January 22, 2004

New Hampshire Snooze-fest

Not the most exciting of debates, but it still may move things in New Hampshire. Here are some quick reactions to each of the candidates:

John Kerry didn't do a whole lot, but he didn't screw anything up terribly-- important for the front runner. That the whole field is spooked after Iowa away from negative campaigning was a real boon to Kerry.

Dean was a bit of zombie for much of the debate, clearly spooked by the "YEEEEAGHH"-round-the-world. Has his hair gotten whiter in the past two days?

Lieberman was inspiring on foreign policy but not to a lot of Democrats. He may have picked up a few pro-war independents tonight, though; the conventional wisdom is that Lieberman will be the next to drop out, but I can see him possibly sticking it out though Super Tuesday as a niche candidate for the Scoop Jackson wing of the party.

Clark did fair at fending off the are-you-a-Republican questions, but failing to distance himself from Michael Moore adequately showed vulnerability. It would not surprise me to see Clark finish New Hampshire in forth.

Edwards handled the first question beautifully, plausibly explaining his vote against funding the troops as a signal to Bush demanding more oversight (rather than, you know, a vote against funding the troops). He really needs to bone up on issues like the Defense of Marriage Act; it may not be costly in the short term, but more answers like that and he'll look especially callow, something which, given his youthful looks, is already a potential liability.

Kucinich remains Kucinich. Given that Dean is both toned down and no longer the frontrunner, I would not be surprised to see Kucinich's numbers tick up as true-believers desert Dean for their first choice.

You know the shot of the future in The Matrix, where rows and rows of power-generating towers are bristling with little pods, each containing a human being? Al Sharpton's performance was kind of like that, except instead of people, the pods contain B.S.

Posted by John Tabin at January 22, 2004 11:06 PM