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

Thursday | July 17, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 7/17

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

1. Howard Dean
Dean has new life as the "anti-war" candidate as Iraq explodes in Bush's face, and the campaign is pushing its advantage. However, why is Dean calling for Tenet's resignation? The culprit in all of this is not Tenet, it's Bush and his war-crazed cabal. He should go after those guys.

His national numbers are also vastly improved, though long-time readers know how I feel about such polls in the primary process (I find them generally useless).

2. John Kerry
Has decided Dean has the right idea, and has suddenly morphed into an angry, Bush-bashing Democrat. I don't begrudge Kerry. Better late than never. And his angry denunciations of Bush's lies are helping keep the story alive.

Still, Kerry has a difficult conundrum -- he voted for the war. He can hem and haw and say, "I wanted Bush to get UN backing" or whatever, but the resolution he voted for didn't specify any such requirements. So he's left to argue, "Bush tricked me too." How many Democrat voters feel comfortable with a candidate who has already been hoodwinked by the president?

3. Dick Gephardt
Received a tongue-lashing from Mfume for missing the NAACP forum. It was grossly unfair, but still not helpful to his candidacy. And while he has suddenly started criticizing Bush's war, it's still clear that Gephardt sold out Daschle's efforts to craft a compromise resolution that would've required Bush to seek more international assistance (which would look really good just about now, huh?). More so than Kerry, Gephardt sold out the Democrats to Bush's war.

But that's not the worst of it. Gephardt's campaign has been getting hammered over its Q2 fundraising results. You know it's bad when the candidate himself says:

Look, you never raise what you want to raise. We fell a little short of what we wanted to raise, but we fixed some of the concerns we had with the operation and we're going to do better.
Part of that "fixing" was "personnel changes" at the campaigns fundraising operation.

These numbers are important -- the less Gephardt looks like a winner (and low fundraising totals give that impression), the harder it will be for him to raise more money, and the less eager Gephardt's all-important union supporters will be to offer their financial and organizational support.

(Missing the overtime vote, when the GOP's margin of victory was a measly two votes, probably didn't help either.)

4. John Edwards
Unlike Dean and Lieberman, Edwards has trained his guns on Bush (which is good, since it's clear where the buck stops). However, Edwards has been, along with Lieberman, the most unapologetic about his war vote. That could very well be a real reason his Iowa and NH numbers, as well as his nationals, are so pathetically low ('cause I ain't got any other explanation).

His fundraising numbers were down, but still respectable. Still, it's crunch time. He plans on airing ads soon, which according to his strategy will catapult him into contention. Those ads better work, because he's fast becoming irrelevant.

5. Joe Lieberman
His fundraising numbers sucked, regardless of whatever spin (and lowered expectations) might dictate. Want more proof? He's fired his entire fundraising staff. He even hired an Internet director (I wouldn't want to be that guy. Can you imagine? "Have we raised as much money as Dean yet? No? Why not??")

He skipped the NAACP forum and got the same tongue lashing as Gephardt and Kucinich. Again, I think Mfume's tirade was ridiculous and completely undeserved. One of those candidates may have gotten some political points had they used the occassion to pull a "Sister Souljah moment", but none of them did. And let's not forget -- Lieberman is really depending on the African-American vote

Lieberman has also plummeted in the latest national poll. I only mention this because those national polls gave Lieberman his only ray of hope in this campaign.

6. Graham
A horrendous fundraising total pegs him as a non-starter, but his war criticisms gives him something to stand on. If the 9-11 report is as explosive as he claims, it could give his vice-presidential campaign a boost. But as far as president is concerned, he's finished.

7. Dennis Kucinich
Raised $1.5 million, which is just enough to keep him around, but not enough to convert him into a real "insurgent" candidate. And given the sketchiness of his past race relations, missing the NAACP conference was probably not the smartest thing (aside from Mfume's tirade).

8. Al Sharpton
Did his thing at NAACP convention, but he's gone from novelty to warmup act.

9. Carol Moseley-Braun

Others: Biden and Clark. Both will probably run.

Posted July 17, 2003 08:41 AM


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