the cold light of morning

Well, for a few weeks there, it looked like the 2004 Democratic candidate might actually be someone I could support without holding my nose. Should have known that wouldn’t last. I don’t think I have anything useful to add to the general post-mortem wisdom on the Dean campaign (and no, folks, a “solid second” by more than 10 points in the state you had completely wired 6 weeks ago is neither victory nor an incipient turnaround), so let’s just move on.

My completely useless and unfounded prognostication: Kerry’s run as “frontrunner” is going to be incredibly short-lived. The Sorta-Super Tuesday states that have their primaries on February 3rd are:

New Mexico
North Dakota
South Carolina
If any of those is an obvious gimme for Kerry, I don’t see it. (Maybe Delaware. Maybe.) Momentum counts for lots, sure, but he’s got no money, no organization, no endorsements, no issues, no charisma and is still, last I checked, from Massachusetts. And while I presently rate the odds of Howard Dean winning any of those states as precisely zero, he’s got a huge war chest, every incentive in the world to spend it in the next five days, and only one possible target for it: Kerry.

My crystal ball says: Dean and Kerry spend the next five days trying to immolate each other, and mutually succeed. Absent a sudden miraculous infusion of competence and media-savvy into the Clark campaign, John Edwards picks up 4-6 states by default, and is standing directly underneath the spigot when the big-donor money pump gets switched to on. We, the people, get to spend the next several months hearing about how a successful trial lawyer and senator is “too young and too green” to defeat George W. Bush, failed CEO, Texas governor and unelected President.

T-Minus ten months, give or take. Gonna be a bumpy ride. I guess I can get enthusiastic about Candidate Edwards. Give me a few weeks though.

(For the record, I’ll be voting Dean, long after it matters. May as well remind whoever it is that there’s a constituency to be catered to.)

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