now in America the Democratic party is being held captive by the far, far left." It should be noted that however hyperbolic, comparisons to Hitler and fascism are not unknown in the American political debate. Rush Limbaugh has routinely called women's rights advocates "femi-Nazis," and references to "Hitlery Clinton" are a staple of right-wing talk radio. Republican power-broker Grover Norquist on NPR (10/2/03) compared inheritance taxes to the Holocaust.

And then, there is this: ["MoveOn knocked out of Super Bowl"].

Other stuff:
Interesting story here by Howard Kurtz who finds over 100 media people who have given money to federal candidates: ["Journalists Not Loath to Donate To Politicians"]. I have to wonder if this is as much a no-no as it seems to be. No one can really call Neal Cavuto a "journalist." He is a talk show host who talks about business. There is a difference. There is always a lot of talk about how in the old days journalists knew their place. But the flip of that is journalists do have to vote and have long relationships before they became journalists that they may not be able to ignore. And politicians have had a direct effect on how journalists do their jobs. The old rule that journalists should not be involved with candidates they may cover, that stands. However, there are a lot more conflicts in the world than whether or not some media people gave some cash to political candidates.
It must really suck being Bubba: ["Lving in Bill's Shadow"]. You gotta feel for this guy. He had it all - the presidency for two terms, his finger on the button, and interns galore. Now, he just can't fade into the black. He has to have his fingers in everything. It makes me wonder why these candidates don't just tell him to screw.
The Orlando Sentinel's Charlie Reese, who backed Jerry Brown in 1992, makes some good points about Dean, young people and the 2004 election: ["A Year For Youth"].
"I think what people are responding to is that for the first time in a long time, they have a genuine human being - a guy who gets mad at the right things, a guy who says what he thinks, and a guy who doesn't talk in the tired political platitudes that have virtually killed any real communication inside the Washington Beltway. Lieberman, Gephardt and Kerry haven't had an original thought in decades."
The Boston Globe's Mark Jurkowitz analyzes Dean's bitching: ["Dean's attacks on press hint at coverage gone sour"].

Polling in the home stretch ...
In Iowa, the Des Moines Register released this poll last night of likely voters: John Kerry at 26 percent, John Edwards at 23 percent, Howard Dean at 20 percent, Dick Gephardt at 18 percent, Kucinich at 3 percent, Wesley Clark at 2 percent, and the Rev. Al Sharpton and Joe Lieberman with 1 percent. Of "definite voters," the numbers changed a bit: Kerry at 33 percent, Dean at 21 percent, Edwards at 19 percent, and Gephardt at 16 percent.
American Research Group posted its latest numbers which are practically the same as yesterday's: Dean at 28 percent, Clark at 20 percent, Kerry is at 19 percent, Edwards at 8 percent, Lieberman with 6 percent, Gephardt at 3 percent, and Kucinich with 1 percent. Undecideds make up a whopping 30 percent.
In New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal shows a close race between Dean and Clark [18 to 16 percent], with Kerry and Lieberman at 8 percent, Gephardt at 7 percent, Kucinich with 6 percent, and Edwards with 4 percent. Undecideds make up a whopping 34 percent.