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January 19, 2004

Congrats to Kerry

You gotta love politics-- there are always surprises, especially in multi-candidate primary races. Kerry's big win doesn't make me unhappy-- I supported Dean largely because Kerry made such a hash of his campaign, but if Kerry can fight through the rest of the nomination race and win, it will demonstrate his mettle to take on Bush.

It's sad for my political prediction cred that I abandoned my original hard prediction for a Kerry win back in May, which I supplemented with this analysis in June that Kerry, as the second choice of most Dem voters, would win out in the end:

That is a base of latent support on the left that he can supplement with latent support from more conservative Democrats. What this means is that which ever candidates fade as the campaign moves forward, Kerry will be able to pick up votes across the spectrum. Which will be the recipe for his likely nomination at the end of the day.
When Kerry seemed to collapse, I really didn't think anyone else could beat Dean, but if it really comes down to a Dean-Kerry fight (what I originally thought would be the configuration), all bets are off.

Dean still is sitting on a hell of a lot of money and his Internet-driven organization across the country. Kerry can't replicate the throwing-everything-he-has-at-Iowa strategy (a brilliant move as it turned out for someone everyone thought would bet on New Hampshire)-- so he has to raise a lot of money quick to compete in followup states.

I've been pretty agnostic on ultimate desires on this nomination, since I actually like almost all the major candidates, and Dean and Kerry are at the top of my list. Wesley Clark and Gephardt are the biggest losers tonight, which suits me fine.

[BTW before the "weakness of organized labor" line takes off, also remember that all of the candidates have stellar labor records and John Edwards is a chief Senate sponsor of new pro-labor legislation. In small ornery states like Iowa, mere endorsement won't push folks to choose between multiple pro-labor candidates, but the real force of labor in this race is how strongly all candidates came out for strong new pro-labor legislation.]

Ignore the Anti-Kerry Meme: We will soon see the "Dean is McGovern" meme replaced with the "Kerry is Dukakis" line. Just some reminders of why Kerry could never be mistaken for the cautious, wonkish Dukakis (aside from his military record), check out this post on his investigation of the CIA-drugs-Contra connection where he almost single-handedly dogged the Reagan and Bush administration when the rest of the Democrats had slunk away after the Ollie North hearings:

Washington Post, November 27, 1986

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Edwin Meese III and the Justice Department have shunted aside allegations of illegal transactions involving the rebels in Nicaragua for months and cannot be trusted to conduct a thorough inquiry into the secret money transfers disclosed this week...

Washington Post, August 8, 1987

At issue, along with the rebels' character and reputation, is the U.S. government's commitment to enforce the law against criminals whose activities might advance foreign policy objectives, congressional investigators said. An overarching issue, Kerry said, is how "the power of the narco-dollar" has come to affect governments and policies.

New York Times, April 13, 1990

But committee investigators said their inquiry was hindered by uncooperative Federal officials. Mr. Kerry disclosed today that Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel investigating the Iran-contra affair, has been investigating allegations that Reagan Administration officials sought to obstruct the Kerry investigation...

Boston Globe, April 14, 1990

In making the report public yesterday, Kerry said that the independent counsel in the Iran-contra arms deal is looking into allegations that Reagan administration officials obstructed an early portion of the committee's investigation.

So don't buy any media line of Kerry as some cautious, blow-dried wonk. No one in the Senate has more experience dealing with terrorists, including those funded by the US through drug dollars down in Central America.

Posted by Nathan at January 19, 2004 08:40 PM