December 29, 2003


Back to the drawing board? (Lexington, Dec 18th 2003, The Economist)

PERHAPS Al Gore really is cursed. Last week this column argued that his endorsement made Howard Dean look unstoppable. Then a diabolus ex machina appeared to throw a weighty obstacle in the good doctor's path. The unearthing of Saddam Hussein has not only left Dr Dean looking visibly discombobulated; it has also relaunched the search for an alternative Democrat to take on George Bush. It may be hard to overhaul the former Vermont governor so late in the day, but that has not stopped the Anyone But Dean lot marching into action again.

Saddam's discovery solidified the party establishment's swirling fears about Dr Dean's anti-war insurgency. What happens if the Baathist “dead-enders” really do come to a dead end? Or if Mr Hussein's trial fixes the spotlight on his crimes against humanity rather than those missing weapons Dr Dean bangs on about? The White House will paint Dr Dean as the man who would have left a monster in power. Many Democrats worry that this could spell doom not just in the presidential fight but also in the battles for the Senate and the House.

For one man, the resumption of the search for an ABD candidate could not have come at a better time: Dick Gephardt.

Anyone who's read What it Takes or just observed Mr. Gephardt's futile attempts to retake the House for ten years, will find the notion of him as Democratic Party savior mind-boggling.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2003 9:48 AM

It remains amusing that what the Economist calls "so late in the day" is still only December of 2003, before any primaries have taken place. Such is modern politics.

Posted by: John Thacker at December 29, 2003 12:14 PM

Right now, a Gephardt nomination followed by a Dole-like "loss with dignity" could be the best thing Democrats can hope for, given the frontrunner's increasingly error-prone but teflon-coated primary campaign.

Posted by: John at December 29, 2003 2:39 PM

Gephardt is the least incompetent of the nine.

Well, there's the Witch King, but he belongs to a different Nine.

Would the DNC run him?

Posted by: Chris at December 29, 2003 4:28 PM

Dole didn't stand to lose 20% of his party--a Dean defeater would.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2003 4:44 PM

The person who's gained the most from the Democratic race, so far, (leaving aside Hillary), is Sharpton.

Unburdened by any expectations of winning, he's remade himself in a national spotlight, leaving behind the fat, Tawana Brawley, and the bling-bling style in favor of sleek, sophisticated, and funny.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 30, 2003 10:32 AM