Stephen Green argues that Howard Dean could be the Democrats’ Barry Goldwater:
Nominating Dean would be an electoral nightmare in 2004. His more extreme positions would bring out Republican voters in droves, and his more moderate positions could keep Democratic voters at home.
But big losses often lead to big reforms. The German Army that lost in France in 1918 wasn’t the same German army ensconced in Paris in 1940 after a six-week blitz. A national loss on the Dean Scale might just force the Democrats back closer to the broad middle of American politics, and onward to future wins.
And while that might be bad for Dean, it would do the Democratic Party a world of good.
Of course, the Republicans came back in 1968 by renominating Richard Nixon, a bland former VP who had narrowly lost a controversial election eight years earlier. Hmm. Who could the Democrats come up with like that?