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Howard Dean on Fire

Candy Crowley is one of the livelier and more effective interviewers on the air. She did not disappoint with Howard Dean on Sunday. There was this humorous exchange:

CROWLEY: But what we found, Governor, in at least some of the races that we have had so far, is the fact that the president, while people still like him, they don’t approve of his policies and he doesn’t have coattails. We’re also finding now that there are certain Democrats that don’t actually want him in their district because he’s a drag.

DEAN: That’s not a problem. Here is the deal. It’s not the coattails. We know he doesn’t have coattails from the ’09 elections, the governor’s race. What he does do is set the tone for the Democratic Party in a way that nobody else can.

Look, obviously, I am partisan about this. I think we have better candidates than the Republicans do. They have had some unfortunate people winning, in terms of the mainstream — where the mainstream of America is, in some of their primaries.

We know he doesn’t have coattails? Oh my! Dean nevertheless suggested that Obama just get out there and fight like heck. Because if he doesn’t, the Democrats are going to lose big. (“This election, for better or for worse, depends on how hard the president fights between now and Election Day, and he shows every sign that he’s really serious about this.”) Got that, Mr. President? It’s all up to you.

What about Dean’s midterms predictions?

CROWLEY: How bad do you think it will be this fall, in November? What are your predictions? … Would you bet money on House Democrats staying in charge?

DEAN: I’d bet money on the Senate, for sure. The House is much tougher. I think, at the end of the day, we’re going to win in the House and we’re going to have a majority. It will probably be reduced to many — perhaps as small as a five or 10-seat majority.

Translation: Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic majority are toast.

Crowley then asked about Gibbs and the sniping at the “professional left”:

DEAN: Well, look, I don’t think that the left — what Gibbs was talking about with the so-called professional left — I don’t know what he meant by that. You know, I think — but that is a very small number of people. I think there are a large number — I think that the people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington, D.C.

I don’t think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while. The average Democrat is a progressive. And, you know, there are some things that are upsetting about the kind of deals that were made by the president’s people on health care.

Umm, isn’t this the Tea Partiers’ point — that the White House is insulated from reality?

Dean also made a key observation that seems to have eluded a White House all too eager to make life difficult for its own party:

We’ve got to win this election. And we’re going to have — after the election is over, we’ll go back to having our policy fights, but this is about winning. You cannot get anything done unless you have a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House.

And Obama’s most cherished legislative accomplishment (about which Dean admitted, “I don’t like the health care bill. I would be one of the 56 percent who opposed it”) will evaporate if the Democrats get swept out of office.

Dean certainly is popping up a lot lately. I wonder if he’s thinking of running for something, or simply enacting revenge for the Obami’s refusal to keep him as head of the DNC.



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