Monday, August 25, 2003

Bonus! Instant Political Analysis

Okay, I said no politics, because there are already too many political blogs. And Josh Marshall and I went to school together so I don't want to give him too much competition. But as a special bonus, here goes.

Who does Clark hurt? Retired four-star General Wesley K. Clark is likely to shortly declare his candidacy for the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. If he does, he's likely to seriously upset the current dynamics. Of the current viable candidates, who does he hurt the most? Well, as someone with a gold-plated resume, including service in Vietnam, he's likely to gain support among the kind of people who are impressed with biography. That probably hurts Kerry some, as he has the best military record among the current crop. Although Clark's positions on social issues are a little unclear, other than being pro-choice and pro-affirmative action, he's likely to position himself near the political center, and being associated with the military will help with this. This will eat into Lieberman's base as a DLC candidate. Finally, as a military man and a southerner (he's from Arkansas), he will probably rob supporters from North Carolinian John Edwards. While Kerry and Lieberman have enough support to absorb some losses, the race is close enough that any loss will hurt. Edwards will likely be out of contention.

As a late entrant, it may be Clark's strategy to put minimal effort into Iowa and New Hampshire, and go for a big win in South Carolina (in fact, staying out this late will probably help him as he's lowered expectations for the first two states). So who benefits? In a word, Dean. Dean, in one swipe, clears out all of his major opponents except Gephardt. Perhaps this is related to the fact that Clark and Dean have had a series of private meetings...

A final observation that a Clark/Dean ticket would be extremely effective.