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Saturday, December 20, 2003
Toast-O-Meter (12/20 Edition)

By Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm


The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and

Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

-Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is piping hot and fresh from the oven, the Loaf is stale).

    The bottom line is: this was a good week for Bush. Clearly the capture of Saddam was a boost, and as a result, his numbers are up. Further, there was a plethora of good economics news. At this stage, I don’t see Bush losing, barring a catostrophic event. More than ever, it seems that the Democrat’s only hope is for something bad to happen, which is an unfortunate political position for the party to be in. I do think that the election will be closer than the oft-cited McGovern or Mondale ventures. However, it could happen if things go really, really well in the War on Terror writ large, in Iraq specifically, and/or in the economy overlal (especialy in re: jobs).

  • James of OTB linkes to a Fineman piece which lists a number of advantages that the President has going into 2004.
  • In re: the capture of Saddam and the reactions of the Democrats. Lieberman was the happiest, and Dean was amongst the more gracious. In general, I agree with Kevin of Calpundit: the response of most of the Democratic candidates to the capture of Saddam seemed to be “drat”. I posted at the time, that Dean’s remarks were appropriate (indeed, I called them “classy"), and while it may be that Dean “sounded a bit grudging in person” (I did hear the bite, and he did), I would note that Dean sounds grumpy no matter what he says. Michael Kinsley’s latest Slate column deals specifically with this issue.
  • Kevin of Calpundit thinks that a Nader run will help energize anti-Bush Democrats. I am not so convinced. One thing’s for sure: many Democrats aren’t too happy about the prospect.
  • The Capture led to many of the Nine to call for increased “internationalization” of the Iraq policy. That made no sense to me (nor did it to Michael Kinsely (same column as noted above)).

    Slicing up the loaf:

    FRESH BAKED

    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise, but felt a little heat coming out of the Spider-Hole)

    I have noted many pundits calling the capture of Saddam the chance for one of the Other Eight to take Dean down. I just don’t see it. As I wrote the day of the capture, I don’t see Dean’s supporters being swayed because of a victory in Iraq. What Deaniac is going to say “hey! they caugt Saddam, think I’ll vote for Lieberman!"? It makes no sense. Gephardt might gain a tad amongst undecideds, but are there enough pro-war undecided out there in the early primaries to keep Dick afloat? I find that to be a dubious proposition.

  • Via The Hedgehog Report we can see that Dean leads in the polls in Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona (not to mention NH and IA). Plus, he’s taken the lead in several national polls (this all strikes me as the very definition of Dough Being on the Rise).
  • The NYT profiled Dean’s campaign manager, Joe Trippi, this past Saturday.
  • Not surprisingly, Dean Under Fire for Comments on Saddam. However, while this may endear the Other Eight to pro-war types, I somehow doubt it will make any difference to the Deanites.
  • William Saletan argues that Dean is plagiarizing Clinton’s domestic policies, with the excpetion of tax-policy: Clinton promised to cut middle-class taxes, Dean promises to repeal a middle-class tax cut.
  • On the endorsement front: Dean won the support of N.J. Gov. McGreevey.
  • There was some speculation that Dean would go Third Party (also here and here), if for some reason he didn’t get the nomination (which, strikes me as unlikely). I am here to tell you: if he does, he will lose, and he wil take the Democratic nominee with him.
  • Not surprisingly, Dean has become the focal point of attack from the Other Eight.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Gephardt: Slighty Toasted White Bread (the heat continues).

    As noted above, Gephardt might gain a little bit due to the Saddam capture, but thusfar there is little evidence to suggest that this is happening. Gephardt seems to be the only serious, non-desperate candidate left who isn’t named Dean. Unless there is a seismic shift in the primary voters, however, he is likely toasty-toast.

  • This will excite the masses: Bonior to head up Gephardt campaign in state, nationally. I’m excited, aren’t you?
  • When you have to point this out: Gephardt ad argues he is most feared Democrat, it means you’re not.

    THE DAY-OLD BAKERY

    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little)

  • Clark’s testimony at the Hague gave him a chance to look like someone who had some foreign policy bona fides (not huge amounts, but certainly more than any other of the Nine). Indeed, given the dictator/criminal issues at the Hague, it gave Clark semi-expert status with the whole Saddam dictator/criminal situation.
  • Kevin of Calpundit
    reports on a Clark House Party that he attended at the home of Mark Kleiman.

    Lieberman: Burnt Toast (he got scraped a bit, however)

    I moved Joe to the Day Old Bakery from the Crumb Pile-no so much because his chances of winning are really any better, but beause his post-Capture profile has improved in the press. Joe is no closer to the nomination than he was before. However, he received a boost in attention and media exposure as a result of the Saddam capture. Some of the conventional wisdom is that the capture helps Lieberman in the primaries: I don’t buy it.

  • Was oft-quoted after saying “Let’s be real clear… If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would be in power not prison.” on MTP

    THE CRUMB PILE

    Kerry: Crumbling Burned French Toast (freshly on the crumb pile)

    Kerry has been moved to the crumb pile: he is showing clear signs of desperation, both in terms of lending money to himself, and in his campaign strategizing. He is done. The best he can hope to do is to reduce the amount by which he will lose in New Hampshire. That hardly seems worth sinking almost a million of one’s own money and mortgaging the house to accomplish. And even if he comes in a relatively close second in NH, where will he go from there? By that time Dean will have been capaiging vigorously in the post-NH states and Kerry will limp in with no momementum and having to borrow more money to continue.

  • James of OTB reports that Kerry is investing more of his own assets to pay for his campaign. Opines James: “This is frankly disturbing. What kind of man mortgage’s his wife’s house in pursuit of what is increasingly obviously a lost cause? Certainly not the kind I’d want as president.” No joke.
  • Here’s the low-down on the Kerry’s IA and NH or bust strategy.

    Edwards: Crumbs at the Bottom of the Toaster

  • Has anyone heard from him lately?
  • Although he does pledge to save us from the flu. Ironically, the Flu is doing better in the electoral college than Edwards even could.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (pecan loaf)

  • Said D.K. this week: “If we don’t bring them home now, they’ll be there for years.” To which I say: indeed. How else will be win the peace? Leaving now would be disastrous.
  • Also this week: Kucinich gives spirited defense of gay marriage / Democratic hopeful chides his rivals for equivocating

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (wal-nut bread)

  • Maybe he and Edwards took the week off to play golf or something…

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (plain day-old bread)

  • The NYT notes that In Seeking Presidency, Braun Could Win Back Reputation. Quite frankly, that’s the goal as far as I can tell-and it is all she is likely to win in any event.

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Hillary Clinton

  • Said Hillary this week: “I cannot even imagine four years of a second term of this administration, with no accountability and no election at the end.” However, I am not sure what it means, however.

    Gore

  • Has anyone heard from Gore since he endorsed Dean?

    Bob Graham

  • Gunning for a Veep bid? Graham stands up for Dean at Democratic fundraiser. At said event, Senator Graham referred to Dean’s foreign policy goals as “visionary.” All I know is that it must’ve taken Graham a while to write down all the notes after the meeting!
  • Further, he told an audience at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches that“this is not my swan song”.
  • Meanwhile, ex-NH Senator Bob Smith is seeking Graham’s old Senate seat.

  • Filed under: 2004 Campaign
    • Hellblazer linked with Saddam Post Toasties
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with TOAST-O-METER UPDATE
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Assessment Of Democratic Presidential Candidates
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Is the heat starting to get to Dean?
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Christmas toast
    • Spacecraft linked with Whatever Can She Mean?

    Click here to go to the main page.

    14 Comments»

    1. Curious. What was it that went wrong that got Bush into office? I think it’s quite premature to be thinking Bush has it locked. CW thought Gore had 2000 locked as well…

      Comment by Hal — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 2:57 pm

    2. Well, gee, aside from an impeachment, several other scandals, and the fact that Gore was one weird cat…can’t think of a thing. Granting that Gore Won The Popular Vote TM, of course.

      Comment by James Joyner — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 3:04 pm

    3. One thing that makes comparisons between ‘00 and ‘04 somewhat skewed is that Bush is the sitting President, which has its own historical weight in any re-election calculation, while Gore was the sitting Veep.

      And Bush came to the table with Texas and most of the South (and Florida, for that matter-who knew?) assumed to be in his column from day one. What does Dean bring for sure beyond Vermont and DC?

      Comment by Steven — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 3:17 pm

    4. Well, we’ll see. Good spin on the events so far by the RWAP. Now that full responsibility has been publically taken for things, it’ll be interesting to see the spin when/if things start to go sour.

      Comment by Hal — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 3:29 pm

    5. Steven, Dean brings Hawaii :-)

      Comment by Matthew Stinson — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 9:09 pm

    6. Dean will win all the states that Gore won by double digits (DC, RI, MA, CT, VT, HI, NY, MD, DE, CA, IL, NJ)- which gives him 168 electoral college votes.

      Bush had double digit margins last time in more states but they only account for 148 electoral college votes.

      Some close Gore states have gone more democratic because of the poor manufacturing performance, the debacle on the steel tariffs and the Bush environmental record - so PA, MI, OR, WA and ME are likely to end up in the D column again.

      Overall it’s going to be another close election - but Bush will probably win this time.

      Comment by TJS — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 11:13 pm

    7. Gore had some of the advantages of psuedo-incumbency (can you say Bush I) and what appeared to be a good economy at the time. Against Dukakis (Mickey Mouse in a tank, Zorba the Clerk, muffed Bernard Shaw’s softball question) Bush mopped up.

      Gore had the disadvantages of Clinton’s peccadillos (love a chance to use that word), an unbelievable woodenness in performance, an uncanny way of using the wrong phrase, and a belief he needed to lurch toward populism.

      In mid-April at a convention, I made the following prophecies: 1) if GW Bush doesn’t actually fall off-stage and break his nose, he’ll be considered the winner of the first debate, the one that counts; and 2) Al Gore is the only guy who could lose that election, and he’s got the talent to do it. Right on both counts.

      GW Bush *is* an incumbent. He is popular with both his base and average Americans. The economy is improving and probably won’t tank by next November. He is likable (see AlGore and Dukakis, above). Even when wars are going bad (and this one isn’t now, and probably won’t be so seen next Aug-Nov) Americans don’t usually change horses in mid-stream.

      The only Democrat candidates remotely resembling not-strange are Gephardt (I could maybe vote for him) and Lieberman, who has his own problems. Dean is damn near tied with Kucinich for weird/strange when you start paying attention, which the public will, around September. Too late for the Democrats.

      Comment by JorgXMcKie — Saturday, December 20, 2003 @ 11:48 pm

    8. WHAT WENT WRONG?????? That is a very disgusting commentary. That equals to a total disrespect for the millions of Americans that voted for Bush. Nothing went wrong, this is the way things happen in a FREE COUNTRY you know? One party up now, down later, and so on. Such despise of people that think different to you edges in self-adoring fascism. Accept diversity, at least.

      Comment by Miguel — Sunday, December 21, 2003 @ 2:33 am

    9. Senator Graham referred to Dean’s foreign policy goals as “visionary.”

      Kinda like the “vision” of St. John the Mushroomhead?

      Comment by mojo — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 2:06 pm

    10. Re-election is generally won when there is no primary challenge: Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Ike. When there is a challenge within the party things tend to run off the rails for the sitting President: Bush 41(Buchanan), Carter (Teddy Kennedy), Ford (Reagan), LBJ (Clean Gene and Bobby caused him to fold his hand even after he won in NH). Additionally, no Democrat has won 51% of the popular vote since Johnson v. Goldwater. There won’t be a Perot to siphon off the Republican base this time. GWB wins in a landslide. Probably will carry 45 states and at least 40 are a lock.

      Comment by Mr. Dart — Monday, December 22, 2003 @ 3:47 pm

    11. Lots of opinions out here.

      I think it’s extremely premature to say how many states Bush or Dean/YOUR DEM HERE will carry, but I do think it’s reasonable to think that both major parties have learned from 2000, and will work hard to energize their base.

      If I had to pick (or can’t resist), I’d say it’s solid to say the Dem will carry New York, Michigan, New Jersey, DC of course, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, Maryland, Delaware, and Illinois.

      It’s solid to say Bush will carry Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, and Utah.

      North Carolina could go to the Dems if Edwards gets the nom, but otherwise it goes to Bush. Maine, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and Washington are all on the table this time.

      The big prizes that could change sides this time are Pennsylvania, Florida, and in a longshot, even California. All three states may expect to see a lot of candidate face time next year.

      Arnold’s not that good, you say? Maybe, but in four of the last nine elections, Cali went GOP, and the mood remains volatile. Call it maybe a 5% chance of going GOP, but that’s 5% better than it was in 2000.

      In my guess, the Dems can run their “Hate Bush” strategy to great success - right up to the Dmeocratic convention. After that, the nom better have something to attract average Joe to his side, and publically trying to savage a man personally liked by 2 out of 3 registered voters is a fool’s plan.

      Comment by Daniel — Tuesday, December 23, 2003 @ 12:42 pm

    12. this fine, familiar.

      Comment by mother seduces son — Tuesday, May 18, 2004 @ 2:33 pm

    13. the part, so objects.

      Comment by mother and son — Tuesday, May 18, 2004 @ 2:34 pm

    14. it Heap There int..

      Comment by free adult insest stories — Tuesday, May 18, 2004 @ 2:35 pm

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