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25.1.04

Dean Vs. Deanism

For those of you who can't get enough of my opinions about Howard Dean, I offer my latest Open Source Politics post.

The post is pretty pessimistic about Dean's chances, yet fairly positive toward the man himself. As noted there, my gut has long been barracking for Dean. But the intensity of my interest has waxed and waned. When he was the insurgent, I rather liked him. Then this fall, as he became the front runner, I got disillusioned. Clark started to look pretty good, while I piled up misgivings about Dean. Then, after he lost Iowa, I suddenly found myself back in the Dean camp, perhaps more strongly than before. I wept for him, and prayed for a revival in New Hampshire, even as I wrote his obituary.

I wonder if there's a eulogizing impulse taking over. When Carol Moseley-Braun dropped out of the race, everyone had something good to say about her and the classy campaign she ran (though none of us had been willing to say that to the pollsters or our check books while she was still running). Similarly, when Dick Gephardt called it quits, the topic of conversation was his long record of respect-worthy service to the country and the liberal cause (though we'd all said "good riddance!" when he stepped down as Minority Leader in the House). So perhaps it's the very fact that I think Dean is toast that makes me look so favorably on him. If he were still the frontrunner, I'd be second-guessing myself about whether he was really the candidate or the president we wanted.

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