(a perfect grading break…)
I’m happy for several reasons:
1) I’ve liked Kerry’s stance on the issues from the beginning. He’s a smart, passionate man who has lived a life of principle.
2) Voter turnout was way up. Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian — I don’t care. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. This is America. Vote.
3) This is now a fascinating race. It’s my hope that if this stays interesting, we’ll have a real battle tested nominee… and hopefully, America tunes in… and gets involved.
Oh… and all those folks who say that Dean is done with are wrong. Dean can finish as low as third — maybe fourth — in New Hampshire and he’ll still be very much a factor. He’s still got the most money and the best organization. Clark is still finding his feet, and Kerry is broke.
He does need to find his message again, though. The last month has been about his supporters, not his ideas. And his speech tonight hurt him… and it gave huge ammunition to those folks who say he’s "too angry."
So… General Clark skipped Iowa when it looked like Dean had it wrapped up. That’s looking like bad strategy now. I think he needs a top three finish to prove he can win. Kerry needs a top three finish to get people to start giving him money. If Edwards goes to NH, he only has to finish above Leiberman to exceed expectations there, and anything above that is gravy.
Most importantly… Americans need to keep reading, keep voting… heck, keep blogging… and stay involved. I still think that, even if Dean doesn’t win, his gift to this country might be that he was the first candidate in a while to make everyday people feel like they could take part in the process and make a difference. I think that the high voter turnout in Iowa this year is at least in part because he made people listen.
Oh… and one other thing… I hope the President is watching… people are talking, arguing… and voting. It’s a long race, yes, but this is a race the Democrats can win.