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Dean Quixote

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Two months ago, Howard Dean was the prohibitive front runner for the Democratic nomination – even going as far as suggesting that the other candidates should withdraw and support him for the good of the party’s chances in November. Today, Dean is a single-digit also-ran, having finished second in only three contests and struggling for relevancy.

After having first declared that Wisconsin was critical to his campaign and that he would drop out of the race if he doesn’t win there, Dean now says that he’s staying in no matter what. So much for the need to unite around one candidate, eh Governor?

“There are too many people who have come up to me and said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t drop out,'” he says. This reminds me a little of Norma Desmond in “Sunset Blvd.,” convinced that her millions of fans await her comeback. I keep expecting Dean to look wildly at the camera and say, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

Dean served a great value to the Democrats – channeling the anger that’s out there in the Democratic rank and file over Iraq, over the deficit, over the Patriot Act… heck, over everything about George Bush. Dean crystallized the anti-Bush message that has rallied Democrats to believe that Bush in fact can be beaten. And he lit a well-needed fire under the asses of Kerry, Edwards, and the party leaders as a whole. For that, I’m grateful to him.

But if I ever needed convincing that Dean is not the man I want as my president, his behavior since his fall from the top has proven it beyond a doubt. The guy went from a nobody to being the front-runner in large part due to the media and the fawning coverage he received; but when the honeymoon ended and he began getting neutral or even unfavorable coverage, he turned on the media and accused them of being out to get him. After having argued that the party’s chances in November rested on early support of the front-runner, he’s now turning on John Kerry and calling him “part of the corrupt political culture in Washington.” Geez, Howard, why don’t you just write Bush’s commericals for him?

Dean’s vindictive and petty nature over the last few weeks – not to mention his delusional quest for the support he somehow believes is still out there – make me question his judgement, his temprement, and his stability. I hate to agree with conservatives on anything, but Dean’s showing the conservatives to be correct in one thing: in a Bush-Dean race, Bush would win in a landslide that would make 1984 look like 2000.

Howard Dean is not going to win the Democratic nomination in 2004. His behavior is quickly eroding the likelihood that he could be a credible candidate in 2008 should the Democrats lose this year. He’s tilting at windmills in the land of cheese this week, only with no Sancho Panza to assist him. Unfortunately, reality – and the larger chances of defeating George W. Bush in November – seem to elude this Dean Quixote.

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