I'm sure you've all seen the further developments by this point, but Dean lost big.
With 18 percent of the vote, Dean finished 20 points behind the winner, Kerry. Edwards scored a surprise second-place finish with 32 percent in nearly complete returns.I'm amazed. I'm not surprised that Dean didn't win, but I think everyone expected it to be a lot closer than 20 points.
Dean blames the loss on recent attacks on his front-runner status, but his own gaffes provided more than enough rope to swing from. The big unknown factor was whether his internet-based organization could bring voters to the caucus as effectively as it raised money, and it looks like it couldn't, at least in Iowa.
Frankly, I think Dean's out of the running. Unless he wins convincingly in New Hampshire his presidential run is over, and judging from the effectiveness of his organization in Iowa I'm not optimistic for his chances in the Granite State.
On one hand, I'm disappointed. Even though I don't like his politics, I wish his internet based organizational structure had proven to be more effective. It's also unfortunate from a political standpoint, because Dean was the least electable of the major Democratic candidates, and as a Republican I would have liked to have seen him face off against Bush. Clark is a close second, and I don't doubt Bush could annihilate him as well, but Kerry and Edwards are a bit more politically formidable, in my opinion.
On the other hand, I'm pleased to see that the Democrats have rejected Dean's virulent anti-Americanism. Many Democrats may have initially supported him due to sympathetic anger, but I'm glad they got over it long enough to rethink their votes before actually casting them. It speaks well of Iowan Democrats that they didn't allow their emotions to rule the day by selecting a petty, pandering hate-monger as their nominee. (I don't say that to be patronizing.)
New Hampshire will be all the more interesting now that it's do-or-die for Dean.