It’s been an up-and-down week in
politics. Here are my picks for the big winners and big losers of
the week:

Kate Green

Howard Dean: Still reeling from getting upset in Iowa, you
decide that you’re going to give a fiery, Pattonesque speech
to staff and loyal supporters. Good. That’ll fire them up for
a hard battle in New Hampshire. But that’s not what you did,
Howard. You rolled up your sleeves, started talking really loud and
made strange falsetto pirate noises. You read a list of states,
implying that you were going to fight hard in each. Maybe, but you
scared the shit out of everyone there, and Howard, you won’t
win South Carolina. They don’t like carpetbaggers, minorities
or Yankees.

Verdict: Big loser.

U.S. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi: In an attempt to
comment on the State of the Union, you instead appeared bug-eyed
and crazy.

Verdict: Big loser.

John Kerry: Holy crap John, you’re on the scoreboard!
Voters managed to look past your painfully elongated facial
features, your Gore-like mannerisms and your shameless pandering
and rewarded you with Iowa. You’re a Kennedy with no
charisma, but you beat the odds. Sadly, you will face inevitable
defeat at some later date, either at the hand of your own party or
by the great Bush machine, but enjoy the moment. It’s Millah
Time!

Verdict: Big winner.

Dick Gephardt: You brought out all the stops. You got Chuck
Berry. You got primo food and drink. You cracked open the war
chest. And Iowa handed you a pathetic fourth place finish. While Al
Sharpton remains in the race, you bow out, hoping that they kept
your seat warm for you back in Washington. They didn’t, so
join Carol Moseley Braun at the bar and toast your not having an
ounce of electability.

Verdict: Big loser.

John Edwards: One month ago, everyone wrote you off. But you
stopped telling the “my daddy was a mill worker”
speech, you flossed once a day and said your prayers and you
finished a strong second in Iowa. Now, instead of being jammed in
the trunk, you are riding shotgun going into the fast- approaching
South Carolina primary, where your southern background and toothy
smile will pay dividends. Kick it up a notch, and you might find
yourself toe to toe with Karl Rove and the Bush Boys. Nice.

Verdict: Big winner.

Wesley Clark: Wes, you were my boy, Wes, you had the military
credentials to be tough on Bush’s foreign policy. But a total
lack of domestic policy has left you dead in the water, and now,
you content yourself with pathetic potshots at the real contenders.
Good luck in New Hampshire, but Iraq won’t win this one for
you buddy, and it’s taken you two months to realize that.

Verdict: Big loser.

Al Sharpton: ?

Verdict: Push.

President Bush: Instead of giving an actual depiction of the
state of the union, you took some liberties with the speech, and
despite suffering from what has to be a bona fide speech
impediment, you made efficient use of a mere 50 minutes to
successfully rake your Democratic foes over hot coals, mention
words like “America,” “Terror” and
“Regime,” as often as possible, and solidify your
upcoming re-election bid. Granted, I didn’t watch the speech,
preferring to spend the time barricaded in my room, but from the
transcripts, I hear that its stuttering cadence and jingoistic
message were pure rapture.

There were so many successes for you Tuesday evening: the
numerous television shots of the token minorities in attendance,
the embarrassing shots of Ted Kennedy slumped in his chair, even
your good fortune in making it through the whole thing without any
major gaffes. However, possibly your biggest victory of the night
was when you read a long list of nations that supported the war in
Iraq. Included in the list was El Salvador. Excluded from the list
were China, France, Russia and Liechtenstein. Nevermind that of the
long list of nations that you read, only a handful matter, and
fewer still could the average American find on a map; the list
itself was so long that it appeared as though you cared about the
international community. I’m sold.

Verdict: Big winner.

U.S. troops stationed in Iraq: I’m sure you found the
president’s optimistic projections about Iraq moving. The
downside is that after the speech ended, the fact that you’re
all stuck in a bombed-out, poverty-stricken, semi-anarchic shell of
a nation became painfully obvious once again. Plus side: Bush is a
“glass is half full” kind of guy. Down side: The glass
isn’t half full.

Verdict: 500 Americans dead and rising.

Adams can be reached at
“mailto:dnadams@umich.edu”>dnadams@umich.edu.

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