We sympathize at times with Dean's defenders, who point out that Terry McAullife regularly lashed Republicans with passionate and intense words and believe that Dean is held to a vastly different standard. We also agree that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic nominee in 2008, the DNC will have no problem raising money for her, no matter how many fundraisers sit on their hands in 2006 because of Howard Dean.
But the obverse is also true: Dean set the standards by which he is judged by being such a polarizing public figure to begin with.
Here's what Nina Easton said on Fox News Sunday: "Let's not forget that Howard Dean brought in millions of new voters -- energized voters, new voters, young voters, Internet savvy voters -- and there was the rise of the independent expenditures -- 527s on the left -- raised an enormous amount of money. Those people have to be kept in the party and energized."
"The problem is, as Juan mentioned, he has a separate strategy of going into Red States, conservative areas, and trying to build Democratic bases there."
"I think at some level, these two strategies can conflict with each other. I'm not sure he can get away with that rhetoric and still be appealing in the South."
Other good takes on this from some of the blogs: LINK
"Howard Dean makes a fairly innocuous criticism of Republicans. The response? He gets dumped on by leading Democrats, John Edwards and Joe Biden, both of whom are (surprise, surprise) thinking about running for President themselves."
And "Folks, Dean is a fabulous guy. Dean is the kind of leader the Democratic party sorely needs. So, don't get me wrong. But, to win the battle of minds against the GOP leadership, you have to be smarter in how you play the hands you are dealt with." LINK
Deep Throat revealed:
In his look at the lessons of Watergate that all came to a head last week, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz buries the nut graph far down: "Perhaps a better lesson for the press is the way that Woodward and Bernstein pored over phone lists and knocked on doors late at night, the kind of shoe leather reporting that seems less fashionable in an age of cable, blogs, Podcasts and the like. There is still a burning need for original reporting amid the cacophony of analysis, commentary and celebrity news." LINK
"Agent David Kuhn and author/lawyer John D. O'Connor -- in their meetings with publishers -- have recast the proposal as a multi-generational saga focusing on three generations of the Felt family," writes the New York Post's Keith Kelly. LINK
"It will include the 30-year career of Felt, who became the No. 2 man in the bureau at a tumultuous time in U.S. history, and the profound impact on his family."
Newsweek's Evan Thomas takes a lengthy cover-story look at the larger context of the Watergate story now that Deep Throat's identity has been revealed, and how the pendulum has swung back -- and back -- on the relationship between the press and those in power. LINK
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter argues that with Republicans in control of Congress, a modern-day scandal like Watergate wouldn't even see hearings on the Hill. LINK
Joe Klein's column on political brands is a must-read. LINK