Monday, January 26, 2004
( 1:32 PM )
Okay, it's.... (looking at clock and doing very bad math in my head) 11 hours till the NH primaries... technically. But most people won't start voting for another 18 or so. The weather is slated to be pretty bad tomorrow across the state- lots of snow, and the temps have stayed at subzero. But New Hampshirites are not known to be fainthearted. Having lived there for a few years in my early life, and having gone back many times to visit friends, I am as much fond of the quaintness of the state as I am of the independent and strong spirit of its inhabitants. Just look at their state motto: Live Free or Die. Which brings us back to the primary. Some may be living or dying after this one, but in the best of traditions, the election is actually and literally too close to call at this point.
For a discussion on all the polls and to get a look at some predictions, jump over to Daily Kos today.
I like the look of the Zogby poll today, but Zogby has a mixed history of calling them right. But more important than the poll itself are the headlines it's generating today. Another good part (in my opinion) is that it shows Dean's unfavorables declining and Kerry's picking up. What all of the other polls and this one mean to me is that the Kerry lead was falsly manufactured upon the screeching of the media after Iowa.
Dean's speech was hardly a barn burning event - he was responding to the screaming crowds that had already been worked up by Sen. Harkin. He showed passion and enthusiasm for his supporters and wanted to encourage them after a very discouraging defeat. The massive overdose by the media was incredibly malicious. The claims that Dean was just not acting presidential seem to be really hollow when you see the same media pundits remaining silent in the face of John Kerry playing ice hockey while campaigning or his picture spread as a surfer in a sports magazine. It is clear that the media doesn't like Dean because he isn't in their in-crowd. He doesn't cowtow to them, and he excites the populous to make up their own minds rather than go along with the party lines printed and spoken by the corporate media.
What people are going to start figuring out - and it looks like they already have - is that Kerry's campaign was faltering 3 weeks ago for good reason. He is a losing prospect against Bush. He is as boring as a post, and his congressional record holds nothing stand out that he can show to be new and different. He voted for the war, and he may have insight into the ways of legislation in DC, but that doesn't make him a good leader of the country. On the other hand, Dean's passion about bringing new choices to Americans, his actually well-thought out plans and policy ideas for the issues that mean the most to Americans, and the fact that he doesn't owe any corporate power broker or the DLC anything in this race is something that voters are starting to remember. By far, the candidate between the two of them that can beat Bush is Dean, and people need to relax about "the scream" and start thinking about the bigger picture.
I don't know that Dean can pull off a win tomorrow with the incredible negatives built up against him this last week. But pulling off a solid second (leaving the 3rd place far behind) will propel him into next week's primaries with a much greater chance of wins than he had after Iowa. Kerry doesn't have the money or the statewide campaigns in next week's primary states that Dean does, so that is also a plus for Dean (though a solid win for Kerry could bring him more moola). So all in all, I am more hopeful than I was this weekend - when, I confess, I was feeling pretty deflated by the domination of the idiot media.
I would like a Dean win tomorrow to bring the pendulum back, but I'm going to go with the following prediction:
I think Edwards is really picking up steam and Clark seems to be losing some momentum. I look for Edwards edging Clark out for third, though I don't think that ends Clark's run. I don't think anyone will drop out after NH, but I look for Lieberman to drop out after Feb 3. Sharpton and Kucinich are in it for the ideology at this point, and I would be happy for them to stay in the race all the way to the convention, so that at least their ideas might have a seat at the table. They also serve as the progressive anchors for the party in this race, and I think that is nothing but healthy at this point. Bush's declining numbers, among other reasons, continue to show us that now is not the time to get wimpy and nervous - it's the time to get even more passionate and even more determined to win in November with a candidate who inspires voters, not gives them a "lesser evil" choice. Those days should be gone, and I'm hoping that they will be.
This anticipation and tension is almost as bad as the baseball playoffs last fall. I don't know if I can take the emotional roller coaster!!