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

Wednesday | February 12, 2003

In Iowa, voters oppose war

Iowa Democrats, more so than the average American, are starkly against war. And the candidate that is best positioned to take advantage of this is Howard Dean:

This anti-war militancy was on display Saturday night in Ames as 250 party activists attended the Story County Democrats' Annual Soup Supper. Four-term Sen. Tom Harkin roused the faithful by declaring: ''I believe we need a need a new debate and a new resolution in the Senate. And I believe that senators ought to stand up and vote whether or not we're going to go to war with Iraq.''

Harkin was the warm-up act for the Democratic presidential candidate who is best positioned to ride the groundswell of dovish sentiment into next January's Iowa caucuses. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean earned the most enthusiastic standing ovation of the evening when he said: ''We ought not to resort to unilateral action unless there is an imminent threat to the United States. And the secretary of State and the president have not made a case that such an imminent threat exists.''

It wasn't too long ago that Dean was the Rodney Dangerfield of the Democratic race, the long-shot candidate from a minuscule state who didn't get much respect. But all that is changing fast, largely because of Democratic doubts about war. As Iowa party Chairman Gordon Fischer, who is neutral in the presidential race, put it Monday: ''I can see Dean winning the Iowa caucuses. He's as much a player here as anybody.''

Of course, if the war ends quickly, Dean's opposition may come back to bite him, or voters may simply forget. However, odds are not good of a quick war -- were even Saddam's capitulation could be followed by years of guerilla resistance (like Afghanistan).

But if the war becomes a Bush negative, it's clear that it would push Dean into the forefront of the field. It's his issue, and he'll ride it to boom or bust.

Posted February 12, 2003 06:39 AM | Comments (18)


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