I’m not the only one who thinks Howard Dean might be good for the Democrats — so does Sam Tanenhaus at The New York Times. Here’s the key bit:
To judge from recent elections, little has changed. In the 1980’s the public supported the anti-Soviet, anti-government views of Ronald Reagan. In the 1990’s the same public favored the globalist, pro-government politics of Bill Clinton. And neither president was held to the bar of consistency, whether it was the conservative Mr. Reagan creating huge deficits or the liberal Mr. Clinton dismantling welfare.
So, too, with President Bush, who now seems a small-government conservative (tax cuts for the rich), now a big-government liberal (prescription drug benefits), now a social liberal (favoring some types of affirmative action), now a social conservative (opposed to gay marriage).
But if abstract ideology plays a limited role in presidential races, the importance of ideologues and extremists