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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

 

Dean's choice
So, Howard Dean is out of the race. Or is he? Powerline's roundup of the commenter reactions to Dean's defeat at the Dean blog reveals something very interesting. Dean still has power. Right now, he's apparently planning to use that power to promote progressive politics from within the Democratic Party. But the Democratic party has obviously shown that it has very little use for Mr. Dean, and that his brand of progressive politics aren't going to win many elections. If you can't even get elected by Democrat, then what the heck can you do?

Well, he can split the vote. As Powerline's post shows, if Dean ran as an independent or a Green, he would be Nader times five. Which is to say he would get 10% of the vote. But that's a mighty big ten percent. And once it became clear that Kerry was, no way, no how, going to win the vote with Dean taking out that big of a chunk, lots of the "dated Dean, married Kerry" folks would dump their lackluster hubby and come back into the arms of that daring renegade.

So, Dean has a choice. Does he toe the party line, and work hard on an inevitably fruitless attempt at "change from within," or does he become a historical figure who fundamentally changed American politics? Not that he'd win. But he could destroy the Democratic party if he kept at it, just as Teddy Roosevelt could have destroyed the Reublican party back in the years after the election 1912, if he had wanted to.

I'm sure Dean will play it safe. But I hope he at least recognizes that he has a choice, and uses that threat as a club to keep his ideas near the front of the Democratic party. Unfortunately for Dean, the only reason I hope that is because I know that America will fully and utterly reject those ideas, and the party that sponsors them.
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