Who-wah! What a power play. Or, is this a mistake?
One of the great things about the Dean effort so far is that the bulk of the support is pretty anti-establishment. He has brought thousands of people who aren't normally involved in politics into the process. This is a good thing for the candidate. But what would happen if all those people became discouraged? If they see the campaign shift, the insiders come aboard, and the candidate lose spark as he starts to play it safe. What are these people going to do when Dean eventually shifts to the center - or even to the right - in an effort to appeal to the moderate masses?
The Boston Phoenix's Dan Kennedy had a whole slew of reaction from different viewpoints on the Web: ["Gore's revenge"].
Here is some of the reaction from the other candidates:
Joe Lieberman: "I was proud to have been chosen by Al Gore in 2000 to be a heartbeat away from the presidency -- and am determined to fight for what’s right, win this nomination, and defeat George W. Bush next year. I have a lot of respect for Al Gore -- that is why I kept my promise not to run if he did. Ultimately, the voters will make the determination and I will continue to make my case about taking our party and nation forward."
John Kerry: "I respect Al Gore. I worked with him in the Senate, and I endorsed him early in his hard fought campaign for the presidency four years ago. But, this election is about the future, not about the past. I have the experience and the vision to reverse George Bush’s radical agenda and put America back on track on my first day in office. This election will be decided by voters, across the country, beginning with voters in Iowa."
Dennis Kucinich: "Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean is further evidence that the only electable candidates in this race are the ones who opposed the Bush administration's illegal and unjust war in Iraq. Candidates who chose to stand with George W. Bush in the most consequential vote of the last decade will continue to struggle as the casualties and cost of our misadventure in Iraq escalate.
To the surprise of some in the media, the list of candidates who will soon struggle over their record on the war and occupation will include Dr. Dean himself. In fact, a new flyer mailed out by the Dean campaign in Iowa raises concerns about a pattern of misrepresentation. Because the honesty of the administration will be a major issue in the coming election, it is essential for any potential Democratic nominee to try to be straightforward. A close inspection of the factual record reveals that Dr. Dean, during the buildup to the War on Iraq, spoke in favor of preemptive war. He said unilateral action might be unavoidable. Once the war started, he declined to challenge the President's actions. After the invasion, Dean called for a NATO-led effort and said 'A democratic transition will take between 18 to 24 months, although troops should expect to be in Iraq for a longer period.' Throughout the course of the occupation he said we're 'stuck' in Iraq and 'cannot leave.' On various occasions, including the presidential debates in New York and Phoenix, Dr. Dean supported spending another $87 billion on the occupation. On other occasions, including the most recent debate, Dean claimed to have opposed the $87 billion. The news media has chosen to ignore the obvious frequent discrepancies in Dr. Dean's public statements. I led the effort in the House of Representatives last year that challenged the Bush Administration's march toward war. Other presidential candidates also opposed the war. Dean ran television ads in New Hampshire last month claiming that his opponents had all supported the war and implying that he had opposed the increased spending. After I protested, he publicly recanted at an AFL-CIO meeting in New Hampshire and then stopped running the ads. Dean's new flyer says in bold at the top: 'Only Dean Opposed the War from the Start.' The flyer begins with the line 'Newsweek calls it "Bush's $87 Billion Mess."' The flyer claims that Dean has a plan for Iraq that differs substantially from President Bush's policies. We as Democrats running against a president who has taken us into a fraudulent war must not distort the records of our opponents if we are to challenge Bush on the issue of integrity. The media has an obligation to ask Dr. Dean to explain his mailing in Iowa."