The need for a clearly expressed, Enlightenment-values-driven vision of America accounts for why I liked Howard Dean, despite all his flaws, so much better than I liked Kerry. Dean at least had a clear sense of what he wanted America to be -- and it was an idea of America I could happily sign up to.
I'm excited by the rumor that Dean may be selected to run the DNC, a position which would highlight his strengths while minimizing his flaws. The job would place front and center his ability to galvanize new voters by speaking a populist language capable of reaching out to, as he infamously but trenchantly put it, the "guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." (Stay tuned for further postings on how much of the Red/Blue division that has emerged in the last two election cycles reflects the changing face of American populism.)
What's more, as DNC Chair Dean's deficits might well become positives. His tendency to shoot from the hip, to express outrage and anger, may have been inappropriate for the public face of the Party and the country, but are downright helpful in a powerbroker.
We have to wait to see who else steps forward for the position, but let's hope that the Democratic leadership realizes that they need to pick someone who can see keep his or her eyes on the big picture, namely keeping America an inclusive, progressive place that uses the appropriate organ to make decisions.