I hate to admit it. . .

but our least favorite conservative pundit Robert Novak is right on the money in his column today about Howard Dean. Here is Novak’s concluding paragraph: “Former Clinton (and current) Lieberman pollster Mark Penn predicts Dean would lose 49 of 50 states to Bush, while a former Clinton colleague (unwilling to be quoted by name) told me: ”Mark is wrong. Dean would only lose 40 states.’ This ”he can’t win’ argument did not stop Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter from being nominated, and the last two actually were elected. The party faithful liked the purity of those candidates and did not care about electability, and the same might be proved true of the Anti-Bush.”
George Will, in his column on Dean, sees things pretty much the same way as Novak. Will concludes as follows: “Some in the White House believe that true independents — those whose votes really are up for grabs, as distinguished from those who call themselves independents but almost always vote one way — are only about 7 percent of the electorate. If so, the 2004 election, even more than most elections, will turn on the parties’ ability to turn out their committed supporters. And some in the White House are beginning to worry about Dean because he understands that venting may be a practical precursor to governing: Venting energizes the party’s base. That is why some in the White House say they worry that Dean might be an especially dangerous opponent. But, then, Br’er Rabbit said, ‘Please, Br’er Fox, don’t fling me in that briar patch.'”

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