I’ve been wondering for a while about whether it will turn out to have been a mistake for Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire to have jettisoned Howard Dean in favor of the “more electable” John Kerry. Now Peter Beinart, writing in Time, has an essay that examines that notion in detail: If Howard Dean were the candidate.
If Dean were the nominee, flip-flops wouldn’t be the issue; Iraq would. The former Vermont Governor opposed the war from the start, and his rationale was as simple as Kerry’s was convoluted: Saddam was not a threat. Of course, Dean would have had other general-election vulnerabilities. Republicans would have branded him the second coming of peacenik George McGovern. But Dean could have retorted that he (unlike Kerry) backed the first Gulf War. They would have ridiculed his lack of foreign policy experience. But there’s an advantage to not having 20 years of Senate votes to defend, as Kerry has learned. (That’s part of the reason Governors usually make stronger presidential candidates than Senators.)
There’s lots more, and he makes a strong case.