Dean's Inevitability and Kerry's Fall
Here is the Karen Tumulty piece in yesterdayís Time Magazine where she reports that Kerry fundraisers are saying to the candidate that the money spigot has all but dried up. The paragraph is on page two. The overall theme of the piece is that Howard Dean may have the nomination wrapped up already. After questioning for months the electability of Howard Dean in November 2004, more and more of the media now talk in terms of Dean already having the nomination sewed up. This is driven by the cash and organization advantages that Dean has built up in the early contests, and the assumption that wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire would given Dean momentum that would carry him to victory throughout the remaining contests.
Of course, it is far from given that Dean will grab Iowa. And I donít necessarily buy the argument that Dean victories in Iowa and New Hampshire will translate to victories in South Carolina, Arizona, and other following states west or south. Dean has the Granite State locked up, as the latest Marist Poll shows today. This will be the death knell for Kerry, who didnít plan for a fallback later in the schedule (like New York, where he is now dead in the water) and is putting all his chips into what now will be a failed effort to even run a close second in New Hampshire. For Kerry to save himself, notwithstanding the plaudits he received for his performance over the weekend, he would have to run a strong third to Dean and Gephardt in Iowa, and run a surprisingly close race to Dean in New Hampshire. Yet as the Tumulty piece above indicates, Kerry wonít have the money to do both, and Gephardt or Edwards may make a run at respectability in New Hampshire as the Kerry money stream dries up. Also, if Wesley Clark steadies and has more good performances in national spotlights like he did in handling Russert on MTP Sunday, Kerry will fall even further into irrelevance.