Tuesday :: Feb 10, 2004

Kerry Grabs Virginia, Tennessee - Clark Out Tomorrow

by Steve

The Washington Post reports tonight that John Kerry won the Virginia and Tennessee primaries tonight, after Kerry swept the contests in Michigan, Washington, and Maine over the weekend. The Post also reports that Clark will be dropping out tomorrow. Howard Dean indicated earlier that contrary to reports over the weekend, he would stay in the race after Wisconsin, where Kerry is ahead also.

Therefore, we face the prospect of a race between Kerry, Edwards, and Dean after tonight.

Kerry is not an ideal candidate, and his flaws are known to all of you, and even to his supporters like me. We know from the media what the initial talking points against him will be that the RNC and White House will be running with. According to Ken Mehlman, the Bush/Cheney campaign manager in an on-line chat conducted yesterday through the campaign website, the issues they plan to run against Kerry are these:

"For instance, we honor Senator Kerry's patriotic service during the Vietnam war. Yet we question the judgments of his votes to consistently cut defense and intelligence funding, his vote against the first Gulf War, and his recently stated belief that the war on terror is primarily about law enforcement and intelligence."

There will of course be other issues, such as taxes and other GOP wedge issues. But this is the race we are facing in the fall.

Dean supporters, who are rightly so still a little shell-shocked after seeing the quick turnabout, even after the media chieftains sheepishly concede they overplayed the post-Iowa speech, find themselves in the same boat as the Clark supporters will likely find themselves in tomorrow. All the other candidates and their supporters find themselves dealing with a frontrunner who got hot at the right time with better media, and who also co-opted issues or approaches that your candidate was using.

These supporters also will believe fairly that their candidate is still better, and that Kerry has holes that will be exploited. Again, still fair. But it can be argued that all of the Democrats still in the race will have the same problems dealing with the Bush attack lines as Kerry will, unless their inexperience becomes the issue. The difference is that a common theme amongst those who have voted so far is that they believe that Kerry wins because he is seen as best able to beat Bush even with his weaknesses.

There is still a lot of the Democratic selection process ahead, yet it appears that Kerry is in a commanding position, with it being his race to lose. With that in mind, it may be a good time to talk about possible VP choices. Some obvious pairings so far that have been bandied about in the media have been of course a Kerry-Edwards ticket, a Kerry-Clark pairing, and so forth. I think there will be serious consideration by the Kerry people for a Kerry-Gephardt ticket.

What are your thoughts on possible pairings and the strategy Kerry will need to counterattack the likely Bush lines of attack?

Steve :: 5:54 PM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!