Saturday, January 31, 2004

Yet another number.


As in 86 Superdelegates in the John Kerry column, with the addition of Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Congressman Sandy Levin(MI), Congresswoman Diane DeGette (CO) and an Upper Left favorite son, the senior member of the Washington State House delegation, Congressman Norm Dicks.

Included in previous counts but not mentioned here is Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey, the Chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. That makes a total of 32 US Representatives and 5 US Senators on Team Kerry.

Joining Governor Granholm in endorsing Kerry for President is Michigan's Lieutenant Governor, John D. Cherry, Jr..

Once again, I can't wait until tomorrow!

Have you noticed?

The polling numbers in the posts below don't have Howard Dean above threshold in a single February 3 state. Not only is he certain to go winless, he may be facing a complete delegate lock out.

That's a particularly ominous prospect in light of this quote from SEIU heavyweight Dennis Rivera. "We will be looking very closely to the elections that will take place [next Tuesday] … to ascertain if he is a viable candidate or not."

Memo to Dennis. Not.

And even more new numbers...

Zogby updates four Feb. 3 contests.

South Carolina

Edwards 26 (+1)
Kerry 22 (-2)
Dean 9 (even)
Clark 8 (even)
Sharpton 6 (+1)
Lieberman 4 (-1)
Undec 22 (even)

The biggest variance from the ARG survey is in the number of undecideds. If ARG is right - that the undecideds are disproportionately Black and Black voters are breaking to Kerry over Edwards - this confirms the potential for an upset, despite the small down tick for Kerry.


Kerry 46 (+1)
Edwards 13 (+2)
Dean 8 (-1)
Lieberman 4 (even)
Clark 4 (+1)
Sharpton 2 (even)
Kucinich 1 (even)
undec 21 (+1)

There's not too much to say here. Missouri is Kerry Country.


Clark 25 (-2)
Kerry 22 (+3)
Edwards 16 (-1)
Dean 8 (-1)
Lieberman 6 (-1)
Kucinich 1 (even)
Sharpton 1 (even)
Undec 21 (-2)

I may be wrong about this one. Maybe Kerry will win Oklahoma!


Kerry 36 (-2)
Clark 20 (+3)
Dean 12 (even)
Lieberman 7 (+1)
Edwards 6 (even)
Kucinich 3 (+1)
undec 15 (-3)

The good news just keeps coming...

I'm back...

she's hitched and there's lot of news.

First, some numbers.

New ARG Polls for Arizona, Oklahoma and South Carolina, and their first look at Delaware and Missouri


Kerry 32 (+8)
Clark 21 (even)
Edwards 11 (-4)
Dean 10 (even)
Lieberman 9 (+2)
Kucinich 1 (+1)
Undec 16 (-7)

There seems to be a strong move toward Kerry from the undecided column. This is beginning to look like a Missouri level lock.


Clark 25 (+2)
Kerry 23 (+6)
Edwards 18 (even)
Dean 8 (even)
Lieberman 8 (-2)
Kucinich 1 (even)
Sharpton 1 (even)
Undec 16 (-6)

One more poll with this kind of shift, and Clark risks seeing his strongest state slip away.

South Carolina

Edwards 30 (+9)
Kerry 23 (+6)
Clark 12 (-2)
Dean 9 (even)
Sharpton 10 (-5)
Lieberman 3 (-2)
Kucinich 1 (even)
Undec 12 (-6)

Edwards appears to have the edge, but the raw numbers conceal Kerry's success with Black voters in South Carolina. He's running neck and neck with Rev. Al and five points ahead of Edwards. There's a high (19%) uncommitted among Black voters, and the trendlines favor Kerry. He could find his hand strengthened among the White voters where Edwards advantage lies with help from the endorsement of former DNC Chair and current SC DNC Committeman Don Fowler.

I'm still looking for a Kerry upset here.


Kerry 27
Lieberman 16
Dean 14
Edwards 9
Clark 8
Kucinich 1
Sharpton 1
Undec 24

Yes, Joe, you're above threshold. No, Joe, you won't win. Please, Joe, make it stop.


Kerry 46
Edwards 15
Dean 7
Clark 6
Lieberman 3
Kucinich 1
Sharpton 1
Uncomm 6
Undec 15

(Uncommitted is a ballot selection in Missouri)

The only question here is whether Edwards can really finish above threshold.

I'll be back tonight...

but the day will be spent with the beautiful and brilliant Bride of Upper Left as we set out to watch the similarly talented Youngest Daughter of Upper Left get hitched. I think she takes a peek in here once in awhile, so I'm going to grab this space to say I love you, kiddo, and that's a terrific fella you got there!

It's not an endorsement, but I'll take it.

Bill Clinton on John Kerry:

"All I know is when I was trying to reverse 12 years of what we've had for the last four, where we were taxing less and spending more ... and we were running this huge deficit, he was there to help. I think he was good on security, good on fiscal responsibility, good on welfare."

Another February primary, another Kerry lead.

John Kerry has pulled ahead in the Survey USA poll of Virginia's February 10 primary field. The current leaders are:

Kerry 32
Clark 17
Edwards 17
Dean 14
Sharpton 9

Who says a Massachusetts liberal can't win in the South? Not Southerners, apparently.

I've said it before...

...Dennis Kucinich is one of the good guys, and while I'm not supporting his campaign for President, I've tried to give him his props and cut him considerable slack. Still, there's always something that gets between my considerable appreciation for some of the positions he holds (once again, he was great on Single Payer Health Care in the South Carolina debate) and an appreciation of his run for the White House.

Kevin at the Tooney Bin hits it spot on in his debate review.

"You've gotta admit, there are times when you listen to lil' Dennis and think, "Wow, this guy, unlike Dean, is the real outsider and, even more importantly, he cares. He really, really cares." And then he goes and shows you his hands and says he's going to lay them on the world and heal all of mankind and you start banging your head on the coffee table to knock all of the bad thoughts out."

Endorsements can make a difference... several ways. When the endorsers hold the status of PLEO, or Super, delegates at the Democratic National Convention, the difference is one step further toward the nomination. John Kerry is up to 82 Party Leader & Elected Official Delegates with these fresh endorsements:

US Rep. Kendrick Meek, FLA

Governor Tom Vilsack, Iowa

Former DNC Chair Don Fowler, SC

US Rep. Baron Hill, Indiana

Sometimes the endorser is a critical opinion leader in an important city, state or region. That applies to all of the above, and to new Kerry endorser Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, as well.

Sometimes an endorsement can influence opinion, marshall resources and raise money all in one impressive package, as is the case with the Michigan Education Association, which endorsed Kerry Friday. When the membership of the 157,000 strong teacher's union polled its members, fully 88% expressed support for Kerry.

They all mean something different, but they're all useful and appreciated. And there are many more to come.

Friday, January 30, 2004

I've been remiss... keeping my pledge to keep the heat on GW. Of course, most readers of Upper Left probably don't need to be reminded how important it is to Boot Bush, but it's good to keep track just the same.

Today's item comes from Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, via a note she posted at the DSCC blog, From The Roots.

"We just had our first budget committee meeting of the year. It's interesting, and frightening that our estimated budget deficit for the next year is $477B (not including the raiding of Social Security, which would raise it well over $600B), while our entire domestic discretionary spending is only $445B - that's education, health care (not Medicare), economic development, job training, police, homeland security... and the list goes on. So, we could cut all discretionary domestic spending, and still not cover this deficit for the coming year."

Credit where credit is due - Dean's right about one thing, at least. We can't trust this administration with our money.

Looks like a terrific Tuesday...

...if you're a John Kerry supporter, that is. Here's how it looks to me.

Arizona Primary: 55 delegates

The last ARG poll had John Kerry neck and neck with Wes Clark for the lead in Arizona, but that was pre-NH. New Zogby numbers show a Kerry surge, which can only be helped by the endorsement of Congressman Ed Pastor, who provides a boost in the Hispanic community that could provide as much as half the vote in the Southwest primary.

Zogby has Kerry at 38%, with a 21 point lead over Clark. No other candidate is polling above threshold, although Dean is close at 12%.

I'm calling it for Kerry.

Delaware Primary: 15 delegates

ARG finally has some numbers for Deleware, home of Lieberman's Last Stand according to some observers.

Sit down, Joe.

Kerry 27
Lieberman 16
Dean 14
Edwards 9
Clark 8
Kucinich 1
Sharpton 1
Undecided 24

Kerry's surging, Dean's off the air, and Joe's rapidly becoming an embarrasment.

Call it for Kerry.

Missouri Primary: 74 delegates

The biggest prize, and the easiest call. A commanding lead in the polls (Zogby doesn't put anyone else above threshold), influential endorsements and the help of some key Gephardt operatives will give Kerry his strongest finish of the day.

Call it big for Kerry.

New Mexico Primary: 26 delegates

I haven't seen any good numbers from New Mexico. Dean's rumored to have a strong organization there, but then again, Dean was rumored to have a strong organization in Iowa and New Hampshire, too. Like all the other Feb. 3 states, Dean's off the air, and there's nothing in the news to indicate new strength for the Governor anywhere.

Meanwhile, Kerry's building support with the assistance of NM Lt. Governor Diane Denish and State House Speaker Ben Lujan and an endorsement from the state's leading daily, the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rep. Ed Pastor will be stumping New Mexico with the Senator, as well.

The crystal ball is a little cloudier here, but I'm going to call it for Kerry.

North Dakota Caucuses: 14 delegates

This has been one of the murkiest of all. Clark has been in the state and on the air. Dean claims some grassroots strength as well (big surprise, huh?). But the most reliable source is probably a poll from the Fargo-Moorehead Forum, which puts Kerry at 31%, a 16 point lead over General Clark, with everyone else trailing in low single digits.

I'll be watching for more news from North Dakota, but right now, call it for Kerry.

Oklahoma Primary: 40 delegates

This looks like Clark's stronghold, with the General holding the top spot in the ARG and Zogby surveys, and Kerry and Edwards slugging it out for second. Political Wire reports an Oklahoman poll, though, that gives Kerry a narrow lead. That's the source of my confidence that Kerry will have the edge on Edwards, but for the time being I'm going to hedge my bet on the winner.

Call it for Clark, with Kerry and Edwards getting delegate shares.

South Carolina Primary: 45 delegates

This is John Edwards' 'must win' market, by his own admission. Zogby has Edwards up by a single point, and the Clyburn endorsement could erase that. With Rep. Clyburn and Senator Hollings aboard and a solid debate performance by Senator Kerry, I'll go out on a limb here and predict an upset that may be a knockout blow for Edwards.

Call it for Kerry (but don't bet the rent money).

Which side are you on?

While Howard Dean was hiring the services of a telecom lobbyist, John Kerry was earning the support of telecom workers.

The latest labor endorsement for Team Kerry comes from the Communications Workers of America.

So, the bosses' lobbyist or the worker's union - we know where HoHo is. Which side are you on?

Who's fooling who?

Did Roy Neel really tell his new boss (actually, you have to wonder who is the boss in the Dean/Neel matchup, don't you?) that he was never a lobbyist? Or is Dean really willing to tell a purposeful lie on national TV in hope that his remaining legions of Stormers won't notice his newfound affection for (or is it domination by?) the dreaded 'Washington establishment'?

Because when Dean told the SC debate audience that Neel "never lobbied" you can only draw one of two conclusions. Howard Dean will believe anything that's convenient for him, or Howard Dean will say anything that's convenient for him.

Actually, there's a third possibility. Howard Dean will believe and say anything that's convenient for him. That's probably closer to the truth. The bottom line is that we have no idea what Howard Dean believes, and we can't believe anything he says.

At any rate, The Scrum has the scoop, with links to Neel's registration records as a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Roy lobbied, Howard lied, and it's time for both of them to call it quits.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

It's getting hard to keep up.

The endorsements just keep coming.

Today's headliner, of course, is SC Congressman James Clyburn, but we don't want to overlook the support of the Detroit Free Press, The Santa Fe New Mexican, the Sheet Metal Worker's International Association (AFL-CIO) and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Plenty of room left on the Team Kerry dance card, though. Stay tuned.

They may not be endorsements...

...but it's worth taking note of the accolades bestowed on Kerry in today's New York Times.

Senator Evan Bayh, Indiana: "I think the consensus is that John will be a more formidable candidate than Howard."

Art Torres, California Democratic chairman: John Kerry would be "...terrific as a nominee."

Scott Maddox, Florida Democratic chairman: "I think John Kerry can absolutely carry the state of Florida."

Senator Charles Schumer, New York: "I think what's happened is there's an excitement that we could actually win the presidency, and there's a good feeling that Kerry could do it..."

Senator Joe Biden, Delaware: "I think he's clearly the strongest candidate, the guy most likely to beat Bush."

He's getting better every day.

The Seattle P-I's Joel Connelly got a little face time with John Kerry on the night of the New Hampshire primary, and compares JK's experience in the retail politics atmosphere of Iowa and New Hampshire to the kind of transformative effect campaigning in West Virgina had on that other Massachusetts liberal 40 some years ago.

"I found myself listening to families in Iowa and New Hampshire, of people barely making ends meet, struggling to keep health coverage, playing by the rules -- and feeling cheated by powerful interests in Washington, D.C.," Kerry said in an interview.

"If that kind of experience doesn't motivate and energize you, then you should get out of this business."

He's motivated, he's energized, and he's got a long way to go in this business.

Show me the money!

Peter Freyne, writing for the Vermont weekly Seven Days, had the jump on the national media regarding the potential for Trippi trouble with this note. "Dr. Dean, sources say, has taken control of the campaign checkbook from the Trippster and handed it to Deputy Campaign Manager Bob Rogan."

At TAPPED, Garance Franke-Ruta learns that "Trippi's departure was precipiated, in part, by a revolt of the donors and fundraisers."

One presumes that those aren't the $25 dollar a head internet donors we've heard so much about, but rather the sponsors of the $500 a head brunches and $1000 dollar a plate dinners that the Dean campaign has been increasingly dependent on, and who are even more important as the Iowa/New Hampshire spending spree has put the campaign in a serious cash crunch.

How serious? Serious enough to stay off the air in every Feb. 3 state. Serious enough to suspend staffers paychecks (and can layoffs be far away, just as the campaign schedule starts to intensify?). Initial reports of a $5 million balance have been downgraded to estimates of $3 million, with about that much in outstanding bills.

When Joe Trippi's small donor magic started to attract the attention of the big money donors, building a campaign war chest that blew away all expectations, Dean decided to opt out of the public financing system. His rationale was a strategic plan that would allow him to compete with George Bush in the spring. His actions, though, belie that rationale. He blew much of it away losing to John Kerry and John Edwards in the Iowa winter, and dumped the rest on a New Hampshire campaign that resulted in a dramatic 40+ point downward turn against John Kerry.

To his credit, Dean isn't pointing fingers. He says he approved every expenditure. It's hard, though, given that, to credit him with the mantle of fiscal responsibility that he's worked so hard to claim.

Dean went into Iowa the top dog, and came away an underdog. He's not the underdog anymore. That distinction has been assigned to John Edwards.

He's a dead dog, and dead dog's don't hunt.

Southern Exposure

The Kerry campaign moves on to South Carolina today, where Congressman James Clyburn will join SC Senator Ernest Hollings as a member of Team Kerry. (and yes, for those keeping score, that's yet another Super Delegate for Kerry.)

MSNBC will broadcast the South Carolina debate tonight at 8:00 eastern. There's probably more at stake for John Edwards than ever before, since he's admitted that South Carolina is his 'must win' state. Will the pressure provoke an attack from Senator Nice? And who prepped HoHo? How? And what about Rev. Al? He expects to get delegates out of this one, so he needs to offer more than comic relief tonight.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Who powers Howard now?

Not Joe Trippi, Supreme Commander of Allied Deaniacs, anymore. Removed from his position as campaign manager, Trippi took a hike today.

His replacement? Well, if you called Central Casting for the consumate Washington insider, they'd likely send someone very much like longtime Al Gore associate Roy Neel. Neel has spent a quarter of a century rising from a Gore Senate staffer to an executive branch insider to an A-list lobbyist.

At first glance, it looks like Al Gore is calling the shots now, but there was another call that may have contributed to the decision. An AP story describes Dean getting drubbed by his Congressional endorsers in a conference call in which "...he was told bluntly that finishing second wasn't good enough - that he had to show he could win a primary."

"He said he understood," said one lawmaker who was involved in the call."

One group apparently not consulted was the Deaniacs, who learned of the move in a blog posting from Trippi himself. Reaction at blogforamerica was mixed, but there was a heavy air of sadness in the contributions of people who felt they had a personal connection to Trippi, even if they only knew him as the signature line on a post or an email. He did, in fact, build up the Dean internet operation from scratch, while developing a small donor fundraising strategy that will stand as the model for any Democratic candidate at any level for a long time to come.

Of course, contrary to legend, he didn't do it for a broadband connection and all the Diet Pepsi he could drink. Long before he signed on with Howard Dean, Joe Trippi, idol of the grassroots, was a partner in the Beltway media firm, Trippi, MacMahon & Squires, and in that capacity held a lucrative contract for media production and placement, worth 15% of every TV buy.

And buy they did. After raising a record breaking $40 million dollars last year, Trippi traded almost all of it for a third place finish in Iowa and a second place finish in New Hampshire. Part of the legacy of that binge is a campaign staff that's apparently been told that their next paychecks won't be on time, if they ever arrive. Well, after all, they always said the real strength of the campaign was built on volunteers.

It's time for Howard Dean to cash in his travel vouchers, pay off his people and spend some quality time at home with Judy.

It's over.

The View from the Upper Left

It's been a while since I've ranked and reviewed the field, and the picture has changed somewhat since then. Here's who's up, down and (even if they don't know it yet) out of play from my vantage point.

John Kerry: Senator Kerry has always been at the top of my list, and recent developments have done a lot to justify my faith. A stronger campaign team, sharper campaign message and significant campaign success has converted his so-called 'front-runner' status of a year ago into the Real Deal. Last year his presumed lead was a media illusion. Today it's the considered judgement of actual voters. Of course, there are a lot more voters to hear from, but they're starting to listen and they seem to like what they hear.

The biggest potential stumbling block, though, is for Kerry to get to complacent with his success. He needs to stay hungry and fight for every vote, every delegate, everywhere. I think he will.

John Edwards: The most eloquent candidate in the field, Edwards' New Hampshire performance was a disappointment to some after his suprise showing in Iowa, but as the race turns South, his prospects grow brighter. There's a funding question - how many trial lawyers are there, anyway? - and a substantial experience gap that he's managed to avoid by putting an 'outsider' gloss on his pitch, despite being an incumbent U.S. Senator.

He insists that he's not running for Vice President, and I believe him. He wants the top of the ticket nomination, but I suspect it's just out of reach for him. Maybe not, though. He's certainly the top contender to Kerry. Personally, I think he'd be the perfect complement to Kerry, post-convention.

Howard Dean: Based on the breadth of his organization and his fundraising potential, Dean has to be tagged for third place in the field, but really, it's over. All that money, all those email addresses, all the hype wasn't enough to put him within single digits in two of his strongest states. There's no win in sight in the next round, either.

In fairness, he's done well for an insurgent candidate in many respects, has a very faithful throng of supporters and has revolutionized small donor fundraising for Democratic politicians. He won't be the nominee, though, and shouldn't be. The sooner he turns his energy and expertise away from his increasingly divisive 'anti-establishment' crusade and gets behind a real campaign to recapture the Presidency and the Congress - and I believe he can have a positive impact in both arenas - the better for everyone.

Wesley Clark: With all due respect to my friends in the Clark camp, there's just no valid rationale for his candidacy at this point. A long time ago, in a place far away (OK, last month in New Hampshire) it seemed like he was a real possiblity for people searching for the Anti-Dean. Well, Iowa pretty much put an end to the idea that we really needed an Anti-Dean, of that Wes Clark was the leading prospect for the position if we did need one. Dean's collapse (and two consecutive double digit losses for a guy who celebrated last Christmas as the so-called 'pre-emptive' front runner is a collapse, no matter how hard Trippi spins) is Clark's downfall.

But it's always good to have ex-General's on the Democratic side, and we could really use a Democratic Senator from Arkansas.

Dennis Kucinich: Dennis Kucinich is a message candidate, and it's a message that's welcome in the Democratic Party debate. I still think he's the most authentic voice of the Wellstonian 'Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,' and I'm glad there's still someone willing to say 'single payer health care' out loud everywhere Democrats gather. I have a real soft spot for the guy, and look forward to watching him fight the good fight in the House of Representatives for many years to come. Meanwhile, I hope he can muster a handful of delegates and secure a decent speaking slot in Boston.

Joe Lieberman: His mother is right, you know. He is a good man, and contrary to some of the bashing he takes, he's taken more good votes than bad ones as a Senator. Unlike his mother, though, I'm not surprised that his campaign hasn't taken off. It's time to go, Joe.

Al Sharpton: Another message candidacy. A lesser one. But he will almost certainly get his handful of delegates, and his convention speech could provide some welcome entertainment.

That, anyway, is how I see it. Over the next few weeks, I expect this will boil down to a Kerry v. Edwards contest that I hope will turn into a Kerry & Edwards ticket.

Actually, things haven't changed very much at all from my vantage point...

I take it all back...

Upper Left isn't too proud to eat a little crow when it's called for, and I hearby retract my previously snarky comments about Donna Brazille, who clearly gets it now, according to this comment in the Washington Post.

"I think Kerry sweeps them all under the rug. He has shown he can pull the party together, and I don't see any other candidate doing it."

Actually, with all the fingerpointing from some of the camps, it's hard to see any other candidate trying to do it...

The next big battleground?

The biggest prize on February 3 is Missouri, with 74 delegates. Pre-Iowa, it was considered a given that favorite son Dick Gephardt had a lock on the state, but when John Kerry arrived in the 'Show Me' state - on the ground and on the airwaves - today, he not only brought the momentum of a pair of impressive victories, he found a state poised to provide a third.

With the endorsements of former Kansas City Congressman Alan Wheat, Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in hand, former U.S. Senators Tom Eagleton and Jean Carnahan on deck and key Gephard strategists on staff with Team Kerry, the resources are in place to capitalize on the double digit lead Kerry holds in the latest (post-Iowa, pre-NH) Kansas City Star poll.

The numbers going in:

Kerry 25
Edwards 9
Dean 6
Clark 3
Lieberman 2
Kucinich 1
Sharpton 1
Undecided 35

Well, we're hoping it won't come to that...

"You have to kill us to get rid of us," says Zephyr Teachout, Dean's Internet guru.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Seven tickets out of New Hampshire?

So it seems. Only one is stamped 'First Class,' though. More thoughts on this later, but here are some baseline numbers from ARG for a few of the next destinations.

Arizona (55 Delegates)

Kerry 24
Clark 21
Edwards 15
Dean 10
Undecided 13

South Carolina (45 Delegates)

Edwards 21
Kerry 17
Sharpton 15
Clark 14
Dean 9
Lieberman 5
Kucinich 1
Undecided 18

Oklahoma (40 Delegates)

Clark 23
Edwards 18
Kerry 17
Lieberman 10
Dean 8
Sharpton 1
Kucinich 1
Undecided 22

The Dean camp's been saying that Arizona's their best shot. The sad part is, they're right...

So there I was...

...innocently clicking a link over at Beltway Bandit, and off I went into bizarro world.

This is what we're up against, folks. A real topic header from the real Deaner forum at the real Dean website.

If Kerry Wins, I'm Voting For Bush

Three pages of them, so far. Spouting Dean's vitriolic Naderisms about the 'Washington Establishment' that's never done anything for them.

Quite a movement you've built there, Doc. Hope you're proud.

Quit now. You've done enough harm.

Why is this man smiling?

Or, as Wonkette wants to know, "How much would Dean have to lose by for him to call it a loss?"

And the winner is...

...CNN, who had the integrity to call New Hampshire a Kerry win with a 39 to 24 point margin over Dean with 25% of the votes counted.

Meanwhile, the competitors were continuing to spin their exit polls, which were much closer, afraid to read the real figures from the real voters.

I suppose there may be some anomolous precincts somewhere that can close up the percentages, but 25% is a pretty good sample. It's done.

Update: 39 to 25 with 58% counted. Can we all agree this is a big win now?

I don't have a lot of faith in exit polls...

...but I'll share this, just because Wonkette scores the Snark of the Day.

"A legitimate journalist writes: "[Y]ou did NOT get these from me." Get what from you? I'm just guessing here: Second wave of exit polls has Kerry 36, Dean 29, Edwards 12, Clark 11, Lieberman 8, Kucinich 2, Sharpton 0.

Guess the black person in New Hampshire stayed home today."

How do you make a baloney sandwich?

Put an oblique attack between two slices of whine.

Dean, on CNN.

"I was the front-runner in this race for a long time. Everybody threw everything they could at me."

"One of the things John will have to learn as a front-runner is (to) stop whining when people say something different about him."

"I had to take it all summer. He will have to take it now," Dean said.

Sorry, HoHo. It wasn't really all that long, and we were just getting started. But maybe you need a dose of your own advice. Stop whining, already.

Points to ponder...

...while we wait for the polls to close.

"The momentum is now with Kerry because Democrats have begun to consider the advantages of being led into battle this fall by a lieutenant who knows what battle is."
E.J. Dionne

"Howard Dean was the man of the year, but that was 2003."
John Zogby

"There may be something to the idea that Democrats in general want to get rid of George W. Bush more than Republicans in general want to keep him."
Peggy Noonan

"If Dean's events sometimes look like the bar scene from Star Wars, Edwards's traveling show has the feel of an Abercrombie and Fitch fashion shoot."
Ryan Lizza

Stopping By Voting Booths on a Snowy Evening

by Christopher Buckley (with apologies to Robert Frost)

"My throat is hoarse, I need a beer,
I've done my best to seem sincere.
I've flipped ten thousand griddle-cakes.
One caucus speech, and now they jeer."

"What a mess, my heart may break.
Can't a man make one mistake?
It's all enough to make you weep.
I was ahead; now I'm a flake."

Zogby blinks.

Well, it turns out that John Zogby was feeling a bit too lonely out there on the end of that long, thin branch.

Reverting to a more conventional approach to polling, he joined the bulk of his colleagues in predicting a double digit (13 points, actually) victory for John Kerry this morning, as his surveyors found the undecideds that he'd 'guessed' would go to Howard Dean were breaking to John Kerry.

My prediction stands.

Kerry 40
Dean 25
Edwards 15
Clark 10

Rest of the field in single (if any) digits.

Southern Exposure

John Kerry has made some waves with his response to a question about his viability in Dixie.

"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South," Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. "Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own." is the quote that's getting all the attention. The rest of his answer is being circulated less widely.

"I think the fight is all over this country," Kerry said. "Forget about those red and blue states. We're going to change that now, and we're going to go out there and change the face of America."

I don't see anything there that says that Democrats shouldn't campaign in and compete for the South. What I see is a Presidential candidate saying his approach is truly national. Let's face it, "looking South" has come to mean tailoring a particular approach, and trimming some fundamental Democratic sails, in order to navigate a region that was once solid D, and has now made an almost complete swing to the other side. If the "Southern Strategy" pioneered by Dick Nixon and perfected by Ronald Reagan was based on pandering to the worst instincts of Southern white voters - and it was - then why should Democrats emulate their opponents by crafting a regional message that's any different than the one carried to the rest of the country?

In fact, an election can be won without the South, but it needn't be. An election can be won without the mountain West, but it needn't be. And an election can be won nationwide with a strong and consistent message about jobs, education, healthcare and national defense, issues that transcend regional differences, which is exactly what John Kerry has been saying throughout the campaign.

It's time to drop the entire business of regional pandering in national politics in favor of a new direction. John Kerry has the courage to say so, and the ability to make it so.

Forget red, forget blue. Remember America. That's the Real Deal.

One last poll...

before the real polls close. I've watched the race through the ARG filter for weeks, and this is where they end up with their final track. The numbers in parentheses are their last best guess, based on the trends, and they're honest enough to clearly label it as such, while providing the final numbers developed through their standard methodology. There's a lesson here for some other polling operations.

Kerry 35 (35)
Dean 25 (29)
Edwards 15 (16)
Clark 13 (13)
Lieberman 6 (6)
Kucinich 1 (1)
Sharpton 0 (0)
Undecided 5 (0)

I'll stick with my prediction that Kerry will hit 40%, because the one factor that no one seems to be talking about is the Shaheen GOTV machine, which I think is worth at least 5% in New Hampshire.

What the heck... the end of the night, this may seem prophetic, or it may prove embarassing, but either way, I'm calling this the Quote of the Day.

"Kerry is the Einstein of this race, upending the known Newtonian laws and replacing them with new ones."

Chris Suellentrop, Slate

Monday, January 26, 2004

Harbinger of an upset?

Probably not. But the returns are in from Dixville Notch, NH.

Clark 8
Kerry 3
Edwards 2
Dean 1
Lieberman 1

It's worth noting that there is not a single registered Democrat in Dixville Notch, so every vote represents an Independent crossover. Bush got 11 on the R side.

Update: Race tightens!

Yep, Hart's Location checks in to add to the suspense...

Clark 6
Kerry 5
Dean 3
Edwards 2

Zapping Zogby

Pollster John Zogby served up a tasty headline for his clients at Reuters and MSNBC today, as they touted his discovery that Howard Dean had accomplished a miracle rise in New Hampshire, pulling within the margin of error overnight.

Of course, attentive readers noted that Zogby cooked the data to get the headline. What really happened overnight was Zogby's decision to start assigning "undecided leaners" to various candidates. In other words, a poll respondent who's answere was something like "Oh, I don't know. Maybe Dean. I'm not sure." is, on Planet Zogby, a Dean supporter. Ultimately, that's OK, except that it's only explained in a footnote and it gives a result that's at odds with every other poll available. Dramatically at odds.

But, hey, that's Zogby, that's his decision, and his reputation rests on the results. I'm a bit taken aback, though, by the observations of some of his apologists. Atrios, for instance, offers the explanation that "Zogby's job this close to the election is to make his best guess, given the information, about what the outcome will be."

Really? That's his job? And here I though it was his job to provide the best data he could collect so that people like pundits and bloggers could use it to make their guesses. I mean, if it's his job, why isn't it part of his pitch?

Here's what Zogby says he does:

"To Offer the Best Polling, Market Research, & Information Services Worldwide
Based on Accuracy & Detailed Strategic Information."

Zogby International is constantly searching, testing and measuring hypotheses
and principles on polling and public opinion research. Working with a panel of
psychologists, sociologists, computer experts, linguists, political scientists,
economists,and mathematicians, we explore every nuance in language and test
new methods in public opinion research. It is this investment in time and money
for research and development that makes us a leader in the public opinion field.

See? He left out that whole "best guess" part!

Maybe it's because, as Atrios further points out, "...obviously polls have an influence, to some degree, on the outcome. So, if this outlier of a result gets pushed, as Drudge is doing now, it could help give Dean the "comeback kid" momentum. Zogby can make a self-fulfilling prophesy."

That kind of puts all those "psychologists, sociologists, computer experts, linguists, political scientists, economists,and mathematicians" on a par with, oh, astrologers and phrenologists, doesn't it?

So maybe it's time for a new mission statement.

Zogby. You give us your money, we'll give you our best guess.

I second that emotion

After viewing Howard and Judy's turn in the Blitzer barrel on CNN, Michelle at Politus issued this heartfelt plea.

"Dr. Judy, I beg of you to stop this madness. Take your beloved home and get him the help he so desperately needs. The grown-ups are trying to have an election!"

Who says there's no compassion in the blogosphere?

New links

It's not that the world needs more blogs, but there's always room for better ones, and I've found a couple that are worth your attention.

The newest addition to my Democratic links list is From The Roots, a new blog from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. I don't imagine those Senators are all writing their own posts (though some might, sometimes) but there's a lot of solid content. It's a great example of an institutional blog that gets it.

In the Kerry links column, there's Nurses for Kerry, wise words and welcome endorsements from a critical constituency.

Far above Cayuga's waters...

...the Michigan landscape looks mighty fine to Team Kerry this morning.

A new poll reported by the Boston Herald shows the Massachusetts Senator a big favorite with Michican voters so far.

Kerry 37
Dean 14
Edwards 10
Clark 10

I've gotta admit, I didn't see this one coming.

Sure, any day...

Calpundit reflects faith in the Veep...

"Dick Cheney, two days ago:

We've found a couple of semi-trailers at this point which we believe were in fact part of [a WMD] program. I would deem that conclusive evidence, if you will, that he did in fact have programs for weapons of mass destruction.

David Kay, today:

Dr. Kay added that there was now a consensus within the United States intelligence community that mobile trailers found in Iraq and initially thought to be laboratories for biological weapons were actually designed to produce hydrogen for weather balloons, or perhaps to produce rocket fuel.

I'm sure Cheney will issue a retraction any day now."

See, he believes! Lefty bloggers do love America!

MO Mo for Kerry?

As the Kerry campaign announced more support from the former Gephardt camp yesterday, including Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy and former New Hampshire Legislator Deborah Pignatelli, the campaign is turning more attention on the Missouri Congressman's home turf.

The Boston Herald reports that "Kerry plans to make Missouri a key part of his post-New Hampshire strategy. The Bay State senator is already dispatching top-level aides to the state and will soon begin spending money on a considerable TV ad campaign in the Show-Me State."

"Missouri's 88 delegates are by far the most at stake on Feb. 3. ``It's a state where we can plant a flag,'' said one Kerry source."

With Steve Elmedorf, who knows as much about Missouri politics as anyone in the country after his years as the head of the Gephardt political shop, installed as the new Deputy Political Director of Team Kerry, it doesn't seem like such a long way to St. Louis at all.

The Upper Left Average

Six polls have been updated as I write. Once again, Zogby is the anomoly, the only poll showing Dean within single digits of the lead, a result produced by projecting the undecided vote. Once again, the Suffolk University poll comes nearest the average, but not as close as yesterday.

Today's U-L Average:

Kerry 35
Dean 18
Clark 10
Edwards 10

And there's still no compelling reason to change my prediction.

Math is hard.

And political math seems to be the hardest of all. For instance, there's the problem of estimating the crowd at a campaign event.

CBS reports that "A Dean staff member estimated Sunday night's crowd at between 1,400 and 1,600. A police officer said the rally occupied two-thirds of a gym that seats 850 people..."

Even harder is figuring out where your votes are. For instance, another CBS story has Dean aides holding forth that "Dean was strongest in Arizona and New Mexico." Maybe that's true, but they've got to hope their math is wrong. I haven't seen the New Mexico numbers, but in Arizona, Dean's polling fourth, with the top two slots in double digits ahead.

Of course, Trippi's hard count still shows an Iowa sweep...math is hard.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Further forward

ARG has released more numbers for Arizona and Oklahoma, offering some good news for Kerry and Clark.

They confirm the Kerry lead in Arizona reported by the Arizona Republic. The four campaigns in double digits are:

Kerry 24
Clark 21
Edwards 15
Dean 10

In Oklahoma, ARG reports a continuing Clark lead, although by a significantly smaller margin than SurveyUSA has reported. The leaders (with Lieberman making a rare appearance in double digits):

Clark 23
Edwards 18
Kerry 17
Lieberman 10
Dean 8

Stay tuned for the New Hampshire bounce.

Looking forward

The one race at a time focus provided by Iowa and New Hampshire is a handy media hook, but from a campaign standpoint, it's purely artificial. Every campaign has been looking ahead, with some staking high hopes on a February 3rd breakthrough. That seemed to be a big part of the Lieberman strategy, but having moved his family to New Hampshire in order to kickstart his campaign, he's had little time and money to put into places like Oklahoma, where he was once perceived to be a potential player.

On the other hand, a Feb. 3 strategy may pay off handsomely for John Edwards, who has split his post-Iowa attention between New Hampshire and South Carolina. While more attention to NH might have improved his hand there, the political calculus seems to be in favor of a 3rd or 4th place finish in the northeast, where he was never expected to perform well, anyway, followed by a first in his regional backyard is better than, say, three 2nd places in a row.

Meanwhile, Dean has suspended advertising in several states to conserve cash for a big finish in New Hampshire, Clark is spending money on new staff to get operations started elsewhere after betting everything on New Hampshire, where it looks like he won't come away with very much, and Kerry has been able to disperse his Iowa operation far and wide (the staff here in Washington was doubled with the arrival of a veteran team from Iowa), since his NH organization was already firmly developed.

While the campaigns move their doers and dollars around, the voters are moving, too, and as a Kerry supporter, I've got to like the direction.

New polling from a couple of key Feb. 3 states reflects the trend. Although there' still a substantial undecided, Kerry's made a come from behind move to first in Arizona, according to these numbers from the Arizona Republic:

Kerry 19
Clark 17
Dean 14
Edwards 9
Lieberman 6

In South Carolina, the Edwards strategy seems to be working, as the Senator holds a lead in a new ARG survey, but Kerry is making a strong run in the southern state, quadrupling his support from previous polls. The numbers now:

Edwards 21
Kerry 17
Sharpton 15
Clark 14
Dean 9
Lieberman 5

A New Hampshire win can only be helpful to Kerry's momentum, and a South Carolina victory for the 'Massachusetts liberal' could be the key to a string of victories as the race goes forward.

More national news

Offered with the usual observations that there is no national primary, etc., etc., Fox News/Opinion Dynamics has released another snapshot of Democratic sentiments from coast to coast, taken January 21-22 (comparisons are to the January 7-8 survey). Needless to say, I blog it because I like it. Very much.

John Kerry 29 (+22)
Howard Dean 17 (-3)
John Edwards 13 (+9)
Wesley Clark 11 (-2)

Looks more and more like this is going to be a three way race very soon. The Senator, the Insurgent and the Southerner is a managable story line. It's where the voters are going, it's where the coverage will go, and it will probably give us a stronger nominee when it all sorts out.

The GlobeSuffolkARGZogbyFOXHeraldGallup Poll

I give up. The numbers are coming in too fast and furious to list each of the seven New Hampshire polls I've been watching on an individual basis, so here's the official Upper Left poll, an average them all. Interestingly, it comes out closest to the Suffolk University survey, which may or may not mean that that's the only one you need. It hits the average for the top two dead on, though. The poll most out of step with the others is Zogby, the only one with Dean within single digits of the lead.

Here's the Upper Left Average:

Kerry 36
Dean 20
Clark 12
Edwards 11

So, what do I think will happen? Knowing that you're all on the edge of your seats waiting for my predictions, I won't make you wait any longer (although I may change my mind later, so don't get too far away...)

I can't see things getting anything but better for Kerry over the next couple of days. While the notion of organization was given big play in Iowa because of the nature of caucus politics, it's really no less important in New Hampshire, where election day turnout efforts are a big key to success. Knowing who's in charge of Team Kerry's ground game, I'd imagine that every available Kerry vote has been tagged for turnout.

There's got to be a bottom end to Dean's hard support, and I'd suspect it's somewhere around the Upper Left Average number. He's pouring a ton of cash into late TV and has gone hard negative against Kerry on the stump. That should push him a little over his absolute base.

Wes Clark just doesn't seem to be able to provide a compelling justification for being in this race. Democratic primary votes aren't among those who believe the D's are 'weak on defense,' so he's ended up spinning his wheels trying to convince people who don't need convincing. He's gonna get hurt on Tuesday, and I'm not convinced Feb. 3 offers a comeback opportunity.

I think John Edwards is being underestimated by the polls because I think he's got a bunch of voters sitting in the undecided column. He's been splitting his time between NH and South Carolina, probably a sound strategic decision, but ultimately I think more people will break his way than some expect.

So, my prediction?

Kerry 40
Dean 25
Edwards 15
Clark 10

In a rational world, Joe Lieberman and Wes Clark get out of this thing on Wednesday, but that's a prediction I'm not about to make.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Nice national news!

The latest Newsweek poll, conducted nationwide January 22 & 23 (numbers in parentheses reflect change from January 8 & 9).

Kerry 30 (+19)
Edwards 13 (+10)
Dean 12 (-12)
Clark 12 (even)

It's not just a move, folks, it's a movement!

On the bright side...

...the Kerry campaign is announcing more key endorsements.

The League Of Conservation Voters joined Team Kerry today. I know from personal experience that of all the environmental organizations in America, the LCV is the one that can put shoes on the street in support of a candidate. Their endorsement has 50 state impact. It's huge.

Another major UFCW Local, which organizes retail workers in the northeast - including New Hampshire - joined with their Union brothers and sisters in Michigan in endorsing John Kerry following the withdrawal of Dick Gephardt.

UFCW Local 1145 is 17,000 strong. Welcome aboard the Real Deal Express! There's room for everybody!

Mommy, mommy! Johnny was mean to me!

That's the essence of Howard Dean's analysis of his Iowa collapse. His latest whine is that a briefing book issued to precinct captains by the John Edwards campaign was an example of a "dirty trick" that cost Dean a victory.

Here's a quick hit from the clue bong, Governor. Nothing that happened inside a caucus room cost you a victory. You lost because despite your grandiose claims of iron clad supporters and an invincible organization, you couldn't deliver delegate to the caucus rooms.

I haven't seen any evidence at all that Edwards precinct captains were causing large numbers of Dean supporters to switch with their scripted arguement that Dean is a "Park Avenue elitist." People who may have switched from Dean to Edwards apparently did so before they arrived at their caucus, and Edwards, with what everyone (including me) assumed was a smaller and less effective organization, delivered those voters.

The Dean smoke and mirrors campaign collapsed of its own accord. Dean didn't have the votes and his organization, rooted in the importation of thousands of out of state callers and canvassers, proved singularly ineffective in delivering the votes he did have. Playing the blame game doesn't change that, and doesn't promise a favorable turn for the Dean campaign in the near future.

We're seeing smoke and mirrors round two right now. The arguement has been made that Dean's still in OK shape because he still has a pile of cash and he's running a 50 state campaign. Well, that argument doesn't square with this news...

" Dean has cut back his television advertising in states with Feb. 3 contests to concentrate his spending on New Hampshire. He is pouring in about $500,000 through Tuesday's primary and his ads in New Mexico ended Wednesday. Commercials in South Carolina and Arizona will stop running this weekend."

How much of that $40 mill is left? Who knows. They're not saying. But not enough, apparently, to support the campaign in the February 3 states, let alone 50.

Shame on them!

A Boston Globe update on the latest Congressional scandal says that The Committee for Justice, headed by C. Boyden Gray, a former senior White House counsel, is taking the point for the Republican staffers who stole Democratic documents from Senate computers. They're distibuting a "fact sheet" arguing that no rules or laws were broken.

I'll be honest. I'm not a legal scholar, or an authority on the Senate rules that apply to staff activities. What seems obvious, though, is that by any ordinary standard of ethical behavior, the Republican conduct was simply wrong. So wrong that any reasonable person would expect it to be illegal.

Regardless of any disciplinary action that might come out of the investigation, this is an issue that Democrats should rally around as a way to demonstrate the paucity of ethics and morality that typifies Republican behavior in the political sphere.

David Callahan has an important piece in The Nation, arguing that the Democrats can win on the 'values' arguement by attacking the culture of cheating that he says " infects nearly every part of American society, from education to sports to business to a myriad of professions."

"Cheating is up." Callahan argues "Cheating is everywhere. By cheating I mean breaking the rules to get ahead academically, professionally or financially. Some of this cheating involves violating the law, some does not."

Exactly. Let the Republicans try to spin their legalistic nit picking. Let them broadcast it far and wide. Hell, let it work. Let all the malefactors off.

And beat them constantly with the one single truth that almost every American can recognize. What they did was wrong. They cheated. They're not just liars, they're cheaters.

They should be ashamed, and we should shame them at every opportunity.


Looking past New Hampshire, the race is starting to take some dramatic turns as well. Oklahoma isn't, for instance, where I'd like it to be, but looking at the change over the period of a week, I'd have to say that Oklahoma is, well, OK.

Here are the latest Survey USA numbers. The change since last week's poll is in parentheses.

Clark 32 (even)
Edwards 23 (+7)
Kerry 17 (+11)
Dean 12 (-5)
Lieberman 8 (even)

Iowa II?

Conventional wisdom tells us that the flinty independence of New Hampshire voters means that Iowa is a poor guide to the following week's outcome. Of course, conventional wisdom also tells us Iowa's important because of the winner's bounce going into New Hampshire.

More and more, it seems that conventional wisdom doesn't have much to tell us at all. The numbers out of NH, though, are starting to move in a somewhat Iowan direction, with Kerry finishing strong, Edwards moving up for a possible suprise and last weeks frontrunner slipping.

But who gets the Gephardt role?

The new ARG numbers:

Kerry 34 (+3)
Clark 19 (-1)
Dean 15 (-3)
Edwards 13 (+2)
Lieberman 6 (-1)
Kucinich 1 (even)
Undecided 12 (even)

Is it likely to change? Well, here's ARG's report on the relative strength of support each candidate enjoys.

"As of the tracking ending January 23, Clark's strong support is 63% of his ballot preference, Dean's strong support is 47% of his ballot preference, Edward's strong support is 77% of his ballot preference, and Kerry's strong support is 74% of his ballot preference. As a result, a total of 29 percentage points overall could switch before Tuesday, not including the 12% undecided."

Friday, January 23, 2004

Look in the sky! It's a Senator! It's a Vice-President!

It's a Super Delegate!

Saying that "John Kerry has proven that he's got the background, the experience, the knowledge and the strength to not only be a strong candidate for president but a strong president," former Democratic Vice-President and Presidential nominee Walter Mondale joins Team Kerry.

Fatal fallout?

When you drop a bomb, you've got to expect fallout, and Howard Dean's Iowa performance - in the caucus and after - is generating plenty of just that.

Dissident Deaners like D.J. Wilson aren't the only, or even the biggest, problem. High profile support is starting to drift away, as this report from the Nashua Telegraph shows.

"MANCHESTER - Former U.S. Sen. John Durkin emerged as the biggest casualty of Howard Dean’s rocky showing in and after the Iowa caucuses, withdrawing support for the Democratic presidential hopeful Thursday.

Durkin said the former Vermont governor came off too overheated after his third-place showing in Iowa and already had allowed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to steal the populist message Dean owned last fall.

“I am the role model for the angry young man who won statewide in New Hampshire. I’m also the role model for the middle-aged man who got his butt kicked in New Hampshire,’’ Durkin said during an interview Thursday."

Uh-oh, HoHo.

Baggage Claim

There's been some fretting about whether John Kerry is vulnerable to attack over some of his anti-war activism in the seventies, but I think he settled that question last night. When a question came up about the infamous medal-throwing incident way back when, Kerry handled it like, well, like a guy who's been in the public eye for decades. He's been attacked before, on just about everything he's ever said or done. He knows what's coming, because all the attacks are re-runs at this point.

That's the great advantage of an experienced candidate who's been vetted by years of press inquiries and opposition research. On the other hand, the greatest danger presented by fresh faces is the wealth of unexplored incidents and unanswered questions they bring with them.

A good example is Wes Clark. Geov Parrish offers a potentially destructive list of issues that Clark has yet to deal with in the political arena. Are they all valid? Will any of them stick? I really don't know. But the questions are being asked, and the answers will have to come. Do we really want to nominate the proverbial 'pig in a poke'?

So what does Geov have on his mind?

"In the 1980s, Clark presided over the incarceration in Miami of Haitian refugees fleeing the odious, U.S.-supported dictatorship of "Baby Doc" Duvalier. That period includes numerous allegations of cruelty and mistreatment of prisoners.

Clark went from there to Guantánamo Bay, where he was chief of operations of the U.S. Navy's internment camps and where allegations of mistreatment and abuse grew, including physical abuse and malnourishment.

In 1993, Clark commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, near Waco. His tanks were used in the government's fatal assault on the Branch Davidian compound. Senior Army officials were part of the planning for that raid, and Clark aides met before the assault with the Texas governor and National Guard head to brief them on possible plans.

Next stop: head of the U.S. Southern Command, where by 1996-97 Clark was instrumental in implementing U.S. military assistance to Colombia. Paramilitary death squads closely linked with Colombia's military soon began rampaging through Colombia's countryside, compiling the worst record of human-rights atrocities in the Western Hemisphere.

And, of course, there's Yugoslavia. Under Clinton, Clark became NATO's supreme allied commander in time to coordinate the bombing of Serbia during NATO's mission in Kosovo. Serbian officials estimated that more than 1,000 civilians died in a bombing campaign based on dubious claims and which left that year's designated paragon of evil, Slobodan Milosevic, more firmly in power than ever. His diplomatic performance during his bombing— touting KLA opposition figures with dubious human-rights records of their own and sneering at European military, political, and civilian critics—were remarkably Dubya-esque. "

Not so pretty, is it?

Standing room only!

It was wall to wall at the Seattle Kerry Meetup last night as we gathered to welcome Kerry staffer Kristen Thorn home from Iowa (she modestly declined single handed credit for the win) and discussed our plans to Wow 'Em In Washington on February 7.

It might have been the last...

but there wasn't much hurrah involved in the New Hampshire debate. In their final appearance before the primary, the candidates didn't make much news or throw many sharp elbows. When they gave in to the impulse to bash, they kept their sights trained on Bush, each trying to 'out Presidential' the others.

Undecided voters may have picked up a new impression or position along the way, but it's hard to imagine that many minds were made up, or any changed, by the candidates.

I thought Kerry hit a couple questions - one on water pollution, another on his post-Vietnam protest activites - out of the park, but, as always, I'm biased. Dean was composed, Lieberman was earnest, Edwards was positive, Clark was officious, Kucinich was liberal and Sharpton was African-American.

But you already knew all of that about all of them, right?

A verbal hat trick

John Kerry scores his third consecutive Quote of the Day.

When a Lyndon LaRouch supporter used the forum of a Kerry town hall meeting to promote the importance of impeaching Bush and/or Cheney, Kerry let him state his case and then pointed out the problems inherent in that approach given the makeup of Congress.

He summed it up well.

"Seems to me it would be a lot faster if I just beat him in November."

"What's the big deal?"

That's been the question posed by some of my Deaner aquaintances who are standing by their man and just don't understand the fuss and furor over the infamous yowl. They're convinced it's a story contrived by the same evil media cabal that gave their candidate months of uncritical coverage dominated by puff pieces on his growing collection of email addresses and bulging bank account.

Dean, who has completely retooled his approach to campaigning for the closing days in New Hampshire, seems to get it, but if his die-hards don't. A few more defections like Seattle area political science prof D.J. Wilson might drive the point home, though. Wilson states his case in the Seattle P-I. Here's a clip from his guest op-ed (emphasis mine):

"...I have joined tens of thousands of others in promoting Dean, and by so doing, have felt that I was part of something larger than myself. I am no one in particular, but I am just like everyone involved in Dean's campaign.

"The Yell" has changed everything for me. It has removed any veil of hope that Dean would evolve into the candidate I hoped. It has struck down the excuse that he speaks plainly and "like America." "The Yell" doesn't sound like America to me, nor did Dean at that moment sound like the presidential candidate I want to support.

I am embarrassed to ever have thought he should be president. "The Yell" made it evident that he never really could have been.

Lose in Iowa, Howard, and I will stand with you. Be more brazen than my taste in your attack on the war, and I still have your back. Scream like you are a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Timberlake concert, and you've lost me."

And when you lose supporters like D.J. Wilson, you lose elections.

That's the big deal.

New Hampshire numerology

Enough time has finally passed to clear all the pre-Iowa number out of the tracking polls, so the new numbers should provide a clearer picture of where things are, as well as where they're headed.

The latest from ARG:

Kerry 31 (+4)
Clark 20 (+1)
Dean 18 (-4)
Edwards 11 (+2)
Lieberman 7 (even)

Dean's favorable is down 1, to 30, and his unfavorable up 12, to 42. My bet is he ends up in a fight with Edwards for third instead of a struggle with Clark for second.

Kerry's holding an extremely high favorable rating of 77%, which portends good things as the undecideds start to break. The only other candidate with a favorable rating over 50% is Edwards, who's at 56, which should propel him past Dean over the weekend.

The first post-Iowa national numbers I've seen are from the Rasmussen poll, and they reflect a nationwide bounce for Kerry and Edwards.

Results from the first two days after the Iowa caucus:

Kerry 29
Edwards 16
Dean 14
Clark 12

Rasmussen also has fresh matchup numbers comparing the leading Democrats face to face with Bush:

Bush, 45 Kerry, 40
Bush, 45 Edwards, 39
Bush, 49 Dean, 38

Thursday, January 22, 2004

And it's official!

There's been buzz about this all day, but I held off till I had it from the campaign.

Senators Fritz Hollings of South Carolina and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii and Representative Lois Capps of California joined Team Kerry today.

There appears to be a trend....

If it's not one thing, it's another...

...but that's ok when it's a string of good things.

On the heels of an endorsement sweep of the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Boston Phoenix (a big story for those who know how contentious the Senator's relations with the hometown press have been from time to time), the first big shift from the Gephardt column to the Kerry column came today.

The United Food & Commercial Workers had endorsed Rep. Gephardt, but following his withdrawal from the campaign, UFCW Local 951 in Michigan, endorsed John Kerry's Presidential campaign.

At 36,000 strong, it's the largest UFCW local in the country.

Don't stray too far. More big news to come...

Permission granted

Kevin Drum at CalPundit writes "Bush's own publicly stated policies along with AMT reform that everyone knows is inevitable will increase the deficit to $500 billion by 2009, yet he claims these policies will reduce the deficit to $240 billion. Every single budget analyst in the White House knows this perfectly well. President Bush knows this perfectly well."

"Explain to me again why I'm not allowed to call this a lie?"

Actually, you are, Kevin. And you should. Because it is.

And thanks for today's Boot Bush item.


I mean a real scandal, with real criminal activity really undermining our democracy. This story from the Boston Globe is a must read.

Here's a teaser...

"From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics."

"The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November."

Will this affect enough Senate races to influence control? Stay tuned.

More math from New Hampshire

ARG, Jan 19-21

Kerry 27
Dean 22
Clark 19
Edwards 9

There's some confirmation of the move the Boston Herald reported there, but remember that the ARG roller includes some pre-Iowa result numbers.

Look at the last day.

ARG, Jan 21

Kerry 29
Clark 21
Dean 17
Edwards 10

And more of the same from Zogby.

Zogby, Jan 19-21

Kerry 27
Dean 24
Clark 15
Edwards 8

And on the 21st, Zogby reports "Kerry not only jumps into the lead, but today his lead was commanding. His lead in today’s sample alone was 32%-21%."

Right now, this is a battle for second place. If Dean doesn't perform well in tonight's debate, he could end up struggling to hold on to third.

I feel another "I told you so." coming on...

The winner's circle

California Yankee tracked down the Iowa predictions of 40 bloggers, and Upper Left joins seven others in the 20% that picked first place right.

There were 22 stuck on Dean, 7 for Edwards and 3 for Gephardt.

I'm not going to gloat too much, because I missed the Edwards surge so badly, but my bet is that overall, the blogosphere beat the Sunday morning punditocracy in calling this one.

Paranoia strikes deep

Already missing Mad Howard? Don't fret, the reserves have arrived.

Clark channels Dean in New Hampshire...

" voter began to ask him a question about his work as a registered lobbyist in Washington, reading aloud his question, which was written out longhand on paper.

"Can I just ask you, Is that like a prepared question from maybe another campaign or something?" General Clark asked....

...When the questioner, David Brown, began to interrupt, General Clark cut him off, saying: "Sit down. I'm going to finish it. I'm going to answer it."

Think that's testy? Try this.

"..he was less patient with an elderly woman at Havenwood Heritage Heights, a retirement community in Concord, N.H., earlier this month when she asked about his support of the Pentagon's School of the Americas...General Clark bristled and said, "Well, ma'am, have you ever been down to the School of the Americas, and have you ever looked at the teaching material?"

When she began to say that a friend had seen it, he cut her off, saying, "No, but have you ever seen it?"

Ummm, those are, like, the voters, General. The deal is, you answer to them now.

I said 'At ease,' remember?

SOTU = Un-reality television

John Kerry scores another Quote of the Day.

"You can tell from his State of the Union address that the president is facing re-election. I wish he'd face reality."

The Bounce

The Boston Herald documents "A startling turnaround..."

Kerry 31
Dean 21
Clark 16
Edwards 11
Lieberman 4

That's +16 for Kerry, -8 for Dean.

Why? A dramatic swing in favorable/unfavorable ratings.

"Kerry's charge is bolstered by soaring popularity, with 77 percent of voters viewing him favorably and just 18 percent seeing him unfavorably. That rating jumped significantly from the 54 percent favorable and 27 percent unfavorable ratings Kerry had in the Herald's pre-Iowa poll.

Dean's favorable rating dropped from 66 percent in the pre-Iowa poll to 56 percent today while his unfavorable rating climbed from 21 percent to 34 percent."

This is huge, especially if other polling is comparable.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So, If Kerry is Papa Bear....

Jodi Wilgoren looks at the Dean fairy tale turning grim.

"...senior campaign aides huddled at their headquarters here searching for a second act. They were stuck in a kind of Goldilocks syndrome, aware that Monday night's shouting by Dr. Dean was too hot, and Tuesday morning's rebound too cold. But they were still somewhat divided about what to do."

And with Carol Mosely Braun out of the race, who has to play Mama Bear?

At ease, General.

When I thought Jean Shaheen stepped over the line with an intemperate challenge to Wes Clark's partisanship, I didn't hesitate to speak out, and likewise, I'm not inclined to cut Clark any slack when he goes beyond the bounds.

In my opinion, his recent remarks about John Kerry's military experience do just that.

The first item I saw had Clark saying ""It's one thing to be a hero as a junior officer. He's done that, I respect that, but I've got the military experience at the top as well as at the bottom."

Clearly, General, you don't respect it enough. First of all, they might all look alike when you're sporting four stars, but an 03 isn't the bottom. Maybe you're confused by Navy rank, but Lieutenant isn't where sailors start from. And frankly, as former lower enlisted, I happen to think it's a very big thing to be a combat hero, rank notwithstanding. You really don't want to make this about battle decorations, do you? Because if you go there, Kerry wins.

And that's Senator Junior Officer, to you...

But it's clearly a line of attack he wants to pursue, because it popped up again.

"You think of foreign policy, it's like major league baseball. I'm the only person who has ever played it. I've negotiated peace agreements. I've won a war," Clark told CNN. "I'm not worried about John Kerry or anybody else. He's a lieutenant and I'm a general."

Actually, honorifics notwithstanding, you're not a general anymore, Wes. You're a civilian. And John Kerry hasn't been a lieutenant for a long time. He's a United States Senator, though, and if anybody's in a position to pull political rank, it isn't you.

As for winning wars and negotiating agreements, the last time I checked, Generals don't set policy, they implement it. That's why some soldiers call them 'brass button bureaucrats." It's called civilian control of the military - one of those pesky Constitution deals - and generals who forget it sometimes lose their jobs. Just sayin...

I've warmed up to Wes Clark a lot in recent weeks. I hang out on, and enjoy, several Clark-centric blogs. I know a lot of Clark supporters visit here. I think he might make a fine Secretary of Defense, or, better yet, a great Democratic Senator from Arkansas.

In political terms, though, Wes Clark is a cadet, and John Kerry is the best choice to lead Democrats in political combat. You're not entitled to automatic salutes anymore, General.

Be at ease.

Sedate(d) Dean

With Mad Howard locked in Tom Harkin's spare bedroom and Nice Howard busy at his son's hockey practice, Joe Trippi rolled out his latest product upgrade, Dean 3.0, which is being marketed as Sedate Howard.

"I know I raised $40 million by manipulating your emotions last year," Sedate Howard somberly intoned for a New Hampshire audience, "but that didn't work out so well for me, so no more 'red meat.' I'm back on my meds and this campaign is going rhetorically vegan. Now, everybody sing...'Oh say can you see...'"

Trippi unveiled a new ground strategy for the New Hampshire campaign, as well, replacing Iowa's Operation Perfect Storm with the new, improved Operation Pleasant Spring Day.

"We'll be encouraging thousands of supporters from all over America to stay home and write checks," Trippi explained. "New Hampshire voters have seen all the pink hair and piercings they can handle. The best thing you can do for Dean is fill that bat."

(yeah, yeah...only in my dreams...)

And another question

These gems from the legislative calendar are mostly culled from the Spokane Spokesman-Review's excellent Eye On Olympia blog. It's a fine resource, and should be a daily read for Washingtonians while the leg is in session, but it leaves me wondering...

Why aren't the big Seattle dailies blogging the legislature?

More official state stuff

State Sen. Erik Poulsen has a proposal for Washingtont legislators to consider when they're not pre-occupied by the all important Official State Question question. When are we going to finally get an Official Flowering Vine?

This very year, if Poulsen can get a hearing for Senate Bill 6183, which would designate hops for the honor.

Seems fitting, since 75% of the country's supply of hops comes from Washington farms, and it's an indespensible ingredient in our fine micro-brews, but I have an unofficial question...just how much does it cost to get this stuff written up, run through the code revisor, published and pasted into the bill books, heard by a committee, etc. etc. As a former legislative staffer, I have an idea how much time and effort is consumed every time a bill or amendment is introduced, but I'm not sure what it respresents in 21st century dollars. Fun is fun, and I don't want to sound too cranky, but there's a number involved, and I wonder if our legislators know what it is.

The wineries want a question, the breweries want a flower, and I want one of what the leg is drinking...

He has a little list...

...and it's not just the names of states. Before his 'red meat' speech for the (not-so) Perfect Stormers the other night, Howard Dean faced the cameras for with Chris Matthews. When Matthews wondered aloud whether the Dean emphasis on establisment endorsements might have hurt the Governor's insurgent image, Dean happily rattled of the list, and them some, inserting the name of a certain former President who quite pointedly didn't endorse him.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed. My Kerry pal Tim, who operates the excellent and informative Seattle For Kerry site nails the Dean deception on his personal blog.

"Dean responded that he was happy to have the support of all of those people, he named them plus a couple more, “and especially Jimmy Carter.” Jimmy Carter did not endorse Howard Dean...Howard Dean lied to Matthews and everyone watching and nobody called him on it and it pisses me off that he gets away with crap like that. "

Ya know, it pisses me off, too.

The Bounce

The ARG rolling poll is probably the best measure of any Iowa bounce, because they've been reporting daily for some time, and here's the first report with post-Iowa numbers, covering January 18-20.

Dean 26 (-2)
Kerry 24 (+4)
Clark 18 (+1)
Edwards 9 (+1)

As is often the case, though, the news is in the notes, with the pollsters reporting that "...Kerry has a 5 percentage-point lead in the one-day sample on January 20." That would be a 13 point turnaround from that previous 3 day report.

I can't wait until tomorrow, 'cause this is better looking every day!

Setting the New Hampshire baseline

Most of the numbers out are pre-Iowa bounce, but there was enough news coming out of the midwest to have a pretty clear impact on the New Hampshire a week out. Here are a few looks at where we are.

As reported earlier, the last pre-Iowa ARG survey had Kerry pulling a (statistically meaningless) point ahead of Clark.

Dean 28
Kerry 20
Clark 19
Edwards 8
Lieberman 7

The 7News/Suffolk University poll has the race for first even tighter.

Dean 23
Kerry 20
Clark 15

Edwards and Lieberman are described as "far behind the leaders..."

WMUR-TVhas a full list of rankings, but the numbers are, again, pre-Iowa results.

Dean 33
Kerry 24
Clark 18
Edwards 8
Lieberman 5
Kucinich 3
Gephardt 3 (which probably belong in the undecided column now)
Undecided 6

Those undecideds seem very low, but they point out that as many as 48% of those with a stated preference admit that they are still open to a possible change. Iowa results may have a dramatic effect on this one.

Finally, the Zogby three day roll for January 18-20, showing the first influences of the Iowa surprise.

Dean 25
Kerry 23
Clark 16
Edwards 7
Lieberman 7
Kucinich 2
Sharpton 0.1
Undecided 16

Zogby points out that "In the one night of polling (Tuesday) after the Iowa caucus, Kerry actually led Dean by 2 points."

This is about to get real fun, folks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Actually, organization does matter...

... but who's doing the organizing matters, too, and so does who's being organized. The Kerry and Edwards focus on neighbor to neighbor outreach was the right kind of organization for Iowa.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Howard Dean's imported wave of 'Perfect Stormers' didn't always connect with Iowa voters. In a piece at TAPPED, Garance Franke-Ruta points out that the reverse was sometimes true, as well.

"I feel like I'm in a foreign country," said one Perfect Stomer wearing a lilac windbreaker. "I'm off the net. I'm not watching television. I can't find the New York Times. When I'm at my desk, I read 40 papers a day, all the political pundit sites...Now I'm doing something different. I'm talking to real people who have real lives raising kids." She looked around the KFC at the families eating extra-crispy chicken like they were a novelty, instead of her countrymen.

There's a lesson there. Wanna bet Trippi hasn't learned it?

The Speech

If Howard Dean meant to leave Iowa as a serious candidate with one of the treasured 'three tickets out,' any such intention was obscured by the rant he delivered to the faithful after over 80% of Iowa caucus goers rejected his campaign.

In a classic red-faced, finger-pointing, Mad Howard extravaganza that The Note notes that "...even Drudge isn't overreacting to," Dean put Nice Howard in the closet, while using Tom Harkin as a coat rack.

Am I overreacting? Well, when a Presidential candidate manages to shock Howard Stern I don't think overreaction is possible. Stern, who described the yowl that capped Dean's diatribe as "the cry he makes when he gets Little Howie stuck in the zipper," dubbed the Dean performance over an AC-DC track and found it made better heavy metal than political discourse.

Maybe USA Today's Walter Shapiro knew what he was talking about when he described HoHo as reminiscient of an "aging rock star reduced to reprising his greatest hits in smaller and smaller clubs."

All the reviews aren't bad, though. Matt Welch liked it. "Boy, That Dean's a Crazy Sonofabitch Ain't He? But not necessarily in a bad way! I kinda liked his barking madman routine, why the hell not?" he writes, summing up with "I kind of like the idea of a crazy man running for president, but my tastes have long been unsound…."

In the midst of my elation...

...I have to admit a certain amount of melancholy in regard to the fate of Dick Gephardt. Anything less than a win was regarded by everyone, including the Congressman, as fatal to his campaign, but a distant fourth was an outcome that had to shock as well as sting.

Dick Gephardt wasn't my candidate in this race, and he wasn't my candidate in 1988. I don't think he ever was or ever could be a suitable nominee for President, because I think his views are too parochial on some major issues. I was on his side in the NAFTA fight, but in losing that one, his anti-trade position hardened to a degree that's just too far from the mainstream. His resolute support of organized labor is one of his more admirable qualities, but it's far too true, and far too sad, that support for the House of Labor is no guarantor of support from the House of Labor. A winning coalition has always been beyond his reach.

Still, Dick Gephardt is a Democrat's Democrat. He's served our Party faithfully in good times and bad, and his general character and fidelity to our principles have always been above reproach.

I appreciate his decision to withdraw without delay. The field needs some definition. But I am somewhat saddened by the circumstances of that withdrawal, because he has truly been one of our finest, a faithful warrior in many battles, and deserves the respect of everyone who claims the mantle of 'Democrat.'

The man of the hour...

...scores the Quote of the Day.

"...I have a special message for the special interests that have a home in the Bush White House: We're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out!"

Senator John F. Kerry

A victory that looks like America

Electability is, in the end, about broad appeal. If electability is the issue, the message from Iowa is clear. According to the National Election Pool entry polls, Kerry was the favorite with the following groups:

Voters who disapproved of the war in Iraq
Voters over the age of 65
Voters aged 17-29
Union households

That's a fairly broad spread - young and old across the ideological spectrum, Kerry stole other candidate's key issues and undermined their key endorsements.


The principle reasons expressed by Kerry supporters were their belief that he has the right experience (30 percent) and that he can boot Bush (28 percent).

And you know what?

They're right.

The stage is set...

...for Act 2. The last ARG New Hampshire numbers before the Iowa results came already showed signs of a bounce on the basis of positive polling and the accompanying positive press (including a pair of key NH editorial endorsements).

Here's where we start from.

Dean 28
Kerry 20
Clark 19
Edwards 8
Lieberman 7

Every picture tells a story....

Monday, January 19, 2004

Yes, as a matter of fact...


There, got that out of my system.

Whatever's going on...

...inside those caucus rooms right now, you can bet that the internet's had an unprecedented influence. The Des Moines Register poll indicated that 39% of the likely caucus goers had sought out candidate information on the net.

It doesn't mean what you might expect, though. Despite Dean's success with Meetups and online fundraising, John Kerry leads among the wired caucus goers with 29%, ahead of Dean and John Edwards, tied at 21% each.

They're the soul men...

...according to the Seattle P-I's Joel Connelly, who's reporting from Iowa this week.

He writes about the personal touch that's been integral to the approach of Kerry, Edwards and Gephardt on the campaign trail, as they draw from life experiences to forge a bond with Iowa voters.

"In a cynical age," Joel writes, "it's easy to dismiss such appeals."

"Still, with Gephardt in the hospital waiting room -- and Kerry coming to oppose the war he was fighting and Wade Edwards' death motivating his father -- one believes there is genuine passion behind the packaging."

Is there a name missing from that rundown? Don't worry, Joel doesn't leave Dean out (though Dean might wish that he did).

"The soul in Howard Dean's campaign, by contrast, is provided by supporters and not the candidate."

Really. I mean it. It's all about you...

...logging in to me. Just a note to say thanks to a reader from (a regular from the get-go, according to the logs) who pushed Upper-Left over the 5000 hit mark yesterday.

I'm doing my best to build things up around here. Thanks to a donation, the comments have been upgraded (and I wish more of you would make use of the feature), and I've signed on to a Northwest blog webring.

If you look just below the blogroll on the right, you'll find a randomly generated ad from BlogSnob, a free ad swap service for bloggers. Fellow bloggers who log in here should consider signing up. It's a direct trade out - every time your page is loaded, an ad is served to another member's blog. Definitely a 'more the merrier' situation.

I'm thinking about tossing a couple bucks at Haloscan ads, upgrading the meters, improving the hosting situation and increasing the storage for graphics, etc., but all that is pretty dependent of finding some folks willing and able to click on the PayPal link and build up the treasury a bit.

But I'm having fun, you're checking in, and all around this is turning out to be pretty successful.

Stuff to watch...

As opportunity presents itself, I'll try to keep you up on breaking news that might affect the Iowa caucus.

Faux News is reporting that Dennis Kucinich is urging his supporters to caucus with John Edwards if they don't reach threshold in their precincts. No word on what they should do if a combined Edwards/Kucinich tally isn't enough.

Hard to tell what the impact will be. Kucinich has been polling in the low single digits, but if those votes are, as I suspect, concentrated in campus precincts, it could boost Edwards and hurt Dean in the youth vote that the Governor has been claiming as his exclusive property.

Not that I believed the Dean claim in the first place...