All Hail Howard Dean?

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THE PLANK DECEMBER 18, 2006

All Hail Howard Dean?

Ezra Klein, writing at Tapped, has a puzzling observation about the Democratic primary. He writes, "Obama, Edwards, Gore--say what you will, but this crew currently controls the buzz, the assumptions of 'electability,' and the excitement of the base. And every one of them is a progressive." He proceeds to credit this development to Howard Dean. "Howard Dean should be proud: He really did change the party," he writes.

Color me confused. I think the ideological distinction between Obama, Edwards and Gore and Hillary Clinton is fairly narrow. Sure, you could come up with a definition of "progressive" that excludes her and includes all the rest. But you could just as easily come up with a definition that includes all of them, or excludes none of them. Anyway, I don't see Edwards getting a ton of buzz. Obama is, and Gore was, but a lot of that is because their potential candidacies are news, while Clinton's has been assumed for years.

Nor do I see how any of this is Howard Dean's doing, or even a repercussion of his 2004 campaign. Remember, Dean in 2004 crashed and burned, coming nowhere close to winning a single contested primary. If anything, Dean offered a good guide to how not to win a Democratic primary campaign.

The 2008 hopefuls seem to be taking note. Dean ran as a faction candidate

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