Kiss of death
When discussing the fall of Governor Howard Dean, most people talk about The Scream-- but this was a result of his decline, not a cause. Dean's meltdown happened in a pep rally with his supporters on the night of his Iowa defeat. The scream, though it got lots of play on cable news shows afterwards, does not explain how Dean went from first place in Iowa to third in the course of a few short weeks.
So what caused it? I remember right after Gore endorsed Dean as the Democratic candidate and told the other hopefuls to be good party soldiers and get in line, Mickey Kaus (I think) jokingly suggested that this endorsement would be the kiss of death for Dean. And if I remember correctly, the week of Gore's endorsement was Dean's high-water mark, poll-wise. From that point on, he sank steadily downward, and became a loser, a joke.
Was it Gore? Now that Gore is in Senator Kerry's corner, will Kerry go down, Dean-like, to a humiliating defeat? Los Carniceros de Llamas dicen: Sí.
PS - One way or another, I find it interesting that so many of the Democrat party heroes are people famous for losing, like Gore and Max Cleland. Then again, Bob Dole recently resumed his role as a Republican party hatchet-man, so maybe this is bipartisan phenomenon.