Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | January 27, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 1/27

Last week's rankings: Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards, Graham, Dean, Gephardt, Others.

The big news this week was Graham's heart surgery. At best it has forced him to postpone any announcement until March, but it's most likely he's out of the running altogether.

1. John Kerry
Kerry's campaign continues to chug along, mostly on track, and mostly getting good reviews from the base. His high name recognition in NH is an obvious advantage, and his campaign stash leaves him with little to be desired. This ain't no shoe-string campaign. But his Iraq stance may very well prove to be his Achilles heel.

2. Joe Lieberman
His high name ID continues to serve him well in national polling, but at the state level, he barely registers in Iowa, NH, or SC. It's hard to see how he could do well in either MO or DC (assuming it moves up its primary to the head of the pack). Lieberman knows this, hence his "this is a marathon, not a sprint". However, no amount of cash will offset the negative press he will get if he strings together four or five straight solid losses. At that point, the media glare will be on the winners and surprise finishers.

From his initial lofty perch in the polls, Lieberman only has one direction to go. Down.

3. John Edwards
Graham is likely to drop out of the race before even entering it, making Edwards the biggest winner of the week. His NARAL speech, while striking all the right tones, was poorly received -- possibly a bad omen.

4. Howard Dean
Dean is poised for a breakout, as he continues to get good press like this. And this. It will take one major announcement before the national press pays any attention to him -- a solid fundraising report (he needs cash to ante up). However, Dean's propensity for off-the-cuff speeches (he orates off the top of his head, not from a prepared text), while oftentimes fun to watch, can lead to two major pitfalls -- 1) the tendency to go overboard ("Bush administration will try to keep girls out of school" kind of stuff), and 2) the lack of written copies of the speech to hand out to press -- a necessity in modern political journalism.

5. Gephardt
I think I will keep that "down" arrow next to his name until he drops out. I'm wholly underwhelmed by Gephardt's candidacy -- an ambivalence seemingly shared by the party's loyal base. Gephardt's NARAL appearance received mixed reviews (he once supported abortion, and still supports a ban on "partial-birth" procedures). And his inability to garner any positive press is startling. Will unions stick with someone who is a sure loser? If the unions pull their backing, Gephardt may not survive the year.

Others: Clark, Hart, Moseley-Braun, Sharpton

Posted January 27, 2003 08:27 AM | Comments (170)


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