Howard Dean, President of 2003. God help us, here comes another one. This year's model of the socially liberal, fiscally conservative "reformist" Democrat who's running for president against the proverbial long odds is Vermont governor Howard Dean, profiled in today's Boston Globe Magazine by the estimable Charlie Pierce. Dean follows in the futile tradition of Bill Bradley (2000), Paul Tsongas (1992), Bruce "Stand up for taxes!" Babbitt (1988), and, arguably, Gary Hart (1984).
The good news is that unlike the self-absorbed, self-regarding Bradley, Dean actually seems to be something like a regular guy, openly ambitious, blunt (although not nearly as blunt as, say, John McCain, the Republican version of the Bradley/Babbitt/Tsongas strain), and the sort of political weasel we can all recognize, if not appreciate: he pissed off all sides in the same-sex-marriage debate by signing Vermont's civil-union law with so little fanfare you'd think he was signing pardon papers for Hannibal Lecter. The bad news, at least for the Dean family, is that he's not going to win.
But as Pierce notes, Dean is wowing the pundits, and he stands to be President of the Beltway in 2003. That's as close as he's going to come, though he could get consideration for vice-president or -- assuming George W. Bush can actually be defeated -- a Cabinet post. So do give this a read.