Terry M. Neal over at WaPo is discussing Dean’s electability. I have another question. Has Dean jumped the shark?
You pop culture fans know this is in reference to the Fonz jumping over a shark while on water skis in Happy Days. That is the point generally thought of when Happy Days was no longer a show to be taken seriously.
The question we usually ask of candidates is “has candidate X peaked too soon.”
Generally it is a news media driven story. The media starts to pile on the candidate with criticism and close inspection. The candidate’s momentum slows and gradually he begins to go down hill. Candidates often contribute to the dynamic.
We have Dean now saying, openly, he will talk religion in the South, but not the North. He will repeal Bush’s tax cuts, which were tax increases on the middle class, but then he will give tax cuts to the middle class.
Can his campaign be taken seriously any more. Voters in primary states are just now beginning to wake up from their four year presidential political slumber.
Voters who are just now paying attention hear a guy say things like God wouldn’t make homosexuals if homosexuality was a sin. Silly statements of no great consequence, but still silly statements.
Has Dean jumped the shark? Yes. I think objectively he has. The news coverage has turned hostile. He is yesterday’s best thing. Wesley Clark is waiting in the wings. Dean has lost momentum.
The question now is, even though he has peaked too soon, is it so soon as to deny him victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, which are rapidly aproaching. He may get a boost out of victories there that would forestall further decline. Even like Happy Days and Moonlighting, he may finish out the season without being cancelled. At that point, he’d go into the general election a parody of aserious Democratic challenger to President Bush.