Thursday, February 17, 2005

Making an Impact

While we're only 5 days into Howard Dean's DNC-ship, we can already see his presence is having the intended effect of driving conservative columnist Robert Novak around the bend.

For example, as he ponders Dean, Novak suddenly discovers the virtues of "nuance" in foreign policy discussion:

On those Sunday programs, Dean will be asked what to do about Iraq. He will not imitate Joe Biden's nuanced analysis, but instead will serve up red meat. It is unlikely Dean would or could adjust to the new atmosphere observed by sophisticated Democratic strategists since the Iraqi elections. Bashing George W. Bush and his war policy, Dean's specialty, no longer seems so suitable.

Meanwhile, he also graces us with a disparaging quote about Dean from one of those treasures, "a Democratic veteran": ''Dean will have a circus on Sunday, and we'll clean up the elephant droppings on Monday,'' a Democratic veteran told me.

All together now: "Some people say...."

Finally, Novak offers us his analysis as to why Dean won: The grassroots? Nah. Nary a friendly word about Kos or any of the rest of the progressive bloggership that outted competitors Roemer and Frost as pseudo-Democrats and that deluged DNC members with emails supportive of the former Vermont governor. Instead:

Dean's accession to the chairmanship does not represent a conscious decision by prominent Democrats, but rather drift and inaction...Dean won because he was the only candidate who pestered DNC members with repeated phone calls. He did not go to all this trouble to be a potted plant. The party, therefore, is stuck with somebody who believes that the fiercer the rhetoric the better, and there is ''fat chance'' that he will change.

I don't know if anyone is counting, but this has got to be Novak's fourth or fifth column about Dean in the past month. Me thinks he's worried Dean's penchant for bomb-throwing will make life uneasy for Republicans. Let's hope.

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