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

Wednesday | June 18, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 6/18

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

It's a no-change week. This week's rankings:

1. Dick Gephardt
Relatively quiet. Probably out fundraising. But inactivity can be deadly, especially with Dean breathing down his neck.

2. Howard Dean
He won the Wisconsin straw poll. Big deal. Let me be a contrarian and say that it doesn't mean squat. Dean would probably win the majority of straw polls across the nation, since they are party activist affairs, but they are not predictive of his success with the party's rank and file.

So the victory might be a nice morale boost for the campaign, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking it's anything significant.

On the other hand, the $300,000 ad buy in Iowa is significant. Bold. Gutsy. Unconventional. Throwing caution to the wind. If it helps define Dean before the competition can try and drag him down or co-opt his themes, it'll be brilliant. If it drains Dean's resources at a time no one is paying attention, then it'll be a massive failure. But if nothing else it indicates that Dean's Q2 numbers must look real good. We'll know soon enough. Just 12 days before quarter's out.

The Graham flap was completely blown up out of proportion, but in this business perception is reality. It looks like the opposition has found Dean's weak spot ("he's mean!") and will work hard to exploit it.

3. John Kerry
He snagged Rand Beers, but that's really irrelevant to anyone outside this crowd. The real value to the acquisition is how Beers is used. If Kerry uses him as a proxy to attack Bush's war efforts, then great. It'll offer Kerry a huge advantage. If Beers sits in some dank cubicle writing little-read white papers, then it'll all be for naught.

Cleland endorsement is nice. The puff piece in the Boston Globe also nice, especially with the Globe's large New Hampshire distribution.

4. Bob Graham
Continues to attack Bush's war stewardship, and is the only guy that can do so from a position of strength -- voted against the war, had access to classified information, and investigated the 9-11 disaster. Still isn't getting wide play, though continued casualties in Iraq may very well change that equation.

And yeah, he keeps notes. Who cares!

5. Joe Lieberman
He might still get some traction from the Texas DPS/Homeland Security scandal, though that seems to be going nowhere and getting no traction. He continues to defend his war vote, even absent WMDs, which can't help with the party base.

Ultimately, very quiet week again. There's no mystery why -- no candidate has more riding on the Q2 numbers than Lieberman (only Dean comes close). If Lieberman disappoints again he's essentially through. The rumors have been flowing about Lieberman's poor showing, but I'm starting to suspect that it's all disinformation -- lowering expectations so even a low total looks good.

We'll know in less than two weeks.

6. John Edwards
I haven't seen anything about Edwards all week. I looked through the comment boards in the "comment period" post, hoping to see what Edwards backers had to say, and saw nothing. What can I say? He wants to be a major candidate yet is completely invisible.

7. Kucinich
Is competitive in the MoveOn.org primary, so he has some relevance to the party's left wing.

8. Al Sharpton
Another invisible week.

9. Carol Moseley-Braun
Worse than invisible. Irrelevant.

Others: Clark (makes noise about running, but I think he won't), Biden (makes noise about running, but who cares?)

Posted June 18, 2003 10:18 AM | Comments (204)


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