I would like to honor that spirit with a Dean Panic Watch, in view of the impending absolutely mind-boggling selection of Howard Dean to run the Democratic National Committee. Jonathan Chait is a Senior Editor at the New Republic, a usually quite reasonable and fairly moderate organ of the American Left, and he is sounding the alarm in the L.A. Times, calling the selection of Dean 'suicidal' for the Democratic Party. I don't disagree.
A worse choice than Dean is hard to imagine. Quoth Chait:
Dean, with his intense secularism, arrogant style, throngs of high-profile counterculture supporters and association with the peace movement, is the precise opposite of the image Democrats want to send out.Another way of saying this is what Dean's selling, nobody's buying.
That's not quite accurate, though; somebody is buying, and it's the Daily Kos faction. The young, idealistic, fuzzy-thinking, stick-it-to-the-man, dope-smoking 'progressive' crowd is full of puffed-up importance with this 'victory'. It will likely be their last, in the foreseeable future. The ascension of Dean will mean a Democratic Party run by the activists, the same rude, pompous long-hairs that so turned off Iowa voters that they destroyed Dean's presidential chances far more effectively than he himself could.
If the activist faction is given the upper hand, the Democratic Party that spoke to the middle class will replaced by one that preaches to the choir in the primarily leftist world of academia and the press. Converts will be few and far between, but defectors will number in the hundreds of thousands. The fringe will be given far more weight than the mainstream. Maybe I'm wrong, and Dean will grow into the job. The Democrats had better hope so; if he runs the DNC the way he ran his presidential bid, this quite sensible nation will turn its back on them in droves.