(Ed. note: Richard and I both wrote about this this evening. So let's just combine our thoughts into a single post.)
Once upon a time, Howard Dean was a major voice in the Democratic Party, a leading figure on the left. And it was hard not to admire his energy and his appeal as an anti-establishment progressive running a strong grassroots campaign. And it was hard not to admire what he stood for, which for many of us was genuine change we could believe in.
I supported Kerry from early on in the '04 process, but Dean was the one who got people, and especially young people, excited, who engaged them in a way that Obama did four years later -- on a smaller scale, but still, it was genuine.
I've come to question his instincts and political sense since then, and now, it would seem, he has lost his marbles
Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who
helped Democrats capture the White House in 2008, warns that Sarah Palin
could defeat President Obama in 2012.
Dean says his fellow
Democrats should beware of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom that
Obama would crush Palin in a general-election contest next year.
"I think she could win," Dean told The Hill in an interview Friday. "She
wouldn't be my first choice if I were a Republican but I think she
Dean warns the sluggish economy could have more of a political impact than many Washington strategists and pundits assume.
time you have a contest — particularly when unemployment is as high as
it is — nobody gets a walkover," Dean said. "Whoever the Republicans
nominate, including people like Sarah Palin, whom the inside-the-Beltway
crowd dismisses — my view is if you get the nomination of a major
party, you can win the presidency, I don't care what people write about
you inside the Beltway," Dean said.
Okay, fine. You never know. And with unemployment high and the economy still struggling, a situation that could worsen by next year, perhaps any Republican would have a chance of beating Obama.
And Democrats do need to be concerned. It's hardly a given that Obama will win. What happened in NY-26 was instructive but not necessarily how the rest of the country will go next November, and it would be foolish to think that the Republicans are simply too crazy to win.
Crazier things have happened, after all, and it wouldn't take much to push a deeply divided electorate to the GOP column.
But Sarah Palin? Please.
This isn't just about how she is viewed by the Washington press corps or the punditocracy, it's about how she is viewed across the country, and what's clear is that her numbers are poor -- and have gotten markedly worse since her peak during the '08 campaign. She's nowhere close to being presidential, she crapped out as Alaska governor, and she's a right-wing extremist, and people know it. Sure, things might change were she to win the nomination and were the party to rally around her enthusiastically, which itself is unlikely given how so much of the Republican Party is opposed to her, but it's really a stretch to think that she could then beat Obama. The economy would have to be a truly horrible state.
But I suspect Dean isn't providing detached analysis here. He is touting her, in a way, because he has a certain fondness for insurgent anti-establishment figures, that is, for himself. No, no, no, I'm not saying that Palin is the Dean of the right or that Dean is the Palin of the left, but there are similarities there that are undeniable -- not intellectual, for Dean is very smart and she, well, isn't, but situational. He ran against the Democratic establishment from the left, while she may run against the Republican establishment from the right.
Again, he makes a fair point. Nothing is certain. Anything could happen. Given the right circumstances (or wrong, from our perspective), any Republican who managed to win the GOP nomination could beat Obama. It's just hard to see how that applies to Palin, who has an extremely low ceiling of potential support.
I have to say that Howard Dean is a clever one, suggesting that Democrats should be careful not to dismiss Sarah Palin too lightly as someone who could potentially beat Barack Obama in a general election.
warns that a bad economy would greatly enhance any Republicans chances
and that if Palin could secure the nomination, which he agrees would be
hard for her do to, she could become president.
don't know. I think Howard is having us on, or, more to the point,
having conservative voters on by trying to get them to believe that
Sarah could be for real. Democrats know how polarizing a figure she
would be in the GOP nomination battle and how embarrassing she would be
for Republicans in the general election. Having her in the race is good
for Democrats and Dean knows that.
Maybe he's trying to push Palin to stop dicking around and actually jump in.
be fair, it would be unwise to dismiss anyone, even Palin, especially
given the volatility of the economy. But if I were to dismiss anyone, if
I felt compelled, Sarah P. would be first on my list.
Maybe Dean is just trying to give Karl Rove a heart attack as pay back.
one thing that Dean said that does make sense is that Jon Huntsman
would be an ideal Republican candidate and one the Democrats really
should fear, though his chances of getting the nomination are slim to
thought is that Dean, like so many others, points out that Bill Clinton
came out of no where to win the nomination and presidency in 1992, but
let's be serious. Whatever faults the man has, he has been one of the
brightest and most natural politicians the country has ever seen. No way
the current crop of GOP losers comes close to that level of skill and
certainly not Palin. Not a chance.
Labels: 2012 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, Howard Dean, Republicans, Sarah Palin