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Sunday, October 12, 2003
The Enemy of My Enemy is My Buddy

By Steven Taylor @ 7:29 am

More evidence that Dean is the true frontrunner: 2 Dean Rivals Unite Against Mutual Threat

Perhaps it was not so surprising to see Representative Richard A. Gephardt and Senator John Kerry arm in arm, all smiles, whispering in each other’s ears on stage at the Democratic debate Thursday night in Phoenix.

These two presidential contenders, who for months have been eclipsed by the surging campaign of Howard Dean, have been fairly chummy of late-at Dr. Dean’s expense.


Aides to both men say there is no overt conspiracy, but they acknowledge that at least at a staff level, the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns are more than friendly: they are sharing information about Dr. Dean that helps fuel each another’s attacks.

Indeed, think this is clearly the case:

For the two candidates, attacking Dr. Dean may be a matter of survival, said Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

“There is a great danger that Dean could neutralize Gephardt in Iowa, and then neutralize Kerry in New Hampshire, and then even if Dean stumbles later on, they can’t recover from that,” he said.

“So it is manifestly in their interest to make sure that the stumble occurs before Iowa and New Hampshire.”

However, I don’t think it is going to work.

Barring a major stumble, I think that Dean is the nominee, i.e., that it is his to lose and there isn’t much that Gephardt or Kerry (or any of the others) can do to overtake him. He best taps into the anger of the Democratic base over Bush (especialyl on Iraq), his experience as a chief executive rather than a legislator redounds well to him, he is more dynamic and intense than any of the others, and I think his outside the beltway (semi-plug for James, -ed. persona is also a plus. Further he has come across as competent on the issues and the whole “straight talker” mantle is his for this electoral cycle.

Filed under: 2004 Campaign

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  1. Is that running mate I smell?

    Comment by Paul — Sunday, October 12, 2003 @ 5:49 pm

  2. Let’s hope. A Dean/Clark ticket would make the republicans crap their pants on a daily basis.

    So, Steven, do you still think there won’t be an old fashioned “come to Jesus” political wrangle at the convention? That Dean will have it locked up early and decisively?

    Comment by JC — Sunday, October 12, 2003 @ 9:35 pm

  3. I think that that the odds of there being any mystery at the convention are essentially zero. The system simply isn’t set up to create such an outcome. The only way it could happen would be with two or three region-specific (and very strong in said regions) candidates. Further, said regions would have to have similar population strength. This is not going to emergr. Laying down the normal disclaimer of “barring the utterly unforeseeable” I would essentially guarantee that we will know who the Democratic nominee will be by early March.

    Right now, that appears to be Dean.

    Comment by Steven — Sunday, October 12, 2003 @ 9:45 pm

  4. And John, why do you think that a Dean/Clark ticket would be so formidable? I know that such a combo is currently the dream of many in the Democratic camp. However, in terms of the electoral map, do you really think that that team will be able to best the President?

    Comment by Steven — Sunday, October 12, 2003 @ 9:47 pm

  5. I think Dean will be the nominee, but I do not think it is his to lose. He is still the underdog, because he does not have the support from labor unions and other constituency groups who are very influential. Iowa is Gephardt’s to lose, and ditto with Kerry in New Hampshire.

    Comment by Laura in DC — Sunday, October 19, 2003 @ 7:03 pm

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