Tuesday, January 20, 2004

POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Dean endorsed by Keene Sentinel

This came out late Sunday but not enough to help Howard Dean in Iowa. However, it is clear that the wire services reporting the endorsement of John Kerry by the Concord Monitor and the Nashua Telegraph helped him.
Although he is probably best-known for his stand against the Iraq war, his political agenda strikes us as the most traditional of all. He believes, responsibly, that the United States now has a commitment to put Iraq back on its feet, and he believes, optimistically but with reason, that, as an early opponent of the war, he could enlist the help of the rest of the democratic world in that effort.
Dean offers voters a wide range of well-thought-out policy initiatives, foreign and domestic, based on a dramatic - and one might say conservative - theme: I want my country back. That cry, coupled with Dean’s direct, energetic style, appeals to a lot of Democrats and independents, and has attracted a large number of people to his campaign who had previously been alienated from politics of any kind. Dean is particularly effective in his open refusal to entice voters with wild promises of expensive new government programs.
Gephardt for VP?
I was telling people earlier today how disappointed I was with Dick Gephardt giving up the campaign so early. While I hadn't decided to vote for him yet, I was leaning towards voting for him. I can understand his decision to drop out, but it is a disappointment.
However, I joked to one person how cool it would be if Gephardt was given the VP slot and was allowed to relentlessly campaign against Bush's failed trade policy in all the swing states, especially those with manufacturing job losses.
After the President's State of the Union address, I flipped over to MSNBC to hear Pat Buchanan attack Bush's failed trade policy and suggest that Gephardt should be put on the ticket to campaign in the swing states. Was there a mind-meld going on?

Dean heckled at NHTI
Dean was heckled in Concord today by Confederate waving flag hecklers: ["Dean Disarms Hecklers with National Anthem"].

Here is some of the reaction from Iowa:
Kucinich Media Guru Jeff Cohen, formerly of FAIR, has some comments about what happened in Iowa: ["Iowa, The Democrats and the Media"].
One hopes that activists will remain firm enough to make up their own minds and stick to candidates disfavored by mainstream media; otherwise, they risk letting the punditry -- which is usually wrong -- choose their candidates for them.
The Nation's John Nichols reports from a Caucus: ["IOWA: Caucusing for Kerry, Edwards"].
Anastasia Bissell, the Dean backer who finished up in the Kerry camp, was equally philosophical. "I think this is probably what the founders had in mind for America -- this kind of consensus building. People come into a room, and we all disagree. But some of us give up something to achieve a greater goal. And, of course, the greater goal for all of us Democrats is to beat George Bush."
David Corn puts his two cents in: ["IOWA: Ten Talking Points"].
An entrance poll taken at the caucuses showed that 75 percent of the attendees opposed the war in Iraq. But only 14 percent said the war had influenced their selection of a nominee. This somewhat explains Dean's slide. The candidates who had voted to grant Bush authorization for war garnered 81 percent of the vote. The two antiwar candidates--Dean and Dennis Kucinich--attracted 19 percent. Voters who disagreed with Kerry and Edwards on the war were still willing to support them. Why? Perhaps the old cliche of political consultants provides the explanation: elections are about the future, not the past. Even if voters were on the same side as Dean on the war, it did not mean they believed he would be able to beat Bush or be able to handle the national security challenges that lie ahead. Being right only gets you so far. A candidate has to offer more than that. The Iowa returns indicate the war has not yet become an overwhelmingly divisive--or decisive--political issue.
NH polls
From the AP:
Howard Dean begins the final stretch of campaigning for next week's New Hampshire primary with a slim lead over his rivals, according to several tracking polls out Tuesday. The former Vermont governor led in an American Research Group poll with 28 percent to 20 percent for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and 19 percent for retired general Wesley Clark. Other candidates were in single digits [Edwards 8, Lieberman 7, Gephardt 3, Kucinich 2]. Dean also was ahead in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll with 32 percent to 25 percent for Kerry, 21 percent for Clark and single digits for others, and in a tracking poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. In that poll done for Fox News, WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., and WCVB-TV of Boston, Dean was at 33 percent, Kerry at 24 percent and Clark at 18 percent, with others in single digits [Edwards 8, Lieberman 5, Gephardt and Kucinich 3]. Any bounce from the Iowa caucuses, won by Kerry, could take a couple of days to show up in polls generally. But a tracking poll by Suffolk University of Boston for WDHD-TV showed Dean at 23 percent and Kerry at 20 percent, within the two-day poll's 5 percentage point margin of error. Clark was at 15 percent with other candidates in single digits [Lieberman and Edwards 6, Gephardt 2, Others 2, Undecided 26]. The polls by ARG, UNH and Gallup were done over the last three days. ARG and Gallup had margins of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, while the UNH poll's error margin was 5 percentage points.
Zogby's latest numbers has Dean at 25, Kerry up to 23, Clark with 16, and John Edwards and Joe Lieberman at 7 percent.