Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Wrapping Up Late: Sorry I missed a post-mortem today on New Hampshire. Some surprises. First, I predicted Edwards would pull ahead of Clark. Results showed them pretty damn tight. Another day or two might have put Edwards ahead. But close only counts in horseshoes.

Second, Dean fired Joe Trippi, the man who put together the Dean phenomenon. I don't know if this is a wise move or not; I suppose we're about to find out from Howard Dean, release 2.0. Anyway, it's a standard move for a flailing campaign, and (putting aside the post hoc, ergo propter hoc concerns) it seemed to work for Kerry to shake up his staff. On the other hand, Trippi was the man behind the Dean message -- the brain trust who took the obscure and middle-of-the-road governor of a state with a population about on par with Indianapolis and made him into a fire-breathing stumper who had the kids blogging and flash-mobbing. Sometimes the medium is the message, though, and Howard Dean as a toned-down, non-screaming centrist Democrat would likely have a better chance of winning the nomination only by virtue of putting his opponents to sleep.

Third, the margin of Kerry's win was surprising. Some of the polls had shown him up by around 15 points, but I predicted that would be rather soft come the day. I was wrong, and I don't know why. True, the rest of the field is a bit short on gravitas -- but isn't Kerry's gravitas a bit cartoonish, like he went to the Evelyn Wood School of Instant Statesmanship? He's all mannerism and mumbles, trying -- eerily like Bill Bradley, the other tall dork of the party -- his damnedest to seem like he thinks deep thoughts.

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