Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Reality Hammer: The "sensible center" flexes its muscle

John Kerry wins in New Hampshire, and he did it by carrying the "sensible center".

This continues a trend that should worry the Bush camp. The more centrist the Democrat candidate appears, the more easily the Democrats can siphon away moderates and independents who fall for the liberal myths of a "jobless" recovery and "illegal" war in Iraq.

As I predicted, though, Howard Dean carried a strong minority of liberal/hate Bush voters who will push the Democrats to the left at every opportunity. At this point it appears that Dean may simply be planning on carrying enough delegates to push through extremist planks for the party platform. He will not be campaiging seriously in either South Carolina or Missouri and will instead focus on two smaller states: Arizona and New Mexico.

There isn't much point for Lieberman to carry on past today. He will probably drop out before the week ends. Clark will apparently hope for a miracle in the southern state primaries. He failed badly in New Hampshire, after neglecting Iowa in the hopes of placing first or second today.

John Edwards was disappointing, but is pointing to lowered expectations as a reason to be upbeat. His real tests come in the south, which are supposed to be "his" territory.

What is interesting in this pespective is Brett Kottmann's take on the winning strategy to be 'sensible center'. In my mind, that has been the domain of Sen. Joseph Lieberman all along. Gov. Dean has been so far to the Left he's miles from the center (despite the NRA votes he claims to count on). That meant Sen. John Kerry had to swing further to the Left than he had been all along (and thus his sudden realization he was against the war, despite his impassioned speech on the floor in October '02).

Gen. Clark is still reminding folks he was the general, and Sen. Kerry was only a lieutenant. Sen Edwards is happy to be in 4th place in NH... he's still alive, but there are plenty of other northern states to go.

The rest of the pack is so far out of the race it doesn't matter how far Left they lean.

Sen. Lieberman has dared to address teacher union groups on the benefits of school vouchers, and of all the presidential challengers, his view on the tax cuts is the most centrist (even if it is still a myopic view).

So in my view, Mr. Kottmann's assessment of Sen. Kerry's success was based on his 'centrist' views misses the mark. After all, isn't the time honored chestnut still valid: "Run toward the {Right|LEft} to win the nomination, run toward the Center to get elected"?

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