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Friday, September 12, 2003

Daily Kos summarizes the results of a USA Today/CNN/Gallup series of polls. The highlights include a drop in Bush's job approval rating to a bare majority of 52% and a ten point drop in Lieberman's numbers from 23% to 13%. Also, they compare the Democratic numbers with and without Clark in the race:

Without Clark (Late August results in parenthesis)
Gephardt 17 (13)
Dean 15 (12)
No Opinion 15 (12)
Lieberman 13 (23)
Kerry 13 (10)
Graham 6 (4)
Braun 5 (5)
Edwards 5 (5)
Sharpton 3 (4)
Kucinich 2 (1)

With Clark
Gephardt 15
No Opinion 14
Dean 13
Lieberman 12
Kerry 11
Clark 9
Braun 5
Graham 5
Edwards 5
Sharpton 3
Kucinich 2

This sort of negates my theory that many of Clark's supporters would be Dean defectors. Oh well.
--Posted at 4:39 PM | link

"If Clark were to enter the race, it would be to win the nomination and not simply position himself for the No. 2 slot, friends said."

Well, assuming that Clark's friends and the
article from which this quotation comes are both accurate, you can forget about all the Dean-Clark ticket stuff that I discussed a couple posts ago. Maybe. Until Clark formally announces his intentions, I'm not discounting any possibilities.
--Posted at 2:30 AM | link

Thursday, September 11, 2003

If George W. Bush wins re-election, the terrible events of two years ago today will be the main reason. They put Democrats on the defensive about their national security credentials, if not their patriotism, and removed from the table any questions about Bush's political legitimacy. The entire Democratic campaign up to this point has been, above all else, an effort to neutralize the political consequences of 9/11 and its aftermath. It's unclear what the outcome will be. I just hope that both parties can remember that 9/11 was a tragedy that horrified nearly all Americans, not a mere political tool.
--Posted at 6:02 PM |

Howard Dean has reportedly asked Wesley Clark to join his campaign, if Clark decides not to run for president himself. Neither Dean nor Clark would go into detail about what the two men discussed. This is actually the fourth time that the two men have met, but the rumors about this meeting are creating quite a buzz.

One possibility is that Clark will be Dean's running mate, but this is far from the only way that Clark could join Dean's campaign. Let's imagine for a moment that this happens. Will a Dean-Clark ticket forged in the primaries carry Dean to the nomination and possibly to the presidency?

Dean and Clark have arguably generated more enthusiasm among Democratic activists than any other candidate--and Clark is not even a candidate. Ever since the second quarter fundraising numbers were tallied, Dean has been the man to beat. Dean's support no longer exclusively comes from "Northeastern liberals," as his rise from single digits to first place in Iowa indicates. If he keeps up his current pace, with or without Clark, he has a very good chance of winning the Democratic nomination. But even Dean supporters seem to think that they could do better in the search for an ideal candidate. I get the impression--and this is not backed up by any statistics, mind you--that a significant number of Dean supporters would jump ship in favor of Clark's campaign if Clark decided to run. They see in Clark a candidate that would could attack Bush with the authority of a Southern general rather than a Northeastern politician. If I am correct that Dean and Clark support tends to overlap, then you'd think that a Dean-Clark ticket would be a dream come true for many.

But I have my doubts that Dean-Clark would be decisively more effective than Dean-anybody else against George W. Bush. VP candidates are generally chosen to offset a perceived weakness or imbalance in the presidential candidate, and Clark would, in theory, carry out this role well. But Clark's supporters or potential supporters tend to see him as an ideal candidate in his own right, however, not as a source of gravitas for the Dean campaign. With Clark relegated to second place, most attention would still be focused on Dean, and all of Dean's "weaknesses" would still be relevant. If Dean is too "liberal" to beat George W. Bush, as many still say he is, the addition of Clark won't change this impression much. Cheney and Lieberman were mere background figures compared to Bush and Gore.

Perhaps I'm being too hasty in writing off the advantages that a general could bring to a campaign perceived as "too liberal" (with all the anti-military connotations that this phrase has in our society). It's very unlikely that Clark, as a running-mate, would hurt Dean's campaign, and likely that he would help him. My point is that if Dean announced Clark as his running mate tomorrow, it wouldn't resolve the debate over whether Dean is a viable candidate against Bush. My feeling is that a Clark candidacy would be a stronger force against Bush than a Dean-Clark ticket. Then again, I don't know what Clark would be like as a candidate.

Clark will clarify things for us on September 19. Perhaps he will be Dean's running mate. Or perhaps he's made up his mind to run, and Dean was making a last-ditch effort to avert this. We'll find out soon enough.
--Posted at 5:39 PM | link

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

TAPPED gives advice for tonight's debate in Baltimore to each of the Democratic candidates.
--Posted at 2:37 PM | link

TNR Primary isn't very fond of Howard Dean these days. Since the beginning of September, they've given him four D's and three F's, for a "grade point average" so far this month of 0.4.

Joe Lieberman won the August "TNR Primary" with a 3.7 GPA. Howard Dean had 1.6. It's not hard to tell what TNR's preferences are.
--Posted at 2:32 PM | link

Monday, September 08, 2003

John Edwards has decided not to seek re-election to the Senate so that he can focus full-time on his presidential campaign. Under North Carolina law, Edwards would have been able to run for both offices simultaneously.
--Posted at 12:45 AM |

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