• Howard Dean to Ride Off Into Sunset

    Former Vermont Governor and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean electrified the Democratic Party when he ran for and won the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee four years ago.

    He embarked on a "50-State Strategy" of spreading party resources across the country, not just in swing states, which many observers credit for the Democrats' gains in places like Indiana and North Carolina.  And he publicly challenged RNC chair Mike Duncan to a duel.

    But now he has announced that his time as DNC chair is done

    Mr. Dean’s decision not to seek a second term had been expected after Senator Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential election last week. New presidents typically install their own party leaders.

    Advisers said Mr. Dean had little interest in being party chairman with a Democrat in the White House; historically, the power and visibility of the post is substantially diminished when a party member holds the presidency. Mr. Dean also had long said he would not stay in the position even if Mr. Obama had lost.

    Mr. Dean is being mentioned in Washington circles as a potential member of Mr. Obama’s cabinet, perhaps as secretary of health and human services. He is a physician, and as governor of Vermont he undertook a huge effort to expand the state’s health care coverage.

    Dean may be gunning for a cabinet post, but my guess is that he's eager to head back to Vermont, roll up his sleeves, and do some good old-fashioned shrieking.

    Meanwhile, the DNC will be looking for a new chairperson.  Possible choices to fill Dean's shoes include…

    * Congressman Jim McDermott (also a medical doctor)

    * Senator John Kerry (also a failed presidential candidate desperate for a new purpose in life)

    * CNBC's Jim Cramer (also famous for enraged screaming fits)

    Any more suggestions out there?

    Tags: Barack Obama, DNC, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Vermont


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