The referee has counted to nine

David Tell at the Weekly Standard was one of the first pundits to spot Howard Dean’s emergence last year. And he has been one the few conservative pundits to argue that Dean had a fair chance of defeating President Bush. In the aftermath of the Iowa non-concession speech, however, Tell concludes that Dean is finished. Indeed, he predicts that Dean will finish fourth in New Hampshire.
Tell’s reasoning is straightforward and difficult to dispute — Dean has made himself a national laughing-stock. Only Bill Clinton has survived experiencing anything approaching that status in an election year, and Clinton did so in part because Jennifer Flowers’ allegations could be denied, in part because they looked like a smear, and in part because he turned out to be Bill Clinton. As Tell points out, Dean can’t deny the Iowa videotape, or claim it’s a smear. Nor is he a Bill Clinton.
Prudence suggests that we wait until tonight’s debate and a post-debate round of polling before we count out the doctor. But his case must be close to terminal.

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