Saturday, February 14, 2004

The Race Is On For VP

With the 'presumptive nominee' crown already firmly in John Kerry's grasp, it seems that the conversation has shifted from "who will be the nominee" to "who will be the Vice-Presidential nominee".

Here's a short list (assuming Kerry will be the nominee) with some select pluses and minuses:

* John Edwards - Southern, populist, great stump speaker; a better stump speaker than Kerry, not a believer in Kerry's brand of free trade
* Wesley Clark - Southern, strong military background, dropped out to endorse Kerry; from the South, but not overtly 'Southern', too much military on one ticket?, charges of 'creepiness' and 'conspiracy theorist' from detractors
* Dick Gephardt - strong in Missouri: a key swing state, strength with labor; a VP nod for one state?, does the nominee need more support from labor, again, not a believer in Kerry's brand of free trade
* Bob Graham - very Southern, strong defense/intel credibility; somewhat boring, maybe a bit too Southern
* Bill Richardson - Hispanic, unbelievably smart and charismatic, has lined up behind Kerry, has suggested he has big ambitions; it may be too early for Richardson, who may want to prove himself as New Mexico's Governor before seeking the Presidential nomination himself
* Tom Vilsack - popular Midwestern; lacks national profile

Who knows? I think it's really hard to call something like this. First of all, Kerry hasn't won the nomination yet. He probably will, but we have to see what Edwards has to say about Kerry in the coming days and weeks. If the rhetoric gets too hot, that may knock him out of the running.

As a Senator, Kerry may be thinking about a VP from outside of Congress. In my mind, that would leave Clark and Richardson. Both men are popular nationally, remind people about the better aspects of the Clinton administration, but bring different strengths to the table. If the Kerry/Fonda BS gets hotter, then Clark may be a good choice, as Clark continued his career in the military long after Kerry spoke out against Vietnam. However, if Bush's popularity improves with Hispanics, Kerry may need to inoculate himself a bit and pick Richardson.

This one's way too early to predict, but at least it means DemWatch isn't out of a job just yet.

posted by Scott | 2/14/2004 | |

AFL-CIO To Endorse Kerry

Okay, can we call it now? With an expected win on Tuesday in Wisconsin (ARG has Kerry at 53%, Edwards with 16%, Dean at 11%) and the unofficial word coming down from the AFL-CIO that they are going to endorse John Kerry for President, the primary is all but over.

A memo was leaked from AFL-CIO head John Sweeney that called for a Thursday (2/19) meeting of the union's general board to discuss an official Kerry endorsement.

Before some of you get all bent out of shape, saying that I'm biased towards Kerry because of the Clark endorsement or that I'm just jumping on the bandwagon, or whatever it is that you're going to say, just wait. Kerry's got an uphill battle here. There are going to be all sorts of charges against him, both obvious (Massachusetts liberal, Fonda peacenik, CIA-hater, adulterer) and so not obvious that we can't even predict them. And Kerry's supposed electability is just that at this point--supposed. At Slate, both Kaus and Saletan call into question Kerry's actual strengths and weaknesses. Even one Republican friend of mine (yes, I have a few) is asking what we're all thinking, fawning over Kerry. From where he stands, John Edwards would make the tougher competitor for Bush.

All of that said, I will hop aboard the Kerry freight train just as soon as he's got the nomination 100% locked up. (In other words, as soon as Edwards drops out or gets the life beaten out of him in March.) In my opinion, Kerry is phenomenally better than Bush and so many of the questions that people have been asking about him won't amount to a hill of beans.

So while many of you are starting to look to November, I'm still paying attention to the here and now.

posted by Scott | 2/14/2004 | |

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Clark Endorsing Kerry

Less than a week after telling reporters that "Kerry will implode over an intern issue," Wesley Clark is endorsing John Kerry's bid for the White House. He will be campaigning with Kerry in Wisconsin tomorrow.

Even though I didn't make it too public, I've got to admit that I really botched this call. It was my opinion that Clark would line up behind John Edwards if he made any endorsement at all. Apparently, Edwards was of the same belief, calling Clark's withdrawal from the race a "huge boost" to his campaign.

No such luck, it seems.

posted by Scott | 2/12/2004 | |

Target: Kerry

It was really only a matter of time before the anti-Kerry forces on both the left and the right revved up their engines and seriously got to work. No one is quite sure who has dumped this story in the laps of the media, but we do know that Matt Drudge is the main driver behind the piece.

According to Drudge (in other words, take the following with a grain, no, a pound of salt), a female AP reporter has recently 'fled' the country at the urging of John Kerry, whom she had an affair with.

The conspiracy theories are flying around, fast and furious, as to who is pushing the story. The answers range from Edwards to Rove to Dean to Clark and back to Rove again. Earlier in the week, before he dropped out of the race, Wesley Clark was quoted as having said that "Kerry will implode over an intern issue." Clark's former aide Chris Lehane had earlier worked for the Kerry campaign, so many believe that since Lehane had access to such information, the Clark campaign was the source of the story. Not so fast, however, as Clark is set to endorse Kerry's candidacy.

It would also seem that such a story is too little, too late to benefit the Dean and Edwards campaigns. It is not, however, too late to benefit the Bush-Cheney reelection team. The GOP would love a juicy story like this to tie Kerry--already a 'Massachusetts liberal' in their eyes--with Bill Clinton.

But if this story is coming too late to benefit Dean or Edwards, it's also likely coming too early to benefit Team W. This is the type of thing that ought to be dropped at the last minute for maximum effect. That way, if the story is in fact explainable, the Kerry campaign would not have time to explain it. And in what is expected to be a very close election, the 1% to 5% of voters who might theoretically be swayed by Kerry's alleged infidelity would make a huge difference.

So my working theory at the moment is that it's actually the Kerry campaign who leaked this story. DC commentator extraordinaire Craig Crawford has said that "the Kerry camp has long expected to deal with this, and have assured party leaders they can handle it." So what's stopping the Kerry campaign from leaking the story to quash it long before November? Leak it, deny it, produce the alibi, end it, and deny Rove & Co. a possible October surprise.

Either way, this is something that Kerry needs to settle NOW.

posted by Scott | 2/12/2004 | |

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Wesley Clark Ends Presidential Bid

Tonight's dismal showing in the Virginia primary has apparently led General Clark to decide to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination. The Tennessee race was a bit closer, but Clark still came in third behind John Kerry and John Edwards.

Earlier tonight, the AP reported that Clark and his family wanted to stay in the race, but that nearly all of the campaign's advisers were urging an end to his candidacy. Apparently, the advisers won out in the end.

In a speech to his supporters before it became clear that his campaign was over, Clark made some very vague comments about the future of his candidacy. "We may have lost this battle today but I tell you what, we're not going to lose the battle for America's future." And he's right. As a Clark supporter, I can say with no reservation that we (Clark and his supporters) have lost this battle (and a few others), but that We (the Democratic Party) are not going to lose the much larger battle for America's future.

So what's next for the General?

He will apparently be making an official announcement tomorrow in Little Rock. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. The reports say that Clark will be supporting the eventual nominee and other Democratic candidates in races nationwide. There is no word of an endorsement, but I wouldn't count it out. Talking about the Kerry momentum, Clark has complained that the party will eventually feel some "buyer's remorse" if it picks Kerry as the nominee. But then again, if Kerry is unstoppable as the nominee, one would think that Clark would not want to jeopardize any possible cabinet postings in the next Democratic cabinet.

posted by Scott | 2/10/2004 | |

To Hear Them Tell It, You'd Think Kerry Already Won...

Hi folks. Today marks the beginning of my involvement with the new news and commentary site, As such, here's a short excerpt from my inaugural posting. The site's got ton of great writers and a lot of potential, so I encourage you to check it out. Thanks!

The pollsters are hyping the Bush v. Kerry match-up. The right-wing hitsquad is training its fire on Kerry's fundraising and alleged policy flip-flops. Chris Martin from Coldplay thanked Kerry upon winning a Grammy, wishing him well in his bid for the White House. The National Enquirer is headlining "John Kerry's Secret Life Exposed."

All of this overlooks the fact that John Kerry is still not actually the Democratic nominee for president. It's undeniable that Kerry is running away with the nomination. So far, he has come in first in every state holding a primary or caucus aside from South Carolina and Oklahoma. As such, he has the highest number of pledged delegates at 329. He also now has, by virtue of his 102 official endorsements, the highest number of superdelegates, narrowly edging out Howard Dean, with 96.

But it's a long way to the 2,162 delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination...

Please read the rest of this article at

posted by Scott | 2/10/2004 | |

Monday, February 09, 2004

Dean Staying In No Matter How Wisconsin Votes

Just when you thought it was safe to count Howard Dean out of the running... You've seriously got to love this story, if for no other reason than the fact that it was broken by Green Bay's Action 2 News.

While Dean still says "there better be a win in Wisconsin," he's backed off the do-or-die language that had effectively begun the countdown on the Dean campaign's death clock. The Wisconsin primary, no matter what the outcome is "not going to be the end of the line," Dean said.

When I first heard about this, I started thinking that Dean might have been trying to save a little face. You know, it's the end of my campaign, but it's not the end of the line for my supporters and the issues I've raised... that sort of thing. But no. Dean's apparently quite serious about staying in the race, post-Wisconsin. When asked period, point blank if he would "drop out of this campaign if there's not a win in Wisconsin," Dean answered with an equally unequivocal, "No."

I'm not 100% sure what Dean's thinking or strategy is here, but I'm guessing there's some consideration of the poll numbers in Virginia and Tennessee. Kerry's dominating both states and it doesn't look like either Clark or Edwards will win. So if there's a race to become the anti-Kerry, Dean's got to think he's got as good a shot as anyone.

posted by Scott | 2/09/2004 | |

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Guess Who Won The Maine Caucuses

No, seriously. I'm really not going to tell you. You have to guess. Or you can click the above link, of course.

posted by Scott | 2/08/2004 | |
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