"I'm beginning to see through the Republican spin," a GOP Hill staffer instant-messaged me the other day, "and now I don't think it's spin anymore. Howard Dean is just totally nuts."
Under Dean's leadership, the Democratic National Committee is different now from last year only in that it can't keep up in fundraising, and its chairman calls Republicans "evil," "corrupt" and "brain-dead" "liars" who "never made an honest living in their lives" and "are not nice people."
Republicans, Dean said this week in San Francisco, are "pretty much a monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party." If you belong to the GOP, he said in Washington last week, then you "are all about suppressing votes: two voting machines if you live in a black district, ten voting machines if you live in a white district." If you are a Republican, Dr. Dean says you offer a "dark, difficult and dishonest vision…for America."
But Dean assures us, "We're not going to stoop to the kind of divisiveness that the Republicans are doing." Quite a relief!
There is much legitimate debate over what makes for a good party chairman, but one criterion that nearly everyone can agree on is that he should not be his party's greatest liability. On that score, Howard Dean is really getting out of hand.
When Dean starts speaking, even Barney Frank gets nervous and starts looking for the door. His party's leading elected officials are likely to feign ignorance at the sound of his name: "Howard Who?"
Asked about Dean, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) told The Hill, "I think the party spokesmen are Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi...My belief is the party chair's job is to organize the party to support policymakers and the policies they promote." From public-relations-speak, that translates to "Who the [expletive] does that little [expletive] think he is? He should shut up and do what we tell him."
If you're a reporter, it may be worth your time to pore over the DNC by-laws to see what is required to impeach a sitting chairman, because it really could happen soon.