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

Wednesday | May 21, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 5/21

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

No recent polling out of any of the early primary states. No recent polling either on Bush's approval ratings. Must be the summer doldroms.

This week's rankings:

1. Dick Gephardt
His campaign is running a great operation. They have stayed above the fray, and let's face it -- they are doing a great job shaking the "loser" tag from Gephardt.

2. Howard Dean
George Bush called Adam Clymer a "major league asshole", and while the press expressed predictable outrage, the public loved him for it. I wouldn't sweat some of Dean's "misstatements" -- it seems his Meet Up numbers always spike after one of those.

Why? Because it spurs media attention, and his campaign is in "name ID" mode. Once people are aware he exists, they take a closer look. And he seems to be doing really well amongst those who look.

For that reason, both Kerry and the DLC miscalculated horribly by attacking Dean. They took a candidate without a cause post-Iraq, and reinvigorated him beyond all expectations. Rather than ignore and marginalize, they elevated Dean to "threat number one" and he's subsequently reaping all the benefits.

One more thing -- remember that silly notion that helped get Bush elected -- "who would you rather have a beer with, Bush or Gore?" Dean wins the "Beer Primary".

3. John Kerry
I want to snap my fingers in his face to wake him up. Does he really want to be president?

I was at an early afternoon press conference with Kerry in Sacramento back in February. After it was over, a reporter asked Kerry, in an unguarded moment, how he felt. Kerry responded: "I'm okay now, but I start fading after 6". I remember thinking, "6? He looks like he's fading now." The sad thing is, I'm still thinking that now.

He needs to demonstrate a bit more vigor, a bit more drive. Considering he's been going after the hyperactive Dean the past few weeks, the comparisons have not been flattering.

4. Bob Graham
So nobody heard his "Bush Knew" criticisms, but they will. Eventually. On paper he's got the best campaign team, and they're going for broke. Good. It'll help embolden the rest of the Democrats to make similar (and well deserved) attacks on Bush.

But seriously, he needs work on his campaign style.

5. Joe Lieberman
A stronger Graham is bad news for Lieberman, as they both will be fighting for the party's right flank. And Lieberman's press has all been negative, as in "why can't he turn it around". Rumors are that he continuous to have fundraising troubles. And given his high expectations as a nominal front-runner and high burn rate (his DLC consultants don't come cheap), he has more at stake with his Q2 totals than any other candidate.

6. John Edwards
What does this guy have to do to get any respect? And how aggressive will Ashcroft/Bush's Justice Department be in investigating his fundraising operation? The DOJ needs to butt out. Their investigation reeks of political opportunism.

7. Al Sharpton
"Rehabilitation Tour 2003" continues unabated.

8. Carol Moseley-Braun
She exists.

9. Kucinich
They loved him in Iowa, but in the same way they love Sharpton. They agree with what he has to say, but won't cast a vote for him in a million years.

Others: Clark (indications are that he will run)

Posted May 21, 2003 09:10 AM | Comments (287)


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