Howard Dean is also a possibility says Roger Simon in Politico:
President Barack Obama sounded humble, almost meek, Wednesday at his news conference. “No one party will be able to dictate where we go from here,” he said. “We must find common ground.”
Howard Dean took a somewhat different tone on the phone with me the same day. “If Republicans think we’re going to slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid and give tax cuts to those making a million dollars a year, we will wrap that around their necks and beat the hell out of them in 2012.”
Finding common ground with Republicans versus strangling and beating the hell out of Republicans — which one do you think an angry and dispirited Democratic Party might go for?
Both men were thinking about 2012, and Obama’s people have long been thinking — grimly — about Dean.
Some of the most influential members of Team Obama do not like or trust Dean and have long feared he would challenge Obama for the presidency if only given an opportunity.
Voters gave him that opportunity Tuesday, when Democrats got “shellacked” — Obama’s term — in the House and lost seats in the Senate.
While today it looks impossible that anyone would challenge Obama, in politics you have to prepare for the impossible. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who lost his reelection bid Tuesday, has been mentioned but denies interest. Michael Bloomberg’s name is sure to come up, but the New York mayor has no real base outside the New York press corps.
Dean is different. He has run for president before — albeit briefly — which is not essential but can be very helpful. He is still a hero to many young people for his pioneering use of the Internet as a political tool. Most important, he appeals to liberals for his dramatic challenge to Democrats to stop being wimps and rolling over for George W. Bush. In 2003, Dean said he represented “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” a call that might sound appealing now to liberals who fear Obama will compromise even further with Republicans. And Dean, a doctor, was a champion of the health care public option, which Obama abandoned.
But the big issue is compromise. Obama actually wants to get things done. Which means he has to compromise with Republicans and has to risk angering and losing his liberal base. That makes him vulnerable to attack from the left, which is where Dean now stands.
Could Dean really beat Obama? Probably not. But incumbent presidents forced to fend off real primary challenges get beaten up and weakened. (Jimmy Carter, who had to battle Ted Kennedy in 1980, then lost to Ronald Reagan.)
And Dean has no reason to like the Obama White House. He was denied a Cabinet position he felt he deserved. Republicans got seats in the Obama Cabinet, but the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee did not.
When I spoke to Dean Wednesday morning, he said he had foreseen the loss of the House but had kept his mouth shut because he “didn’t want to make headlines.” But the loss of the House is, he said, “to some extent a referendum on Obama.”
I prefer the Dean approach to the Obama approach.
Run, Howard, run.
Primary Obama 2012.