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Monday, January 19, 2004

Bad predictions this morning. You win some, you lose some. Howard Dean lost some. John Kerry won some. John Edwards won some. Wesley Clark won some -- or will, soon enough.

Thoughts on all of this tomorrow.

Primary rundown

It's been fascinating to watch the other Democratic candidates catch up to Howard Dean. What happened? Looks like Democrats got wise that Dean is all too beatable in a general election. Where do things stand now? Much depends on Iowa. If Gephardt loses, he's finished. If Dean loses, he's hurt in a major way -- his momentum is gone. If Kerry shows strong, even if he loses, he's gotten back his credibility, but he'll need to win to challenge Clark and Dean in New Hampshire. Same thing for Edwards, although Edwards has much more Southern support than Kerry and might be able to afford a loss here if he can show strong in New Hampshire.

What we've seen in this campaign is a redefining of the center left. Each of the contenders has become relatively anti-war; even if the candidate was for the war, he is critical of the Bush administration's handling of it (Wes Clark, meanwhile, is clever enough to leave his position undefined). Each wants to lower taxes for the middle class -- even Howard Dean found that position after he started to lose ground in Iowa.

This is different from past election cycles. A center left Democrat used to be reasonably hawkish on foreign policy and extremely liberal on social and tax policy. Joe Lieberman is closer to the pre-2004 center left than Howard Dean is. But the center left has been moved -- Lieberman is now at the far right wing of the Democratic Party. How will this play in a general election? Probably not well. The Democratic Party has to reposition itself to the center in a general election, and will have to move farther to do it to appeal to the median voter, especially since the median voter tends to be center-right on social, tax and foreign policy issues.

Who comes out the winner in all of this? Wesley Clark. He's been able to avoid the fray, and is looking good doing it. Howard Dean has been hurt by his evaporating lead in Iowa and the heavy beating he has taken from the media and from his opponents. John Kerry might be the winner -- if he wins. If not, he falls back in the pack again. The same holds true for John Edwards. Dick Gephardt is the real loser here -- the fact that this election is so close does not bode well for Gephardt.

Prediction: Dean wins, Gephardt second, Kerry third, Edwards fourth.

Prediction: Whoever wins, Wes Clark is chuckling right now that he's escaped unscathed from this all-out brawl in Iowa.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Wow, Blogger is working!

I should explain. I haven't posted much recently because Blogger is not cooperating. My column archives have not been updated because my web manager is out of town, and my website is not cooperating -- for a complete archive, check Townhall.com's archive, which goes all the way back to the beginning. Blogging will be much easier once technology I use decides to stop being recalcitrant.

Illegal immigration: follow the money

President Bush's plan to make illegal immigrants into temporary workers is destined for failure. The only plan that will help ease illegal immigration is one that removes the incentives for illegals to cross the border in the first place. Minimum wage must be allowed to drop below market wages; border control must be enforced. If companies are given the choice between cheap illegal labor and more expensive American unionized labor, they will choose cheap labor every time. For a more complete explanation, check out my latest column.

Thursday, January 08, 2004
MoveOn.org finalists indicate mentality of Dean supporters

Let's assume that MoveOn really made a mistake with the Hitler ads, and that screening procedures were responsible. Still, the finalists chosen by MoveOn.org are simply hilarious, and tell viewers quite a bit about the activists supporting Howard Dean. Find out why in my latest column.