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

Tuesday | February 11, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 2/11

To clarify, the Cattle Call is not a predictor of who will win -- it merely takes a snapshot of the current lineup at the moment. That said, we have movement this week, with Edwards taking a hit and Dean (by default, not by accomplishment) moving up. I'm also moving Graham back into the contender's list at the expense of Gephardt. I can't wait to knock Lieberman of his #2 perch, but he's done nothing to merit the demotion. I still believe he has no chance for the nomination, but for now his name ID has value.

Incidentally, this blurb by The Prince of Darkness (Novak) has MASSIVE repercussions on the campaign:

Prominent Democrats, encouraged by National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, want more 2004 presidential primary elections pushed up to Feb. 3. That will become, in effect, the first nationwide primary.

Eight states already have changed to Feb. 3, and there is a push for four more big ones: California, New York, Illinois and Ohio. Democratic insiders are writing off traditional preliminary tests in Iowa and New Hampshire, because of the advantage by semi-favorite sons from neighboring states (respectively, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts).

"Super Tuesday" on February 3rd? This would be huge -- giving the money candidates (Kerry, Lieberman, and Edwards) a huge strategic advantage over the second tier. If those big states do, indeed, make the switch, expect massive shifts in the dynamics of this race.

Previous rankings: 1. John Kerry, 2. Joe Lieberman, 3. John Edwards, 4. Howard Dean, 5. Dick Gephardt, Others: Clark, Hart, Moseley-Braun, and Sharpton.

Most recent polling:

Kerry: 36 percent
Lieberman: 18 percent
Dean: 16 percent
Gephardt: 8 percent
Edwards: 6 percent
Sharpton: 1 percent
Undecided: 15 percent

Kerry: 24 percent
Gephardt: 23 percent
Lieberman: 13 percent
Edwards: 9 percent
Dean: 8 percent
Sharpton: 2 percent
Undecided: 21 percent

Without further ado...

1. John Kerry
The war issue hasn't been kind to Kerry, and his lame attempts to explain his flip flops don't reflect kindly on the candidate. And there's a coordinated effort by the Right (and the Boston Globe) to turn Kerry into Gore. Kerry needs to parry those attacks skillfully to prove he's ready for Bush. Rove and Co. will be vicious, and our nominee needs to be able to go toe to toe against the VRWC.

Then again, Kerry's environment speech got wide (and approving) coverage, which indicates he can get press (important!). And it's hard to argue with the poll above. He's got a solid lead in NH and is elbowing Gephardt aside in his own turf. And he's one of the lucky few with $$$.

2. Joe Lieberman
If a candidate is invisible, is that good or bad? I'm thinking it's good, especially if you've got 100 percent name ID. And given he's a bona fide Chickenhawk, his warmongering got a boost from Powell's speech. Now for the Dem primaries is this good or bad? Who knows? A lot depends on the endgame -- will the war be successfully prosecuted or not? For now, other candidates are getting the brunt of anti-war anger within the Dem camp which can only be a plus for Lieberman.

3. Howard Dean
Howard Dean is "studying" the South Carolina boycott? It seems like an easy lesson, but Dean is running hard as a states rights candidate so perhaps there's a method to this madness. But he's sure pissing away any chance of attracting African American votes. He could've tried to get political cover from the SC NAACP (as Edwards belatedly did), but instead chose a path of ambiguity that starkly contrasts with his supposed "straight talker" persona. Then he had to justify his dovish views in the face of Powell's presentation, which he did by turning into a reluctant hawk:

Action with the U.N. is where we should be aiming at right now. We should be going back and set a timeline with the U.N. for absolute disarmament. I've chosen 60 days. And then there would be military action.
But he continues to get good press, and his grassroots organizing will soon be the envy of the field. All the money in the world can't buy what energized volunteers can accomplish.

Still, Dean moves up more as a result of Edward's horrid week than anything of his own making.

4. John Edwards
I have to admit, part of me is rooting for this guy -- he's WAY up one week, and then he's WAY down the next. I want to see consistency. He's got talent and potential, but like a puppy, he can't seem to avoid the ocassional pitfall. In baseball, such inconsistencies are a hallmark of rookie seasons, and the analogy is apt.

What went wrong? South Carolina, where his campaign staff seemed to violate his pledge to adhere to the NAACP-led boycott of the state. Nevermind that the SC NAACP defended Edwards, or that this flap was much ado about nothing. The press (and the Right) jumped all over it -- trying to make Edwards look Gore-like, and he was slow to react. Then on Chris Matthews he refused to say Clinton was a great president and said Bush was legitimately elected. Way to rally the base, John. His pro-war, anti-war dance ain't helping matters either.

And then we have those poll numbers above.

What's going well? Well, the White House still is stating (whether seriously or for disinformation) that it fears Edwards the most. And the guy has lots of $$$.

5. Bob Graham
Just by talking about running, Graham is more compelling a candidate than any of the other pretenders can ever hope to be. Graham's candidacy is about one thing -- Florida. Without Florida, Bush's re-election math gets a lot more complicated, and infinitely more difficult. And Graham is nearly immune to attacks based on national security.

But he is recovering from heart surgery, and he will definitely lag the other candidates in campaigning and fundraising. And that's assuming he can assume a vigorous schedule soon, which may not be possible as he recovers fully from his surgery.

6. Dick Gephardt
Homeboy needs to drop out already. If there's one thing Democrats don't want right now it's a loser, and he's done nothing but lose the past six years.

Others: Biden, Clark, Dodd, Hart, Kucinich, Moseley-Braun, and Sharpton.

Posted February 11, 2003 12:30 AM | Comments (84)


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