Incumbent presidents may be stuck with themes that elected them four years before but sound irrelevant today and thus are in danger of seeming out of step with the times. Challengers have the advantage of being able to create campaigns that are up to the minute. Which makes it surprising that so few of the Democrats have put together campaigns calibrated to 2004.
Barone then details how four of the six serious Democratic contenders is each failing to wage a campaign for 2004. Then, of course, there’s Howard Dean:
At the moment, Dean has run the Democratic campaign most closely adapted to the season. He has won followers not just with his opposition to the Iraq war and his contempt for Bush but with his populist rallying cry, “You have the power!” He is leading in Iowa, New Hampshire, and national polls.
But I won’t give away the punchline — for that, you’ll have to read the whole thing.