Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Some thoughts on the Iowa results:

1. What a big win for Kerry. He got 38 percent--better than Gephardt's 31 percent in 1988 and nearly as good as Mondale's 49 percent in 1984, even though Mondale was a former VP, from a neighboring state, and running against arguably weaker competition (George McGovern came in third that year).

2. Edward also did extremely well. 32 percent is a very strong showing. Until I heard the results, I would have assumed 32 percent would have been enough to win.

3. Not only did Dean lose, but he seems to be coming unhinged. First, shades of Bob Doles snarling "stop lying about my record" to George Bush in 1988, he blames attacks by the other candidates for his losing. Second, looking like a Vermont Willie Stark, he gives a wild speech to his supporters. Is this man angry? I don't know, but he sure looks mad.

4. I wouldn't underestimate the impact of Dean's nasty response to the questioner last week.

5. I feel very bad for Dick Gephardt. He's a decent man who has consistently fought for working families. He deserved better than this, not only as a presidential candidate, but he also should have become Speaker of the House.

6. The rise of Edwards is explicable. He got the DM Register endorsement and that sparked his move by giving people a reason to look at him again. But Kerry's rise isn't nearly as clear. There was no real change in his campaign message, no defining character moment in a debate ("I paid for this microphone!), no external event. Yes, he had good organization his surge in support was much more than just getting their people out to vote. If you have thoughts on this, let me know because I really don't have much of a clue.

7. Susan Estrich was on Fox News. Was she drunk or what?

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