IOWA: Obama Down, Edwards Rises

video via MakeThemAccountable

Yesterday on Chris Matthews, though no one noticed, he began his show with a nod to Obama by repeating David Axelrod’s line about Woody Allen, which was part of a statement that got Obama’s chief guru and his candidate in trouble in the first place. Regardless of Matthews hailing the Third World will shake if Obama wins Iowa, he and Andrew Sullivan are in for quite a reality check in tomorrow’s Post. Evidently, it’s not all about Mr. Obama’s face:

… As someone who once was that young Muslim boy everyone seems to be imagining (albeit in Iran rather than Egypt), I’ll let you in on a secret: He could not care less who the president of the United States is. He is totally unconcerned with whatever barriers a black (or female, for that matter) president would be breaking. He couldn’t name three U.S. presidents if he tried. He cares only about one thing: what the United States will do.

That boy is angry at the United States not because its presidents have all been white. He is angry because of Washington’s unconditional support for Israel; because the United States has more than 150,000 troops in Iraq; because the United States gives the dictator of his country some $2 billion a year in aid, the vast majority of which goes toward supporting a police state. He is angry at the United States because he thinks it has hegemony over almost every aspect of his world. … ..

In their glowing endorsement of Obama, the editors of the Boston Globe noted that “the first American president of the 21st century has not appreciated the intricate realities of our age. The next president must.”

… Obama may possess all the intuition of a fortuneteller. But as chair of a Senate subcommittee on Europe, he has never made an official trip to Western Europe (except a one-day stopover in London in August 2005) or held a single policy hearing. He’s never faced off with foreign leaders and has no idea what a delicate sparring match diplomacy in the Middle East can be. And at a time in which the United States has gone from sole superpower to global pariah in a mere seven years, these things matter. … ..

Matter they should, which is why Joe Biden is getting some attention.

Maybe that’s why when you look at things as they stand right now, Edwards is rising, as is Clinton,
but Obama
has taken a decided downturn
. As Obama has gotten more scrutiny lately, he’s just not wearing all that well (To add… read Lambert – h/t reader MA_Blue) which has people taking another look at Edwards; with the last couple days of gaffes
only making matters worse for Mr. Obama. Between Axelrod’s comment, Obama’s “I-I-I-I” performance defending him, coupled with Mr. Obama’s wooden and disconnected reaction to the Bhutto slaying, adding the his sexist insult about tea drinking on top of it all,
Obama seems to be back on his heels and definitely on the defensive.

But if anyone reads Eriposte
today (who cites one of
reader BMerry’s excellent Hot Topic diaries
), they would understand that the problem
with voting for Obama over Edwards or Clinton is really much larger.

With respect to Sen. Obama’s self-touted opposition to the Iraq war and how
his “foreign policy experience” (for lack of a better phrase) has
“helped inform [his] opposition to the war in Iraq”, I see little
evidence for this especially given that all of that Magnificent Experienceâ„¢
didn’t prevent
from blocking funding for the war or forcing a timeline based withdrawal
from Iraq from 2004 through 2006. Even in 2003, he
was forced by the Black Agenda Report
to republish his 2002 speech opposing
the war on his U.S. Senate campaign website after they discovered it had been
removed from the site and wrote that his campaign was largely non-responsive
about their queries about the removal. Further, on more than one occasion,
he gave the impression that he
might have voted differently
if he had actually been in the U.S. Senate
at the time of the Iraq resolution. As the Common
Ills blog
noted (h/t B.
, emphasis in original):

…”But, I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports,” Mr. Obama
said. “What would I have done? I don’t know. What I know is that from
my vantage point the case was not made.”

Do you get that, do you grasp it? Barack Obama told the New York Times in
2004 that he didn’t know how he would have voted on the resolution HAD HE

As I’ve said many times, there is strong reason to believe that Mr. Obama would
have voted along with Clinton and his colleagues in favor of the war resolution, especially considering
that Obama’s and Clinton’s votes are exactly the same throughout the Iraq war years. The evidence is overwhelming that the one thing Mr. Obama hangs his candidacy on, his vaunted 2002 anti Iraq war speech, is a brief snapshot that never develops into an action movie.

It’s been a bad few days for Mr. Obama, with his team faltering badly, so don’t
be surprised to see an Edwards win in Iowa. I can’t handicap it all the way
down, but you can bet it will be close. Iowa Independent still puts Obama as
the “power” player in Iowa, but my friend Chase Martyn has been biased
for Obama for quite some time. The trends
are unmistakable
, with Obama down.

As for the second choices, I’ll let Big
Tent Democrat
and Chris
haggle over the deal potential, because it’s far less reliable than
throwing darts at a board. Come Thursday, it all hinges on who shows up.

I’ve come to learn that right now nobody knows anything about what will happen
in Iowa. But if you’re placing bets I’d wager on Edwards or Clinton.
However, given the closeness of the race right now that doesn’t mean Obama couldn’t
pull off a win, though it’s less likely today than it has ever been.

UPDATE II: New ARG poll. Clinton leads 31%, with Edwards and Obama at 24%. Also:

Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama among women 38% to 21%, with John Edwards at 20%. Among men, Edwards is at 28%, Obama is at 28%, and Clinton is at 25%. 23% of Clinton’s support, 18% of Edward’s support, and 23% of Obama’s support say they could change their minds between now and January 3.

UPDATE: Read Joe Conason, who delivers a deadly blow in “Obama’s European problem.”