Where’s the Fork?

You’ve likely heard that Dean fired his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, yesterday. The more surprising news, news I hadn’t heard until today in Salon, is that he’s out of money too:

According to staffers, Dean held a meeting with campaign workers in which he announced that there was no money to pay staff at the beginning of February. He said that the campaign had $3 million in the bank, but that it had also racked up $3 million in debt that needed to be paid off. A senior aide confirmed the meeting, but not the numbers in question.

The conventional wisdom on Dean has consistently been wrong: first it was who is this guy?, Then it was Dean’s inevitable (until he inevitably becomes evitable, at which point evitability is itself evitable), then it became well he’s behind now but his money and organization still dominate his rivals’.

But if — emphasis on if — he’s truly out of money, in debt actually, then the Dean party really is over. Perhaps with a more Dean-friendly slate of states on Feb. 3, Dean could recover. But Dean’s likely to finish third next Tuesday in most of the states, and fourth in some of the more populous ones (SC, OK, MO, AZ). After such a disastrous result, the financial spigots shut completely and it’s over. Still, his Daily Show bit (scroll down) was a classic, and so was his campaign.

If he truly is out of money, the only question is whether Dean will exit more gracefully than Joe “Mentum” Lieberman.