The new issue of the Weekly Standard has an interesting account by David Skinner of the state of play on the Democratic side in Iowa: “A not-so-unstoppable front-runner.” Based on his reporting, Skinner appears to think that Richard Gephardt or John Kerry may overtake Dean in Iowa and emerge from the pack. Skinner makes it appear unlikely that Dean will prevail in Iowa.
Here’s Skinner’s description of Dean appearing before an Iowa union audience: “Early on in his remarks, as you would expect, Dean brought up the subject that had most energized his campaign and best distinguished him from his principal competitors. ‘I did not support the war in Iraq, and let me tell you why,’ he began, before being interrupted by a standing ovation–from about a third of the room. The other two thirds stayed seated. A fair number of them grimaced. Among the grimacers, one woman from Iowa–‘Just call me “one woman from Iowa,”‘ she later instructed me–noticed that I was looking at her and flushed red in the face. By which point Dean had finished with Iraq and moved on to George W. Bush’s spoliation of America’s domestic economy. ‘How many of you have lost a job in the last twelve months?’ he asked the crowd. Maybe twenty people, out of more than a thousand, raised their hands. Dean attempted to recover: ‘How many of you have a family member who’s lost a job in the last twelve months?’ A couple dozen more hands, tops. Only when Dean had extended the unemployment list to friends and acquaintances did his stunt produce its intended visual effect. And pretty soon after that, it was time for someone else to talk.
“And pretty soon after that, it was time for me to seek out ‘one woman from Iowa,’ apologize for peering at her as I had, and ask her why she’d flushed red during that business about the war. Whereupon she flushed red again: ‘You were up front by the stage. I thought you worked for Howard Dean. My nephew was in Baghdad. And now he’s in Kuwait City. And Howard Dean oughta shut the f— up.'”
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