Steven Taylor’s Toast-O-Meter at PoliBlog gets longer every week. Next month, it will be released on a 4-CD set.
However, I must quibble with his assertion that a second place for Howard Dean means he can “still claim victory.” I think Dean has been up so long, and has seemed so invincible over the past few months, that anything other than a first-place finish will erase that veneer of indestructibility he’s worked so hard to foster. Look at this blurb from the Boston Globe today "Under Pressure, Dean Retools":
The candidate famous for straight talk has cloistered himself inside a private bus and cut his stump speech in half, ending his long practice of taking audience questions and limiting his conversations with voters to a chance encounter afterward.Can't you just picture his handlers saying: "For God's sake, Howard, SHUT UP!"? So Howard Dean is cutting back on the very thing that has propelled him into front-runner status: his so-called “straight talk.” If he loses Iowa, he’ll be thrown off-balance (think Al Gore after the first debate with Dubya.) Get that man another sweater!
I was going to wait until tomorrow, but here (for now) is my Iowa prediction: Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards. So Dean wins anyway (making everything I just said moot) but not by much.