Captain's Quarters Blog

« To Our Friends Down Under: We're So Sorry | Main | Colbert King: Dean's a Fraud »

January 10, 2004
This Is How Dean Can Win

I don't recall a primary season starting with so many players getting double-digit support:

In Iowa, the former Vermont governor was at 30 percent, with Dick Gephardt at 23 percent and John Kerry at 18 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times poll of likely Iowa caucus goers. John Edwards, a North Carolina senator, was the only other candidate in double digits, at 11 percent. ... A New Hampshire poll showed Dean holding a lead of about 20 points over his closest competitors. The poll done for the Concord Monitor by Research 2000 found Dean with the support of 34 percent, with Clark at 14 percent and Kerry at 13 percent. Others were in single digits.

Normally at this point in a presidential election cycle, the party running against an incumbent has already eliminated all but two or maybe three choices. In Iowa, you would expect the two choices to be Dean and Gephardt, but you don't expect over a quarter of the voters to be split among two other candidates. With Dean's momentum effectively stopped after a disastrous December and only polling at around 25%, he needs a wide-open race to win by a plurality.

Clark, who stole Dean's momentum in December, isn't even a blip in Iowa after a questionable decision to avoid campaigning there in favor of New Hampshire, where he's still 20 points behind. Clark's momentum may be in question after a rhetorical blunder that had heads shaking on both sides of the political spectrum:

Wesley Clark said yesterday the two greatest lies of the last three years are that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks couldn't have been prevented and that another attack is inevitable. He said a Clark administration would protect America in the future.

"If I'm president of the United States, I'm going to take care of the American people," Clark said in a meeting with the Monitor editorial board. "We are not going to have one of these incidents."

Clark should know better than to issue guarantees. This is the same candidate who suggested that he would hold US foreign policy hostage to European approval, too, and then rapidly retreated and claimed that all "right of first refusal" meant was that he would consult with our allies, failing to elucidate on how that differed from Bush's two trips to the UN. Clark and Dean sound like they are willing to say anything to get elected, even completely contradictory policy statements, and it's rather sad that these are the two odds-on favorites to win. Gephardt, whose brand of populism would hamstring our economy, is nevertheless a consistent and serious candidate who must be chafing at spending decades in national politics just to be dragging anchor behind a screaming New England lightweight and a general who's been a Democrat for about 30 minutes. And Lieberman, who carried the Democratic banner in the closest presidential race in over a century, must be wondering where his party went.

Either of these latter two candidates would make a better opponent to George Bush and thereby force him to be a better candidate as well. But as long as all four are in the race -- five, if you include Kerry -- then Dean's chances of winning look better and better. Even if Dean falters, Clark is the likely winner. The only way the Democrats can recover their wits, it seems, is to have no majority winner in the primaries and have the whole nomination process thrown to the convention, an unlikely and even more destructive possibility.

Karl Rove may be chuckling, but I'm not. I may not be a Democrat, but I expect them to pick responsible people for their leadership.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 10, 2004 11:09 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference This Is How Dean Can Win:

» Is Lamont about to have a Dean? from Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense
Why are libs, even when they are ripping other libs, so hypocritical? “Connecticut millionaire businessman Ned Lamont, who sharply criticized the employment practices of Wal-Mart this week in his campaign to unseat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democ... [Read More]

Tracked on August 4, 2006 4:32 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!