Thursday, January 29, 2004

Non-Surprise Surprise: Lieberman decided to stay in the race. Oh, sure, he'll bang away until he's out of money, because I assume that Joe is the kind of guy who doesn't throw in the towel on the dimes of his donors. They offered their money for him to run, and he'll do that. But the donations are likely down to a trickle, at best. And I don't see Joe mortgaging his house to continue the charade. He's not that optimistic.

And that brings up one of the immutable rules of the primary: In Iowa and New Hampshire, you go bowling, kiss babies, eat at diners, and knock on doors, one after another. After that, though, you're going to pick your doors very carefully. As the phrase goes, retail politicking gives way to wholesale politicking after New Hampshire. Sure, it costs a lot of money to put a force on the ground in the first caucus and the first primary. But now we're talking rallies in two states, a thousand miles apart, in one day. We're talking about the big media buys that have to make up for long candidate absences. The primaries are just getting in full swing, and a campaign that can tackle that schedule will suck money at an outrageous pace. Even Howard Dean, supposedly flush with his own donor network, is getting worried.

Lieberman can hop to friendly states for a little while, hoping that a decent showing brings in some fresh cake. It won't last, though.

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