Tuesday, October 16, 2007

David Yepsen's Latest Jewel

David Yepsen from the Des Moines Register is developing a real reputation for being Obama's lapdog. He is a far cry from the Yepsen of past caucuses, who provided insights into the development of the campaigns in Iowa. Now, he seems to have made a career of Clinton bashing.

Hoping against hope, his latest column is wrought with one-sided analysis against Clinton. From today's DMR.

Some of my favorite parts of the column:

*In Iowa, Clinton leads the Democratic pack with 29 percent of the vote. That means 71 percent of the likely Democratic caucus-goers in the state want someone else to be their nominee, are undecided or have enough concerns about her not to commit.

True. But it also means that roughly 75 percent have decided that they want a nominee other than Obama, and roughly 80 percent want a nominee other than Edwards. These people have "enough concerns" about Edwards or Obama "not to commit."

*Of those Democrats who've decided on a preference, 53 percent say they could still be persuaded to change their minds. On the Republican side, it's 67 percent.

Of course that omits any reference by Yepsen to the analysis of the most recent Iowa poll from his own paper that indicates that Sen. Clinton's support is the strongest and least likely to change of any of the Democratic candidates.

*But early leads in national polls reflect only name recognition, and these two are well known. If others start winning, or beating expectations in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, those national surveys will shift overnight, thanks to the free media those candidates will receive.

Does any prospective Democratic Iowa caucus voter not know Obama or Edwards? Are they unfamiliar with Obama's "Edwards and Clinton voted for the war but I was against it" schtick? Do any of them not know that Edwards is now a screaming populist? The people of Iowa (bless their hearts) have endured nearly a year of incessant politicking. It seems to me to write off Hillary's Iowa support as coming from dunces who have picked her because they know her name is both incorrect and ungracious. Further, I think it is empirically disproven that Hillary's massive margin will be erased overnight if she loses in Iowa. As evidence, I offer the 1988 GOP caucuses, where George H. W. Bush lost to Bob Dole and then won out. I also offer the 1980 caucuses, where George Bush beat Ronald Reagan. This is not 2004, when we were faced with basically unknown candidates with the same message.

I suspect that Hillary Clinton is going to win the Democratic nomination for President. I don't know if she is going to win in Iowa or not. She seems to be a bit ahead, but not enought to confidently declare that a victory for Clinton is assured in these caucuses. But, I think that Yepsen's shoddy analysis does a disservice to his Iowa readers. The fact is Hillary could lose the Iowa caucuses and still win nearly every other primary with ease. What David Yepsen isn't telling is readers is that the converse is not true for Obama or Edwards. If they lose in Iowa, it is likely game over for them.

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