Well, welcome again dear readers, as I attempt to use tea leaves, a magic 8-ball, and some 1-800 number someone gave me to attempt to figure out what is going on in the Democratic Primary. New Hampshire has now come and gone – and we are just as sure as a week ago that we no idea who’s going to win. John Kerry – Though as much as I would have liked to tack up his previous victory as a fluke, I can’t argue with two straight successes. Granted he hasn’t blown anyone out of the water, but he’s done a very effective job thus far. Kerry is definitely the front-runner. Can he can survive the claws coming out for him – specifically from Dean and Edwards? Dean folded under the assault in Iowa, it remains to be seen what Kerry will do. Ironically, Kerry will also suffer because of his success in Iowa. As Dean was knocked out of his front-runner status in only one primary, there is incentive for the rest of the candidates to keep after Kerry. He is the front-runner, but I am sure Dean and others are hoping to pull and Iowa on him. Short of a slam-dunk with South Carolina, I think it won’t be as easy as Kerry hopes to be rid of the rest of the field. In any case, he’s sitting pretty and deservedly so. Howard Dean – Well, glad to see he didn’t go for a second rendition of his “I have a scream” speech. Dean comes out better from this than a lot of other candidates. Going against Lieberman and specifically Clark, who could steal the most votes from Dean’s base, he was able to stay in the running. Also, he managed to keep Edwards from having another second place showing, which prevents Edwards from saying he’s the only other choice besides Kerry. Dean’s true test will be as he heads to the South. His opponents can capitalize on his remarks about the Confederate flag and though he said he’d talk more about Jesus, I doubt saying that the book of Job is in the New Testament is a good first step in connecting with the Bible belt. However, Dean has averted disaster and can keep going in an attempt to derail the Kerry campaign.John Edwards – Edwards, the smiling good-old Southern boy, shouldn’t smile too much. Edwards had a good deal of momentum from his strong finish in Iowa, and had a chance to kill the Dean campaign before it even got started. He can claim some success in sticking around, but he still hasn’t actually won anything. If anything he might be setting himself up for a strong bid on a VP slot. However, until he wins something all the spin in the world doesn’t make him the front-runner. He has to win South Carolina to stay a viable candidate, especially since it’s been a state most pundits have been just giving to him from the get-go. For Edwards he should pick a football team’s motto – Raiders – in honor of the Super Bowl. “Just Win Baby.”Wesley Clark – Good thing he’s a general since he should definitely be considering digging a foxhole right now. Clark gave up Iowa to focus on New Hampshire. I felt he had to come in second to really show viability. Granted he came in third, but it really wasn’t a good showing. Clark has to pick up at least one victory in the next batch of states if he wants to keep going. However, if he bows out his votes will probably go to Dean and keep the “Deaniacs” a force to be reckoned with.Joe Lieberman – Exactly how someone who got a paltry nine percent of the vote in the one state he focused on can give a victory speech I have no idea, but Lieberman gave one. And let us not even mention the contorted math he was using to claim he also came in third. Maybe he was taking a cue from his Florida tactics and claiming votes from people who had the “intention” of voting for him. I guess he wants to stick around, but Lieberman will have to gain at least one state in the next batch to stay strong. In South Carolina he might do better, as it is more conservative, but best-case scenario he comes in second behind Edwards. That would be a great victory, but he’ll probably need a first place victory someplace to truly compete.Dennis Kucinich – Come on, we can’t get rid of him! The world needs comedy! I think it’ll even out in the next few weeks or so, but until then it’s really hard to tell. But, I’m sure you want a prediction so I’ll appease you and give you mine – Bush. Clemm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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