February 17, 2005


Dean's 'fat chance' (Robert Novak, February 17, 2005, Townhall)

Howard Dean, doing a victory lap last week after his final competitor for the Democratic national chairmanship dropped out, greeted a roomful of supporters with a grin and said: "I'm trying to be restrained in my new role. I may be looking for a three-piece suit." After pausing, he laughed and then declared -- to his backers' delight -- "Fat chance!"

Dean's enthusiasts variously say he was just kidding or was referring literally to three-piece suits, not to restraining rhetoric or refraining from policy determinations. Fat chance, indeed. Statements from Democrats in Congress that the feisty 2004 presidential candidate will restrict himself to fund-raising and precinct organization are delusional. Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is not beholden to the congressional leaders who were so ineffective in barring his path to leadership.

Dean's chairmanship, thought extremely unlikely when he first indicated his availability three months ago, is itself testimony to his party's aimlessness. Just as no power broker selected the former Vermont governor as DNC chairman, none is charting a strategy for regaining power. The mindless course leading to Dean's election by acclamation reflects a party adrift, its senior leaders mired in unreality.

The failure of Bill Clinton and company to stop this disastrous nomination suggests that either they plan to have Hillary tiangulate off of the Deer Huter or else that the former president really does have pump head.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2005 7:15 AM

Hillary's base strength and available cash flow means she and Bill can survive a 2006 debacle by the Democrats and still be viable in 2008. The far left of the party, meanwhile, will be damaged if they have another election train wreck next year with Dean and his folks running the controls of the engine, since there will be no one left to blame.

So there's no reason for the Clintons to alter their triangulation strategy at this time, and if the far left Democrats flop while people like Bresden and Ford were to win in Tennessee, so much the better for the '08 campaign.

Posted by: John at February 17, 2005 11:47 AM

Thought you were against physician-assisted suicide.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 17, 2005 11:55 AM

They probably feel that while their man controls the DNC, they'll be blamed for Dem losses. Letting a non-Clintonite (anti-Clintonite) take over discredits the Clinton opponents when the losing continues. Losses in 2006 will create nostalgia for the Democrats' last winners - the Clintons.

Posted by: pj at February 17, 2005 1:24 PM

The key thing to watch with Dean is if he explicitly criticizes the Clintons (not by name, of course). If he attacks the DLC, or 'moderation', or Democratic congress-critters who are working with Bush, then he will have staked out his ground. HRC can then move right, left, or wherever she pleases.

But if Dean shows maturity and discipline and tries to stretch the tent, then he will have staked out different ground. And the ambitions of Kerry, Hillary, Edwards, et al. will have to respond accordingly. A "changed" Howard Dean will receive a lot of favorable press (except from the DU and the lefty bloggers, of course).

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 17, 2005 2:24 PM

"physician-assisted suicide."

Very clever.

But, its not a suicide. Its a murder and Karl Rove is the evil genius who set up the plot.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 17, 2005 10:09 PM

With Hillary down by 25 in most polls, although tied according to Zogby, as she enters the convention, she will use Howard Dean as the target of her 'Sistah Souljah' gambit, attacking the Democratic Party Left for being out of touch with America.

Howard Dean is just made for triangulation.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 11:23 AM

speaking of pump head, did you hear about the judge in oklahoma...

if bill dies before 2008 how does that affect hillary's chances ? because he doesn't look long for this world...

interesting article about david geffen dumping on hillary at some nyc get together. dear leader is looking for a new love, maybe she could hook up with him and become a power couple for the new millinium...

Posted by: cjm at February 18, 2005 6:20 PM