Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why not Howard Dean?

Eleanor Clift asked in Newsweek yesterday why not named Howard Dean director of Health and Human Services now that Tom Daschle has resigned.

Clift says that Daschle was supposed to be a slam dunk...

Obama doesn't have a Plan B. Daschle was a shoo-in for the job, and there is no deep bench of runners-up vetted and ready to serve. Still, Obama may surprise us. In order to regain political momentum and convey the impression that while losing Daschle is a blow, it's not a body blow, he might want to have Daschle's successor ready to announce before the crocuses come up. One prominent Democrat has made no secret of the fact that he would love the job and that's Howard Dean. He's a doctor; his wife is a doctor; and he's not beholden to anyone as far as we know. In fact, Dean was running against the entrenched special interests in Washington back when the presidency was still just a gleam in Obama's eye.

Granted, Dean wouldn't have Daschle's finesse with the old bulls on Capitol Hill. He angered the Democrats in Congress when he ran for president in '04 on a platform that took on the party establishment for their support of the Iraq War and their timidity in opposing President Bush. He couldn't trade on personal relationships, but he's dogged, he knows the subject, and he's due some payback for pioneering the 50-state strategy that came into fruition with Obama.

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