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Saturday, October 25, 2003

WaPo op-ed page

Broder has his Sunday column up in which he cites polling data that say Dean's popularity is based more on his liberal social policy views, such as the Vermont enactment of civil unions, than his anti-war stance. He concludes: "In short, it is cultural forces--far more than anything else--that explain Dean's appeal in New Hampshire, forces that may tug the other way when the race moves to more typical battleground states."

A few problems with this analysis: other candidates have basically the identical view on civil unions, the New Hampshire-specific analysis doesn't account for polling and fundraising success nationwide, and Broder doesn't consider how much Dean's momentum from early wins could affect the primaries on Feb. 3 and after. I think Dean's success comes from being the first candidate to attack the president so visibly and forthrightly about Iraq and everything else. The other candidates' anger has seemed forced as an attempt to replicate Dean's showing. Such a phenomenon, however, is hard to find in a poll.

Also see EJ Dionne's Saturday column (making use of other poll numbers) on the alleged media "filter" on Iraq news:

"This news may contradict the optimistic predictions made by the administration, so I don't blame Bush or his supporters for not liking what they are seeing or reading. But changing the news won't change the situation. Improving the situation will change the news."

He also notes that Fox viewers paradoxically are more likely to think the media coverage of Iraq is worse than reality, and he has some personal stuff about reporting from Lebanon 20 years ago (cameo by Tom Friedman!).

Finally, Sunday's lead editorial is entitled "Speak Up, Mr. Rumsfeld." I like the ending:

"Mr. Rumsfeld might find it useful to say what he really thinks in public from now on. Who knows, maybe someone other than his four top aides will have something valuable to tell him in response."

So much for those who say WaPo's editorials have been shilling for Bush.