Archive for the ‘Dennis Kucinich’ Category

Iowa’s Fifteen Percent Scenario

December 18, 2007

In the season of peace on Earth and goodwill to men, politics in Iowa is getting ugly.

The sniping between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is becoming more heated, although his advantage over her appears to be solidifying. John Edwards’s comportment as a partisan firebrand is a far cry from his upbeat and positive campaign style in 2004. Polling suggests the winner will be one of these three candidates, all of whom are consistently garnering the support of more than 20% of those queried.

Yet the unique dynamics of Iowa’s caucus creates space for one of the three second-tier candidates—Senator Biden, Senator Dodd, or Governor Richardson — to shake up the race.

In 2004, negative television advertising dominated the lead-up to the Democratic caucuses in Iowa. House Minority Leader Gephardt of neighboring Missouri, was the early favorite in the race, until Governor Dean of Vermont caught fire in Iowa.

As the weeks leading to the caucuses approached Messrs. Dean and Gephardt directed their fire on each other in what became known to political operatives as the “murder-suicide pact.”

Each candidate was able to successfully destroy the other but they also destroyed themselves. By caucus day, weary Iowa voters were eager to look elsewhere and selected Senator Kerry as their choice.

Unlike a traditional vote, where every ballot counts, candidates who fail to receive the support of 15% of those present at a caucus hall are deemed unviable; if only 14 people show up at a caucus with 100 participants present for a given candidate, those voters are up for grabs. A second headcount then takes place.

A secondary candidate can decide to boost another politician or bury a rival by suggesting their supporters go elsewhere. Again, four years ago, Messrs. Kerry and Edwards ended up splitting up the support from Mr. Gephardt’s backers. Mr. Edwards, in particular, was a popular second choice thanks to his sunny demeanor, a quality he has ventured from this election cycle.

Read more here.

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Trade Unionism in Chicago

August 8, 2007

Labor City

Leave it to the City of Big Shoulders to finally host a superb Democratic debate. On the historic grounds of Soldiers Field in the city where police fired upon trade unionists at Haymarket Square and 4000 Pullman Car workers struck, the AFL-CIO provided a good forum to hear the Democratic candidates out on worker protection, free trade and pensions. The authenticity of the questioners really stood out.

Let me put it in the vernacular; in short, the AFL-CIO kicks YouTube’s ass. I know we’re all supposed to kowtow to the primacy of the Netroots and the internet saavy. But I just can’t. I’m sick of the snideness and the snarkiness. I appreciate hearing the plain but powerful words of people who work for a living.

As far as the politics of the night go, I thought Hillary Clinton shined when it was her time to respond to a questioner from the audience and she went back and answered questions from several of the questioners whom had been ignored by the other candidates, including the wife of fallen miner. It was also an opportunity for the long-serving members of the Senate — Chris Dodd and Joe Biden — to highlight their years of experience and advocacy for the trade union movement. Even Dennis Kucinich had a nice movement when he voiced a mulit-clause paean to labor.

Despite Obama’s homefield advantage, I felt his performance was his worst yet. While he didn’t have a gaffe on a par with those of his prior debates, he seemed entirely uncomfortable. Most answers were incredibly awkward. For a generally verbally fluid speaker, his comments were filled with pauses, halts and uhs. I honestly don’t understand it, other than he might genuinely not know how to connect with blue collar folks.