My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


And Then There Were Four. . .

I think it's safe to say that the final results from Iowa tonight were a tremendous surprise, tantamount to an electoral earthquake. John Kerry "The Dead" back from the grave to collect 38%; John Edwards "Pretty Boy" out of nowhere to get 32%; Howard "The Duck" a grim and disappointing 18%; and Dick Gephardt throwing it in after an abysmal 11%.

The race is now in full swing, and still four candidates remain viable. Howard Dean still has the money and the organization, plus--for now--is still ahead in the NH polls (for whatever that seems to be worth). Wesley Clark also has money, is steadily climbing in the polls, and has had a couple weeks all to himself in NH, plus he has regional strength beyond. John Kerry should be able to ride this momentum to at least repay his own donations to his campaign, plus should show decently in NH. And John Edwards. . . I'm just stunned by his showing. . . has regional support, plus with Gephardt out SC could easily be his for the taking. In other words, projecting two weeks out and predicting off of current polls (a bad technique) Dean takes NH, South Carolina, Delaware, New Mexico and Oklahoma; Clark gets Arizona; and I'm projecting that Kerry is the main beneficiary in Missouri of Gephardt droppin out. But it's equally plausible to project a scenario where Kerry gets NH and Missouri, Dean gets Delaware and New Mexico, Clark gets Oklahoma and Arizona, and Edwards takes South Carolina. Which leaves the Dems two weeks from now in pretty much the same boat they're in right now--nowhere.

But in the meantime the President will have delivered a State of the Union and been busy running the country. And not a single head-to-head poll has yet to suggest that any of these candidates is at all capable of displacing the President, much less after a protracted nomination battle. So while the Dems are trying to "find themselves," the President (who very much knows where he is) can run the country, articulate a bold vision for the future, and attach himself to all kinds of good news.

A pretty good picture for November.

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