"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it."
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.
Call it for Kerry? Not yet. Kerry, obviously, did quite well tonight, and is the undisputed frontrunner. But is it a lock? No way. Clark in OK and Edwards in SC proved that Kerry is eminently beatable in a particular state as long as a) that state has a predisposition towards not voting for Kerry for one reason or another, b) the winner is from nearby, and most importantly c) the winner focuses intently on that state. With the scattered primaries coming up, the non-Kerrys have a shot at doing those very things. Lets take a gander at what's down the way, shall we?
Washington, Feb 7: Fulfills a, b, and probably c for one Howard Dean. A) Kerry is the bland, establishment type that Washingtonians recognize and are tired of already: he's an Irish Gary Locke (who fought in Veitnam!). B) Washington practically borders Vermont, in the World of the Mind, which is where most Washington and Vermont liberals live. And C? Dean had better--he's got an incredibly good shot at picking up his first state in Washington, and absolutely no chance in...
Michigan, Feb 7: Kerry takes it: he's the bland, establishment liberal type that Michiganians (Michiganers? Michiganites? Michiganarians?) recognize and are comfortable with. I lump Michigan Dems into the same catagory as Iowans, New Hampshirites, Delewarians and Missouriarians, all of whom went, predictably if you think about it, to Kerry. He'll win, and probably handily here.
But the big story coming out of the 7th will be Dean in Washington, especially if Edwards and Clark make both states more of a fight for Kerry than I expect.
Maine, Feb 8: Maine's another state I see as bland and ready to go for Kerry--but it's near Vermont, and if Dean has a boost from the day before, I could see him pulling it out, or at least making it close enough to spin it as a victory. I'll call it a toss-up.
Tennessee and Virginia, Feb 10: Putting these two together is ridiculous, but I'm going to do so anyway. They won't go for Kerry. They'll go for either Clark or Edwards, who I also lump together. They're both manifestations of Clintonism (Southerners with unlimited ambition), but Edwards is better at it, so if forced to make a guess, I'd say that Edwards takes them both, and in a perfect world, Clark drops out and endorses the better Clone-ton. Heh. That's clever. But if those two turn out like Oklahoma (with Edwards pulling it out this time), then I bet that doesn't happen.
District of Columbia, Feb 14: Didn't they already vote? And didn't Dean edge out Sharpton? I'm confused as to how this works. Dean could take this too, but so could Kerry. But so could anyone who actually cares enough about it to work for it. Which will be no one. Except Sharpton. Who matters less than the caucuses here, which matter little.
Nevada, Feb 14: My first tendency is lump this one into the same catagory as all the uninteresting Kerry states, but maybe that's a bad idea. A better idea is to lump it in with the slightly more interesting Kerry states--conveniently, the nearby Arizona and New Mexico. But if Kerry has lost 3 of the last 4, and if the press turns on him, it's up for grabs.
Wisconsin, Feb 17: If winning Washington lights a fire under Dean, he can take Wisconsin. It's really a bland Kerry state, but it really wants to hang with the cool kids like Washington and Vermont and smoke pot behind the building while discussing Foucault and Nietzche. Call them the Dairy Liberal Three. It's Deans if he fights for it, Kerry's if he doesn't.
Hawaii, Feb 24: If we're counting coconunt milk, we could call them the Dairy Liberal Four. If Dean does indeed pick up the 'Big Mo,' it could easily drop into his column. Vermont and Hawaii both have that whole "gay marriage" thing going on.
Idaho, Feb 24: Are there Democrats in Idaho? I was unaware. I'm not clear how many of them are the bland type who really ought to be Republicans, and so will vote Kerry or maybe Edwards, and how many of them are the not-bland type who really ought to be Washingtonians, and so will vote Dean. No idea.
Utah, Feb 24: Are there Democrats in Utah? No, really, are there? Apparently. But they say things like "In 2004, we'll be nomination a candidate to run against George W. Bush," and "Democratically yours," and they don't say things like "abortion." I have no idea. Probably Kerry, but Clark or Edwards could pick it up with some concentration.
Then comes the big day, March 2, when California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont vote. If Dean is smart, he'll have spent the bulk of the two weeks prior in California. A lot of this will depend on how well Kerry does both at the polls and in the press, but here's my even less reliable predictions for that day:
California: Dean if he wins a couple before hand, and tries really hard.
Georgia: Clarkwards the Clone-ton. Seriously, though, probably Edwards.
Maryland: Kerry, with Edwards close behind.
Massachusetts: I think that Dean could manage this, which would be a major shock. But Kerry isn't well-liked there, I hear, and Dean was leading polls there once... in November, admittedly, but that means Kerry can, theoretically, be beat in his home state. But probably Kerry.
Minnesota: Hopefully there will be a classic war of bland vs. not-bland here. Dean or Kerry.
New York: Probably Kerry, but if Dean is doing well, who knows?
Ohio: Kerry. Though, a month ago he was in single digits in the polls there. But still, that was a month ago, and Ohio may well be the Bland capital of America. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Rhode Island: Kerry.
Final Verdict: Probably Kerry, especially if he takes New York. But it will all be after more of a dogfight than people expect, and a scare from a resurgent Dean campaign. I don't see Edwards or Clark going anywhere outside the South, though, despite some eager beavers out there.
On the other hand, my entire premise hinges on a Dean who recognizes that his pre-scream character wasn't all bad, and who is able to convince the many angry Dems out there that Kerry is part of the reason we dastardly Repugs control congress and the presidency. My theory is that he wins Washington regardless, and that propels him on to grander and greater things. My theory also hinges on the press getting tired of Kerry and finding a new story in the resurgent Dean. But the press may get tired of switching back and forth before it gets tired of Kerry.
Another unanswered question is, where do Joe's voters go now? The logical choice is "to the Republican Party," and I'm sure some of them will do so, come November. But as for the rest, do they break for the front-runner, in Kerry, or the "moderate," in Edwards? I suspect they'll split every which way and not do much good to anyone, unless Lieberman endorses someone (I doubt it).
All told, the fact that, after all this, I still think Kerry will take it is a sign of Kerry's undeniable strength. But I do think the next month will be more interesting than some people think.
And that will please me, because, just like in the Superbowl, I'm rooting for a good game.
(And the Patriots, but Lieberman just dropped out.)
(And just like in the Superbowl, I'll be extremely annoyed if the halftime show for the primaries is an orgiastic celebration of everything wrong with American culture, topped off with a breast shot. Though Dean did threaten to "show more skin" on Letterman...eeesh.)
Posted by Timothy12:25 AM
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