by John Hawkins | January 20, 2004 8:35 pm
I would be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I didn’t weigh in on the topic du jour, Howard Dean’s disappointing 3rd place finish in Iowa. In my opinion, Dean nosedived in Iowa because,
1) He go so far out ahead of the pack after the Gore endorsement that the other Democratic candidates who obviously wanted to win, party insiders who feared a Dean candidacy, the media that wanted a more competitive race, and the GOP, myself included who thought Dean was almost a lock, all started mercilessly savaging Mr. Judith Steinberg Dean.
2) As the piranhas started to school around Dean, he collapsed under the weight of all that attention and pressure and started making a lot of significant gaffes. In particular, I believe Dean’s comments on religion were damaging. One of Dean’s advisers should have informed him that very few people are going to buy into the idea that a guy who quit the Episcopalian church over a bikepath and who has no problem with his children being raised Jewish is terribly serious about his Christian faith. Add to that Dean’s embarrassing confusion about Job and his claim that “there was a religious aspect to my decision to support civil unions” and doc Dean really came off like a phony who was talking about religion for no other reason than because he thought it would help him pull in a few votes.
3) Because of #1 & #2, a lot of Iowa voters probably had “buyer’s remorse”. Did they really want to nominate an angry, anti-war candidate who was running on raising taxes? Would Democrats have to write off the South if Dean was the candidate? Why wasn’t Dean’s wife campaigning with him? Is Dean too angry to appeal to the average voter? Apparently, a lot of Iowa Dems asked questions like that, didn’t like the answers, and decided Edwards or Kerry could better represent the Party in November.
Despite all of that, Dean’s Iowa meltdown doesn’t mean he’s out of the hunt by any means, although it’s now a 5 man race (I’m being charitable and including Lieberman) instead of a Dean cakewalk. That may be bad for Dean and heck, maybe even bad for the GOP since the weakest top tier candidate may not win, but on the upside, it’ll make the Democratic primaries a lot more fun =D
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