But, as yet another 72 hours of Dean coverage makes clear, nothing continues to succeed like success, and Dean's rapid-response TV ad strategy, fundraising, anti-Bush message, endorsements, and overall aggressiveness continue to bear fruit — and get lots of press.
All those things are catnip to the Dean base, and they also impress political reporters, who are suckers for campaigns that are doing well — magnifying every victory and minimizing setbacks (and flashes of unattractive candidate traits).
Time has a classic of the genre, mentioning Dean's past and future speed bumps, but mostly being blown away by how agile the campaign continues to be.
And now, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos has learned that the New Hampshire NEA, a major force in Granite State Democratic politics, will give their nod to The Doctor on the very day of the Dust-up.
And the Daily News welcomes Dean to a monster day of fundraising in New York with a piece about how deft his money machine has been. LINK
Greg Sargent of New York magazine got a hold of an e-mail sent by Howard Dean New York fundraiser Linsay Lewis about today's Big Apple day. LINK
"'As many of you know, December 8th is a very important fund-raising day for this campaign,' Lewis wrote last week in a private e-mail to big-money supporters. 'We are poised to raise more money than any Democratic primary candidate ever has in a single day — a truly historic day that only New York can do!'"
"Democratic National Committee officials believe that the current record may be $2 million raised on one day in 1996 by Bill Clinton. Associates of Lewis say he has privately said the campaign is on track to beat that sum on December 8. But Dean spokesman Eric Schmeltzer — perhaps dampening expectations — denies Lewis made the prediction."
As for the other Democrats, Wes Clark is enjoying some good clips, while John Kerry continues to take some hits. Joe Lieberman is getting quantities of coverage, mostly mixed.
So even as Dean says arguably silly things about the president and 9/11, about the Soviet Union (sic), and about his sealed records (and check out Newsweek's exclusive about some stuff that is allegedly in there), he keeps flying high, all the way into Durham tomorrow.
Of course, it's hard to overstate the confidence of a campaign that takes refuge in a Judicial Watch suit as the path to justice.
Speaking of Dean and confidence, the campaign is turning the latest TV attack on him in Iowa by some anonymous wily Brothers in Arms on guns into a brilliant "you've got the power" response ad.
But we are shocked and horrified at the lack of outrage by Democrats outside of Burlington to a Demo-on-Dem attack ad by a group whose leaders have Harkin and Gephardt ties and unclear backers (We'll hold off on our guess … ..).
And we are shocked and disappointed that Fournier et al didn't seem to advance this "whodunnit?" over the weekend.
Ron Brownstein watched the beginning of the ad wars last week, and concludes that fierce anger on both ends of the spectrum is what's feeding the fire and filling the coffers of the parties and the independent groups. And forget about a mandate in 2004. LINK
"In this environment, subtlety isn't likely to be a big winner next year. More likely, the next 11 months will look a lot like the last seven days, with polarization providing the resources and the rationale for unrestrained political warfare that divides the country even further."