January 24, 2004 [LINK]

Democrats race, Bush speaks

ON TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: John Kerry has bounced back as the favorite, as he was widely considered as of a year ago. Meanwhile, the loud and mean Howard Dean has been transformed overnight into an object of pity or derision. What are all those Bush haters going to do now? Overall, I suppose Dean has served a purpose in letting Angry Democrats vent off steam. I could probably live with a President Kerry, Edwards, or Lieberman, but frankly, Dean and Wesley Clark really scare me. NOTE: I'm not a pundit, and I don't play one on TV. My understanding of political science, which is a distinctly minority view, places a low emphasis on predicting future events. (See Chaos theory.) If you want the real inside scope on the Meaning of Iowa, visit Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Web site. (U.Va.!)

STATE OF THE UNION: For the most part, President Bush played it safe in his annual speech to Congress. He didn't bring up his proposed (very costly) missions to the Moon and Mars, and even talked about ways to cut the burgeoning budget deficit. (About time!) Speaking of which, I was listening to the Democratic candidates squabbling with each other during a debate budget policy the other day, and it was obvious that Karl Rove's strategy of putting the onus for deficit reduction on the Democrats is working -- at least in the short term. One cause for concern was Bush's rather defensive tone with regard to the antiwar movement. It seemed aimed at the Howard Dean crowd, who may be fading out of the picture. At the end of his speech, Bush surprised many people by sharply denouncing steroid doping in baseball. Apparently, his use of the "bully pulpit" for such a peripheral matter reflects the fact that the owners are in a weak bargaining position vis a vis the Players' Association on the issue of drug testing. (I just wish the President would put in a good word for baseball in the D.C. area. That just might prove to be decisive.)

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.