Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 29, 2003
POLITICS: Is Kerry Toast?
Yes, it's too early to win a race like this -- but it's not too early to lose.
New polls showing Howard Dean with a commanding lead in New Hampshire have convinced me: John Kerry is toast. He's losing ground and losing press coverage and trailing badly in native-son territory. Kerry doesn't excite anybody; he had relied on the aura of a frontrunner, and that's history now.
This shocks me, since I have suspected for some time that Kerry would win the nomination by virtue of most nearly straddling the middle of his party. I still think that can be done, but not by a guy so obviously trying to do so. Maybe the Dems have learned something from the Gore fiasco.
But Edwards, who I predicted to win the nomination back in January, has been a disaster, running in fifth place at 4% (to Dean's 38%, Kerry's 17% and Gephardt's 11%) in New Hampshire and fifth place at 6% (to Dean's 25% and Gephardt's 21%) in Iowa, and (in a poll done about a month ago), tied for fourth with 5% (to 13% for Lieberman and 8% apiece for Gephardt and Al Sharpton) in neighboring South Carolina. The only obvious explanation for this is Edwards' obvious unreadiness to be commander-in-chief, even when compared to someone like Dean, who would be a foreign policy disaster but at least has strong opinions on the subject.