"Let's face it: on the current economy/deficit/war trajectories Al Gore or Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket could
probably hold (we are reading this off the back of an envelope) 200 to 220 electoral votes without breaking a sweat. There are plenty of Democratic wisegals and wiseguys who think Dean will be lucky to win half that number."
That's only partly right (the part about Dean). The Hillary thing totally baffles me. I can't imagine any worse nominee (at least one who has a real chance of being nominated).
Which makes the stakes all the higher this year--if Dean gets the nomination, he'll almost certainly lose, all but ensuring Hillary carries the Democratic standard in '08...and all of a sudden you're looking at 2012 before there's any chance of a decent nominee. And even then (do the math) said nominee would be going against a GOP incumbent! Ugh.
Oh well, we can always hold out for that open race in 2016, right? ;-)