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

Wednesday | May 14, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 5/14

Last week's rankings: 1) Kerry, 2) Gephardt, 3) Dean, 4) Edwards, 5) Lieberman, 6) Graham, 7) Sharpton, 8) Moseley Braun, 9) Kucinich, and others.

This week's rankings:

1. Dick Gephardt
House endorsements, while not particularly surprising, help Gephardt combat the perception that his stewardship of the Dems House caucus was a failure. Also gave him good press.

He has managed to stay above the Kerry/Dean fray, and as such, has squeaked past Kerry. The lead, however, is slight.

2. John Kerry
Even Kerry admits errors in his aggressive attacks on Dean. Instead of marginalizing his top challenger in NH, Kerry gave Dean additional exposure. And given that Dean needs name ID more than anything else at this point, it was a massive tactical blunder.

Furthermore, word is out that Kerry's team is mean-spirited. Not exactly a deal breaker, but it can help color the media's perception of Kerry.

Oh, and he needs to stop coasting.

3. Howard Dean
Health care speech was roundly ignored, which shows that Dean has a LONG way to go before he can garner the press of a Gephardt (or even Kerry). But his spat with Kerry served him well (if the 'frontrunner' is worried about him, he must be a threat, right?), and has continued to garner good press.

4. John Edwards
Hanging on to 4th on a thread. While I think the investigations into his fundraising are ridiculous, they have put the campaign on the defensive. Never a good place to be.

5. Bob Graham
Damn, this guy is going around accusing Bush of gross misconduct before and after 9-11. He took Sunday's terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia as another opportunity to hammer home the point that Bush has neglected the hunt against Al Qaeda to exorcise his father's Iraq demons.

Given his access to classified info, his criticism has the potential to stick. This line of attack could definitely catapult him into top contention once the rest of the press wakes up to Graham's schtick. As of now, they're still obsessing over Scott Peterson.

One shouldn't be surprised at Graham's aggressiveness. His campaign is being run by elements of Daschle's machine -- the guys that put Sen. Landrieu on the attack against Bush -- as Bush basked in the glow of his high popularity and November victories -- and defeated the best Rove could throw at them.

6. Joe Lieberman
Joe should be ranked higher, but seriously, I can't figure out a way to do so. By every measure other than Name ID Lieberman gets bested by the other candidates. Granted, he's leading in SC, but even that lead is narrowing. And is he raising any cash?

Although I will say this -- at this rate, Lieberman will overtake an increasingly irrelevant Edwards.

(Incidentally, Lieberman is NOT conservative. He's just a preachy moralizer in bed with the accounting folks behind the Enron and Worldcom collapses. Attack him on the merits, not on false perceptions.)

7. Al Sharpton
I still love him. I'm having happy thoughts about the ways Sharpton can help energize African-American voter registration and turnout.

8. Carol Moseley-Braun
I still wish she would drop out (though she's less of a joke these days).

9. Kucinich
I still wish he had never run.

Others: Clark (the "run-o-meter" is edging toward "yes"). I won't list Biden anymore, since I haven't seen anything credible in weeks that would point to a possible candidacy.

p.s. It's becoming more in vogue to say "if there are elections next year". Jeez, please don't pull the "black helicopter" spiel on us! There will be elections. I don't like Bush, but no one is about to upsurp the Constitution and cancel elections. Lay a bit off the paranoia, please.

And in any case, such defeatism is ridiculous. We should be getting pumped up to take on the GOP and its Mighty Wurlitzer. This will be a DIRTY election, an outright war, and we will need all the bodies and resources we can muster.

The GOP didn't need to cancel an election to make its gains in 2002. It used good ol' fashioned bodies on the ground. That's where 2004 will be fought -- in the metaphorical trenches. If you want to be deafeatist, by all means, it's your right. But please spare the rest of us busy preparing for the looming battle.

Posted May 14, 2003 12:11 AM | Comments (129)


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