ABC News’ political blog “The Note” has some provocative thoughts today governing politics and the media over the next six weeks or so:
- Since there’s that whole Labor-Day-kick-off thing, and it’s the beginning of a very big month, let’s clear the air with a very big a-hem of reality: the three biggest figures in American politics for the next five weeks will be George W. Bush, Howard Dean, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
….no matter what happens in war and peace and prosperity (and The Note will do its level best to cover those things as they intersect with politics), our Big Three are going to be the Boys of September and into October, after which, we bet the political world looks so different we will all be recalibrating.
Bush, because he’s the commander-in-chief, because he’s wrestling with the changing politics of Iraq, and because he has that budget deficit to deal with as he looks to get Congress moving on a legislative agenda headed by energy and Medicare.
Oh, and also he is the best political fundraiser of all time.
Dean because he is likely to raise twice as much (and maybe three times as much!) as any Democrat in the third quarter – which we’ll know come mid-October, and that will be a political earthquake.
The Note is a big believer in the nearly iron-clad rule of modern American politics: the person who raises the most money in the year before the voting always wins the nomination (and Howard Dean will be that man).
….And Arnold Schwarzenegger matters lots because from Mary Hart to Peter Hart, he is an irresistible story.
For the next five weeks, we will struggle every day: do we lead with recall or do we lead with presidential politics?
Today, with John Kerry’s announcement, let’s go with the latter, and why should we be any different than the rest of the political herd: let’s lead our Kerry coverage with thoughts about … . Howard Dean.
….Now that the biggest real poltick doubt about Dean has been put to rest – that he couldn’t raise the money – the press has moved onto put other things to rest as well.
….What remains is the electability question, which agitates the deep emotional cortices of Democratic voters and 49 percent of the Gang of 500 who share the party name.
Is Dean making progress on the electability front? More and more … It’s not just that his stump speech is flashing its centrist blinkers. It’s in simple accoutrements, like, say, a steady drumbeat of (somewhat) important, (semi-)resonating endorsements.
And in the dirty little (actually: “massive”) secret of this stage of the campaign, the national political press corps is nearly united in its views that Dean (a) CAN be the nominee and (b) just might be the most fun to cover in the general.
Very interesting – “The Note” is already projecting Dean the Democratic nominee before the process even officially begins, before many are paying any attention at all, and in no small part due to its perception the press likes him. This is either a very ballsy guestimate very early in the process, or our entire election system has been subverted by money and the media. Or both.