Given the expectation built up around the Dean campaign, the letdown of the last month has been momentus.

Although it’s not inconceivable that Howard Dean could pull a victory in Wisconsin then ride it to the nomination, it’s pretty darn close. His fundraising apparatus continues to pull in the dough—he’s still easily outraising Kerry and has more cash on hand—but virtually none of this money has translated into votes, or more importantly, delegates. So what does it matter? It’s like being in a football game where you dominate the other team in yards passed, yards rushed, and time of possession only to get blown out on the scoreboard.

I don’t see Lieberman’s exit from the race as being a factor, other than making me feel better. He rode that Joe-mentum thing right into the oblivion his political convictions deserved. I expect Clark to be next out—his waffling answers on important questions doesn’t really cut it, and Edwards is simply sharper on the stump. I’m not convinced that Edwards can carry enough of the south to stop the Kerry steamroller down there, but it’s for darn sure that Dean can’t do it.

So I think Kerry will be the next president. I’m reconciling myself to that, and the sad fact that the Democratic Party is unlikely to exact any meaningful reform once in the White House. Do you see a President Kerry fixing the social security mess? Balancing the budget? Dramatically expanding health care coverage while reducing its cost? If so, good for you. I think he’ll roll back some of Bush’s more egregious measures (from which there a good number to choose), but I don’t see Kerry as a man of any grand vision. Indeed, I think he may be a one-termer himself, losing in 2008, I’m afraid, to Jeb Bush. You heard it here first.