With all this talk about Deaniacs giving up the Kool Ade but not the campaign lately, it seems appropriate to point to this
article by my fellow Open Source Politics
commentor, Stentor Danielson
[Dean's supporters] began aggressively talking him up, building a network of interest over the internet. Campaign Manager Joe Trippi saw the potential in this emerging support and began fostering it, using it to help propel Dean out of Moseley-Braun territory in the polls.
The movement fascinated me as well. I was too cynical to get caught up in it, but I could feel its appeal tugging at me. It seemed to reinvigorate politics, bringing people into the process and personalizing it through blog participation and MeetUps.
But the very appeal of the movement--what my title refers to as "Deanism"--is in contradiction with the appeal of Dean himself. The Dean campaign offered the possibility of real and deep participation to all those who were part of it, a democracy symbolized by the vote taken on whether Dean should accept federal matching funds. [. . .]
Howard Dean made the mistake of getting sucked into Deanism. This is amply reflected in the now infamous post-caucus speech. Outsiders to the capaign were appalled, and perhaps for a good reason--Dean wasn't speaking to them. [. . .] Therein lies the contradiction--the message that the in-group needed was exactly the opposite of what the out-group, the undecideds and convinceable supporters of other candidates, needed to hear.
In shock after the defeat and the bad press, the campaign seemed eager to dump Deanism. [. . .] But without Deanism, what reason is there for Dean to stay in the race now that the other candidates have adopted much of his message? [. . .]
The dilemma of Dean versus Deanism confronts Howard Dean most forcefully, as he's the candidate who has most strongly nurtured Deanism. But all of the Democrats in the race must find a balance between these two forces if they expect to build the support they need to defeat George W. Bush, and more crucially if they want to make a real change in America.
There's more, and it's all good; this is just the nut. Go, read, comment.
I haven't yet said so here, but I have been saying so to many Dean supporters in town looking to me for advice, but the emphasized part above (emphasis mine, of course) is among my new favorite arguments for Dean, or at least the question we now face: Do we want to elect some other candidate who espouses Howard Dean's message--because that message is right--or do we elect Howard Dean? So, a poll: