Published on Tuesday, December 9, 2003 by The Progressive
The Gore Endorsement
by Matthew Rothschild
Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean gives a big boost to the frontrunner and now makes him the all but prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.
It should help Dean enormously in Iowa, where he is in a head-to-head fight with Dick Gephardt. If Dean succeeds in besting Gephardt there, the Missouri Congressman is toast.
John Kerry is dying already in New Hampshire, and a Dean win there would vault the former Vermont governor further ahead.
But it still would not clinch the deal.
After New Hampshire, the field will winnow down considerably. By that point, Gephardt and Kerry and Lieberman--three of the early heavyweights--may all throw in the towel.
Either Edwards or more likely Clark may then emerge as the last challenger to the right of Dean. All the old powerbrokers from the DLC, many of Clinton's cronies, as well as Democratic elected officials uneasy with Dean will then throw their support behind this challenger in a Stop Dean push.
And the battle will rage a little while longer.
But with Dean's grassroots appeal, and now with Gore's imprimatur, he'll be hard to stop.
Aside from the horse-race implications, Gore's endorsement was noteworthy for its substance.
He called the Iraq War a "catastrophic mistake" and praised Dean for having "the insight and the courage to say the right thing" on that issue.
Gore also talked about the need to "remake the Democratic Party as a force for justice and progress and good in America."
An odd message from Gore, who used to be head of the DLC, but a welcome one nonetheless.
Copyright 2003 The Progressive, Madison, WI