(I posted this on the morning of the Iowa caucuses -- now that the nomination fight is over, it's worth reposting.)
It's a crisp, clear, cold day in Iowa. (And today, it's a lovely spring day here in DC.)
A little over a year ago, we turned our gaze from the bitter defeat of the 2002 midterms toward a new hope -- a hope that out of our wounded party would arise a champion, a leader who would defeat Bush and return decency and sanity to the White House. Over time, nine men and one woman came forward to vie for our affection and loyalty -- some of them were new faces, some old hands. It's been a remarkable journey, one during which we've learned a lot about all of those struggling for the party's backing:
We discovered Howard Dean, who reminded a host of disillusioned Americans that there is hope at the core of politics.
We saw John Kerry anointed the nominee by the press, and then topple from his perch -- and just as we were ready to write his obituary, we saw him demonstrate a resilience that we din't know he still had, and catapult back into the heart of the race.
We took another look at Dick Gephardt, the old warhorse, who disapppointed so many of us with the last few months of his role as House leader, and we saw him reinvigorated by the campaign trail, a happy warrior for working Americans.
We watched John Edwards as he developed that awesome potential into something more, and became a bona fide contender.
And we saw the entry of a former General, Wes Clark, whose journey to our party mirrored the experience of so many Americans.
It's been a fun ride -- and tonight is the end of the beginning. A lot of questions will be answered tonight, and the race will look a lot different tomorrow.
UPDATE: Well, the race did look different the day after Iowa. John Kerry had begun his remarkable run through the primaries with a bang. And in the last month and a half, he's earned the nomination of our party. Many of us supported other candidates, but it's now time for us to do as all of the departed candidates will do, and unify behind Senator Kerry and the fight to restore fairness and sanity to the White House.