January 20, 2004

Iowa Caucus

The results are in, and Kerry (38%) managed to more than double Dean (18%) in Iowa. In my mind, the real winner is Edwards both for coming in second (32%) and for his speech afterwards. The pundits were eating it up and he added to it with strong appearances on CNN and MSNBC.

Even better for Edwards was the juxtaposition of his speech with Howard Dean's absolute melt-down. Dean's speech was horrible — he looked like he was going to blow a gasket and he looked positively anything-but-presidential. Screaming the names of states, he sounded like something uncontrollable that had gotten away from his handlers — hmmm, perhaps that's not too far off the mark, actually. I think he's done for. Democrats have wisely realized that he's not electable and are focusing in on pragmatic choices who can achieve their number one objective: get rid of George W. Bush.

I've always thought that Edwards was the one to watch out for. He's an excellent speaker, has reasonable (and remarkably detailed for a candidate) policy proposals on his web site, and is probably the most likely to win some Southern states. I could even see myself voting for him – though I am concerned about his coziness with the ATLA trial lawyers and their money. And I'm not sure I understand voting for the authorization for the Iraq war, but then voting against the reconstruction money (as both he and Kerry did).

If Edwards wins the nomination, Bush is in serious trouble — and now there's a real chance of that happening. Rolling out Ted Kennedy may help Kerry in New Hampshire and the northeast, but it will kill him when trying to capture southern votes. I don't think much of Clark, but we'll see whether concentrating on New Hampshire was a good strategy for him — right now it doesn't look so good since Kerry (who he's been taking votes from) is sure to get a bounce and Edwards (who he compete with on southern credentials) now looks like less of a long shot.

Oh, and we're all winners that protectionist rhetoric and union muscle only bought Gephardt a plane ticket home.

Posted by richard at January 20, 2004 01:03 AM

Even more interesting was a poll that CNN discussed - approximately 70% of the Iowa Caucus voters did not support the decision to take military action in Iraq. Of that 70%, Kerry was the leading vote getter, with Dean and Edwards in second. Obviously, Edwards and Kerry cleaned up the pro-war segment of the caucus. If Dean cannot get a vast majority of the anti-war voters to support him, he is done.

Posted by: T McGee at January 20, 2004 10:59 AM