JANUARY 20, 2004 - Before
we start, we just want to let you know you will want to read this
article all the way through, as there is some big news we clue you
in on toward the end.
Ok, to start, look at this quote from
the Washington Post:
"With the Iowa results dominated by
two contenders who were given virtually no chance of winning by
most analysts just two weeks ago, rarely in recent political
history has the conventional wisdom been so thoroughly
Clearly they mean the non-Moderate
Independent conventional wisdom. Can you imagine they were all
still considering Dean the frontrunner before last night - and even
now are still reluctant to take that mantle back from him?
For those of you that somehow missed our
previous articles, our December 22 article foretold exactly this.
We will get to that in a second, but it wasn't just on December 22
that we foretold this. Nope, it was right after Clark's entry
into the race, way back on September 25.
Yes, the rest of the media is shocked
today, Kerry got a bit of boost, Dean took a dive. If they
would have read The Moderate Independent on September 25, they would
have seen the headline "Why
Clark's Entry Into The Race Hurts Dean And Helps Kerry."
How's that? We predicted exactly
the result you saw tonight the second Clark entered the race, wrote
way back on September 25 when the rest of the media was still
"Initially many in the press asserted
that Clark's entry would hurt Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) campaign
the most, as Kerry's biggest selling point was his military
experience. Clark, as a retired four star general and the former
commander of NATO forces not only matched Kerry's greatest
strength, but trumped it, the argument went.
"Dean stood the most to gain, as Kerry
was one of his main rivals, and Clark might siphon off some of his
"However, the opposite turns out to be
Huh? What did we say way back on
"While throughout the campaign so far
Kerry has gone around touting - in no subtle manner - his wartime
experience, the press had largely ignored him and not gotten the
message that there was a decorated veteran in the Democrats'
midst. All the press covered was that there was a "Northeast
liberal," someone who they claimed tried to have it both ways on
Iraq, and someone who was something called "aloof."...
"In the meantime, Dean surged as the
straight talking, take no prisoners, down to earth candidate who
spoke about all issues and promoted himself on his traits and
policies. His boldness, clarity, and an excellently run campaign
won him many supporters.
"...rather than making Kerry look
second rate in comparison to the General, Kerry has come to look
like someone who has the same upside as Clark - the decorated
veteran background - but also who has experience in economics and
politics. Clark, at this point, seems one dimensional, and as
someone who has admitted voting for Nixon and Reagan, of
questionable appeal and allegiance to Democratic values.
"In the meantime, unexpectedly, Clark
has hurt Dean's momentum. He is the new renegade, the freshest
face, and a bold straight talker as well. To people who wanted the
straight talk of Dean with the military status of Kerry, they seem
to have found the hybrid they were looking for."
"The biggest concern for many Dean
supporters has been electability. In addition, Dean supporters are
fiery and excited by Dean's outsider status. Clark background
gives people a sense that he is electable, and he has sold himself
as an outsider as well, casting himself, in essence, as Dean with
"So while the opposite was to be
expected, Clark has drawn support directly from Dean, taken a bit
of the wind out from the sails of Dean's campaign. At the same
time, his candidacy has brought attention to Kerry as a version of
Clark with experience and more of a true Democratic background.
"This is early yet, and things will
play out differently over time."
Was it ever - almost 4 months ago!
But we were insightful enough way back then to conclude:
"However, for the moment, the Clark
Effect has been paradoxical, helping where it was expected to hurt
(Kerry,) hurting where it was expected to help (Dean.)"
Now, back to last night - and the rest
of the media today reporting, in shock, that "conventional wisdom
has been... thoroughly demolished." Quite to the contrary, M/I's
conventional wisdom has been exactly confirmed. Our
article on December 22 is
essentially the articles they are writing today.
As we wrote back then:
"According to a recent internal poll –
taken even before the capture of Saddam – a Kerry campaign insider is
reporting that Iowa is now a tossup between three – not two –
candidates. In a poll taken two weeks before Saddam was caught,
Howard Dean received 23%, John Kerry 22%, and Richard Gephardt 21%."
"Dean having a close battle with Iowa
favorite Gephardt was a sign of strength for Dean, showing he could
rise from nothing and stand toe-to-toe with the man who was supposed
to run away with both the labor endorsements and the Iowa title.
"But now, with it being a three way race,
Dean is being seen, once again, to have peaked, while other
candidates seen as stronger on defense issues are rising. Kerry’s
jump in Iowa is a huge step forward and a huge momentum stopper for
Remember, we wrote this on December 22 -
the rest of the media is just writing this story tonight, almost a
month later. We also wrote back then:
"One might be tempted to see Senator
Kerry’s rise in Iowa and his still second-place stand in New
Hampshire as a truly positive sign for his campaign and be tempted
to write him back into the picture. His campaign, in fact, has made
some decent adjustments since Mary Beth Cahill took over following
his house-clearing round of firing.
"But Kerry’s position in New Hampshire is
very delicate. Clark is rising while Kerry – who is already known
by most of the state being a neighboring son and having campaigned
there for almost a year now – has done nothing but lose ground
there. And so the real likelihood is that a Kerry win in Iowa would
be more a blow to Dean than a boost to Kerry. Followed up by a
second place showing for Clark, and frontrunner status will have
Yes, other news sources have to write
five election articles a day, and still they don't get it right.
We write a couple a month, because we actually analyze things in a
useful manner and so say what will occur accurately. So all we
end up needing to do is to simply run the text of the same articles
again and again. And laugh as the rest of the media - with
their multi-million dollar, embed-laden coverage just now report
what we said.
Yes, they are now starting to say things
like that maybe Dean isn't really the frontrunner and, in fact, is
on the way down. On December 22 we wrote:
"The biggest story, though, is the
beginning of the end for the Dean campaign. The first blow was
landed by the Gore endorsement. Dean had painted himself, within a
party still resentful of the toothless, wavering campaign Gore ran
last election, as the anti-Gore, a straight-talker who wouldn’t sit
by and say, “I won’t attack,” as Gore did. Indeed, Dean’s people
went to great lengths early on to paint Kerry as the “Gore” in this
election, pointing out he had hired much of Gore’s staff and saying
he was prone to qualified double-speak as Gore often was.
"Then, Gore joined the Dean team, and
ever since then the weight of the double-talking loser has been
lifted off of both the Kerry and Lieberman campaigns...
"...problem number two for the Dean
campaign is that the people who are just beginning to tune in now
are not the activist types who pay attention to such things.
Now, Democrats and Independents are tuning in simply to see the
people who are running, how they present themselves, and what they
have to say. And Dean’s uncharismatic nature, tendency to
boldly contradict himself, and his, for many American just tuning
in, incomprehensible stance with regard to Iraq, makes him simply
seem unelectable to the late tuners."
No wonder our readership is growing like
wildfire. Not only are we the only place to get completely
non-partisan news and analysis, but we have by far the best, most
accurate and foresighted election coverage to be found anywhere.
And indeed, our readership rolls have skyrocketed over the past
So what about Kerry? Is he about
to take over and be the nominee. As we said on December 22:
"The problem with Kerry’s campaign, even
as it makes advances in Iowa, is that, according to insiders, it has
put its entire weight into the first two contests, thinking the
press generated from wins there would create momentum that would win
him the states in the next round. And so he has completely
neglected second and third round states, even South Carolina where
he kicked off his campaign in front of an aircraft carrier. As a
result, he is down near last, in low single digits, near Carol
Mosley Braun in the polls there, while Clark is in a statistical tie
"Clark is also leading in Oklahoma and
statistically tied for the lead in at least two other second round
states, while Kerry is at the top in none.
"Combined with the reality that Kerry has
been tasted and passed over by many in New Hampshire already leaves
Clark with a lot more growing room there than he."
But wait, all the papers are stunned and
taking that frontrunner status from Dean and now putting it on
Kerry. He is having a surprise surge after all, isn't he?
Well, not if you read The Moderate
Independent. Again, from our December 22 article:
"John Kerry had gotten the early bounce
and frontrunner status when people looked and saw the Democrats had
a veteran in their midst who was strong on defense but also had a
solid history of supporting Democratic issues domestically. Now,
John is getting that bounce once again from people tuning in for the
Well, I guess we kind of said exactly
this would happen as well.
So - rest of the media, pay attention
this time - what will happen from here on out? Yes, we told
you this also on December 22:
"By all practical measures, this is
should now be a three man race for the top spot, but not the three
the rest of the press is reporting. No, don’t include Dean in
this. At this point, it should be a tight three way battle between
Kerry, who is in position to pull of an Iowa and New Hampshire
one/two punch, Gephardt, who has crucial Midwest support, and Clark,
who can make a big showing on February 3 following a nice launch in
"That, as we said, is how things
should be, but two more things have to be considered: Kerry’s
anemic campaign, and Gephardt’s lack of appeal on defense issues.
This weakness for Gephardt is a fatal one."
Um, how is Gephardt doing these days?
Hmm... seems his lack of defense credentials proved "fatal."
"So in fact, more and more this is
becoming what should be a two man race, between the two veterans,
one with more military leadership experience, and one with more
domestic and campaign experience. But, for some reason, what should
be Kerry’s advantage is his weakness. Clark’s campaign outshines
But wait, there's still more.
That's right, there is the January 8th
article in which we said directly:
"Dean may possibly hold on to win in
Iowa, but that is becoming less and less likely."
No one else imagined Dean would not
finish at or near the top back then. We went on to say:
"So, where is the race for the
Democratic primary at now?
"What had been a pleasant surprise for
Dean, a battle for first place with favored Gephardt, has now
become a do or die situation.
"Let us be clear: If Dean loses Iowa,
Dean is done."
The rest of the press is starting to
catch up with this - after first they catch their breath, recovering
from their shock that Dean didn't win or come in a close second in
As we said, we don't need to write a new
article tonight, reassessing everything because of what happened in
Iowa. Everything we said still stands as accurate, and so we
can simply say what is next by quoting again from that article:
"...Wesley Clark very possibly will
not only finish second in New Hampshire, but will win. His
momentum is expected, and will continue to spread nationwide. He
is the right man with the right campaign.
"Dean and the other Democrats’
attempts to challenge whether he is a “real Democrat” are already
backfiring, as Dean gained his following seeming above petty
politics and saying he wanted to expand the reach of his candidacy
to all Americans. Now, he is sounding like the typical party
hack, and nothing turns Americans off – especially independents,
like the many in New Hampshire – than someone who puts party ahead
"Most people won’t care if Clark used
to be a Republican, especially once they listen to his positions,
personality, spiritual beliefs, and values and realize he fits as
well in the Democratic Party as anyone. And all the while Dean
and the others are making themselves seem divisive, overly
partisan and, worst of all for Dean who built his image as an
outsider, stalwart political insiders; typical party hacks.
"Which only reinforces Clark’s image
as the independent outsider who will be there for all Americans
and the only one with a chance to end the divisiveness brought on
by the Bush/Limbaughians and now perpetuated by Dean and company.
"If Dean falters at all in Iowa, his
growingly tenuous position in New Hampshire will self-destruct,
and Clark will win there."
There was one thing we didn't nail in
all this time. When we said Dean would lose Iowa - while
everyone else was still calling him the frontrunner - we ventured to
"The most likely scenario at this
point is Gephardt winning Iowa..."
We knew Dean wouldn't win, which no one
else can say, but we did guess wrong on who would. But that
was an irrelevant fact, because the story was not - and is not -
about a Gephardt rise; we never speculated anything like that.
What we were pointing out was that Dean
was on the way down, that he would likely lose Iowa, and that from
"The most likely scenario at this
point is Gephardt winning Iowa, Clark winning New Hampshire, and
then Clark sweeping at least four of the states in the February 3rd
round of primaries. And from there, it is all done but the
confetti. Clark will be the Democratic nominee, with Dean showing
a respectable second place finish."
What about Kerry? Let's go back to
what we reported on December 22:
"How can we write off the Dean campaign
so early? Funny, somebody should be asking the rest of the press
how they managed to write him in so early.
"If Clark can make his domestic agenda
case, he can win it.
"If somehow the Kerry campaign – not the
candidate, but the troops – manage to get it in gear, he may make it
interesting. Even led by a revitalizing Cahill, they have a long,
long way to go to undo the damage the previous campaign staff has
done so far. But a few strides have been made in the right
"If they can’t do it, and Wesley Clark
can stand toe to toe with the other Democrats on domestic issues,
then Clark will be the Democrats’ man."
Yes, we wrote this about a month ago.
Compare it to what you will read all this week in the non-Moderate
Well... you guessed it, we'll go to the
video tape... that is, the old articles once again. From
"No, no one else will even report that
Clark will win New Hampshire anytime soon, never mind that the
nomination – barring some drastic change, which is not out of the
question but very unlikely – will be his."
We say this because of what we know
about the Senator Kerry and his campaign. For one thing,
Senator Kerry already had his chance in New Hampshire - he had the
lead and lost it to a pathetic candidate like Dean. Now he is
having a little rebound, but if Dean was able to knock him
previously, Clark should be able to do the same. The people of
New Hampshire tasted Kerry and made clear they are looking for
something else. We believe Clark will move into the role Dean
had as Dean drops in the coming week.
In addition, Clark is leading or tied
for the lead in a number of the February 3rd states, including South
Carolina, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma. And now, with
Gephardt out of the race, Missouri - where Gephardt was leading,
becomes fair game, and Clark is in much better shape there than
And, as we previously reported, Kerry's
staff has told us his entire strategy has focused on Iowa and New
Hampshire. They haven't even begun to consider campaigning in
places like California, as they figured the race would be over long
before March 2, and he hasn't been even to the Feb. 3 states like
South Carolina practically at all. Now the Kerry campaign has
to scramble to develop a campaign in other states.
But more than that, what it will all
come down to is what we said - yes, in a previous article, this one
much more recent (from just yesterday):
"...As you can see, Kerry is making
some ground up in Iowa and a little back in New Hampshire, yet
people are not signing on strongly enough to make him the
frontrunner - in any state. He has slight lead in Iowa - where
Clark isn't present - but is nowhere near the top anywhere else,
due to his anemic campaign, while Clark is either tied for the
lead or leading in a number of the February 3rd states.
"And so despite the great candidate
Kerry makes on paper, not he nor anyone else has won the trust and
support of Democrats in Iowa.
from the Iowa caucuses so far is clear: the Democrats would
prefer to have someone that brings more than one dimension. And
this is great news for General Clark. His rapid rise in the
campaign has been because he brings a number of these things
together, offering the Democrats a much-wanted complete picture of
"And so while
on Monday the people of Iowa will go and duke it out and arrive at
which candidate - or candidates - they will settle on, they
already have made their message loud and clear to the nation:
none of these candidates are enough of a complete picture for us
to comfortably recommend. For the southerner military man with an
excellently organized campaign, sunny message, and the ability and
charisma to connect with voters, the mess in Iowa is a message
that, even though there were so many candidates already running,
the nation was indeed still needing of his late entry into the
"Once Iowa is
over, the Democrats will have a distinctly different set of
choices. For General Clark, it can not be anything but reassuring
to see that without him in the race, there is no one the Democrats
really want to place all their chips down on."
Now, lest you think we are merely a
Clark-biased news source and not truly a moderate independent news
source who has come to learn that Clark would, by far, be the best
candidate for America, here is a quote from an
article we ran on August 22,
before Clark entered the race:
"The Wesley Clark Factor? - Oh,
give me a break. This is just the right-wing trying to assert
that only someone the right-wing would like - like a military man
who spends lots of time on CNN - is electable. Tell me where you
stand on any issue other than the war, Wesley, and then we can
talk. Maybe he is a great moderate and truly independent. But
for all we know at the moment he doesn't know or care about
anything but war, and if that is the case, he should just stay in
the damned military."
Well, eventually Wesley did, and what he
has shown has been excellent. But as you see, before we knew,
we did not cut him any slack.
The debate this Thursday night in New
Hampshire may just be the pivotal moment in this campaign.
And what about
Edwards? Well, there is a larger story behind this - and this
story includes Kerry as well. But to tell that, we will have
to break some big, big news - about the inside scoop of the Bush
re-election strategy. And yes, we reported this previously -
again, a long time ago in
this December 8
article, in which we reported:
"Yes, as we reported Friday, the Clark
steamroller is rapidly gathering speed. While the rest of the
press refuses to acknowledge this yet, the Republicans clearly
have noticed. For example, check out this excerpt from a
conservative website a campaign insider informed us of:
"To everyone who took up my call to
donate to Howard Dean in June, here's your new assignment:
Give all you can to
John Edwards and/or
"The rationale is simple:
1. We still want Dean to be the nominee so that President Bush
can crush him and have long coattails.
2. The biggest threat to a Dean nomination is no longer Dick
Gephardt, John Kerry or John Edwards. It's Weasel Clark, for all
3. To help Dean, we have to bring down Clark's vote totals in
the crucial states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
4. In New Hampshire, donating to neighbouring-son John Kerry
will help ensure that Clark won't surpass expectations by
finishing ahead of Kerry.
5. In South Carolina, Clark can be stopped by neighbouring-son
"Donating online is easy. Just
click here to donate to Kerry or
click here to donate to Edwards.
"Hmm. Maybe these guys just really
are pulling for Dean, Kerry, and Edwards, trying to help them
out. Or, maybe they know what we said was true. Before, when
they were just asking people to support Dean, you could make the
argument they were using reverse psychology to make it seem like
they wanted Dean when really they feared him the most. Now, that
argument no longer holds water; they could not possibly be using
reverse psychology against three campaigns simultaneously. Before
they just wanted to promote Dean because that is all they needed
to do - Dean was doing very well. But now, they have to try and
stop the surging Clark."
And no, obviously we are not just saying
something now because of the result today - we reported this a month
and a half ago. We will tell you more about this in a couple
of days, when we report on the Bush strategy.
So, stay tuned to M/I, the best source
for covering both the Democratic side of the race - and the
Republican involvement and tinkering - both of which we report weeks
or months ahead of everyone else. And if you like our campaign
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