Remember when Howard Dean was cool?
It seems like not that long ago Howard Dean was the fiery presidential candidate out of nowhere (Vermont actually) who took the party by storm. He was the one who wanted to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. He was the one who made it okay to run against George Bush in 2004 rather than run as George Bush. He was running more liberal than Clinton, more straight talking than McCain, and more out of the blue than even Obama.
So what happened?
Somewhere along the line there Dean became chair of the Democratic Party. The renegade has not only joined the establishment, he's kind of become the establishment. And so now he's acting like it.
His recent remarks to cool the rhetoric in the Democratic primary are certainly welcome, but is that really the best he can do? The whole appeal of this guy when he ran for president four years ago was the straight talking, no nonsense, down to business, ready to rumble persona that ultimately exploded in his face. Maybe that brought him back to earth. Maybe he's mellowed with age. But what I'm reminded of most right now is a substitute teacher trying meekly to get an unruly class calm by saying, "Come on guys. Be nice."
I agree with him that the primary is not as much of a mess as some pundits are saying it is. I don't think an extended primary is going to kill the Democratic Party. But I do think that if the current climate continues, it's certainly going to hurt. Dean doesn't need to go around busting heads or anything (at least not yet), but he does need to stand up here and get things in control. The Democratic wing of the Democratic party needs something more than, "If you don't mind, please be a little nicer."