January 28, 2004

New Hampshire
Posted by Jon Henke

What to make of the New Hampshire results? Damned if I know. Not a lot that could be called "definitive". It's not suprising, either. Prior to the majority of primaries, we get these two smallish states that have had about a years-worth of attention paid them by the candidates...not to mention the media scrutiny that rivals the attention paid, oh, say the attention paid the Michael Jackson trial.

That's a lot of attention, and I think it creates a sort of Uncertainty Principle. After so much observation, how can we be certain that the results from Iowa and New Hampshire are an accurate representation of the rest of the country? Or does the media and the rest of the country swing the way they do, because of the influence of the Iowa/New Hampshire results? A bit of electoral determinism from NH on.

In any event, these matters have been scrutinized so much, one wonders if actual opinion is at play, or simple retail politics. "Hey, Clark shook my hand! And it was a firm handshake! I'll vote for him!"

A brief rundown....

* Kerry - (+) - Well, he maintained his lead, which was about all he could hope to do....so, that's a positive. Iowa wasn't a fluke.

* Dean - (+) - Pulled up from the Iowa finish, and cut Kerry's lead. It's a big minus from 2 weeks ago, but a plus post-Iowa. It's momentum...or, at least, that's what his supporters will believe.

* Clark - (=) - He's still a player (positive!)....but this can't be what he needed, considering the fact that he skipped Iowa to concentrate on New Hampshire. (negative!) He's got two weeks to make it or break it.

* Edwards - (+) - He's still a player.....which is what he needed to be going into the Souther leg of the primaries.

* Lieberman - (-) - He had a better showing than expected....but not good enough to make anybody put much stock in his candidacy. His supporters? Think "rats" and "sinking ship". Big decision time for Joe: salvage your dignity and get out....or try to leverage some political capital on the process.

* Sharpton/Kucinich - (+) - The earth did not crash into the sun.....positive news for their "campaigns"

Comments from elsewhere:

Daily Kos writes....

"Dean has enough money to limp on, but by all indications, he's through. . . . Watch the establishment rally around Kerry to end this thing as quickly as possible."
After dissing the DNC and Terry McAuliffe, Howard Dean won't be getting a lot of internal support from the structure of the party. That grassroots thing better start working, and soon.

And speaking of "grassroots", Ipse Dixit writes....

One would think that Dean's collapse would indicate that the whole "greatest grassroots movement in history" thing had been well and truly punctured. For their little cult to even approach that status, generating some measure of success is the bare minimum it should be capable of doing.
Alternately, it could puncture the idea that "grassroots" movements can be effective in elections. I mean, if the "greatest grassroots movement in history" can't beat friggin' John Kerry, what does that say about the potential of the grassroots? Well, it says something about something, anyway. What, will be determined later.

Poliblogger writes....

Clark needs to quit. He is clearly demonstrating that running for president is not a rookie's game.
Yeah, he better have some mighty fine - and previously undisclosed - artillery, if he wants to move up. Alternately, he could angle for a VP or Secretary of Defense position.

Atrios writes...

"I think people who are writing Dean's obituary yet again are dead wrong. . . . How long before Clinton won his first primary in 1992? Who was the presumed nominee at this point? A certain Senator from Mass. if I remember correctly."
It may not be time to write Dean's obituary, but I bet a lot of the Democrat movers and shakers will be writing insurance policies now that he no longer looks like the frontrunner.

Dale Franks, a bit back, wrote....

The Dean coronation has been postponed. We now join the Kerry coronation, already in progress.
Perhaps the biggest problem with losing frontrunner status is the media reaction. Howard Dean is not so much the "runner-up" as he is "yesterday's news".

Robert Prather writes....

Dean's speech is restrained, much to the relief of his campaign staff, I'm sure. Even more populist than Kerry's speech. The content is as rough, and inaccurate, as his past speeches. He thinks it's still the 1960's. He missed the Reagan revolution entirely and seems oblivious to all the economic destruction this stuff he's advocating caused in the 1970's.
I'm constantly amused by the Democrats comparisons of Bush to Herbert Hoover. What do they offer? Well, protectionism and higher taxes....pretty much the same things that Hoover did wrong. How'd that work out?

Finally, Captain Ed writes...

Okay, I had to do some serious baby-sitting stuff, like changing toxic-waste diapers, and the like. It felt strangely like politics to me ...
Yeah, I think I've changed that diaper before.



Where was Al Gore?

If Dean really was the best choice for the Democratic nomination, in the estimation of that veteran political candidate; and if Dean is the best choice to serve the American People in these troubled times, as evaluated by that wise and experience public servant; then I would have expected that courageous and outspoken leader, Gore, to man the ramparts; lead the charge, and otherwise vigorously fight for us, the little guys, as our champion, in helping the best man -- uh, Dean, was it? -- communicate with the voters of New Hampshire.

But I didn't see that.


Posted by: Pouncer at January 28, 2004 09:41 AM

A better question would be: does Al Gore's endorsement mean anything anymore? It was really big news in December, but so far no one in the press has commented on its lack of effect in the primaries. It's becoming the elephant in the parlor.

A lot of money has gone into Dean's campaign, and a lot of heavy hitters endorsed him. But he has yet to draw more than 25% of his own party's vote.

Dean's got the delegate lead right now, due to some of the 801 "super" delegates declaring their preferences already. I don't know whether those delegates are free to switch preferences; if they are, then look out for a lot of Dean's early support to wash away.

Posted by: Steverino at January 28, 2004 10:35 AM

That is very curious. If Gore was out there for Dean, I didn't see much. I think he really is keeping to his word to lower his profile on the political scene.

It will be curious to see just how "sticky" that Dean support really is.

Posted by: Jon Henke at January 28, 2004 11:35 AM

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