Remember this time in 2004, a week to go before the Iowa caucuses?  Nearly all the Washington insider experts predicted in National Journal that Howard Dean would be the nominee — and John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE had slipped from fourth to fifth behind Clark,  Gephardt, Edwards and Dean.  Surprise!

Polls are all over the place.  Some show Hillary picking up, especially after the Des Moines Register endorsement, others show Barack with a small lead, and some are predicting an Edwards surge, particularly with the added advantage of over $1.5 million in outside “lobbyist” money ... not coordinated, of course, just run by his former campaign manager.  Hello?  This is the self-proclaimed “Mr. Outside” being exposed as “Mr. Inside.”  Will the hypocrisy hurt him, or will the story die; will Edwards just sit back and enjoy taking the money and the ad time or will he really stop it by calling if off?

But the big question will be whether the field narrows after Iowa.  Does a Biden or a Richardson or a Dodd come racing out of the pack to further muddle the race, or does it suddenly become a two-person contest:  Hillary and Barack?  If Edwards loses, he’s toast.  If he wins, he lives to fight another day.

Can the narrowing of the field take us to Feb. 5 — will voters AND the press want to see more scrutiny, more focus, more voters deciding than just Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada?  Will the 5th become a true “national primary”?  Or will the pundits declare it over if one candidate begins to win in January, albeit narrowly?  Strange, when you have over half the delegates chosen in just a few weeks' time. Why declare it over when so few people have voted?

Add to that, if you really have a two-person race, won’t there be a reason to take a closer look before Feb. 5?  A lot of feathers still to fly in this one!  A lot of predictions still to be proved wrong (especially mine!).