Saturday, October 25, 2003

Campaign Tactics 

According to some sources, The SEIU may endorse Dean.

That is, of course, huge for Dean and a huge blow for Richard Gephardt. Kos has the details.

Dean update 

Howard has a HHHHUUUUUGGGGEEEE lead in New Hampshire.

Kucinich is upset at Dean for suggesting that "his opponents" supported the war. I think Dean meant "relevant opponents."

In the "bizarre, over the top, I don't want to be on a bus with this person ever" quote of the day:

"The last time I was this excited about someone who could change the world was when I heard about Jesus!"

-The American Prospect, quoting a Dean supporter.

Hey, Read This 

Kudos to Charlton Price, who reads the same things I do, for forwarding this brilliant piece on Paul Krugman by Russell Baker (and if you haven't read Baker's memoirs, SHAME ON YOU!). Seriously, Mr. Baker's books are brilliant.

And if you haven't been depressed or angry recently about this administration, you've come to the right place. Sy Hersh on intelligence failures in this week's New Yorker.

And Michael Kinsley? Gifted, as always.

Courtesy of Mr. Alterman, Fox has already called the 2004 election. God, democracy is so damn inconveinent some times. Thanks for Fox for getting through the red tape. Now, Joe Millionaire For The Masses!

And Rick Hertzberg has the obligatory "kick him when he's down because he would do the same" treatment of Rush Limbaugh. Money quote: "Limbaugh may be a Chicken Hawk in the war on drugs, but that doesn’t mean he deserves to be cannon fodder."

Monday, October 20, 2003


Best visibility stunt yet.

Bizarre Campaign Analogy, Part One: 

Wesley Clark's campaign on skipping Iowa, in today's NY Times:

"What we'll do is what I call the General MacArthur strategy," a senior Clark adviser said. "General MacArthur was very successful in World War II because he skipped over the Japanese strongholds, where they were more organized, and instead picked islands that were favorable or neutral terrain. Which means we would choose not to focus resources on Iowa and instead focus them on New Hampshire and on Feb. 3," when there are Democratic contests in seven states."

Two things:

1) I don't think it is a good idea to actually compare your candidate to a vain, politically motivated, self promoting former general. People might get ideas.

2) Good that the former Gore staffers have done their reading on military tactics so they can fit in (and curry favor with) the former General. Good work.

In Defense of Iowa 

Much has been made of Leiberman and Clark's decision to skip Iowa, as reported in the New York Times.

In many ways, this is inevitable. Leiberman's campaign has collapsed in Iowa (as it has everywhere else) and Clark is in the race too late to have an impact in Iowa. They probably will downplay the results of New Hampshire, as well, and concentrate on the South Carolina (or Arizona, or wherever they can "win" and stay alive until they get wiped out in Michigan).

I will grant everyone that Iowa caucus participants in the Democratic and Republican skew to the extremes of the party. I will also grant you that Iowa and New Hampshire voters can be a bit spoiled regarding their "first in the nation" status.

But for all the complaints about the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire voters have too much impact on the process, I have one question:

Where, exactly, do regular voters have a chance to have a meaningful interaction with a candidate?

After Iowa and New Hampshire, politics turns into "tarmac" campaigning, where a candidate does a brief stop in an area, performs interviews with local media and perhaps does a fundraiser (for donors with enough money to attend), then leaves. Paid television, not actually talking to voters, becomes the way to communicate.

We miss something if small states like Iowa and New Hampshire do not continue their role as primary states. The alternative, a primary in a large state (California) or a series of regional primaries, leads us to a situation where fundraising and campaign commericals are overemphasized and interacting with citizens is underemphasized.

That isn't an alternative I feel comfortable with.

PS: From the NY Times: "Mr. Lieberman's advisers said on Sunday that they would pull out all but one of his 17 staff members in Iowa and send them to states considered more receptive to his appeal, like Arizona."

Those receptive to his "appeal" are presumably Democrats who haven't seen him campaign.

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