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

Friday | July 11, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 7/11

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

I'm already really late, so without further ado ....

1. Howard Dean
Hmmm, how good does that anti-war stance look now? CW still thinks he's McGovern reincarnate, but even that meme is starting to shift. He's starting to take heavy incoming artillery from the GOP. How he responds (and whether he can avoid being "defined" by them) will go a long way toward determining how fit Dean is for the nomination.

2. John Kerry
He's doing a good job of painting the election as a 2-man battle between him and Dean. Lots of talk about how they've been "laying off Dean", and how he really hasn't even started campaigning yet. That's a great way to write off his anemic performance thus far. Now he needs to back it up with actual progress.

He's also come around on the war and is slamming the president on his lies and all that jazz. However, how effective can it be to say, "I was snookered by Bush" when the evidence already existed that Bush was, if not outright lying, at least grossly exaggerating the evidence against Saddam?

3. Dick Gephardt
Gep has also come out forcefully against Bush's handling of the war. His line criticizing Bush's "bring them on" taunt was one of the best of the campaign season:

Enough of the phony, macho rhetoric
Not surprisingly, he seems to be betting the farm on the union vote, hammering the trade issue on the campaign stump, hoping it provides him with key differentiation from the rest of the pack.

4. John Edwards
The guy gives a brilliant speech that has even his critics raving, and then what? I mean, this is probably the best part of the best speech of this campaign season:

The difference between George Bush and John Edwards is, while he honors and respects only wealth, I honor and respect hard work. I honor and respect responsibility. I believe in opportunity. He's about building barriers and closing doors; I'm about exactly the opposite. I want to knock barriers down. I want to open doors.
Yet there is no follow-up with this campaign. As Dean does the morning show circuit, where is Edwards? And I'm still uneasy about his campaign's over-reliance on his upcoming ad buy. He still needs to inspire people on the ground, and thus far he is failing miserably.

5. Joe Lieberman
From his website:

Unlike some in my party who continue to question our use of force in Iraq, I have not wavered in my belief in the justness of the war we fought. In this, I know I am following in the proud tradition of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Clinton, all of whom were ready and willing to apply our military might when necessary to protect our security.
The less "necessary" the Iraq War becomes, the weaker Lieberman looks. More than any of the other Dems, Lieberman needs Iraq to go well. He needs there to have been a legimitate reason for all the death, destruction, and expenses the cost has wrought. Otherwise, he continues to prop up Bush's policy of unilateral pre-emptive warfare -- a proposition that is a loser with the Democratic Party base (which votes in the primaries), and increasingly, with the American public at large.

6. Dennis Kucinich
His war criticisms have new salience given current events, but that's all Kucinich has going for him.

7. Graham
The Senate report on 9-11 will soon be released. Let's see if Graham can use it to catapult back into contention.

8. Al Sharpton
No debates this week, so Sharpton continued to be invisible.

9. Carol Moseley-Braun
Quit! Now!

Others: Biden and Clark. Both will probably run.

Posted July 11, 2003 09:33 AM


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