Saturday, May 24, 2003

"Howard Dean might just be our only hope."


[T]wo revelations have led me to the conclusion that Howard Dean just might represent the one and only hope of the Democratic party.

Matthew Langer’s observations are worth reading for a number of reasons. Most significantly, he was active in Gary Hart’s exploratory presidential bid and has been highly critical of Governor Dean in the recent past. (“Highly critical” is an understatement, actually.)

Beyond that, he brings an analysis to the current race that is clearly not motivated by a desire to see Governor Dean elected. Rather, he comes at it from a desire to see the Democrats beat President Bush – and therefore is a bit more objective than some of the rest of us who committed to the Dean campaign long ago.

We’re moving into an interesting phase of the campaign. There are rumors – and once these things start, they have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies – that Senator Edwards is losing momentum and may pull out of the race. The Gephardt as waffler meme is starting to propogate (did anyone else catch Jake Tapper’s catty comments about Gephardt on NPR yesterday?). Carol Moseley-Braun is already making noise that the end of her campaign may be near.

The battle for the departed candidates’ supporters will occupy a fair amount of effort the next four months. Those supporters will look for a few things: who’s got momentum? Who’s making a difference?

Thanks to the points made in Ryan Lizza’s recent piece about the prevalence of blogs supporting Governor Dean, not to mention the shock and awe Meetup numbers, the voices those supporters will be hearing will likely be those of Dean partisans. If Matthew Langer’s turn-around is any indication, Governor Dean may be poised for a nice bump as candidates start dropping out.

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