Howard Dean's penchant for flippant and sometimes false statements is generating increased criticism from his Democratic presidential rivals and raising new questions about his ability to emerge as a nominee who can withstand intense, sustained scrutiny and defeat President Bush.So what's the new Mary Jane? Dean makes flippant and false statements. Wow. This was just as true six months ago, of course, but nobody cared because the press herd line was all about Dean's amazing rise in the polls, his fighting underdog spirit. He was "refreshingly candid" rather than "flippant" back then.
I made the case for Lieberman yesterday, but it's still an open question who benefits from a possible Dean stumble. Gephardt is also a possibility, for obvious populist reasons. Wes Clark stands to benefit since he's got some can-win-against-Bush potential (though he has yet to show much real political skill). Kerry? That's a hard case to make, since Kerry's not losing this race to Dean; he's losing it to his own droning, scolding, shifting self.