Now that Howard Dean has been christened King of the Democratic Party, I think it's harder for the Democrats to do exactly what the former governor sets out to do: rebuild the party and make it popular among voters again.
Personally, I like Dean's style. He's honest, and that's always a good first impression with me. That obviously played well with the thousands of people who lifted Dean to almost usurp John Kerry's expected role of Democrat challenger in the last presidential election.
But he's the face of the radical left. Which is fine if that sells, except that it doesn't. The Democrats lost seats everywhere.
I don't know that Dean can get past his reputation. Forget the scream. That's a hand overplayed. It's more than that.
Dean's base, the Deaniacs, are the radicals. They're the "George Bush is evil" left. The article I cite above talks about how Dean seems to suggest that he will pull the party more to the center.
Dean said yesterday he will spend much of his time in coming months in the red states of the South and West. "I think that's where we need a lot of work," he said. "I think that's where people are most skeptical about the Democratic Party, and I think the way to get people not to be skeptical about you is to show up and talk and say what you believe."
Which is fine if it sells. Except that it didn't.
Listening to Laura Ingraham on the way home from dinner with my folks last night, she had David Corn on, who authored "Bush Lies." David's position: the Democrats don't need to change. They just need to get their message out in a more effective way.
Which is what Howard says as well - in effect, "Get to the Red States and speak what we believe." Exactly what they did in 2004. Which is fine if it sells. Except that it didn't.
I like a good debate. I'm hoping that the Democrats rebound if only to make for healthy debate in our country. But I don't think the radical left can provide a serious debate because their central premise and huge blind spot is: George Bush is evil. They can't see any good in what he is doing, even if it is objectively good.
NATO Secretary General Japp de Hoop Scheffer said:
"Europe realizes now in this moment, after the successful elections -- and we must admit that President Bush was right there and the cynics were wrong . . . that this is the moment to support the political process from all angles."
So... I'm hoping that in Dean's quest to speak the truth, he'll honestly address Bush's good steps as well as Bush's missteps.
Which would be great if he would. Except that he probably won't. He'd lose the Deaniacs if he did.