The Dean legacy


Geraldine Sealey
January 31, 2004 2:59AM (UTC)

Some journalists have been writing Howard Dean's political obituary since the night of the Iowa caucuses. Now others, including Salon's Scott Rosenberg, are taking stock of what Dean has contributed to politics and the Democratic Party, defunct candidacy or not. The comparison of Dean to a busted Internet startup only goes so far, Rosenberg writes.

"At a time when too much of the Democratic party, and too many of its candidates, lay supine before the travesty of President Bush's policies, Dean used the Internet to punch a hole through the big-media blockade and get the true opposition message out: That Bush and his administration lied to America to start an unnecessary war, a war that has hurt rather then enhanced the nation's security. While other candidates hedged their bets, Dean spoke the truth, and when the mainstream media tried to marginalize his voice, the Net allowed the breadth and depth of the support for his message to be felt. Today, every Democratic candidate, including frontrunner John Kerry, embraces this position: They are all Deaniacs now."

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Newark Star-Ledger columnist John Farmer writes: "Dean has restored to the Democrat Party something its Washington wing had surrendered without a fight during the Bush years -- relevance. He got the party off its knees and back on its feet. He infused it with energy and a new interest among the public and the media. Who gave a damn about the Democrats before Dean came along?"

And even the New York Times, skewered by Dean supporters for its treatment of their candidate, has a homage to Dean on A1 today, noting that "his mark on the party is unmistakable." A blogger on the Wilgoren Watch, the site devoted to critiquing the Times' Dean coverage, was suspicious of today's charitable analysis (not, by the way, written by Dean reporter Jodi Wilgoren.) "Is this the NYTimes starting to give the Gov. some good press in hopes of building him up, keeping him in the race since he is undoubtedly the most fascinating candidate of this election cycle?" the blogger wrote.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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