Kucinich for 2004

November really boils down to one choice: Anybody But Bush. But since we’re in the primary stage, why not have a little bit of fun?

Kucinich doesn’t stand a chance in hell, but he’s got my vote in the primary. Despite what scaredy-cats decry as a wacko platform, Kucinich hasn’t managed his campaign with incompetence. Kucinich has never wavered from his stance. Kucinich has never had to clarify a comment or sleep with the Gore 2000 boys to save his bacon. Because Kucinich has a bigger pair of balls than Dean. He’s against the Patriot Act (unlike Dean). He’s audacious enough to end Star Wars and NAFTA. Kucinich has stayed in the race and remained true to his convictions.

I had problems with Dean’s position on the death penalty and his loose stance on civil liberties, as well as his intricate health care plan (compared to, say, a clear-cut Canadian style one). But I had contemplated voting for Dean because he had what I perceived to be courage. Now it turns out that Dean has been flying by the seat of his pants in nearly every capacity. And that’s no way to run a campaign or a country.

So while I’ll vote Anybody But Bush in November, I’m voting with my conscience in the primary. Do any of you lefties have the balls to do the same?

Dean’s Dead in the Water

New York Times: “Tricia Enright, the campaign’s communications director, said Dr. Dean was forming ‘a new creative team’ to overhaul its television advertisements. She said the campaign was not firing its media firm, in which Mr. Trippi is a partner. Many Dean supporters have been critical of the ad campaign, particularly in Iowa. Some questioned the arrangements by which Mr. Trippi forfeited a salary as a campaign manager but collected commissions � said to be as high as 15 percent in some cases � based on advertising buys.

Forget the Iowa yell. The Dean campaign’s financial incompetence stinks of cronyism and irresponsibility. And Trippi’s profiteering comes on the heels of the depleted war chest and Dean telling his 500 staffers to skip their paychecks for two weeks.

I’d say at this point that Dean’s goose was cooked. If Dean can’t manage the finances of his own campaign, then how can he manage the budget? Stacked against Bush’s deficit, Dean certainly comes across as fiscally conservative.

Okay, Howard Dean is Almost Finished

To call Dean’s second place finish in New Hampshire “close” is to approach a cliff face, jump off, and attempt to land on the ground without so much as a bruise. But apparently it’s worse than that. Howard Dean is now down to $5 million. Barring a Missouri win next Tuesday, it looks like we may stuck with Kerry. Unless Dean musters up Robert Kennedy-like support in California and many of the big states, and reenergizes his campaign. Kennedy, however, was more of an idealist than Dean is. And it ain’t exactly 1968.

However, while I woefully miscalculated the percentage points, I was dead-on in my place predictions.

[UPDATE: Dan Spencer has compiled all blog NH predictions with success and failure rates.]

[1/21/06 UPDATE: Apologies for the introspective aside, but I’m truly astonished by the idealism here. Not entirely surprised, mind you, because wildly optimistic notions enter fresh upon my noggin on a daily basis, with several acted upon during any given week. Indeed, I can safely confess that, since I turned thirty, life has been a process of trying to hold onto any and all scraps of hope, bonhomie and idealism, as the wise and sober forces of adulthood demand me to be serious and responsible (I am to a great degree, but I maintain that one can be both!). Granted, there’s still plenty of helium in the Zeppelin, with the only real Hindenburg being my inevitable death, I suppose. But this is what it means to be a committed “optimistic realist” at 31. On one hand, and tying this into Howard Dean, it would be foolish to discount the role of the Internet in disseminating Howard Dean’s Muskie moment. The conservatives guffawed and remixed that twenty second holler and played it over and over and effectively obliterated Dean’s momentum. But let us also consider how refreshingly genuine Dean’s yell was from the stiffs. Here was a man who was ultimately punished for expressing a genuine moment of excitement during the 2004 presidential election. And how much of a telling statment is that of what the United States political process has become? Little wonder that we have no real candidates to choose from anymore. American media, and those who react to it, is particularly unforgiving when it comes to genuine enthusiasm.]

New Hampshire Predictions

Well, hell, if Oliver’s going to do it, then so am I. Here’s my New Hampshire prediction. And I’ll even throw up percentage points.

1. Kerry 30%
2. Dean 29%
3. Clark 16%
4. Edwards 13%
5. Lieberman 8%
6. Kucinich 2%
7. Sharpton 1%

[1/24/06 UPDATE: If anything, the propensity to offer wholly unsubstantiated predictions involving numbers strikes me as utterly foolish. Of what value does this serve? Does it feel better to stave off impatience and anxiety by fabricating numbers? Or is this sort an elaborate way of setting one’s self up for disappointment?]

More 1992 v. 2004 Primary Comparisons

Delaware: February 3, 2004 Primary

Tsongas 30.2%
Uncommitted: 29.6%
Clinton: 20.8%
Brown: 19.5%

Missouri: February 3, 2004 Primary

Clinton: 45.1%
Tsongas: 10.2%
Brown: 5.7%
Uncommitted: 39%

South Carolina: February 3, 2004 Primary

Clinton: 62.9%
Tsongas: 18.3%
Harkin: 6.6%
Brown: 6.0%

Arizona: February 3, 2004 Primary

Tsongas: 34.4%
Clinton: 29.2%
Brown: 27.5%
Harkin: 7.6%

New Mexico: February 3, 2004 Caucus

Clinton: 52.9%
Brown: 16.9%
Tsongas: 6.2%
Harkin: 1.8%

North Dakota: February 3, 2004 Caucus

Clinton: 46.0%
Tsongas: 10.3%
Brown: 7.5%
Harkin: 6.8%

Oklahoma: February 3, 2004 Primary

Clinton: 70.5%
Brown: 16.7%
Harkin: 3.4%

So, if Dean loses New Hampshire on Tuesday to Kerry (giving Kerry a double win and putting Dean behind in the game), the big question here is how, or if, Dean will carry these seven states.

And here are some more Iowa-New Hampshire results:

1992 Iowa: Harkin (64.3%), Uncommitted (11.0%), Tsongas (10.7%)
1992 New Hampshire: Tsongas (33%), Clinton (24.8%), Kerrey (11.1%)
1992 Front-Runner: Clinton

1988 Iowa: Simon (34.3%), Jackson (21.9%), Dukakis (20.8%), Babbitt (15.5%)
1988 New Hampshire: Dukakis (36.4%), Gephardt (20.3%), Simon (17.4%), Jackson (8.0%)
1988 Front-Runner: Dukakis

1984 Iowa: Mondale (48.9%), Hart (16.5%), McGovern (10.3%)
1984 New Hampshire: Hart (37.3%), Mondale (27.9%), Glenn (12.0%)
1984 Front-Runner: Mondale

1976 Iowa: Uncommitted (37.2%), Carter (27.6%), Bayh (13.2%)
1976 New Hampshire: Carter (28.4%), Udall (22.7%), Bayh (15.2%)
1976 Front-Runner: Carter

1972 Iowa: Muskie (35.5%), McGovern (22.6%), Humphrey (1.6%)
1972 New Hampshire: Muskie (46.4%), McGovern (37.1%), Yorty (6.1%)
1972 Front-Runner: McGovern

So outside of Gore in 2000, who won both New Hampshire and Iowa, and incumbents, not a single Democratic presidential front-runner has won both New Hampshire and Iowa in the last thirty years. The only primary candidate to win both was Ed Muksie.

The interesting thing is that with Dean trying to emerge from the Iowa rant incident, we’re seeing something of a Muskie-McGovern reversal. In 1972, Muskie’s campiagn collapsed when he reacted to newspaper articles attacking him. He cried, lost his lead and was perceived as weak. But according to the latest polls, Dean doesn’t look as if he’ll win New Hampshire. And with the press nipping on his tails, Dean’s now trying to atone for the Iowa rant, which may very well go down in political history. Ironically, the Internet, the very medium that propelled him, may end up killing him.

The campaign isn’t over yet. The Dean campaign will have to do some serious work in the seven states. But barring a major Kerry revelation, it’s looking a bit grim.

Dean Isn’t Finished…Yet

CNN reports the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows Kerry ahead with 35%, with Dean following at 23%. If Dean loses Tuesday, it won’t be the first time an eventual front-runner lost both Iowa and New Hampshire. Here are the results for the 1992 New Hampshire primary:

Tsongas: 55,663 (33%)
Clinton: 41,540 (24.8%)
Kerrey: 18,584 (11.1%)
Harkin: 17,063 (10.2%)
Brown: 13,659 (8.0%)

The precentages look familiar, don’t they?

But if Dean starts losing beyond this, then he’s in real trouble.

It’s All in the Corn

On Kerry winning the Iowa Caucus, I have only this to say.


Harkin 76.4%
Tsongas 4.1%
Clinton 2.8%
Kerrey 2.4%
Brown 1.6%


Gephardt 31.3%
Simon 26.7%
Dukakis 22.2%
Jackson 8.8%
Babbitt 6.1%
Hart 0.3%
Gore 0.1%

Iowa means nothing. The eventual Democratic front-runners placed third in both caucuses. And so did Dean this year. Really, this could go anywhere.

A New Kind of Pragmatism

The New Yorker on Howard Dean: “Last summer, Joe Trippi told U.S. News & World Report that he had given Dean a curious piece of advice: ‘I tell him the only way he can win is to believe in his heart he cannot win. We?ve got to act like we have nothing to lose.’ That, as they say, was then. When I asked Dean, in mid-October, whether he still subscribed to the Trippi wisdom, he replied, ‘In part. I think the problem with the Democratic Party in general is that they?ve been so afraid to lose they?re willing to say whatever it takes it to win. And once you?re willing to say whatever it takes to win, you lose?because the American people are much smarter than folks in Washington think they are. Do I still believe it? I think you have to be ready to move forward and not just try to hold on to what you?ve got. I truly believe that if you?re not moving forward you?re moving backwards in life. There?s no such thing as neutral.'”


Tomes Out of Touch?

The Washington Post reports* that eight out of the nine Democratic presidential candidates have books out. Here are a few excerpts culled from the article and other places:

Winning Back America by Howard Dean: “I don’t indulge myself when it comes to clothes. . . . I have a suit that cost $125 at J.C. Penney in 1987.” Well, every son of a multimillionaire stockbroker needs a hobby.

A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America by John Kerry: “I am so addicted to ice hockey that I still fantasize about starting a professional over-fifty senior league.” Too bad that nobody’s told Kerry that he’s also addicted to a primary race he can’t win.

Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire by Wesley K. Clark: Clark’s enamored of awkward clauses and repetition. “America’s primacy in the world — our great power, our vast range of opportunities, the virtual empire we have helped create — have given us a responsibility for leadership and to lead by example. Our actions matter. And we cannot lead by example unless we are sustained by good leadership. Nothing is more important.”

A Prayer for America by Dennis Kucinich: This one’s a collection of essays and speeches. The titular speech offers a blustering homage to the Declaration of Independence.

Al on America by Al Sharpton (with Karen Hunter): Sharpton’s fond of stating the obvious. “Racism may make the workplace and housing market unequal. But racism doesn’t make you put gold teeth in your mouth, spending thousands of dollars when you don’t have enough food to feed your family. Racism doesn’t make you buy a new, expensive car when you don’t own the home you live in. Racism doesn’t make you make babies that you aren’t going to raise and support both financially and spiritually. Racism doesn’t do that.”

In An Even Better Place: America on the 21st Century, Richard Gephardt (with Michael Wessel) offers parenting hints: Read to your children, help kids with your homework, try to make every school function, and spend time with them. It’s nice to know Gephardt’s so in touch with working class realities. Little is said of time and money.

The Joseph Conrad Award goes to Four Trials by John Edwards (with John Auchard): “At first it seemed strange that so few people who came into my office were angry. In some ways they were probably beyond anger, for their lives had been altered completely – completely and forever – and they just sought something that could bring it back and make it good again. Anger might come later, or it might have been there before, but I almost never saw it in my office – for now they only hoped that things would change.” With a campaign contribution to Edwards, you can get a complimentary copy. Not unlike getting a worthless trinket after pledging a sizable sum to PBS.

And then there’s Lieberman, who offers An Amazing Adventure: Joe and Hadassah’s Personal Notes on the 2000 Campaign, co-written with his wife. The books sounds about as fun as being forced to watch a slide show narrated by some hoary, rambling relative. “A funny thing happened in 2000. I became known for being funny. It began on opening day. At the announcement rally in Nashville on August 8, I told the crowd I was surprised that the Republicans’ first reaction to my selection had been to say that ‘George Bush and I think alike.’ Well, I said, ‘With all due respect, I think that’s like saying the veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business — because either way you get your dog back.'” I wonder if that came from Bob Hope’s joke file?

Carol Mosley Braun, who has about as much of a chance as Kucinich, has thankfully spared us a book. Not that a book will offer her any additional leverage.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, just came out with a historical novel, The Hornet’s Nest, set during the Revolutionary War. The Washington Post‘s Noel Perrin writes*, “I had hoped to love the novel, because I so admire the man. Alas, I don’t love it. Mind you, it’s a true novel, with many effective scenes and a few stunning ones….[b]ut some of the best scenes are only tenuously connected with the American Revolution.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Martin Northway notes, “a chilling encounter with a venomous cottonmouth is no time to pause for a treatise on Agkistrodon piscivorus.” The reviews in general have praised Carter’s historical erudition, while quibbling over his lack of character depth. But the great irony is that Carter has seventeen books behind him.

Addendum (May 20, 2013):

The original Washington Post article, published on December 3, 2003, is now behind a paywall. I have switched the link to a rewritten version of the article. Regrettably, the Noel Perrin review is not available anywhere online. Martin Northway’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch review is online, but behind a paywall. Noel Perrin passed away on November 21, 2004 and I have no way of contacting his widow, Sara Coburn. I also can’t find contact details for Martin Northway. But if these two individuals wish to contact me and share the articles, I will happily feature them here. But it looks like these two links are permanently lost to time. (5/20/2013)