Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Is Dean Too Hot for the Status Quo?

Dean Tops New AP Poll in New Hampshire

Providence (Oct. 21) - Politics is heating up in the Live Free or Die State of New Hampshire. With the primary only a few short months away, Democrats are riding up and down route 93 to push the message out. Telemarketers turned pollsters, a much more respectable position, check the pulse of the race on a constant basis. According to a new poll, Democrat presidential hopeful Howard Dean leads rival and fellow New Englander, John Kerry up in New Hampshire on the brink of winter.

Dean, the former Vermont governor, leads Kerry by 6 percentage points in the survey by Suffolk University for WDHD-TV, a slightly smaller margin from a September poll. Dean was supported by 25% while Kerry, the Vietnam vet and Yalee, was favored by 19%. Dr. Dean led 26% to 17% last month.

In the Suffolk poll, Kerry's favorable rating rose from 58% in late September to 66% in mid- October. While 60% viewed Dean favorably.

The poll found Yalee, son and grandson of investment bankers, former Vermont governor Howard Brush Dean III favored by 25% of those polled, while Massachusetts Senator and famous war protester, John Kerry was backed by 19%. Squeaky clean sometime Republican, former NATO Supreme Commander, General Wesley Clark gathered 11% with ex-Gore running mate, wishy washy Yalee, son of a liquor store owner, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman had 8%. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt, son of a milkman, was supported by 7% of the respondents while millionaire lawyer, son of a textile mill worker, North Carolina Senator John Edwards received 4%. Former ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, known to cozy up to Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, polled at 1%, so to did steel industry defender, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Preaching since the age of four, and defender of notable youths at Howard Beach, Tawana Brawley, Yusuf Hawkins, Abner Louima, and Amadou Diallo, Rev. Al Sharpton gathered less than 1%.

About 23 percent in the poll were undecided.

The poll was conducted Oct. 17-19 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. The 400 voters polled were Democrats or independents who said they were likely to vote in the Jan. 27 Democratic primary.

Recently, Dean carried a 21% lead over rival Kerry right before the entry of Clinton and Wall St. Journal pony Wesley Clark into the race. It remains to be seen if this pony has what it takes to win even with Bruce Lindsey pulling on the strings.

Is Dean the most interesting candidate in a ring of graying Washington insiders and no Republican challenge to Bush II? Is he the most feisty? Even among a preacher, a black woman, a Vietnam vet, a labor leader, a lawyer, a vegan (Dennis Kucinich), a general, and a Jew?

Son and grandson of Wall St. investment bankers and a name like Howard Brush Dean III doesn't exactly scream populist appeal. But, even so, Howard Dean, in a field full of Yale alum, seems oddly un-New Haven-like. His mother reportedly thought the idea of him running for president "was preposterous, the silliest thing I'd ever heard." However, Dean is a fresh voice, does have experience, and isn't afraid to be blunt about anything.

Is he the new Jimmy Carter? Dare I say it, Bill Clinton all over again? A little-known governor from Georgia, a little-known governor from Arkansas, a little-known governor from Vermont... Or just another in the long line of close, but always a fallen star a la Eugene McCarthy, George Wallace, Ross Perot, George Romney, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas, Pat Buchanan, Bruce Babbitt, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Jack Kemp, and John McCain?

Wasn't Dean a looong shot just a few short months ago? He surely is raising bundles of money on the Internet. Could this really be major rumblings from the bottom of the political barrel? Is his anti-war position fixed and resolute? Will woman vote for Dean? Can he keep talking about how he favors the market process? Unfortunately, Joe Lieberman has been quoted as saying, "the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression."

In a recent poll by Zogby International, Dean leads in Iowa with 23%; Gephardt, 17%; and Kerry, 11%. Lieberman and Clark recently announced they will direct their energies elsewhere and skip the Iowa Caucuses. Of course, one will have to travel far from Des Moines and Manchester in order to win the race. But, a few early victories never hurt any campaign.

Nationally, Dean needs a little more help. Dean and Clark are running neck and neck with Kerry and the rest of the bunch close behind. It will certainly be a close race between Bush II and any Democrat hopeful the party faithful throw into the ring.

Again though, I have more questions. Is it time for Dean to start cuddling with the soccer-moms? Time to lay off questions of legitimacy and mix among the mainstream of America? It is true, He does run the risk of overheating the base and alienating moderate voters with incessant rants on the "undermining the Democratic underpinnings" and Bush II mediocrity. Dean must decide if he is on a personal crusade to clean up "politics as usual" that no matter how well-intentioned, will never be realized, or if he wants to lead the country with a responsible free market approach and a more humble foreign policy.

Dean may be too hot to handle among the elites and intelligentsia. But, he does have supporters and has so far been able to soak them for a pretty penny. One thing is certain, the rise to power leads through money and TV. Dean will need more positive flow of both, even though he's a man who admits he doesn't care much for material things and believes that "the less TV, the better".

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home