Thursday, February 19, 2004

A brief note on Howard Dean:

I've been a bit bemused in the past on the "Dean Movement". It's always struck me as less about the Deaniacs finding the right candidate than about finding each other -- a point which could only be reinforced by the stories about people joining the campaign to find dates or recover from breakups. (And I've been a lot more reticent talking about that on this blog, and elsewhere, than perhaps I should have been -- no point joining a circular firing squad, is what I figured at the time). That said, I'm not the first to observe that he did one huge service to his party: he showed them what they seem to have forgotten, that the business of an opposition party is to oppose. Let's hope that doesn't get buried with him.

As to the candidate himself -- I actually found Mary Beth's writing on the guy at Wampum somewhat troubling on issues of governance (specifically, in her case, tribal sovereignty), and other local observers say he wasn't known there as a great campaigner either. All of which suggests again that his support came more from being the only guy at first who was saying what needed to be said, than from saying it particularly well.

He would, still and all, have been a much, much better President than Bush -- but is it necessary, at this point, to damn him with such faint praise?


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