THE PLANK OCTOBER 9, 2007
It's probably smart of John Edwards to answer questions about the inevitably of Hillary Clinton by recalling "the inevitably of Howard Dean"; but, assuming Edwards does actually believe what he's saying, I think it's wishful thinking. Dean, after all, was the unlikeliest (not to mention shakiest) of "frontrunners"--opposed by large swaths of the Democratic establishment and fueled by a relatively young and inexperienced campaign team. Hillary, by contrast, is the Democratic establishment and boasts a seasoned, almost robotically disciplined political operation. Going into the Iowa Caucuses, Dean was the equivalent of an inflated tech stock; and when he lost Iowa his bubble burst and he went into an immediate nosedive. Even if Hillary loses Iowa--and, according to the latest Des Moines Register poll, she's actually increased her lead there--she's certainly strong enough to survive such a stumble and avoid the fate Dean suffered. I don't think Hillary's victory in the Democratic primaries is inevitable per se, but it certainly looks likely. And, if she does wind up losing, I think it will be for reasons very different from those that sunk Dean.