How in the world could two savvy, seasoned political gurus like Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen be that far off?

Sheen and Reiner were campaigning with Howard Dean all day Friday and perhaps through the weekend. Isn’t Martin Sheen the most admired man in America?

And what about the Gore endorsement? The Bradley endorsement? The Tom Harkin endorsement? The kind words from Jimmy Carter? All John Kerry had was Teddy K and Theresa’s millions.

New Hampshire’s a funny place, though, and it has been watching John Kerry for a long, long time. Wesley Clark’s been the flavor of the month for a couple of weeks in the Granite State, but lately he’s been on a weird streak that rivals the nutty levels that Howard reached in December. What a train wreck for the Democrats.

And Al Sharpton will be in it until the end.

I was surprised at the complete collapse of Dean, and then by his extraordinary bellowing at the loser’s ball. From front-runner to least-likeable in 10 days is without precedent in American politics, but underscores the great common sense of the voter, even in the Democratic primary. Dean went around the bend on the “interesting theory” comment about the Saudis warning the president about 9-11, and thereafter his general election chances were doomed. But few knew it could cripple his primary effort as well.

So what are the GOP strategists thinking right now? Probably that there’s no way to guess the outcome; that Dean’s wounded, but maybe not dead; that Kerry is still beyond repair as a national candidate; that Clark will melt; and that leaves Edwards, whom nobody has taken many swings at because you don’t swing at asterisks, which is going to change pretty soon.

In short, a glorious train wreck of a month ahead, though its hard to get any better than Howard Dean practicing the roll-call of the states on Monday night.

I hope the independents resurrect Howard in New Hampshire. He’s too much fun to have fade away.

But what are the odds that Sheen and Reiner won’t be invited to Nashua?

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