Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Feb. 7, 2000 / 1 Adar I, 5760

Chris Matthews

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



A prime-time primary for California -- MANCHESTER, New Hampshire - The big news in tomorrow's voting here is that the California presidential primary, advanced this year to March 7, is now going to count.

The two mavericks who made such a showing in New England, Bill Bradley and John McCain, are heading to the Golden West.

For awhile here, it didn't look like that would happen.

Had Al Gore scored a smashing triumph in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, as the late polls predicted, the challenge by the former NBA star and U.S. senator from New Jersey might now lie dead in the New Hampshire snow.

Tuesday's contest was decided for the vice president by just 6,649 votes, 75,449 to 68,800. But it gives Bradley the credibility to wage a competitive campaign through an avalanche of Democratic primaries on the first Tuesday in March: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

California is, of course, the grand prize in this huge cache of delegates.

Based upon his strong showing in New Hampshire, Bradley could pose a major threat to the vice president in New York and Connecticut, in whose joint media market he enjoyed a decade of stardom with the celebrated Knicks. His boyhood roots along the Mississippi River give Bradley the chance to win in his native Missouri.

But for Bradley, the next and last opportunity to crack Gore's sense of inevitability lies in California.

It is there that his Kennedyesque appeal to ideals, his Olympian celebrity and maverick challenge to politics-as-usual can truly be tested against his rival's case for Clinton-Gore continuity.

John McCain, whose New Hampshire campaign proved an uneasy night of the soul, awoke Wednesday with his own California dream. His 19-point win over Texas Gov. George W. Bush in New Hampshire confirmed his strategy of skipping the Iowa caucuses the week before.

If he wins in South Carolina on Feb. 19, he will prove the most daring island-hopper since Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He will have positioned himself for an all-out struggle with Bush in California and elsewhere on March 7.

Who wins in California may well depend on a number of factors. Bradley has the money to compete with Gore, but does he have the message?

Can he sharpen his case to Democrats and independents that Bill Clinton's pliant vice president is not a credible champion of reform?

McCain, who may lack the money to compete with the well-financed Texas governor, has no lack of message. His Tuesday night attack on the "truth-twisting politics of Bill Clinton and Al Gore" showed that may be the toughest, best line of the 2000 campaign so far.

McCain is sounding like a man who has already become his party's presidential nominee. More to the point, he's campaigning like a man who might win.

If that sells in the South in the next two weeks, the voters of California may find themselves with two decisive presidential contests the morning of March 7, with the country rooting for the mavericks to knock off the well-born sons.

JWR contributor Chris Matthews is the author of Hardball. and hosts a CNBC show of the same name. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


02/02/00: Clinton's final campaign: Take the blame
01/31/00: Which GOPer is willing to pay for his positions?
01/27/00: John McCain's gay radar
01/25/00: This time, candidates get 'authenticity' check
01/18/00: AIDS dooms 1 in 4 in tiny Swaziland
01/13/00: Complacency might be the campaign key
01/10/00: A choice, not an echo
01/06/00: The role of a lifetime
01/03/00: Dangers in Gore's dirty war
12/30/99: Churchill's fighting words saved the century
12/28/99: Candidate Gore's separation anxiety
12/17/99: Catch 22: Leading candidates don't lead
12/17/99: New Democratic leader on the horizon
12/15/99: Is Hillary clueless?
12/08/99: Taking Buchananism to the streets
12/03/99: Why are we so obsessed with 'spin'?
12/01/99: Donald Trump, 'Sinatra of Steel'
11/29/99: Why AlGore will be our next president
11/23/99: After the fall
11/17/99: Our conveniently forgetful president
11/15/99: Next president: Male, WASP, self-selected
11/10/99: Backroom Bill
11/08/99: Please don't feed the 'pander bears'
11/03/99: Battle of the Bubba clones
11/01/99: Pat Buchanan, kamikaze candidate
10/27/99: The year of the woman... voter
10/25/99: The Curse of the Bubba
10/21/99: GOP gives Clinton his finest hour
10/18/99: Clinton's last hurrah
10/13/99: Rough seas for Capt. Ventura
10/11/99: Gore targets Bradley's strength
10/06/99: Bradley's got the right Rx
10/04/99: Buchanan, Churchill and Hitler
09/30/99: Who'll spin political gold in Golden State Gore or Bradley?
09/27/99: Here's a millennial checklist for candidates
09/22/99: The biography battle
09/20/99: Buchanan's new book is a must-read
09/15/99: Don't rule out Beatty
09/13/99: The man with the sun on his face
09/08/99: W. vs. Jr. on dope and the draft
The FALN: Hillary's Willie Horton
08/26/99: Bill's guilt fuels Hill's race
08/25/99: The seemingly inexhaustible strength of America's free enterprise
08/23/99: GOP candidates are weak also-rans
08/16/99: Bubba on Bubba
08/11/99: Hillary's agonizing attempts to understand
08/09/99: With warm regards, Richard Nixon
08/04/99: Weicker: real third party is on the Left
08/02/99: Dubyah's last hangover
07/27/99: Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh; capitalism is gonna win

© 2000, NEA