David Limbaugh

The surreal thing about the Democratic presidential race is that Senator John Kerry, a man who until now has failed to inspire the slightest enthusiasm, a man who was all but written off, has come out of nowhere to dominate the field. Why?

The answer has far less to do with John Kerry himself than with the precipitous implosion of Howard Dean and the timing of his fall -- right before the important Iowa contest -- as well as the striking weakness of the other candidates.

Kerry is the gratuitous beneficiary of a process of elimination and Democratic voters on the rebound, seeking sanity in a relationship after breaking up with the volatile Dean. It would be one thing if John Kerry had been an unknown who rode in on his white horse to salvage the party. But he has been around for a long time.

Democrats obviously sensed the anemia of their slate, especially on defense issues. Why else would some of them have convinced political neophyte Wesley Clark to try to make the highest office in the land an entry-level position? But early on Clark exhibited egotistical and untrustworthy tendencies, not to mention ambiguity about his authenticity as a member of the Democratic Party. He may have been the shortest-lived, bright shining (four) star in recent presidential campaign history.

Senator Joe Lieberman chose the unenviable path of challenging the liberal dogma. To be sure Lieberman is a liberal; at least he proved his leftist bona fides as Al Gore's running mate in 2000. But he did the right thing with Iraq. Such behavior, however, is punished, not rewarded, by the political left. Lieberman was toast the second he made clear, unlike Senator Kerry, that he would not attempt to wiggle out of his vote authorizing the Iraq war resolution.

Howard Dean was the vehicle through which the anti-war, anti-Bush crowd would vent its rage. But when he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself one too many times, even the media peeled away from him, dragging with them all but the Kool-Aid drinkers. Once Dean's irascibility and instability were on display for all to see, he was history, beyond redemption, just as surely as Senator Eagleton was as VP candidate in 1972, when word circulated about his electric shock treatments.

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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