Keep Trying

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Don't Stop Dean

William Safire wants Dean to get the nomination. In this column he first cites the three political parties he sees in America:

(1) The Republican Party, in control of all three branches of government and most of the statehouses, fat and sassy because the economy is rising and the war is being won.

(2) The Dean-Internet Party, its Bush-despising base so energized as to be frenetic, its leader happy to be the apostle of anger, its bandwidth bandwagon gaining momentum with each pulse of its cursing cursor.

(3) The Old Democratic Party, its base off base, its leadership fractured, its third-way ideology � vainly espoused by the Clintonian Democratic Leadership Council � a lost cause without a rebel voice.

Then he presents the case why he wants Dean to get the nomination leading to a closer election:

But what if Dean loses momentum in Iowa, does "less than expected" in New Hampshire, gets clobbered in Carolina or blows his cool at media tormentors once too often? What if the Old Democrat center, revivified as a stop-Dean movement and helped by the pendulum press, actually stops Dean? Could happen. Then what?

He is not the sort who gives up easily. Nor is he likely to ask Clark or whomever in a smoke-free room for the No. 2 slot. Dean has grass-roots troops, a unique fund-raising organization, the name recognition and the fire-in-the-belly, messianic urge to go all the way on his own ticket.

Politronic chatter picked up by pundits monitoring lefty blogsites and al-Gora intercepts flashes the warning: If stopped, Dean may well bolt.

That split of opposition would be a bonanza for Bush. In a two-man race, the odds are that he would beat Dean comfortably, but in a three-party race, Bush would surely waltz in with the greatest of ease.

Here's my problem: Such a lopsided, hubris-inducing result would be bad for Bush, bad for the G.O.P., bad for the country. Landslides lead to tyrannous majorities and big trouble.

Which is why I worry about Dean not getting the Democratic nomination.