The John Kerry Momentum

Aquarian Weekly 2/4/04 REALITY CHECK

NEW HAMPSHIRE FALLOUTSuper Tuesday Looms For Last Stands

“If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

As of the final week in January, the democratic nomination for President of the United States is John Kerry’s to lose. The Massachusetts senator’s bold sacking of almost his entire campaign staff, going into hock up to his eyeballs, and abandoning a pre-New Hampshire ramp-up to put all his eggs in Iowa has gained him two strong victories and front-runner status.

John KerryThis could change.

Ask Howard Dean. The Vermont governor was riding high a mere month ago. He had significant poll leads everywhere, the cover of major magazines, and an embarrassing host of endorsements. People in his camp were so giddy they were shaping their boy up for national debates. Now he’s reduced to spinning cartwheels over being trounced by double-digits in a New England primary.

Such is life on the stump.

But don’t think Dean is dead, despite the orgasmic pundit excoriation following his apoplectic concession speech in Iowa. These are the same assholes that fell over themselves painting Dean as some kind of youth-galvanizing Internet genius.

They would be wise to remember other televised political snap-jobs like Dick Nixon going haywire on reporters after losing the California gubernatorial race in ’62 and Ronald Regan nearly impaling a debate moderator with a microphone in 1980.

Both men unfortunately survived to become president.

But back to Kerry.

Historically the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are crapshoots. Iowa is a trade union flophouse for small-time delegates and wannabees and New Hampshire chooses rogue loons like Pat Buchanan or favorite sons like Paul Tsongas. Both states barely have enough delegates to matter and their constituency is white bread personified.

But taking both after being left for dead is hard to stop. No one who has won Iowa and New Hampshire has lost the nomination. Look it up.

But if not Kerry, then who?

Well, if polling is any indication; who the fuck knows? In the most insanely paradoxical exit polls known to modern politics, a 3 to 1 majority of the electorate coming out of the spat rooms in Iowa needed a candidate vehemently against the war. Yet Kerry and North Carolina Senator, John Edwards (both of whom voted for the Bush war machine) carried the day. In New Hampshire it was the “electablity” chant. Yet Dean, a terribly ill prepared national candidate, gained ground, and Edwards, a southern democrat with a hint of Bill Clinton glean dropped into a third-place battle with the increasingly wooden, General Wesley Clark.

The truth is perception is power, and there is glaring evidence that many of the puppeteers in the party lead by DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe pushed hard for Kerry to get back in the race. The motivating factor, besides Dean’s scary proposition in a national election, was money.

As always.

Because Dean is backed with mostly private donations from college kids and union hacks, the big money people could well abandon him in the summer like the big money people bailed on Bob Dole in ’96.

The truth is perception is power, and there is glaring evidence that many of the puppeteers in the party lead by DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe pushed hard for Kerry to get back in the race.

The president is sitting on $200 million right now. By August it will double. There are six to eight battle ground states in a polorized national electorate. Winning at that clip takes big cash.

I’m not saying McAuliffe or the insiders thought Kerry would actually win in Iowa, but they could not allow him to nose dive. Winning was a plus.

Back in 2000, the GOP power base did not want John McCain, despite his thrashing of Bush in New Hampshire. By the time the race entered South Carolina, the strong arm squeeked Junior through and he never looked back.

But don’t be shocked if Edwards or Clark stays alive through Super Tuesday. The ticket will need a sourthern democrat to compete. The more airtime they get, the more recognizable they will be. Moreover, a few states (Oklahoma/South Carolina/Arizona) are up for grabs and could put a wrench in things.

Even with a warm and fuzzy southern dem on the ballot, Kerry is a risk come November. He is a New England liberal through and through, and he has an arm’s length record to prove it. Once again, the only two north easterners to gain the White House in the last century were FDR, who defeated a man who would have lost to Al Capone, and JFK, who stole the damn thing.

One certainty during these past two weeks is the Democratic Party, its power people, its candidates and its voters unequivocally despise George Bush. What the Clintons once did to reinvigorate republicans now falls to Captain Shoo-In.

And Bush is as vulnerable as it gets.

Even ignoring Newsweek polls ten months before Election Day that have Kerry at a 4% lead over Bush, the president is in some trouble. His approval ratings slumped after his flaccid State of the Union address last week. The continued administration mutiny of the Iraq occupation, the conservative fallout from three-year amnesty for illegal aliens and the controversial steel-tariff, record unemployment numbers, and this insane jabbering about spending trillions to build condos on Mars, have already frightened Karl Rove and the White House boys.

Bet on it.

They know this much: If Al Gore wasn’t the worst candidate of his generation, and people in Florida could read a goddamn ballot, George W. Bush would be a trivia question.

Bush’s best chance, and Kerry’s worst nightmare, is Dean.

Word is Dean is not going quietly. His people know all about the party’s lack of support for him. (McAuliffe has already gone public in his suggestion that some of the non-winners should hang it up after Super Tuesday.) He has three-times as much money as anyone in the race. (The dismissal of clueless campaign manager, Joe Trippi on 1/28 is hardly a sign of closing shop). And with the delegates he’s gained from endorsements of elected Democratic leaders and party officials who can cast votes at July’s Democratic national convention in Boston, Dean actually leads Kerry 113 to 94.

Dean is the classic political loose cannon in the mold of the fightin’ Buchanan Brigade, and might well brawl until the convention. Or he could really screw things up for his party by bolting for Independent status and taking ten to twenty percent of the vote with him, effectively doing for Bush what the volatile Ross Perot did for Clinton; get him elected with less than 50% of the vote.

So expect the remaining debates and sound bites to get ugly. The end is near.

Such is life on the stump.


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