So Wes Clark dropped his presidential bid.
He should have done it two weeks ago — if he wanted anyone but John Kerry to be the nominee. But nobody gets into presidential politics because they have a small ego. Up until — last night? last week? — he probably thought he could win.
What’s it all mean? It means we have a mostly-two man race. The Two Johns, Kerry and Edwards. Except, of course, for Howard Dean. But his role is now reduced to Insane Spoiler Who Democrats Pray Pray Pray Won’t Make A Disastrous And Silly Third-Party Run.
And the One Man in the two man race is Kerry. I don’t expect him to wilt like Dukakis did to Bush 41 way back when, but we haven’t had a northern Democrat win since that other JFK 44 years ago. And that election was so close, he probably won due to dirty tricks in Illinois (thanks, Mayor Daley!) and Texas (a fine reason to have selected LBJ for his running mate).
What can Edwards do to improve his long odds? Hell if I know. Kerry has the momentum, the money, and that feeling of inevitability. Of course, that can be an ephemeral feeling — just ask Dean. The best thing Edwards can do is simply stay in the race, keep playing nice, and hope for the #2 spot. Kerry is going to need a southerner (or maybe a western Democrat?) on the ticket with him.
The good news is all of this is that the voters have told an strange, unbound-by-reality, and completely unlikable candidate from the field. The other good news is, all those silly conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton swooping in to save the party (and steal the nomination) next summer are probably toast.
Bad news? An exciting race with an exciting candidate or two is now a dull race with a dull candidate. Wake me on Super Tuesday.