It seems I wasn’t the only one who felt that Howard Dean seemed a little crazy in his “concession” speech last night. The blogosphere is all abuzz with this commentary. I think Jonah Goldberg (via Instapundit’s excellent list of links) put it best: “Dean reminds me of the Hulk in that interim stage just before Bruce Banner turns green and starts to rip his clothes.”
Heh. Well, let’s all hope Dean doesn’t take off his clothes. But seriously… I agree with Andrew: “There’s no way I’m letting that guy get anywhere near the Red Button.”
Andrew Sullivan puts it this way: “Watching his concession speech last night was actually a little disturbing. … He was aggressive beyond belief. Compared to John Edwards’ moving tribute to Dick Gephardt, it was a disgrace.”
Who says politicians don’t keep their promises?
The tightly contested race was ratcheted up a notch today when candidate Dick Gephardt challenged his opponents on their “punctuality of concession.”
“The failure of Al Gore to shut the hell up and go back to the farm hurt us as a political party very badly,” said Gephardt. “I promise America right now that I will concede the 2004 Presidential election within ten minutes of the final vote being cast, if I am your candidate.”
In other “news,” “Howard Dean bid the state farewell as he stepped onto his private jet tonight. ‘Shut up, you gun-toting, God-fearing homophobes,’ Mr. Dean said to a cheering crowd of Iowa Democrats.” :)
Democrat presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich made a dealto send his Iowa caucus supporters to rival Senator John Edwards, D-NC, and to send Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Carolina Panthers.
A new, big, bad Internet virus is spreading fast.
Obviously John Ashcroft’s fault. :)
I’m telling you, John Kerry’s sore throat and laryngitis is reminiscent of Bill Clinton in 1992.
Victory speech coming shortly.
UPDATE, 9:09 PM MST: Teddy Kennedy and his giant head are introducing John Kerry right now. The audio keeps cutting in and out.
UPDATE, 9:10 PM MST: “Last night, the New England Patriots won. Tonight, this New Englander won, and you’ve sent me on the way to the Super Bowl.” Which is… New Hampshire? I guess.
“Thank you, Iowa, for making me the Comeback Kerry.”
UPDATE, 9:13 PM MST: John Kerry is crediting a four-leaf clover given to him by a woman at an Iowa barn a few days ago with rejuvenating his campaign.
Kerry is making his pitch for Gephardt’s voters now. “He is a special public servant, ladies and gentleman.”
UPDATE, 9:15 PM MST: “J.K. all the way!” Hmm… Harry Potter fans?
UPDATE, 9:18 PM MST: Kerry to “special interests” in the Bush White House: “We’re coming, you’re going, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
UPDATE, 9;20 PM MST: “We will hold this president accountable for making a mockery of the words ‘Leave No Child Behind.’” Yee-ah!! But, hmm… didn’t Ted Kennedy work together with Bush on that bill?
UPDATE, 9:23 PM MST: “We are not going to give one benefit or one reward to any Benedict Arnold company that takes their jobs and their money overseas and sticks you with the bill. That’s over.”
“I will appoint an attorney general who is not John Ashcroft.” Wait… wait… John Kerry is NOT going to re-appoint John Ashcroft??? I’m SHOCKED!!! :)
UPDATE, 9:25 PM MST: “Karl Rove and George Bush have already announced that they’re going to run this campaign on national security.” –Kerry
“Bring it on!” –a supporter
Bigger heh: “I look forward to reminding them that I know something about aircraft carriers for real.” Hahaha.
UPDATE, 9:27 PM MST: Provisionally… I like Kerry. Good speaker. Seems like a good candidate.
Jeff Greenfield on CNN predicts “one heck of a New Hampshire race.” He points out that eventual nominees in recent years have generally had a least one big “bump” along the way, be in Iowa or New Hampshire, so while Dean is down, he is certainly not out.
But now Dean must win New Hampshire. (My thoughts now, not Greenfield’s.) A loss there, and he could be toast.
Greenfield also astutely observes that this is bad news for Wesley Clark. Clark skipped Iowa on the theory that Dean would win big there, leaving all the other candidates battered and sustaining Clark as the Great Anybody-But-Dean Hope going into New Hampshire. Now that strategy just fell apart, and Clark is going to have to find a niche for himself during the next week in a suddenly very crowded race.
UPDATE, 8:22 PM MST: “John Kerry wins some pointless pre-pre-pre election,” says Fark.com’s headline. Heh.
(Fark comments: “It was the pancake.” … “So when does Bush get inaugurated?” … “Dick Gephardt just dropped out; comedy gold twarted from Dick vs. Bush race” … “John F—ing Kerry won? Ashcroft’s fault” … “What a moron, he married into ketchup, and can’t eat a Philly Cheesesteak without being all dainty about it.”)
UPDATE, 8:29 PM MST: Andrew Sullivan has a theory:
The minute Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean, I instinctively opined that the Dean candidacy was finished. And, sure enough, as soon as Gore touched the Dean campaign, things began to go wrong. I should have trusted my instinct: Al Gore is always political death.
UPDATE, 8:38 PM MST: Edwards is making a big push for Gephardt’s supporters, complimenting him profusely in his second-place “victory” speech. It was commented earlier that Kerry and Dean are competing for the “wine” Democrats while Edwards and Gephardt competed for the “beer” Democrats. Well, now Edwards is clearly hoping to sweep the beer vote.
UPDATE, 8:39 PM MST: Watching Dean’s speech. Dude, this guy is a little bit crazy. :)
UPDATE, 8:40 PM MST: “We will not quit now, or ever.” –Howard Dean. Hmm… the clarion call of a future third-party candidacy, if Edwards or Kerry wins the nomination???
UPDATE, 8:45 PM MST: I believe what is happening here is that Howard Dean, the outsider, has become Howard Dean, the insider. All these endorsments are actually hurting him, I think. It’s the Schwarzenegger theory: Americans want a change from “politics as usual,” and suddenly, with endorsements from Al Gore and Bill Bradley and all these big-time party insiders, Dean isn’t looking like such an outsider anymore.
Dean’s message of thanks and appreciation for Gephardt wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic as Edwards’s.
Fox News just projected that John Kerry will win a plurality of delegates.
UPDATE, 7:44 PM MST: “Dick Gephardt essentially on the cusp of ending his political career,” Fox reports.
UPDATE, 7:51 PM MST: The Command Post is going to have to upgrade its servers if it hopes to be a major source of news throughout the election season. It’s very difficult to get on the site right now… too much traffic.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM MST: CNN has now confirmed that Gephardt will drop out.
UPDATE, 7:59 PM MST: At midnight Eastern (10:00 PM Arizona time), John Kerry will appear live on the late edition of Larry King Live.
Let’s put Dean alongside Gephardt in the “devastating loss” column, shall we? CNN (via the Command Post) reports that, with 51% of the precincts reporting, it’s:
I’m not sure which “stage” of the caucus process this is…
UPDATE, 7:25 PM MST: MSNBC, via the Post: “only 26% of those ages 17-29 went for Dean.”
UPDATE, 7:33 PM MST: Gephardt may quit the race. Kerry leads by 6% with 71% of the precincts reporting.
The “initial preference” entrance poll shows a potential victory for Kerry, and a devastating loss for Gephardt:
Let’s see. That leaves only 9 percent undecided or planning to vote for other candidates. So unless a sizeable number of Kerry supporters change their minds, it looks like the senator from Massachusetts, who oh by the way happens to be a Vietnam veteran (Hi Best of the Web :), is going to win.
Barring a stunning reversal of fortune, it looks like Gephardt is finished. If Missouri’s native son comes in fourth in Iowa, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop out before New Hampshire.
Latest numbers — 20% of the precincts reporting — show Kerry 36%, Edwards 34%, according to Fox. Sounds like some Gephardtites and others are jumping on one bandwagon or the other.
UPDATE: Hmm… recall the Kucinich-Edwards deal to support “whichever” candidate proved not to be viable (wonder which one that could be). Could be important.
American Idol is starting now. I was wrong; it’s at 7:00 PM in Arizona. So we’re not missing anything on CNN except Larry King Live. :) Meanwhile I can get my Iowa news from The Command Post, which reports, “Lots of haggling going on; some of Kucinich’s and Gephardt’s supporters want to go down with the ship and are refusing to move to other candidates.” The Post also reports that anti-war Democrats are favoring Kerry over Dean by a 3-to-1 margin!
UPDATE, 7:05 PM MST: From Chris Matthews, via Command Post: Kerry 37%, Edwards 33%, Dean 18% with roughly 30% of the precincts reporting.
Lunch-break update… Tonight is going to be an interesting night in the Brendan & Becky household, as Simon, Paula and Randy go head-to-head with Howard, Dick, John and John. That’s right, it’s the premiere of American Idol and the kickoff of the 2003 presidential campaign… all at the same time. There hasn’t been such a prodigious clash of TV titans since the 2001 Emmys and Game 7 of the World Series were on the same night!
Okay, so maybe I exaggerate. :) But according to this article from the Des Moines Register, results from the Iowa caucuses “are expected by 9 p.m. or a little later.” That’s 8 p.m. Arizona time, which is the same time as the start of the Idol premiere. What this means, in all likelihood, is that Becky will be in the living room watching Fox, and I’ll be in the bedroom watching CNN. :)
Of course, the notion of early Iowa “results” is somewhat bogus, as Mickey Kaus explains. (Scroll down to “The Fraud of Iowa, 2004 Edition.” Note: If you want to understand the difference between a primary and a caucus, this article is for you.) There are actually four different potential “counts” of Iowa caucus voters, and the count that the media typically relies on — the first one — is arguably the least accurate. Usually this doesn’t matter, but “with such a close 4-way race a different candidate could win each of the four separate counts.”
In other news, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich have cut a deal; John Kerry thinks Edwards is a diaper-wearing youngin’; Kerry has a sore throat (shades of Bill Clinton?); George Bush deliberately scheduled his State of the Union address to steal the Dems’ thunder (duh); and a website called “Election Projection” has a produced a very red 2004 electoral map (ouch).
Hmm… predictions? It’s a crapshoot, but I suppose I should give it a shot. Okay, totally going with my gut here… 1. Edwards, 2. Dean, 3. Kerry, 4. Gephardt. No basis for that whatsoever. I just made it up as I went along. :)
UPDATE: Becky’s latest post features the following quote:
“Ashcroft” is now a potent applause line for every campaign in Iowa, as if the mere mention of the attorney general would send cats diving under the sofa.
Heh. I’ll have to try that tonight with the kittens. “Hey, Sasha! ASHCROFT!” “Mrrooowww!” [runs away] Hee hee.
Every year on Martin Luther King Day, I take a few minutes out of my day to listen to Dr. King’s entire “I Have a Dream” speech, which I have an MP3 of. It never fails to give me goose bumps. The morning, I listened to it with headphones on the bus to work.
Anyway, if you’d like to listen to it yourself, feel free to download it. The file is about 7 MB and the speech lasts about 16 minutes.
Here, via e-mail from my mom, is a picture of Gully, the rescued seagull.
UPDATE: Sad news… Gully has passed away. My mom reports:
A call to the Raptor Trust this morning and I learned that Gully’s injury was a serious one — a dislocated shoulder. The staff member explained that once a bird’s shoulder dislocates it will tend to happen again, and with that kind of injury, Gully would be unable to be released in the wild. They do euthanize birds but they do it humanely, so the feisty spirit of Gully has moved on. My thought when I had the bird with me was one of wondering what places he had seen and where he had flown. RIP, Gully.