OK, Gimme Dean

After twisting and turning for a while, I’m going to throw my considerable political clout in support of Howard Dean. He has burbled to the top of two important piles: The One I Like the Best and The One Who’s Most Electable. Usually that second pile wouldn’t be as important in the primaries, but 2004 is going to be a triage election — the primary goal is to get Bush out before he can do four more years of damage to our credibility, economy, and security.

Dean cons:

  1. He’s left of the population at large. OK by me, but it hurts him on electability.
  2. He looks like a smartass.

Dean pros:

  1. He looks like a smartass. That is to say, he projects confidence to the point of cockiness, but confidence nonetheless.
  2. In other ways, as well, he looks presidential. I don’t know how much of a difference that makes, but in the unconscious statistical soup of the American populace, I’ll bet the numbers add up.
  3. He’s more or less in line with my politics.
  4. He was against the war. Easy for him, since he wasn’t in the Congress having to wrestle with direct political consequences, but still. Guys like Kerry had the power to make things difficult for Bush, to demand information and argument instead of bluster and smokescreens. They dropped the ball. Besides simply being right, Dean gains rhetorical points for not having to finesse or recategorize his war stance now.
  5. His people are running a killer campaign. This is so refreshing. Watching Democrats flounder around and squander opportunities has been a painful pasttime since the Gore campaign. Finally somebody’s getting it right.

What about Clark? I like him better as a running mate, filling in Dean’s foreign policy and military gaps, but I don’t know a lot about him. And (yesterday’s news buzz aside) it’s a moot point until he announces one way or the other.