WaPo looks at the attacks on Dean as we get closer to Iowa.
Democrats nervous about Dean worry that he cannot defeat Bush, but working in Dean’s favor so far is the inability of his rivals to demonstrate they have significantly more appeal against the president. The question for his rivals is whether any can ignite the voters enough to damage Dean and put together the support and resources to beat him.
I said a while back that there isn’t enough time for attacks to absorb now, unless the media helps out. That may be the case, but I doubt it. As a result, I think Dean will probably be wounded going into the primaries and the wound will wind up fatal after the primaries.
Now for the hedge. I do think that the race will be close, even with Dean. His voters are more committed than the Presidents. Yeah, you read that right. The conservatives are angry with the big spending, the evangelicals are angry about the failure to get judges through the Senate, and the libertarian Republicans are angry at the War on Terror. They’ll probably unite against Howard Dean, for the most part, but it will be slow and unstable.