Saturday, January 31, 2024
By Steven Taylor

-Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

Enough with this one-state-at-a-time nonsense: on to some serious primary-osity with seven on the table for this Tuesday.

The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol’ White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much done—a little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heat’s Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

  • el
  • pt
  • (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • The 4Q 2024 GDP figures were below targets, which gives the Democrats fodder for use in attacking the President’s economic policies.
  • Although there is good news for Bush: Consumer Confidence Index climbed 5 points in January.
  • The Hedgehog Report has the latest Bush approval numbers. The President hovers around 50% overall–a few have him above, and few below (The current average is 52.6%).

    Considering that the news is dominated by the the Democrats deriding the President, it is no surprise that his numbers have suffered a bit of late.


    There are seven primaries on February Third. In alphabetical order they are:

    New Mexico
    North Dakota
    South Carolina

    In terms of significance I would rank in three tiers::

    TIER 1

    South Carolina: The big Southern test. And Edwards has to win.
    Missouri: The most delegate at state to date. Plus, who gets the Gephardt vote?


    Arizona/New Mexico: The west rises to the fore.
    Oklahoma: Semi-Southern, and one of the places early polling showed Clark having a shot.


    Delaware: We’ve already done the New England bit/small state
    North Dakota: Small pop, not a bellwether of any kind.


    Winning is: If he wins MO and several other contests, then he will continue to be considered the frontrunner—any combo with MO, AZ will be solid. If he get OK, and beats off Clark, he will be in even better shape, as Clark’s freefall will accelerate. If he manages a win in SC, then he will be crowned, perhaps rightly, as unstoppable.

    Losing is: Losing both MO and SC.

    Can still claim victory if: As long as he wins MO and one other states while doing reasonably well elsewhere. However only two wins, even with MO, will result in a blood in the water effect.


    Winning is: He has to win SC to credibly say that he has won on Tuesday. Although outlandish scenarios like a surprise win in MO, or taking several other states would work as well. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath on those possibilities. He has to take SC, or the whole “I can win in the South” argument is blown out the window—and without a doubt, that is one of his key strengths.

    Losing is: The direct converse of winning: losing SC, even by a point.

    Can still claim victory if: After losing SC he gets high on goes on TV he can claim victory all he likes, and if under sufficient influence of illicit substances, he may well believe it. However, he can claim no victory sans SC. If he does lose, I’d go find Dennis, cuz maybe he’ll share whatever it is he’s been smoking.


    Winning is: A win somewhere. However (and remarkably) this is rather unlikely.

    Losing is: Probably what’s going to happen.

    Can still claim victory if: If his insurgent strategy of simply playing for the delegates nets some decent numbers, he can at least spin his way into saying that he’s still in it. However, I don’t think that such a strategy is viable at this point. And further, since he had to yank his tv spots, he may have a hard time getting to the magic 15% in enough states to achieve viability.


    Winning is: He has to win somewhere, OK being the most likely place. A solid showing with veterans and moderate-to-conservative Democrats in SC will be useful for his electability spin.

    Losing is: If he doesn’t get at least one win, he is nearing Crumb Pile status.

    Can still claim victory if: He will claim victory even if he doesn’t win anything, especially if he in in close second in OK. However, that and 500 pesos will buy you cup of coffee in Bogota. No wins, spin or no, means defeat.


    Winning is: Recognizing that he has lost and officially pulling out before Tuesday so as to spare us (and himself) the misery. Now, in fantasy-land, winning is a surprise win in Oklahoma, or a strong second in SC.

    Losing is: The sad, sorry truth of the matter and the sooner he realizes it, the sooner we can stop having to watch the painful spectacle of him pretending to have support.

    Can still claim victory if: See Edwards.


    Winning is: Coming in second in SC.

    Losing is: Third or worse: especially if he fails t get 15%

    Can still claim victory if: He gets some delegates.


    No clever lines this week. Make up your own.



    Kerry: Wonderific French Bread in a week (Dough is on the Rise).

    Kerry can now be said to have achieved Wonder Bread status, as the nomination is now within his reach. A good showing Tuesday will solidify his position.

  • Zogby’s tracking polls have Kerry written all over them.
  • Kerry picked up several key endorsements this week, such as Jim Clyburn’s and some union help as well.
  • And he is likely to get a big Michigan endorement.
  • Dave Wissing has the latest Missouri numbers and they are looking quite Kerry-ish.
  • Money likes a winner: Kerry Raises $500,000 Online in Two Days.
  • I’m shocked: Kerry Leads in Lobby Money.
  • James Joyner has a blast from Kerry’s past in terms of the comic page.


    Edwards Plain ol’ White Bread (Heat’s Off this Week)

    I have had a ton of poor predictions in this process to date, one that has proved to be correct is that Edwards has to have South Carolina to have a chance. If he can’t demonstrate the ability to win a southern state in a Democratic process, he will fall off the radar.

    While a loss in SC won’t be a death blow, it will be a wound of substantial proportion. If he loses SC he will come out of the 3rd the way Dean came out of NH: functional, but only barely so.

  • No shock here: Edwards Woos South Carolinians with Southern Pride.
  • James Joyner deals with Edwards’ concern about legacy admissions to colleges and universities and wonders how the NC Senator is going to stop having one’s family life affect one’s development.
  • Robert Tagorda notes that thus far Edwards has managed to avoid the negatives that go along with his chosen profession.

    Clark Toasting White Bread (the Heat is on)

    There is some hope of emerging from the 3rd in decent shape, but he seems pretty toasty to me at this stage. He stays on the Supermarket Shelf for one more week

  • James Joyner of OTB has some interesting commentary on the Moore endorsement of Clark. One is known by the company one keeps, and Moore’s endorsement has a hypocritical and cynical feel to it. Connect the dots as one wishes…


    Dean: Toast (the Heat is on)

    From Wonder Bread to Toast in a few short weeks: ain’t politics fun? Getting scrapped is possible, but not probable.

  • This is never good: Intriguing: Dean Shake-Up. I will admit that Kerry did it early on, and I thought it spelled trouble hm, however it ended up working out. I don’t think that Dean has the time for it to work for him. WaPo notes: Dean Staff Shake-Up Long Coming and has a lengthy story on the matter.

  • Dean, once the money man, is now having serious money troubles.
  • WaPo also notes: Dean’s Money Advantage Dwindles.
  • Robert Tagorda comments on the Good Doctor’s travails.
  • Meanwhile, Sean Hackbarth thinks that the Good Doctor has been reading The American Mind.
  • Dean Esmay provides A Good Reason To Vote For Howard Dean (an no, it has nothing to do with his name).


    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

    He’s done. He’s lost. He has no prayer. I know it, you know it. The mystery is: why doesn’t he?

  • He’s even losing in CT: Lieberman Lagging Behind on Home Turf: “Forty-three percent of those who said they are likely to vote in the state’s March 2 presidential primary said they would vote for Kerry. Lieberman had the support of 18 percent of those surveyed.”

    Sharpton: He remains burnt toast (and the heat continues)

    While some have opined that the Reverend could be a serious player in SC, my guess is that he will be lucky to reach the 15% needed for viability and a delegate.

  • Wishful thinking, methinks: Sharpton To give candidates a run for their money in S.C.
  • Sharpton left out of La. primary–of course, that means instead getting 1% of the vote (after rounding, of course) he’ll get 0%.

    Kucinich Zen crumbs, but crumbs nonetheless (so burnt, the head was turned off)

  • And the prize for most misleading headline of the week: Kucinich gaining traction, of a sort. The description of the bus is amusing, however.

  • Another amusing headline: Thick skin serves Kucinich in S.C.. Plus, he continues his convention-related delusions in this piece.



    Dave Wissing of The Hedgehog Report has a report on a rumor I heard earlier in the week: that Edwards would ask Hillary to be his veep, should he win the nomination. I still have a hard time seeing Hillary accepting a veep nod.


    The talk of a Kerry-Edwards ticket continues. This week Edwards insisted that he wouldn’t go there. We shall see.

    I still think that a Senator-Senator ticket strikes me as an odd idea.

    Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (23)|
    The views expressed in the comments are the sole responsibility of the person leaving those comments. They do not reflect the opinion of the author of PoliBlog, nor have they been vetted by the author.

    23 Responses to “The Toast-O-Meter (1/31/04 Edition)”

    1. Robert Tagorda Says:

      Nice job, as always, Steven.

    2. James Joyner Says:


      Considering that Gephardt withdrew from the race over a week ago, it would take a crafty plan indeed for him to get the nomination at this point.

    3. Steven Says:

      Robert: Thanks.

      erp: I’m speechless.

      James: Indeed.

    4. John "Akatsukami" Braue Says:

      Considering that Gephardt withdrew from the race over a week ago, it would take a crafty plan indeed for him to get the nomination at this point.

      Unlikely, James, but possible.

      If there is a open convention (which looks likely at this point, although nothing is ever certain in politics), it could turn to anybody. The question is what faction controls the convention; if the establishment, some combination of Edwards-Gephart-Lieberman will probably be nominated…and the Petulant Left stalks out in high dudgeon. If the Petulant Left controls it, the ticket will likely be some combinaton of Clark-Dean-Kerry; the establishment may swallow hard and accept the near-certainty of a drubbing in November for the sake of a show of unity, or they may get tired of the children and stay home for the rest of the year.

    5. Eric Lurio Says:

      The only way there’s going to be an open convention is if Kerry does something soooooooo stupid as to make the Dean rant look like the Gettysburg address.

      The simple fact is that Kerry is going to win most of the primaries on tuesday, and the only way Dean can win is if most of the Deaniacs have already voted. They began voting before Iowa, remember?

      At this point the only person who could beat Kerry is Edwards and only if he wins South Carolina and comes in a close second everywhere else but Oklahoma, where Clark looks like he’s going to win.

      Is there any way we can get Tonly Blair the nomination?

    6. erp Says:

      jj – After agreeing in advance to accept, Gephardt would be nominated from the floor knowing full well that he can’t win. None of the other candidates would be stupid enough to accept the nomination if it’s a sure loser.

      It has to be a brokered convention because that’s how Hillary has orchestrated it to give her the most flexibility. She’s in control and don’t anybody forget it.

    7. JES Says:

      Gephardt won’t get the presidential nomination even if there is a brokered convention, but he’d be a smart VP pick for Kerry or (if he can make a comeback) Dean.

    8. Dennis Slater Says:

      Senator Kerry needs VP running mate with some integrity to offset his lack of it. Hmmmm. I can’t seem to come up with a good, honest name out of the current bunch of availables to recommend.

      The big question about Senator Kerry, if he is elected, is whether his wife will be another Hillary Clinton in the White House. OMG, please, no. At least Mrs Heinz-Kerry would be unlikely to make off with government property when they vacate the place.

      A good ad for the Republicans would be one of those morphing things where Senator Clinton morphs into Mrs. Heinz-Kerry with appropriate shots of Hillary’s troubling career in the background (health care meetings, Vince Foster, travel office, a pile of records on a night stand, vast conspiracy accusation, the walk to the waiting helicopter, etc.). If the same geniuses who create the Super Bowl ads worked on the political ads campaigns would be infinitely more interesting.

    9. GDubya Says:

      Does anybody think that Kerry has faced a real test yet?

      The interesting thing to me, is that the present poll position he enjoys comes not only from the fact that Bush has not attacked him yet (look at Dean’s self-immolation to see why), but that none of the other Democrats has made a real effort to attack Kerry’s record. It’s comparatively weak, and sooner or later, the others will realize they have to attack Kerry or lose without a fight.

      When the General Election comes, we’re really looking at only one of two situations: A guy with no record (Edwards, Dean) or a guy with a weak record (Kerry, Clark). And there is a real character issue with more than a couple of these guys; what we saw happen with Dean in January could easily happen with some of these others in the summer.

    10. Theodosius Says:

      Computer security recourse: SecureRoot


      Steven Taylor has the Post-New Hampshire Toast-O-Meter up at PoliBlog….

    12. VodkaPundit Says:

      How Do You Want Your Eggs?
      Just in time for the weekend talking head shows, Steven Taylor has the new Democratic Primary Toast-o-Meter….

    13. Priorities & Frivolities Says:

      The Primaries
      The tireless Steven Taylor (who desperately needs to hitch a ride out of the South) gives me no reason to write about elections today. He may have forgotten to note, however, that Joe Trippi is a crybaby….

    14. Signifying Nothing Says:

      John Kerry: French non-Toast
      Steven Taylor has your weekend edition of the Toast-O-Meter up and running, looking ahead to Tuesday’s seven-state primary.

    15. Insults Unpunished Says:

      Weekly Assessment Of The Democratic Candidates
      Steven, of PoliBlog, has his weekly assessment of the seven dwarves is up. The most notable for me — being a Dean hater and all — is that he blew so much money trying to stay competitive in Iowa and…

      Steven Taylor has posted The Toast-O-Meter (1/31/04 Edition), Steven’s weekly assessment of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. As always it is entertaining and worth your time.

    17. Mark the Pundit Says:

      Toast Time
      The latest Toast-o-Meter is here for your reading enjoyment.

    18. Go Dubya! Says:

      Toast time again
      PoliBlog has the latest Toast-O-Meter up and running for your perusal. As usual, Steven breaks down the presidential race and sees who’s hot and who’s toast….

    19. Citizen Smash - The Indepundit Says:

      Surveying the Democratic Field
      WE ALL have our prejudices and perceptions about the Democratic candidates. The following are mine. John Kerry and I actually…

    20. Backcountry Conservative Says:

      Steven Taylor has this week’s edition of the Toast-O-Meter as well as a link to a column he wrote for the Huntsville Times….

    21. King of Fools Says:

      Toast Report
      Poliblog’s weekly Toast-O-Meter (Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!) can be found here: The Toast-O-Meter (1/31/04 Edition)…

    22. Obsidian Wings Says:

      Down to the wire
      Make or break time for some of the candidates and time to face reality for most of the rest. Let’s chat, shall we? (Poliblog, a site that needs blogrolling, was most helpful for all this)

    23. Wizbang Says:

      Rope A Dope?
      Is the Dean campaign engaged in a rope a dope maneuver today? They’re certainly setting the expectation of also ran status. Whether this spin or strategy doesn’t much mater – what matters is how heavy the media momentum for Kerry…

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