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January 19, 2004

IOWA RESULTS....Holy cow. The Iowa caucus results are so wild that even my resolute non-prediction has turned out to be wrong:

It strikes me that barring something genuinely bizarre, we pretty much already know the results: Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, and Edwards are all going to do fairly well. I wonder how much the exact numbers matter at this point?

Well, with 90% 97% of the precincts reporting, here are the results:

  • Kerry: 38%

  • Edwards: 32%

  • Dean: 18%

  • Gephardt: 11%

Gephardt is obviously toast, but Kerry and Edwards both get huge boosts from this and Dean looks seriously wounded. But he's still got tons of money, a 50-state strategy, and that famous grass roots support.

Basically, this means that Dean, Clark, Kerry, and Edwards remain serious candidates, which in turn means that we're in for a stemwinder of a primary season. And while I should be chastened by being wrong even when not making a prediction, this result makes me think that my semi-brokered convention scenario is now more likely than not.

Oh yeah, this is going to be fun....

Posted by Kevin Drum at January 19, 2004 07:16 PM | TrackBack


You know what this means, Dems and Liberals (politicians and voters alike):

1) hang on for a wild ride;

2) don't trash any of the candidates too much;

3) figure out who YOU want to vote for and stop worrying about "other people won't like candidate X."

The worst thing that can happen is heavy mudslinging where the other Democratic candidates do Karl Rove's job for him.

Posted by: thom at January 19, 2004 07:19 PM | PERMALINK

Assuming Lieberman and Gephardt are done, I am primarily a Dean, secondarily an anyone but Kerry gal.

Since every sports team, political candidate (primary or general), etc. I've supported for the last five years has lost, this is good news for Kerry supporters. Congratulations. Except, not really.

Posted by: Katherine at January 19, 2004 07:22 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think that mud slung now will dissipate by the time of the election and take weapons away from Rove.

Political scientists would be better informed to comment on the half-lives of ad influenced negative ratings, but IMO they are not super long lived.

I think that Kerry isn't going to get past New Hampshire. He did mortgage his house. Then again, he's going to get a lot of cash after this victory. That would mean Dean/Clark/Kerry have decent money in New Hampshire. Edwards will go straight to South Carolina. Holy Joe will...pray, I guess.

Clark and co. are saying nice things on CNN about Gephardt in order to win his endorsement.

Posted by: godlesscapitalist at January 19, 2004 07:24 PM | PERMALINK


You have a wierd sense of fun. I wanted this to be over by SuperTues so we could concentrate on the black hats.

However, because of the way superdelegates are selected, the likelihood of a brokered convention is very small. The superdelegate system was selected for just that reason.

Posted by: Melanie at January 19, 2004 07:25 PM | PERMALINK

Best thing about this: we're much more likely to get a candidate who has shown that he knows how to win elections. I never liked the notion that Dean had the nomination in the bag - even if he's the eventual winner (and that would be fine by me), he'll still be better off if he gets there by passing through the fire of a long primary campaign.

...And I also believe that most Democrats are focused squarely on the need to field a strong challenger in November, and will not succumb to the internecine slap-fights that have weakened the party in past elections.

Posted by: Dave L at January 19, 2004 07:26 PM | PERMALINK

and that famous grass roots support.

The question now will be just how much is that grass-roots really worth. IA is supposed to be a face-to-face state. There is obviously something wrong with the Dean campaign model, even accounting for the fact that many Kerry voters accepted the "Dean is unelectable" idea and voted for a more conventional candidate out of fear.

It's a blowout for Dean. Off the top I think the continuos campaign concept was taken too far. Dean looked tired both in the last debate (which must have hurt him a lot), and even in a late stump speech where he was introduced by Martin Sheen and came in with a bus into the room (a really dumb stunt).

He needs to cut out, re-group, and re-evaluate. Right now. Gep is leaving, and after NH Lieberman likely will also. That deck clearing should buy a little time. But he's got to fix his debating problems, or he's toast.

This is bad news to me. Only Dean can put together the cash to beat bush, and I believe he is also the better man. I'm not happy, but at least Gephardt is gone, and that's a good thing.

Posted by: M. Aurelius at January 19, 2004 07:27 PM | PERMALINK

Incredible organizational efforts by Kerry and Edwards regardless of who finishes where in the final results. Dean still has a solid 50-state strategy, but a 3rd place finish should drive home the need to avoid his penchant for constantly explaining what he said the prior day and for him to get his message right the first time. Finally, it will be interesting to see tomorrow night if Bush tries to broaden his base and, in so doing, further alienate the fiscal conservatives that enabled him to be appointed President by the Supreme Court in 2000.

Posted by: mike rowe at January 19, 2004 07:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrat establishment has done what every establishment does--crush insurgents and teach the young a few lessons. They saw Howard Dean as a sure loser in November, and, urged on by his "anti-establishment" rhetoric, set out to bring him down. We see the results. Does anyone really think Dean can survive without winning NH? When I say survive, I mean have a chance of winning the nomination, not hang on hoping to broker his money and supporters into some place in the convention and/or the administration. The next media target? Wes "I'm not really crazy, I just seem that way" Clark. When the spotlight is fully turned on Clark, he, like Dean, will self-destruct.

Posted by: DBW at January 19, 2004 07:34 PM | PERMALINK

I actually grew up in Iowa, and I just got off the phone with my parents, who went to their first caucus tonight. 40% of the people who showed up to their precinct were Republicans, well, former Republicans. You can change your registration tonight. These are middle aged, middle class women and men, I know most of them, hell, I babysat their kids. They aren't political operatives sent out by Rove to pick the weakest candidate. According to my parents, they mostly voted for Kerry and Edwards, and the ones my parents knew and talked to said they want Bush out. It will be interesting to see if this was true all over the state.

Posted by: Hawkeye at January 19, 2004 07:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think Dean is not wearing well with voters, and this cannot be spun as anything other than a near-deadly blow. I can't see him coming back from this....what could turn it around for him in NH and afterwards? The others imploding seems to be my best answer. I'd bet big against it.

The grassroots/new voter fantasy has been exposed never happens. We can't count on it.

Posted by: Hypocrisy Fumigator at January 19, 2004 07:42 PM | PERMALINK

As a Clark supporter, I don't really like these results. I basically suspect any of the serious Dems would be an OK president, but I think Clark is the best come November and I think that his "New patriotism" could, if it is hammered home, be a very powerful idea.
I think Dean is likely the worst come November (on style alone), but I'm also not optimistic for Kerry or Edwards. Both of the latter have been in the Senate, and so must have voted against the "Motherhood and Apple Pie" act of 199x, and Kerry is a stiff New Englander, while Edwards is a trial lawyer (with a great story, but still a trial lawyer) who looks like he's 25 (yes, I know he's 50).
Dean is hurt bad but has raised so much money and has so much organization that he cannot drop out even were he to be trounced the next several primaries running. Clark's best shot was for a Dean/Gephardt finish in Iowa; Gephardt couldn't win past Iowa, so that would set up the race as Dean vs. Clark. Kerry and Edwards draw from the same base as does Clark, and both now have momentum going into New Hampshire and South Carolina.
I agree with Kevin that it looks like Clark, Kerry, and Edwards will now be with us for a while, but I worry this will be contentious and ugly, and if it gets us a brokered convention, even if one that selects the strongest candidate, it will be a boon to the R's.

Posted by: Anodyne at January 19, 2004 07:42 PM | PERMALINK

thom set the tone of this discussion just right. Dems must focus on Bush, and only Bush; then, as the campaign unfolds, the media will have a bunch of candidates--all Dems--and a bunch of hot-selling close races to cover, while the four or five Democratic bash Bush and Bush only. By the time the general election happens, the word will be that the Democratic party is the one that actually cares about the issues, becasuse the Democrats will have had lots of air time in the primaries to discuss the issues, and the Bush story will be the billion dollars he has raised from rich folks who don't need to discuss the issues.
I say, let's have a close race until California or later--keep the buzz going.

Posted by: jim at January 19, 2004 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrat establishment has done what every establishment does--crush insurgents and teach the young a few lessons.

Yep. As in, "don't bother having any hope in politics."

I'm not sure that's really the lesson they wanted to teach me. I'm not quite ready to learn it yet.

Posted by: Katherine at January 19, 2004 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

If what was noticed by Hawkeye's parents is widespread we may be seeing the start of a Bush meltdown. I suspect that his once a week pandering/distracting announcements may be hurting him especially as Iraq does not seem to be getting any better and Bremer is back here again for another change in tactics.

Posted by: ____league at January 19, 2004 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

"The Democrat establishment has done what every establishment does--crush insurgents and teach the young a few lessons."

Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Tom Harkin are the Democratic establishment and they backed Dean.

Posted by: Mark at January 19, 2004 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

kerry and dean will both do well in nh, being new englanders. i think kerry might have the advantage though because there is this weird rivalry between nh and vt. strictly speaking, joe lieberman is a new englander too, but in nh, ct doesnt really count as new england.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 07:46 PM | PERMALINK

Any Hawkeyes here? How come my home county Johnson has the 2nd highest total in the state? I haven't been back to Iowa City since I was a baby. What am I missing?

Posted by: wren at January 19, 2004 07:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is wonderful news.

It makes me feel really good to be a Democrat. I can even see myself voting for someone other than Bush in November.

All of the pandering to the hard left fringe really alienated me. The shrill anger of the baby boomer and upper class left was very hard to stomach as well.

I am glad that the more centrist candidates did well in Iowa. I gave money to both Gephardt and Edwards and am glad that one of them did well. Kerry is too liberal for me, but I may be able to support him. Kerry will surely be a better candidate than Dean and is far more electable.

I realize that many here may be a little dejected, but honestly, to me this is great news. Hooray!

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at January 19, 2004 07:47 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a " Black Hat " observer I don't really think Dean is blown out, embarrassed perhaps, but he's still more viable than your winner who's funding operation is currently two steps short of a tin cup.

The people who really lost are the Starbucks sipping media sophisticates who annointed Dean the nominee, what - six months ago ? I guess the voters had other ideas.

Posted by: mark safranski at January 19, 2004 07:49 PM | PERMALINK

Dean is giving his victory speech now on teevee.

He and the crowd are so loud one can barely here auld lang syne softly playing in the background. least there aren't any red/white/and blue ballons floating around to accidentally pop.

That would be a bad omen.

Posted by: -pea- at January 19, 2004 07:49 PM | PERMALINK

"The Democrat establishment"

Nouns do not modify nouns. Some Republicans are really stupid!

Posted by: susan at January 19, 2004 07:50 PM | PERMALINK

I am pretty sure the University of Iowa students showed up in big numbers from Iowa City (tomorrow is the first day of the second semester).

Posted by: Hawkeye at January 19, 2004 07:53 PM | PERMALINK

If what was noticed by Hawkeye's parents is widespread we may be seeing the start of a Bush meltdown.

I think the Moon thing was a WTF moment for regular people who harbored some doubts about bush. I mean, I love the space program and Kevin knows I've spent a lot of electrons arguing for manned space exploration. But the context for that initiative was just awful and the speech was so contrived. I mean, the guy looked lost in space.

Certainly, that anecdote jives with the approval ratings sinking like a stone so shortly after Saddam's capture boost. To me, if true, it would be the silver-lining in today's cloud. I mean, I really like Dean (took me a while to "get it" and warm up to him though), but I'm ABB in the end and with Gep gone and Joe going, I have relatively few problems with any of the remaining Democrats. I mean if bush really loses, it would be like a dawn finally clearing the long dark night.

Posted by: M. Aurelius at January 19, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

This is great for the Dems.

Why? Because it breaks up the emerging story arc in the SCLM. You know how that was going: Angry northeast liberal (Dean/McGovern) coasts to nomination and gets clobbered by popular "uniter" (Bush/Reagan).

Now they have to start over. And we have another chance to get the truth out.

And wouldn't it be cool if this overshadows the SOTU from President Space Chimp?

Posted by: grytpype at January 19, 2004 07:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mark--If you think Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Tom Harkin, and Bill Bradley(let's don't forget him in this endorsement list) represent the DemocatIC(sorry Susan) establishment, then you haven't been paying attention.

Posted by: DBW at January 19, 2004 08:01 PM | PERMALINK

I really like Edwards so I'm happy today.
What struck me though is how much the Iraq debate has skewed perceptions. Folks are talking about Edwards as the centrist/righty candidate. But like Howard Fienman said on Hardball, Edwards might be the only one of all the Dems who talks about the poor. He certainly has the most 'populist' rhetoric.

Two things tonight's results tell me:
1) Being "pro-war" is an immediate moderating factor for any Dem. You could propose a Sweden-style welfare state and still be a considered "centrist".

2) The notion that events in Iraq will help Dean is monumentally wrong. 75% of caucus goers were anti-war yet they mostly rejected Dean's message. If Dean has any chance at all at national success, it won't be because of his war position. It seems he appears shrill rather than prescient.

Posted by: WillieStyle at January 19, 2004 08:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't understand this whole "the establishment's keeping Dean down" talk. How exactly are "they" doing this; threatening to kill peoples' puppies if the pick Dean?

Posted by: WillieStyle at January 19, 2004 08:08 PM | PERMALINK

"The people who really lost are the Starbucks sipping media sophisticates who annointed Dean the nominee, what - six months ago ? I guess the voters had other ideas."

Agreed (except that "media whores" seems more appropriate to me).

They also told us over and over that the key to Iowa was organization, organization, organization. Now tonight they pretend to give us "expert" analysis about why this happened and conveniently ignore the fact that they've been completely wrong for months.

There's only one thing you really need to know:

The pundits are always wrong.

The real question is: why do these useless assholes get paid so much and how can I get in on this deal?

Posted by: Mark S. at January 19, 2004 08:11 PM | PERMALINK

i sort of liked dean, mainly because i (foolishly) believed the press coverage of him and thought he could wrap up the nomination quick and get on with beating bush. that source of appeal is gone.

i'll still vote for him if he is the nominee, but i would vote for a dead dog if it was running against goober.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 08:11 PM | PERMALINK

The real question is: why do these useless assholes get paid so much and how can I get in on this deal?

ROTFL! An excellent inquiry. A lot of us here, ideology aside, can evidently weave tall political tales as well as any of these idiots. But they are making all the money! I want a piece of the action too!

Hmmm, maybe they are not idiots after all. They figured out how to get paid for acting like idiots... they are geniuses!

Posted by: M. Aurelius at January 19, 2004 08:16 PM | PERMALINK

Mark S. >"...why do these useless assholes get paid so much..."

spin $ell$ eyeball$...advertising revenue

gotta stampede the herd

a good "herd mover" is worth a lot of ad revenue etc

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." - Niccoló Machiavelli (The Prince, 1532)

Posted by: daCascadian at January 19, 2004 08:34 PM | PERMALINK

Dean's not ready for prime time, and NH will finish him off. Kerry's already pulled within a few points of Dean in NH polls, and the free media he (and Edwards) will enjoy will go a long way toward nullifying Dean's money edge. Having enough money to stay in the race won't matter if Dean's candidacy continues to implode and he fails to pick up delegates. It's now a three person race, or a four person race (if Lieberman manages to develop any traction in NH, which looks unlikely at this point). A brokered convention is not out of the realm of possibility, but is still way less than a 50% likelyhood at this stage. Most likely scenario is for the winnowing process to continue with NH. My guess is the general's numbers begun to suffer in NH as Kerry and Edwards enjoy post-Iowa bounce. Part of Clark's appeal in places like Arizona has been the "anybody but Dean" effect. Now that Democrats have a couple of additional viable alternatives to Dean, some of Clark's weaknesses won't be so "ignorable". My own advice to the Dems is to nominate Edwards. I believe he's Rove's worst nightmares. Will inevitably remind voters of Clinton (and lost Clintonian prosperity). I can't imagine he wouldn't be competitive in 5 or 6 southern states, plus Florida. If Edwards is the nominee, don't be shocked if Cheney declines to stay on the ticket for "health reasons" in favor of someone like Frist or (more of a longshot, but someone who would be hard to resist choosing if you're in Karl Rove's shoes) Rudy Guiliani. You heard it here first.

Posted by: P. B. Almeida at January 19, 2004 08:34 PM | PERMALINK

In voters' eyes, Dean morphed from the impassioned anti-war candidate to the endorsement whore/Christian. Gore really is the kiss of death. And, it really doesn't help to have Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen by your side. Two old guys without much heat.

Doubt this will help Kerry take N.H. They take to independents there, and the roses coming out of Iowa won't cover the stench of Kerry's finger in the air vote for War.

N.H. will be a test for Clark, now. He might want to amp up his Anti-War stance. If he's going to slam someone, it shouldn't be Kerry, but Lieberman. "Snap" (Rice Krispies)started slinging his mud pies at Clark last week, and putting him in his place might play well with N.H. voters on the fence. Dean mad a feeble effort to deflect the pies Snap tossed his way.

Posted by: John Constable at January 19, 2004 08:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is good news for the Democrats. A fight is what the Final Four (Kerry, Dean, Edwards, and Clark) needs to improve their campaigns, messages, and organization to prepare for November.

Dean needed an ass-whooping more than anybody. His unconventional campaign has done a great job of using the Internet, raising money, and mobilizing voters. But at some point you have to get out and stump in front of those who aren't sold on your message, whether that be in person or on TV, and convince them you are the best candidate. That is where Dean has failed thus far, especially on television, and hopefully this result makes him realize he's got to do a better job going forward.

Posted by: Double B at January 19, 2004 08:37 PM | PERMALINK

Here is an interesting question: who is more electable, Kerry or Edwards?

I think Edwards has better ideas and is far more charismatic. He hasn't flip-flopped on so many issues like Kerry has and has been very careful not to make any remarks (see, e.g. "we need a regime change here at home") that will come back to haunt him later.

Edwards cannot be labeled as an America-hating liberal, or an elitist, out-of-touch northeasterner. He is a better speaker than Kerry and does not have an out-of-control wife like Kerry does (I hope the last does not become an issue -- I don't think one's spouse should play any role in electoral poltics -- but it does matter sometimes, sadly).

Edwards' biggest liability is that he looks like he is twleve years old. He has very little political experience, and no foreign policy or military experience. I don't know that Edwards will be able to overcome these liabilities.

Ironically, his status as a trial lawyer will help him here. Edwards may look twelve, but he is a lawyer and a self-made millionare. That gives him stature. Also, no one thinks of trial lawyers as shrinking violets.

Edwards' weakness is also Kerry's strength. Kerry has experience. He looks like a mature, intelligent, experienced person who is capable of providing steady leadership to a nation at war.

I don't know who is more electable.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at January 19, 2004 08:43 PM | PERMALINK

This is good news for Democrats:

1. Most obviously, it reveals as utterly vacuous the Conventional Wisdom pronouncements by the mainstream press. A week ago, they were basically handing the nomination to Dean and then going on to doubt whether he (or anyone) could beat Bush. Now that the weakness of the first assumption has been exposed, perhaps we can give serious consideration to the tenuous nature of the second.

2. Punching a few holes in Dean's armor is also a good thing because it could lead to a serious reconsideration of his positions with respect to the other serious candidates. I like Dean, but I think he has already seriously wounded himself with respect to a general election run against Bush:

a) His pledge to repeal the Bush tax cuts in toto is a sure loser -- regardless of its putative fiscal merits. It's too easy to turn that into a simple campaign talking point ("He'll raise your taxes") and, for many working and middle class Americans still hurting from Bush's recession, that will be too much to bear. It also provides an easy rallying point for conservatives.

b) His one-dimensional opposition to the Iraq War leaves many voters thinking that he doesn't have a national security vision -- and this is a more important issue to them than Iraq.

3. Finally, we can start to seriously clear the field of other nonviable candidates. Gephardt was a political anachronism pushing policies that have already proven to be election losers. His trade protectionist themes were retro enough, but his plan to repeal the Bush tax cuts and use them to provide national health care surpasses Dean's political tone deafness. Personally, I can see some merit in the second proposal, but I think recent political history has demonstrated that it is electoral poison.

With any luck, in a few weeks we'll also be free of Lieberman's moralistic droning and backstabbing, and then we'll be ready for a serious debate between Clark, Dean, Kerry, and Edwards.

Posted by: scottd at January 19, 2004 08:44 PM | PERMALINK

Being a mainly Republican voter, but interested in the Caucus results, I got my first real exposure of Dean tonite with his "victory" speech in Iowa, and I was left thinking, what is he constantly yelling about? Screaming every state in the union, how he was going to take back america in that low growl, he did not seem to be very presidential.

Posted by: brad at January 19, 2004 08:45 PM | PERMALINK

What the Iowa voters did tonight was identify anti-war screeching as electorally toxic enough to give them a serious scare about losing in November.

This will now reorient the entire race.

Watch Wesley Clark as the indicator on this - he changes his opinions faster than any of the others.

Posted by: JK at January 19, 2004 08:45 PM | PERMALINK

If I had to guess, I'd say Kerry is more electable.

However, if you assume that either one will LOSE to Bush, I think Edwards is by far the better nominee. Kerry will sucessfully be labeled the kind of northestern elitist, soft on defense, tax-raising professional politician whom we all love to hate.

Edwards, by contrast, has a real message and many positive qualities. He'll be a greater long-term asset to the party.

If the Democratic candidate is going to lose, I think Edwards should be the nominee. But what if Bush is vulnerable? There, I don't know.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at January 19, 2004 08:47 PM | PERMALINK

Clark would be smart to turn himself into a hawk, but it will also hurt him. Clark's constant hedging of the war question is making him look like just another ambitious politician. The most appealing part of Clark's candidacy is that he is a public servant who is above petty politics. Clark has been slowly chipping away at his own "above poliitics" image, and yet another flip-flop on the war is going to make the damage worse. That said, it is probably his best strategy at this point.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at January 19, 2004 08:51 PM | PERMALINK

A few thoughts on this -- it could irreparably harm Dean's chances or it could serve as the wake-up call. We'll see if Kerry or Edwards receive the type of scrutiny and third party attacks that Dean has sustained as front-runner.

Also, as an outsider (a foreigner at that) looking in at the Iowa caucuses, I am astounded at just how unconstructed and unrepresentative it is -- Dean should have maintained his previous critiques. A great advert for instant runoff voting...

Finally, Kerry???

Posted by: Chris at January 19, 2004 08:51 PM | PERMALINK

ABC News: Gephardt has withdrawn.

Posted by: ____league at January 19, 2004 09:02 PM | PERMALINK

What will the pundits (and a good many on this blog) write about when Dean wins NH, and wins BIG?

The media took Dean down. Now that junkyard dog is going to rip a new one in Kerry and Edwards.
Dean has the money, message, and organization. And Dean has the backyard advantage in NH. Count him out at your peril. Dean lost his mojo as the frontrunner. Well, he sees the ass end of the front runners now... and they are in BITING range!

Dean in 2004
"the tea is in the harbor"

Posted by: Jay R. - Oregon at January 19, 2004 09:03 PM | PERMALINK

joe, clark doesn't hedge the war question. he simply refuses to go along with the nonsensical categories the media whores try to squeeze him into. and he does it pretty creatively. i kind of admire him for that.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 09:04 PM | PERMALINK

jay r. dean and kerry have equal "backyard advantage" in nh.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 09:06 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to see an Edwards/Clark ticket in the fall. I know Clark has disavowed the 2nd spot, at least wrt Dean, and it's too early for him to consider that anyway.

But like many above, I think Kerry would get successfully painted as another NE liberal (I live in Boston) and would have a tough time in the south.

I think Edwards could do better in the south than any of the others and I think Clark could add to southern strength as well as to foreign policy gravitas. I think Clark is too politically green to lead the ticket.

Together they would be formidable.

Posted by: karog at January 19, 2004 09:07 PM | PERMALINK

Tonight is VERY good news for the Democratic Party. Sensible Iowans rejected Dean (mortally wounded) and backed a rising star (Edwards).

Kerry/Edwards is a formidable ticket.

Oh hell, I had hoped I'd be able to sleep through the election.

Posted by: spc67 at January 19, 2004 09:07 PM | PERMALINK

i visit tacitus a lot. haven't been there tonight. but i bet that a lot of the military fetishists there would vote for bush the deserter over kerry the actual war veteran. i will never understand that if i live to be 100.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 09:12 PM | PERMALINK

The media took Dean down. Now that junkyard dog is going to rip a new one in Kerry and Edwards.

The very fact that you (presumably a Deaniac) refer to the Dr. as a "junkyard dog" illustrates precisely Dean's problem. He's simply an unlikeable grouch with a mean streak. Waaaay less presidential than Clark or Kerry or Edwards. Prone to explosions. Unpredictable. Short-tempered.

I don't want the Dr's hands anywhere near our nukes.

Posted by: P. B. Almeida at January 19, 2004 09:15 PM | PERMALINK

i don't really worry about him launching nukes so much as i worry about him being the kind of person that a large segment of the population will automatically hate, like president william jefferson clinton was. and like chimpy is.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 09:26 PM | PERMALINK

I know of more moments of genuine leadership from Dean than anyone else in the race. (I'm sure Clark must have had some, I just haven't seen them. Kerry's finest moments were years ago.) But it's a side he shows rarely. It needs to show this week, or I think that's it.

And I thought "junkyard dog" = media, not Dean. Maybe not.

Posted by: Katherine at January 19, 2004 09:30 PM | PERMALINK


The only thing important to me is throwing the current bums out -- BUSH, DeLAY, HATCH -- an overwhelming message that the body politic REJECTS the bogus chimp-con / neo-con / fraud-con status quo and their slimy grip on the levers of power.

I want a 60%+ landlslide against Bush. I want the bible belt in play (which voted 42% for Gore) -- Dean can't deliver this.

I want the electorate to FUCK Bush and the fraudulent 5-4 horse he rode in on.

ABB, But Go Clark!

Dean deserves the John the Baptist role in this play.


Posted by: Troy at January 19, 2004 09:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry and Edwards. Two guys who backed Clinton on NAFTA and Bush on Iraq. No thanks.

I wonder who the Green candidate will be? It'd be nice to have a reason to vote.

Posted by: Hozee at January 19, 2004 09:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dean is far from done. The only damage this could do is if the media go nuts because he rose so high and then fell in Iowa - a state that isn't that important for Dean, other than if he had swept through it and New Hampshire, which would have had people talking inevitability.

On the other hand, this is big stuff for Kerry. Wow. Where has the man been the past few months? He suddenly just rose back to the top of the pack. This really helps him, so, at least in his case, Edwards, and Gephardt, Iowa was a really important state.

I was musing the other day in one of these Cal Pundit threads how trippy it would be if this turned into a 5-man race with each guy in the 18-32% range.

Well, we might have that. Gephardt is toast, Edwards is on the rise with Super Tuesday in his sights, Clark has Michael Moore behind him, and should be able to survive New Hamphsire without disgraceful numbers, Kerry and Dean are the frontrunners, and Lieberman is still hovering around somewhere.

I'm going to revise my trippy scenario, however, from a 5-man race to a 4-man race. I don't think Lieberman is going to last, and I expect him to throw his support behind Kerry or Clark.

So, unless Dean can somehow sweep through New Hampshire and Super Tuesday, this could end up being a 4-man dogfight, with all the candidates in the 22% - 35% range.

I think this raises the possibility that the Vice-Presidential candidate is going to end up being one of these guys.

My revised ratings:

1. Dean
2. Kerry
3. Clark
4. Edwards

Dean needs to start winning, Kerry needs to get another win fast, Edwards needs to dominate the South and Super Tuesday, and Clark needs to show well in New Hampshire and win some Super Tuesday contests.

One more thing: is it possible that Edwards and Clark join forces at some point? If Edwards becomes a key swing player, who will he swing for?

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 09:48 PM | PERMALINK

...i worry about him being the kind of person that a large segment of the population will automatically hate, like president william jefferson clinton was...

Yeah. Clinton. The guy the country hated so much it elected him twice.

Posted by: KDR at January 19, 2004 09:48 PM | PERMALINK

I am kind of worried by tonight's results. Not because I am a Dean supporter (I am not). I had actually hoped that Dean wouldn't dominate so that we could actually vet our candidates and see who the best one was. And that happened. But the way it worked out worries me.

There is one undeniable thing: to have any chance of beating Bush, any candidate will need money. Well, Iowa's winners Kerry and Edwards aren't exactly rolling in dough, nor have they shown the ability to collect it in large amounts.

Dean has shown the ability to collect money, but he just got a black eye. Worse, from what punditry I have read on the web, he also was in full-on self destruct mode in his 'concession' speech. I am worried that the guy with money, and supporters, up the wazoo is imploding.

And speaking of supporters, I also worry about new/first-time voters that has supported Dean, watch him get trounced by the establishment, and then stay home on election day. Or worse, decide to vote Green.

But it is early, and maybe I am just being a pessimist. I like Edwards and Kerry, but if they are to be viable against Bush they need to get organized, get money, and do something to woo the legions supporting Dean (without becoming Dean). I just don't want a Kerry or Edwards ticket that comes out of the primary in disarray and underfunded. That would be a recipe for a Bush cake-walk.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at January 19, 2004 09:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Southern Strategy? Clark and Edwards?

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 09:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's the electability thing.

Kerry's finally managed to slough off much of the rhetorical tics that the Senate tends to ingrain. He's got foreign policy clout, in a way that even Clark doesn't. But. He's from Massachusetts.

Edwards's stump speech has hit a groove: his 'two Americas' argument is the sort of political rhetoric that makes you pine for the days before soundbites. Whether it translates to a bigger sell... I'd hope so. But he does look twelve years old.

And recent history suggests that Senators don't win the Presidency. Governors do.

Dean's problem, I think, was that the press played 'tall poppy' with him, and he took the bait. The media really acted like it wanted Dean to be elevated into front-runner status for Iowa -- a state where, in November, he seemed to be looking for a second place to Gephardt -- and then knocked off the top.

The 'I need to talk about religion' thing also felt messy to me, as if it were dictated by Tim Russert rather than the base; it'd be great if a candidate didn't feel the need to wear God on his sleeve, but that requires the swift death of 20 years of the Southern Strategy, so it won't happen. And the shouty-shouty speech tonight was frankly a turn-off.

If Dean is waning, then he's still to be thanked for putting some spine into the Democrats. Not so much John the Baptist as Moses, leading the party to the Promised Land without making it there himself.

Anyway, let's get NH over, and Lieberman out of the contest, and see what Super Tuesday brings.

Posted by: ahem at January 19, 2004 09:51 PM | PERMALINK

Dean: That was pretty ugly. Not the numbers, the speech. Caught it watching the Tweety and Fineman revue and I have to say it's the first time I've agreed with those 2 and Mike Barnicle in ages: Is Dean that dumb, or just that undisciplined?

To give national voters a first, unfiltered impression of him playing, I dunno, a pissed off shop steward rallying the boys to go beat the shit out of some scabs is amateur nite.

Edwards by comparison seemed like RFK, or Clinton.

What a set of bookends. Tonite's video is gonna have a very long shelf-life, $40 million and 500,000 or not

Posted by: fouro at January 19, 2004 09:55 PM | PERMALINK

Timothy, I'm a litte worried about the money too. I was secretly hoping that Dean would settle things quickly, giving him even more momentum for fundraising, and assuring money gets spent against Bush, and not against each other through the primary process.

I'm one who actually prefers a candidate who can challenge Bush's war in Iraq on all fronts, in terms of crafting a strategy to defeat Bush in the election.

I don't think that Rove and Bush really want to have the focus be so strongly on justifying the war in Iraq, and Dean seemed a strong guy to do it, with the money, and also a fiscal conservative by record who could hit Bush on both fiscal responsibility and the war in Iraq with high credibility.

Now, if the Democrats spend all their cash just trying to defeat each other, and a guy wins who voted for the war in Iraq, while Bush is spending tons on negative advertising in the meantime, I'm not sure what the strategy would be to defeat him in the general election.

I still believe that Dean and Clark are the two best candidates for the election, but Edwards is starting to surprise me, and Kerry is back from the dead. Maybe Kerry can defeat Bush by not engaging the war on all fronts, but just the lame way we pissed everyone off and mucked up the job too.

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 09:55 PM | PERMALINK

I am incredibly dismayed and shocked by tonight's caucus. I hope Dean can come back and restart his momentum. If not, what's left? What point is there to voting for Kerry, Edwards, or Clark? Any of them will lose to bush, and no effort towards building a better and different tomorrow will be made. I hope Nader, or someone like him who inspires hope for change, runs so my vote(and others like mine) will mean something. Why do the bad guys always win? I killed myself for this, and the truth is our own damn party deserted us and did this to us. It really sucks.

Posted by: BushMustGo at January 19, 2004 09:57 PM | PERMALINK

Will an argument with nuance win (having voted for the war, but differing with the execution) in a general presidential election?

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 09:58 PM | PERMALINK

We really need IRV. I think the Democrats failure to address electoral reform after the 2000 election may come back to haunt them if Dean doesn't win.

We need a voting system that works, and that gives everyone a voice. This, more than ever, needs to be put on the Democratic platform, no matter the candidate.

Dean already has, and I'd like to see the other candidates do it too. Maximizing independent turnout in the general election is going to be crucial.

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the bad guys always win? I killed myself for this, and the truth is our own damn party deserted us and did this to us. It really sucks.

It ain't over yet. If Dean is your guy, stick with it. There is a hell of a lot of campaigning to do. But please, please don't make the mistake of thinking any of the Democratic candidates is worse than Bush: not a single one is.

A vote for a Green candidate would sure mean something: it would mean a vote for GWB.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at January 19, 2004 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

But it is early, and maybe I am just being a pessimist. I like Edwards and Kerry, but if they are to be viable against Bush they need to get organized, get money, and do something to woo the legions supporting Dean (without becoming Dean).

I would hope that Kerry and Edwards would benefit by Dean's example and that Dean's supporters would also get behind either Edwards or Kerry if one of them emerged as the Democratic nominee.

BTW, as a former Iowan (and Iowa caucus-goer) I want to thank my native state for doing it's part to make politics the unpredictable sport that it is. Who would'a thunk it?... ;-)

Posted by: David W. at January 19, 2004 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with fouro 100%.

The comments from Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman, et al., when taken by themselves, were quite brutal on Dean. But they were spot on. Dean's speech was gawd awful -- a total and complete embarrassment. It was so bad, it had me agreeing with the worst of the media whores.

There is no undecided voter who, after watching that speech, would want to vote for Dean. Imagine Bush commercials playing that speech over and over again, every half hour.

Posted by: David at January 19, 2004 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, I'm going on a zen retreat. In the mountains of San Diego county. I'm way too philosophical to be this involved in politics this long before an actual election.

While I'm gone, I'd love to hear some other pick up the IRV and electoral reform banner and discussion. I've yet to hear a rational argument against it, and, since IRV clearly would have put Gore in the White House in 2000, it's a beautiful way to avoid Democrat/Green conflicts.

Champion IRV, or deliver a sensible argument against it (the idea has gone mainstream, so don't say it's radical either - the USA Today endorses it for chrissakes).

Meanwhile, I'm off to take back myself before worrying about taking back the country. Bring on the meditation!

And Kevin, keep up the great presence and ideas.

Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm really confused about some of the stuff I read here. I keep reading posts from alleged Democrats who are against national health insurance, in favor of free trade and deregulation, and don't think supporting Bush on invading Iraq was a big deal. My question is: why aren't you Republicans?

Posted by: Hozee at January 19, 2004 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Dean should join me for a few days.


From the sounds of the reactions to his speech tonight (I didn't see it), he might need a little pressure relaxation (meditation) too.

However it turns out, I will be the zen champion of whoever gets nominated. Well, as much zen as I can be.


Posted by: freelixir at January 19, 2004 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

i didn't say that the country hated president william jefferson clinton. i said that a large segment of the population did. you must have noticed. i think president william jefferson clinton did a fairly ok job actually. at least his administration wasn't a complete disaster like goober's is. hell, i think he deserved a blowjob.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

We really need IRV. I think the Democrats failure to address electoral reform after the 2000 election may come back to haunt them if Dean doesn't win.

What's interesting about tonight's results though is how Iowa's caucus system *is* a variation on instant runoff voting, given how a candidate who doesn't get 15% of the voters in a precinct gives his or her supporters the chance to vote for their second choice. For example, Kucinich supporters were encouraged to support Edwards as a second choice, IIRC.

Posted by: David W. at January 19, 2004 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dean already has, and I'd like to see the other candidates do it too. Maximizing independent turnout in the general election is going to be crucial.

I agree. Everthing I see puts the die-hard Ds and the die-hard Rs in a dead heat. The deciding factor is the independents, or much better turn out on one side.

Frustratingly, the unaffiliated folks I know tend to be the most likely to catch five minutes of news, hear political sound-bites, and vote with only that information. And in that arena, the Republicans clean the floor with Democrats.

Democrats need to work on simplifying and spreading their message. And all that is going to take boat-loads of money against Bush. So whoever wins, I hope they have fundraising prowess.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at January 19, 2004 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

My question is: why aren't you Republicans?

Answer: Republicans are lying sacks of excreta.

Posted by: Troy at January 19, 2004 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with those who think the big story tonight is that Convevntional Wisdom done took a big beating, and none too soon for my tastes. And it wasn't just the conventional wisdom of the establishment media. It was the conventional wisdom of the anti-establishment media, the blogsophere, and all of us here. And you can bet your bippy that all the predictions we are making at this very moment, based on tonight's caucus results, will be as amazingly off-base as all the predictions made before the caucus.

About all I can say at the moment is that it appears that endorsements, union support, money, the Internet, organization, unheard voices, and all the rest are not all that. At least in retail political states like Iowa. Underdogs are in, as long as they've got some experience and leadership qualities.

But who knows, next week it may be something else. I think predictions are made at anyone's peril at this point. I congratulate Sens. Kerry and Edwards. We're off to New Hampshire now, where equal numbers of voters remain undecided (far more than the polls have revealed, if my canvassing and phone banking efforts of the last months are correct). People who abandoned Kerry will probably come back. Dean takes a big hit. Edwards can't get enough of a bounce there to make up for previous standing. Oops. I made some predictions. Cancel them.

Posted by: samela at January 19, 2004 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

The Cheerleader from Andover Vs. the Peacenik Vietnam Vet....

I'm super Leftist...(Democratic Socialist of America member)...and if dean won the whole thing, I would have acted as a good Democrat...but Kerry has a background that no Patriotic American can vote against...the Vets are going to need him when they get back home!!!...his voting record still makes him more of a linberal than Clinton...the first Vietnam Vet to be President should come from the Democratic Party!!!!...Rove will have to work overtime to Demonize him!!! Vets were working overtime to get the Kerry vote out....c'mon, let's not blow this...

Kerry should get it. Edwards is still humble enough to be Veep. Clark....maybe...Dean will not accept Veep (or shouldn't).

After the arnold s. thing out here i have come to learn that a Kerry/Edwards would win on beauty alone, let alone their backgrounds. Edwards did some serious ambulance chasing...for the poor (as well as the rich, but check out his law years, he defended some down and out folks).

Kerry would atract Vets, in a big way.
Pure personality....Kusinich best represented my views (policy wise)...but my wife and mother would not have voted for him if i suggested it (and they respect and use my suggestions) Kerry is an easier sell...he saved a mother fuckers life in "Nam for goodness sakes!!!!

Posted by: Chake at January 19, 2004 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

good call, chake, except i would replace "cheerleader from andover" with "deserter from the texas air national guard". thats just me though.

Posted by: Olaf glad and big at January 19, 2004 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry...Our vets from 'Nam...even after a fucked-up war, they came back and made America work!!!!...A crazy texan sent them to some screwed up war and they still did good!!!!

Posted by: Chake at January 19, 2004 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

I was disappointed across the board tonight.

None of the post-caucus speeches impressed me much.

After getting off to a good start, even Clark's mini-spat with Senator Dole came off as a bit off-key.

What we have yet to see is how Clark addresses a large hall of cheering supporters. Of the candidates we heard tonight, only Edwards showed some skill with that.

Kerry had the "prettiest" family. As far as Edwards goes...well...this is going to sound cruel, but the party is going to need another plank just to support his wife.

All my hopes for 2004 are now pinned on this fact: What Clark is lacking he will work mightily on to correct. He is a workaholic and a perfectionist. I have faith in that tonight, but little faith for what I saw in Iowa.

The only consolation is that I didn't hear Joe Lieberman's at all. I guess I should be thankful for the little things.

Posted by: -pea- at January 19, 2004 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Freelixer: Why play the nuance angle? I don't see this being won on an anti-war campaign. Say...

"Sure this war. Not that time, not that way. Look, national security is priority one, without it, jobs, healthcare mean nothing. Our kids have nothing. But treat it seriously, not as a prop or a shield for your shallowness. The record is clear from inside and outside the security community: A vote for George Bush says your children will live in the the wreckage of a future he creates.

We could have 50 Iraq's, and be no safer, if the commander in chief allows rigged intelligence to guide his decisions, if he allows staff to blow the cover of our spies in the war on terror simply because those spies uncover facts that contradict an impulsive choice he's made years before.

This is one National Security decision that does not require intelligence, it requires common sense. If we have a commander in chief that doesn't take his job seriously, we need a new commander in chief.

Deploy the surrogates. Take that tack, shift the conversation, reframe the issue--there's lots of issues he's vulnerable on--and you keep him back on his heels. Rove HIM.

Posted by: fouro at January 19, 2004 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

As a long time, highly motivated, true-blue Dean supporter, I was amazed by the two beatings he took tonight, first in the surprisingly low percentage of Iowa voters who supported him after a campaign with unlimited resources, and the second self-inflicted beating in his speech.

I don't see Dean being able to recover from this. Instead, I see New Hampshire eliminating Lieberman, with the campaign dragging through the primaries.

I'll do anything to get Bush out of office. Will the candidates please cooperate by attacking Bush instead of each other? More negative campaigning will only suppress turn-out and alienate more potential supporters.

Posted by: Aeolus at January 19, 2004 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe the things I'm reading here. One poster may drop his/her candidate because of ONE allegedly "strident" speech; another discusses which candidate has the prettiest family...

This is like watching Graham Chapman and Terry Jones playing housewives on Monty Python!

Posted by: Hozee at January 19, 2004 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hozee: Mrs Zambezi, here....

One speech, replayed for the equivalent of what will be, in the PR slang, probably 500,000,000 impressions on registered voters over the next several months. One speech, as a dandy vignette in some coservative 527's generic "look at those wigged out democrats" TV spot running everywhere come October.

As for the family thing, hey, this America. Baptists don't drink in front of each other. And the image of healthy families wins, even if the supporting policies don't.


Mrs. Z

Posted by: fouro at January 19, 2004 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Be cautious. Be very cautious.

Posted by: Rick Barton at January 19, 2004 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

ahem >"...and Lieberman out of the contest..."

the sooner the better

A good four man race from here on...

"If the world isn't going to make sense, we'd better." - John Perry Barlow

Posted by: daCascadian at January 19, 2004 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

That speech of Dean' unfortunatelyt happen on the first night of the official start of 2004 election so all those people that don't pay attention -- just started to pay attention .. and they were see a raving madman that will confirm what the SCLM has been spinning for the last month.

Dean imploded tonight

Posted by: smartone at January 19, 2004 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

This whole "I'll do anything to get that stupid chimp out of office" argument isn't making the Democrats look good.

It would be nice if you could congratulate Bush on doing something right every once in a while.

Oh, but I know..he hasn't done anything right! We're going to hell in a handbasket! The horror, the horror!

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at January 19, 2004 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

One aspect of Iowa is being lost in the shuffle tonight:

What lesson can be taken from SUPPORT of UNIONS for Democrats?

Gephardt constructed his entire campaign on the labor vote, and much of Dean's mojo heading into Iowa was built on endorsements from large service-industry unions...

Gephardt's OUT, and Dean will have to scramble to retain his footing.

Can it be safely said that unions no longer hold significant sway in American politics any more?

Posted by: Tripstah at January 19, 2004 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

The crew railing against Dean's speech tonight reminds me of 1776. In particular, the arguments over the Declaration of Independence where various members of the committee want to keep toning down Jefferson's rhetoric and John Adams finally jumps up and says, "This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend somebody!" Everybody wants to get rid of Bush & Co. Everybody wants to get rid of politics as usual. But nobody wants a candidate to act like anything other that "more of the same." What if Al Gore had come out after the bogus Florida results with some of what Dean had tonight? Do you suppose things might have been a bit different? I do.

Posted by: Mike Jones at January 19, 2004 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

It would be nice if you could congratulate Bush on doing something right every once in a while.

Seriously, like what?

Tax cuts were overwhelmingly beneficial to the rich that we/they/somebody will have to repay, and shitty stimulative measures to boot.

NCLB is wrong policy (as a small-F federalist, I hate federal intervention in areas they do not belong) and underfunded. Public schools are the cornerstone of a free society.

9/11 was an administration failure.

The stem-cell thing is more iffy, as government does have a legitimate interest in mandating minimum ethical standards -- frankenstein science is sketchy on moral grounds. But from what I've read the compromise sucks.

The Feds raiding the LEGAL pot farm (for cancer sufferers) 10 miles up the road from me was bullshit, same with Ashcroft intervening in Oregon's right-to-die laws.

Afghanistan is still incomplete. But it felt good knocking some arab ass around so hey.

Iraq was & is a fucking disaster of diplomacy, policy, and strategy.

Last year's intervention in the Michigan AA case failed.

Nominating Federalist Society fuckheads isn't exactly centrist.

Moonbase Alpha is a joke of misplaced priorities.

Have I missed anything? What has this administration done right?

Posted by: Troy at January 19, 2004 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

The only thing I can think of that Bush has done remotely right - is that Do-Not-Call List, and I don't even think that was his to begin with...


Posted by: Tripstah at January 19, 2004 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Barton: either we raise taxes or lower spending.

Even during the .com bubble the deficit was growing. Getting back to those federal tax rates is only a first step toward fixing the problem.

I'm all for lowering spending; I propose we cut the defense budget down to $200B over 15 years, welfare also down to $200B over 15 years, and another $200B over everything else over 15 years, add federal single-payer health insurance, and let states pick up the social services slack.

Posted by: Troy at January 19, 2004 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

I agree there's not much to congratulate Bush about. His presidency is possibly the worst ever.

By the way, the combination of this headline over at a Kos Diary - "Why I Think Dean And Democracy Are Doomed" - and Drudge's idiotic coverage of Dean's going "nuts" has me laughing uncontrollably at Starbucks.

I'll still be laughing when I get to the mountain top retreat.

Posted by: freelixir at January 20, 2004 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

As new Iowa residents My wife and I went out and caucused tonight for the first time, and then we went to a local tavern and watched the results and had beers. Very interesting stuff.

We are in Iowa City, so our experience was different than that of Hawkeye's parents, but not entirely different. We also had a bunch of new democratic voters, (120 out of 424 total) but most of them i think were former independents. Still, the principle is the same: bush has done a great job of mobilizing democratic support, tho this is not at all to discredit the disaffected folks that Dean is bringing in to the party. some of those folks I think were energized by Dean, but defected to Kerry because of electability concerns.

Our caucus was a dogfight between Kerry (125) and Dean (130). This netted them each 3 of the nine delegates we elected. Kucinch got 2 delegates, with 90 votes, and Edwards got 1 with 71. Clark and Gephardt got none. Tho each had supporters in the hall for the first round, neither got the 15% necessary for viability.

We voted for Kucinich. I have no reservations about him philosophically or politically, and honestly I don't expect to get the chance to vote for him again. We both would have supported Clark, and in fact did so until it was obvious that he wasn't going to make the cut. However, one of our neighbors from another district told us that his caucus fielded two delegates for clark.

I'm OK with the results. I'm surprised that Dean didn't do better, but he is turning out to have a real tin ear for what does and doesn't resonate with people. someoone up the line said that he really needs to learn to speak to people who aren't staunch supporters already, and I think that's true.

I still like clark nationally, but I also see a Kerry/edwards ticket as a real winner in November, and i could vote for that without holding my nose too hard at all.

Posted by: Urk at January 20, 2004 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

You guys and the people at KoS really had me going there. I thought Dean really had lost it. That is, until I saw the footage. He's just rallying his troops, football coach style.

Why the fatalism? Three theories:
1) Maybe web geeks can't handle the histrionics, even though John Q. X. Quarterback is quite comfortable with it.

2) Maybe the Dean supporters are sympathizing with what they fear others thought? ( I find clarity by engaging my own reaction before predicting that of the average American.)

3) A frequent type of caller to C-SPAN is one who says "I'm a life-long Republican, but not this year. I'm voting for Edwards." I'm pretty sure most of these folks are planted by the Edwards campaign. Perhaps many people (at Kos) professing to be disenchanted by Dean's speech tonight are actually organizers from other campaigns?

Just thoughts.

Posted by: Matt at January 20, 2004 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

I've heard the Dean soundbite several times already (from "Third place ain't so bad" to the primal scream; the BBC news on NPR is playing it in the top-of-the hour news briefs and again 5 minutes later in their caucus story) and it just sounds worse each time. Such a massive electoral let down immediately followed by playing so badly into the "angry/crazy" slander will probably just kill his candidacy. And don't be surprised if the talk radio types start doing their own primal screams in mockery of him.
Unfortunately, Dean will absolutely stick around; all that money not only makes him able to stick around no matter what, I don't think he can drop out early and still look $40 million worth of contributors in the eye, though remaining in the race for that reason would hurt both Dean and the party.
So the dynamic in the race will likely still be "who's the best anti-Dean?", not what we really need, "who's the best anti-Bush?".

Posted by: Anodyne at January 20, 2004 01:00 AM | PERMALINK

Very surprising. I turned off Dean during his speech, apparently before he went into wild man mode. Just how bad did he get?

Edwards is impressing me more and more, though I've been a Clark man up to now. Edwards is probably the best public speaker in the race, and has great policies. If it weren't for that lack of foreign policy experience I'd be strongly considering switching my support to him.

I like Kerry. If I woke up tomorrow and he was President I'd breathe a huge sigh of relief and sleep just fine. And he does look presidential, even if he does look like his face has partially melted. His foreign policy credibility is ok, though Clark's is better. But I'm so worried about that "Massachussetts liberal" label (also read "Northeastern liberal" for Dean) that I really want someone from a different part of the country for a nominee.

Dean only got 18% in a state where his volunteers outnumbered anyone else's more than 2-1. Shocking. Gephardt was even more so; even though I thought this would be his last state I expected much better than 11%.

Dean can still win NH and carry on, but the trend lines are going the wrong way. Suddenly Feb. 3 no longer looks like the end of the contest to me.

Posted by: Norman at January 20, 2004 01:02 AM | PERMALINK

Norman, watch the whole speech. I think Fox has a clip somewhere. I think you'll find angry Dean is not the correct descriptor. Hyper Dean, Mercurial Dean, Loopy Tired Dean, Impassioned Dean, Spunky Dean, Coach Dean are all more accurate than Angry Dean. Somebody on the Dean campaign: find an adjective to compete with "angry", fast. "Not" will not do.

I totally agree about Edwards' tv charisma. It's so scary good that he doesn't even seem slimy, though on reflection it would seem improbable if he weren't.

Posted by: Matt at January 20, 2004 01:17 AM | PERMALINK

He's just rallying his troops, football coach style.

Sure, he's just doing that. But on TV, it looks like apoplepsy. Rally the troops: just make sure the cameras are out of the damn room. That's what coaches do in the NFL when their team is down at halftime: they keep their rallying talks to themselves.

Look up the 'Sheffield rally' and see how the effects of going apeshit on live TV have a history.

Posted by: ahem at January 20, 2004 01:33 AM | PERMALINK

Just remember most of the people in Congress are also lawyers. I'd be interested in finding out about all the cases Edwards worked on to determine if he was a "say anything to win" guy or not. I'm a pretty jaded guy with a usually good eye for reading people and Edwards seems to be what he says. That's just a gut feeling, though one I've come to trust.

Whether Dean went crazy or not isn't of too great of interest to me. I went away from him early on after the impossible to enact total repeal of Bush tax cuts idea came around. His lack of foreign policy experience, coupled with the lack of telegenic properties and the lack of Edward's way with words, and his Northeastern background, and that was it.

Why Clark? For me, I see our main weakness in November to be the 30 point gap we have on national security. We already win most of the domestic issues, but that gap on people feeling safe is a huge and overriding one. Clark does a better job of anyone of taking that off the table, he's an actual progressive with his policies, he's probably the smartest guy in the race (not saying any of the rest are dummies), and he has real hands on experience with Europe and leaders there; relationships that will be extremely helpful in repairing our standing in the world. He also shares Edward's advantage of being a southerner. I don't necessarily think a southerner was absolutely necessary; a Westerner or someone from the Midwest would do as well. I just think both Dean and Kerry share a disadvantage that so much of their message can be subsumed by the "left wing Taxachussetts (or Northeastern) liberal" label.

I still think Dean is the best VP candidate, though I don't know whether he'd take the spot. Dean's army will stay mobilized with him on the ticket to a large degree. I'm afraid otherwise they'll prove fair weather friends and we need all the help we can get in November.

Posted by: Norman at January 20, 2004 01:47 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm, I must've watched a different Dean speech than some of the others here. I saw a guy who had a modest setback--more than minor, less than major--stand up, roll up his sleeves (literally), say he wasn't going to quit, and that he was in it for the full 15 rounds: that's the guy I want running the country.

Posted by: Dazir at January 20, 2004 01:49 AM | PERMALINK

I just watched some of Dean's speech - you can see it at:,3782,6155:300,00.ram (also copied in my URL - I know, it's Fox, but CNN and MSNBC didn't have it, at least for free, and hey, use their server bandwidth).

It plays better with the video than it does as audio alone, and it plays better with context than without. But cue it to 0:50, close your eyes, and listen until 1:26; then stop it. It's not pretty. Then, cue it to 0:50 again with the sound off and watch it until 1:26 (and turn it off then, before he smiles) and he looks really angry.
Oddly, the sound and video together aren't nearly as bad as either alone. But the point is not how it should be interpreted, but how it will be twisted.
And anyone who can't (mis)use this speech to reinforce the "Dean is Angry/Crazy" slander doesn't deserve a job in politics.

Posted by: Anodyne at January 20, 2004 02:06 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Anodyne. Can't see what's the big deal; great fire-up speech, unless you cut off the BIG ASS SMILE and JOKEY ARM-TWIRL at the end, then it becomes a rant.

Fucking media.

Posted by: Troy at January 20, 2004 02:39 AM | PERMALINK

I had my palms slammed to my ears within 10 seconds of Dean's speech.

Dean suffers from "So smart everyone is against me" syndrome. I understand why his wife never showed up, she knows him well enough to realize he shouldn't be president.

Dean is the sort of idiot who explains to us masses how complicated things should work, and don't question his authority because he is a doctor.

Unwilling to reality test his own theories in public. He's locked into his own world view, and is insecure about testing that view in public.

The key for me was when he said the most important point of the campaign was when he realized he might be president. That was the key for me, I realized he suffer from self dissonance; he really was incapable of evaluating himself, and hung to self misrepresentation until it was too late.

If you want well formed personality, Edwards is your man, even Kerry or Gephart. People talk of the Clinton style, the Clinton style is basically accurate self-evaluation.

Anybody but Dean.

The fact that he has a cadre of young kids that ignore his defect bothers me, sort of the Manson Cult followers. We don't need another group of kids led astray, the way LBJ, mass killer, led his generation astray.

Good by Dean, and good riddance; never again.

Posted by: Matt Young at January 20, 2004 03:51 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting results. But I have to agree that Dean's speech was a shocker. My first time really watching him. Kind of like a Supergeek running for class president with the entire audience wincing in embarrassment. The endless repeating of State names, the ridiculous Spanish stuff at the end (in Iowa?!). He seems to have no self awareness. And the lack of visible family support, in total contrast to the other candidates, was glaringly obvious. Are they embarrassed by him too?

Posted by: melk at January 20, 2004 04:24 AM | PERMALINK

Dean is history. Who wins NH? I hope Edwards takes second, again. Edwards is the most likely to do well in Nov., 2004. (Though Bush prolly wins, still). AND he has a good shot in 2008, against (then maybe with?) Hillary.

I don't think Dean runs by himself, nor accepts VP (though he might?). His grass roots hate-Bush is more Bush hate than Dean love, so it's easily transferred to ... anybody but Bush!

As a Lib, I don't want Bush to have too easy a time in his reelection. Now is the time his mistakes should be identified, and better alternatives offered.

Where are Dem policies? (oh yeah, I remember, PUNISH, er, tax the rich. Hmm; uh uh)

Posted by: Tom Grey at January 20, 2004 04:52 AM | PERMALINK

I saw a couple of comments early about hoping that the Dem candidates take it easy on each other and focus on Bush. How do the Dem candidates differentiate themselves from the pack if they do this? If all of them only pound Bush, then they all look the same.

And I never saw the turnout percentage, did anyone else?

Posted by: Ron at January 20, 2004 06:37 AM | PERMALINK seems to have the Real video of the speech.

Posted by: Joey Giraud at January 20, 2004 07:12 AM | PERMALINK

Tripster asks
"Can it be that unions no longer hold any sway over politics?"

Well, maybe if what you're talking about is union *endorsements* of particular candidates. The two winners certainly had less organized labor endorsements than the two losers. But official endorsements by national union leaderships is only one way in which unions (or really, ANY membership organization) have influence over elections. The media was quick to crow that the Iowa results were a case of "the elderly trumping the union workers", but in fact Gephardt and Dean fared so poorly largely because they themselves were unable to attract their expected level of rank and file labor support. Edwards in particular, with his progressive economic policies, captured many union voters.
Certainly, rank-and-file union memers do not display the kind of fanatic electoral discipline of certain other membership groups (the NRA or the various abortion-rights and anti-abortion groups come to mind) but being in a union certainly does continue to effect individual political behavior. I think Bush will see that in the general election. He has greatly alienated the usually rather docile rank-and-file union member. In this regard he may have hurt his party a great deal, and rolled back many of the advances Reagan made in attracting union members.

Posted by: kokblok at January 20, 2004 07:12 AM | PERMALINK

And I never saw the turnout percentage, did anyone else?

IIRC, around 100,000 turned out for the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses, about twice as many as in 2000. Not a lot of voters, but given how much time it takes compared to simply voting in a primary it's a pretty good turnout.

Posted by: David W. at January 20, 2004 07:14 AM | PERMALINK

oh, I thought of one Bush policy proposal I like: the 3-year working visa program. We should encourage people to come here -- it makes it easier for americans to work overseas in return. Perhaps there should be a per-nation limit based on national population (quarterly lottery?), to prevent Mexicans from swamping the system.

Posted by: Troy at January 20, 2004 07:19 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, that was a good one. And, in general, I think Bush's immigration policies (before 9/11, at least) were pretty good. But in the grand scheme of things, all that means is that Bush is batting .004 instead of .000.

Posted by: kokblok at January 20, 2004 07:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Can it be that unions no longer hold any sway over politics?"


They are just a bit slow these days. Primarily because they off-shored their advocacy work to India, and the offices there are not quite up to speed.

Does America manufacture anything anymore? I mean besides prisons?

(Asked while waving my Made-in-China American flag)

Posted by: neo-edwardian at January 20, 2004 07:30 AM | PERMALINK

IIRC, around 100,000 turned out for the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses

Make that 120,000.

Posted by: David W. at January 20, 2004 08:23 AM | PERMALINK

Below is the audio link for the Dean speech. I like the guy, but I have to say I was literally on the floor laughing at it. This is also how it will sound on NPR, Rush, etc....

When I worked at a computer comopany doing tech support , sound files would get sent around like recordings of angry customers, crank calls, and that Casey Kasem thing where he cusses about the dog. This is one of those kind of things. Dean needs to recover quick.

Posted by: Jesus Tom at January 20, 2004 08:25 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it sounds bad but in context with video Dean is PLAYING THE CROWD WITH HUMOR.


Posted by: Troy at January 20, 2004 08:34 AM | PERMALINK

>What the Iowa voters did tonight was identify anti-war screeching

Ummm, pollers agree 75% of precinct-goers were anti-war. Try again.

>If it weren't for that lack of foreign policy experience I'd be strongly considering switching my support to him

Actually he really has virtually no domestic policy experience, either. He's the only guy with a thinner resume than
the Dubya of 2000. But I really want him on the ticket, the Dems can NOT afford to lose a issue framing genius.

>Unwilling to reality test his own theories in public.

Yeah, that's why his previous choice of employment was GOVERNOR. Jeezus, Matt.

PS to everybody: save a brick for your TV when Steven Moore(on) comes on and tells everybody his Hair Club "latte-sipping" ad resonated with the voters. Don't throw the brick then, throw it after the Media Whore neglects to point out that the guy who actually won is from Volvo ground central, Taxachussetts. And the real deal Heartland guy in the race, Gephardt, crashed and burned.

Posted by: doesn't matter at January 20, 2004 08:43 AM | PERMALINK

Matt Y. arguing about realities. Ah, humor.

Posted by: Troy at January 20, 2004 08:52 AM | PERMALINK

Thoughs from a Bush leaning independent:

Brad DeLong: "Democratic Party Wins in Iowa" (and later quotes Froomkin as saying the GOP is the biggest looser.

Instapundit: "Overall, I'd say that this is good news for the Democrats, and for the country, and bad news for Bush and the Republicans"

Andrew Sullivan: "Good news for the Dems - and the country"

Is there something in the stars, or is there a growing convergence of independents and moderates of both parties?

My sense is that there is a large portion of the voting public who think that we are doing more-or-less the right thing on the war on terrorism. They don't necessarily think that Bush & Co are executing well, but they have little truck with the "Bush Lied" chant. Mostly, they don't want this election to be about Iraq. Some of the ground level reporting from Iowa made this clear, see, for example David Brooks' NYT column. They want to talk about the economy, health care and education, where they do want an alternative to Bush. There is a smaller group who do think passionately that Iraq was a big mistake and Bush is awful, but these do not make up much of even the Democratic electorate.

Those Democrats who made opposition to Bush on Iraq and foreign affairs a big part of thier campaign did badly. On the other hand, those who focused on domestic issues did well. This shouldn't be surprising, Bush's stance is not popular on these issues.

It keeps seeming to me that Clark made a very bad decision to reach out so strongly to the anti-war folks. This is where he lost the unhappy-with-Bush hawks (cf. Kevin's post on Sullivan and Clark below.) He also opened himself up to criticism of having flipped an important position to pander to an extreme interest group. I think he would have sounded much more credible if he had entered the campaign with a line of "the war on Saddam was the right thing to do, but Bush & Co. have botched the relationships with allies and the post-war. I have the experience to do better."

The big question is can he leverage his experience to move his image back into the center on foreign policy. To do so, he will need to distance himself from the Moores of the world and spend more time with the ex-Clinton foreign policy team. Don't forget that most people havn't been paying much attention to the campaign and couldn't tell you anything about his recent statements on Iraq. What he says in the next month (and the following 9, if he remains a candidate) will far outweigh anything he said in the past few.

OTOH, I need to look more closely at Edwards.

Net the result is good for the country. I now feel that there are several likely Democratic candidates who I could consider voting for. With luck, either one will convinvce me to actively like him, or they will push Bush to respond with some fiscal sanity of his own. A Dean nomination, which would have forced foreign policy moderates to ignore Bush's domestic faults, would have been worse.

Posted by: marc at January 20, 2004 09:12 AM | PERMALINK

Much to do about nothing on the Dean speech as far as I can tell. Was it good? No. Frankly it made me laugh and feel a bit embarassed in the way a Brady Bunch episode makes you feel. But so what?

Anybody catch the clips of Bush smirking/spitting/looking dumbfounded/etc. on Letterman he's been showing recently? Bush simply isn't going to be on the winning end of any embarassing-looking-video-clip-in-an-ad pissing contest. Best not to go there.

So Dean's got a bit of a tin ear and is more emotional than most. I say good for him. The Gore-as-statue approach certainly didn't get us anywhere, and it's probably long past the time that we move away from our strict template of what politicians are 'suppossed' to do and look like. Again, playing that game hasn't done the Dems much good in the past few years.

And for the record, I'm a Clark guy.

Posted by: rufus at January 20, 2004 09:23 AM | PERMALINK

Joe wrote: "It would be nice if you could congratulate Bush on doing something right every once in a while."

Gee, Joe, maybe you could help us out and list a couple of items for us? Skip Iraq, please, as we know quite well what your opinion is there.

The economy? Nope. The environment? Nope. Business regulation? Nope. Proper use of science? Nope. Foreign relations? Nope. Fiscal restraint? Nope. Energy? Nope. Education? Nope.

Help me out, Joe. What has he done right?

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