Dean seems to be the hot topic these days. Roland Watson of the London Times writes, “Howard Dean is the man George Bush would like to fight at the next election” and the potential nominee that scares his own party’s leadership the most:

In one corner, the effortless fundraising juggernaut that is President Bush is horrifyingly impressive. Merely limbering up, Mr Bush can raise $4 million for a 20-minute speech. In its timing, efficiency and ambitions, the Republican money-machine is meant to intimidate Democrats, and it does.

But the greater anxiety in the Democrat corner is being generated by one of their own. Howard Dean is not yet a household name. Not long ago he was a nobody outside his home state of Vermont. But in a few short months Mr Dean has graduated from the status of “outsider†and “dark horseâ€. He is now, unmistakably, the campaign sensation.

Certainly true, but I remain skeptical of his long-term chances. I can’t imagine he’ll do well in the Southern primaries, for example.

So, why is Dean doing so well right now? And why does the party leadership fear him?

The former family doctor has tapped a rich seam of Democrat rage, not just with Mr Bush but also with his own party̢۪s leadership. Grassroots fury with what many regard as their leaders̢۪ craven approach to the politics of the Iraq war, and the timid apology of a campaign in last November̢۪s congressional mid-term elections, has found an articulate, tub-thumping outlet.

Mr Dean’s haul of campaign cash is close to giving him what the first President Bush called “the big Moâ€, the point where a campaign achieves the momentum to take off. That is cause for concern to his rivals, particularly those political figures of longer standing such as Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman who are struggling to discover even a “little Moâ€.

But it is Mr Dean̢۪s red-meat platform that is irritating the Democrat establishment even more than the persistent insulting of his rivals. Abandoning Bill Clinton̢۪s carefully crafted centrism that won the Democrats two, and arguably three, of the past three presidential elections, Mr Dean̢۪s is a campaign of unabashed liberalism.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    The Lemonhead skipped his shower and has a few comments on the latest flavor of the (sun)day in the Barrel of Fish.

  2. Steven says:

    I really think that he is simply the best “story” right now, and hence the attention.