Well, I think we can all agree that the primary ended this week. Who would have thought we'd have a nominee in December, almost a full month before the first caucus will be held?
And you have to admit, it's pretty decisive. The front runner is leading in all the polls and piling up the money. And the media's certainly made its decision. Things have gotten so bad that one of the also-rans has had to mortgage his own home to keep his campaign limping along.
Yes, it's certainly time to get behind the Democratic Party's certain Presidential nominee. Howard Dean.
Whaaa? What? This isn't 2003? I must of been having a dream! A happy dream, although I have the feeling it wasn't going to end too happily.
The traditional start of the campaign season is Labor Day. By that measurement the race has been underway for about four weeks. It's true that we have a national front runner just as we did in 2003. Although the two candidates, and their campaigns, are pretty different.
What's not different is the incredible amount of ridiculous angst being spread around Daily Kos. A few things to keep in mind:
1. We're still almost two months from the point at which John Kerry was forced to mortgage his own house to provide his campaign with a few million dollars to get through Iowa and New Hampshire. Six weeks later, he was the nominee apparent.
2. We've recently seen several examples (Richardson, Romney, Obama) of the influence of big media buys on public opinion polls. Each of the candidates is sitting on millions of dollars ready to be targeted at the early states. Polls will swing up and down as this money is deployed.
3. In 2004, the campaign completely turned around in Iowa, and Iowa gave results that no one predicted. Whether you like the Iowa system or not, it's notoriously difficult to poll. The factors that matter are not necessarily those that are easily visible (the Saint Exupéry factor). Both the Edwards and Obama campaigns have good stories to tell about their efforts in Iowa (as did Dean's, of course). The opera isn't over until the Corn Queen sings.
4. When the media accurately reports the facts (as sometimes happens), even when they are not favorable to your candidate, finding some clever way to make yourself believe that the facts aren't true isn't going to improve the chances of your candidate. If you don't like the polls, it's perfectly okay to say "the only poll that matters is on election day". But don't make yourself look all silly by trying to spin the polls in ridiculous directions.
5. Arguing with anyone here who's decided on a candidate about why their candidate sucks and yours is the best is silly. Go out and convince some impressionable voters in a swing state.
6. Although a really determined candidate can probably damage the chances of one of the other candidates winning the nomination with an attack strategy, he's unlikely to help himself win in a multi-way race. Dick Gephardt learned that in Iowa. What's going to convince Democratic primary voters to vote for a candidate is the degree that the candidate can take it to the Republicans, survive Republican attacks, and stand up for mainstream Democratic values.
7. Mainstream Democratic values and mainstream Daily Kos values are not the same thing. Sorry.
8. Each candidate (even Clinton) is going to have ups and downs over the next three months. Other people care about their candidate as much as you care about yours and feel just as strongly that he or she is the best liberal candidate for the Democrats to run. Rubbing dirt in people's faces when their candidate is down and yours is up isn't nice and, if you just wait a few days or weeks, the situation is likely to be reversed. Those folks who were slagging off John Kerry in December 2003 didn't look so smart in January, did they?
Good luck to all, and may my candidate win! (At least, once I decide who that is).