Howard Dean's political rise in 2003 was meteoric. It was convincing enough that most political pundits' regarded him as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee as the current election year began. Dean's ability to raise funds from many small donors via the Internet was both innovative and effective. His uncompromising criticism of President George W. Bush struck a chord with a host of Democrats who felt cheated by the 2000 election and who vociferously objected to the War with Iraq.
The little known former governor from Vermont was thought to have built an unbeatable political machine in the early primary states and establishment Democrats such as former Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley had jumped on the Dean bandwagon early in hopes the party would coalesce around one candidate early in the political season.
His only trouble came when Democrats actually started to cast ballots and declare preferences in caucuses. Party activists may have been angry and energized to defeat President Bush, but they couldn't quite bring themselves to vote for the sometimes volatile Howard Dean. Dean's performance in the primaries leading up to his exit from the race on Wednesday was nothing short of pitiful.
While politics will always have a role for the hell-raiser, history shows us voters usually prefer a calmer presence in the oval office. Dean's shoot-from-the-hip style had a strong appeal in auditoriums and in Internet chat rooms, but fell far short of the mark when it came time to cast real votes leading to a presidential nomination.
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