1.23.2004

POLITICS - New Hampshire Debates

There's plenty of debate coverage on the political blogs in the links list, and I don't have much to add.

Dean's in trouble. Some of the Deaniacs would like us to believe otherwise, but he is. If his youthful, wired grass-roots campaign was capable of delivering votes, we would've seen it in Iowa. His anger at the Beltway Insiders didn't connect with the young vote, and his anti-war message didn't matter to people who opposed the war. With or without his rebel yell, he'd still be stuck where he is right now. His message has carried to the people who care to listen, and I doubt that his Diane Sawyer or David Letterman interviews will attract any swing voters. He argued against traditional politics, but now he's taking every traditional step possible: gather endorsements from established leaders, run a positive "results" campaign, and do fluff-ball television interviews. He can't win with this strategy, and has been effectively neutered.

Kerry looked pretty good. He's a little dry, a little stiff, and that's going to hurt him. Kerry's Vietnam experience touches millions of Americans, and some people are beginning to realize that we basically have the '92 election again. It's the OLD conservative establishment vs. the baby boomers. This is a dynamic that didn't exist in 2000, because Bush seemed like a baby boomer. Now we see that he is Reagan in a new diaper. Now it is back to the Old v. Young. Something that can attract the youth and the aging baby boomers. Even though Kerry and Dean come from similar affluent backgrounds, Kerry's fought for the working class every step of the way.

Dean fans say they won't vote for him because he's "boring". Great. Didn't those losers learn their lesson last time when they voted for Nader? I think that the rest of the Dems will line up behind the guy, though. He didn't have to hit any home runs at the debate, just make sure nobody crept into his territory. I don't think they did.

Clark is a fish out of water here. He debates well, but he will have a tough time competing with Kerry at a national level. Clark would've done well against Dean, because we can clearly see the difference between the two candidates. If Kerry comes calling, I hope that Clark will consider a VP billing. (Yeah, I know Clark said he only wanted the top slot on the ticket, but he could waffle.)

Edwards really flopped on the Defense of Marriage Act question. Other than that, he was charming and didn't do anything to hurt his campaign. But that's not enough to displace whoever sits at #1. I'd sure love to see a Kerry/Edwards ticket, too.

Lieberman, Kucinich, Sharpton? Buh-Bye. I hope this is the end of the line for all three, because I hate debates with more than five speakers.

I'm not completely prepared to call the coming primary. Today, I'd come up with Kerry, Clark, Dean, Edwards....

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