While everything suggests it's a done deal, SEIU delayed its Dean endorsement at the request of rival union AFSCME.
I've done some quick digging around, and the word is that yes -- Dean is on tap for the AFSCME endorsement. Getting SEIU, alone, was a coup for Dean, who assidiously courted the union the past year.
But AFSCME? The union originally leaned Kerry. Then, as Kerry's star faded, it took a good, long look at Clark, making no secret of their affection for the general even before Clark announced his candidacy. Some even suggest that AFSCME's encouragement may have had a role in getting Clark into the race.
But Clark stumbled out of the gate, and given it's still a rudderless ship (still no campaign manager), McEntee apparently decided he could help end a divisive primary season more quickly by endorsing and putting the union's might behind Dean.
AFSCME is the largest union in Iowa, SEIU the largest in New Hampshire. Both have huge presences in the key March 2 states of California and New York (a treasure trove of delegates). Both have lots of $$$. They are the two largest unions in the country and two of the most politically active. And despite traditional rivalries, realpolitik apparently made it increasingly difficult for McEntee to stick to the sidelines. He needs to be a player, and a Dean endorsement allows him to play.
All the standard caveats apply -- nothing is a done deal. Circumstances can change. Politics can be unpredictable, and union politics even more so (no one could've predicted today's delay). But it's hard to read this any other way, and no informed informer has yet put forth a plausible alternate scenario.