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

Thursday | August 14, 2003

Cattle Call 2004: 8/14

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

No significant polling this week, though the latest from InsiderAdvantage promises to be a doozy.

1. Howard Dean
Not the most active week, but still in the driver's seat. Who else can garner thousands, much less hundreds, of supporters to a campaign event?

2. Joe Lieberman
He's getting booed at candidate forums, and his "wilderness" spiel has essentially been repudiated by Gore. Can someone win by pulling a "Sister Souljah" on the entire Democratic primary electorate? Perhaps in the general, but in the primary, he's woefully out of his element.

Still, his harsh criticisms of Dean and the party's progressive base are earning him coverage and solidifying his position as the anti-Dean. It may help him survive longer into the primary process (assuming, as I currently believe, that Dean would knock out Gephardt in Iowa and Kerry in NH), but doesn't seem a smart long-term strategy to the nomination.

3. Dick Gephardt
Gephardt has been doing well in the labor endorsement race, but the Big One ain't happening until October. The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest union, surprisingly postponed it's endorsement until mid-October. The significance is clear -- the labor union will wait to see the Q3 fundraising numbers (reported in -- surprise! -- mid October) before making a decision.

If Gephardt doesn't wow with its numbers, the AFL-CIO may decide to hitch up with a more viable campaign, and the decision would be crippling to his campaign. The mood in Gephardt headquarters couldn't have been too good.

On the other hand, if Geps numbers don't disappoint, and if he can garner that AFL-CIO bit, then his stock rises. He could have the strength to hold off Dean in Iowa, making him the anti-Dean and essentially knocking Lieberman out of the race. Lieberman needs Gep to lose Iowa.

4. John Kerry
Good appearances in the candidate forums and not much else. Is his campaign supposed to "start" after Labor Day? If so, he's in trouble. All the political coverage will be on the California race and Wesley Clark's probably entry into the race. Good luck pushing through that clutter.

5. John Edwards
He's running ads. His campaign is finally on the move. Now we have to wait back and see how effective these new efforts will be.

6. Graham
Still fading.

7. Al Sharpton
As long as he has a candidate forum, he gets an "up" arrow. It's the only "campaigning" he really gets to do.

He needs to start registering people to vote.

8. Dennis Kucinich
Chugging along on a shoestring budget, building his little grassroots army.

9. Carol Moseley-Braun
Does a good job at the candidate forums.

Others: Clark is gearing up to run. If he does, he'll take support from Dean (many of the Internet-based activists), from Kerry (Clark trumps the whole veteran schtick), from Lieberman (institutional support), and from Edwards (the Southern guy). Who would hurt the most remains to be seen.

Posted August 14, 2003 11:08 AM


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