Gore and a warning
I have heard it suggested that Gore's endorsement was what galvanized the establishment (party and media) into realizing that, "Holy shit, this guy might actually win!" and from that point on they had it out for Dean.
Well, there is probably some truth to that, but it isn't the whole truth I am afraid.
My own particular theory is that Gore's endorsement backfired on Dean specifically because it added to the sense of inevitably about his nomination and that pissed off a lot of Democrats who had not yet been sold on Dean. Gore didn't help matters with his talk about how Dems should unite behind Dean even before a single vote had been cast That kind of talk may have pushed some leaners over the fence away from Dean specifically because they didn't like being told what they should do with their vote.
I think we can blame the campaign as much as anyone on that perception. Dean made some comments about how no one should celebrate before the vote was cast, but they should have done more to urge his supporters to tone down the premature triumphalism. It may be part of what lead some people to judge Dean as to arrogant for the job.
I share part of the blame for this. I tried to avoid crowing, but I didn't do enough to stop others from doing it even though I worried about what it might do. I didn't want to rain on people's parade.
Oh, and just so you know, some Kerry supporters are making similar annoying noises about the inevitability of Kerry and how everyone should unite behind him even before the nomination process is complete. To which I say, "Watch it!"