Alterman & Greider on Howard Dean

Eric Alterman has made a good, quick read of which pundits are attacking Howard Dean and why in "Washington Goes to War (with Howard Dean)."

I've been hearing a lot of anti-Dean rhetoric from friends on the right and the left lately. Depending on who you listen to, either Dean is the next George McGovern, the candidate whom Karl Rove thinks will be the easiest to beat, or he is a Republican in disguise, or worse, a waffling, insincere fascist in populist's clothing who will say anything to get elected. Alterman writes:
The question of the Democratic nomination has come down to this: Will this election be about turningout your base, or winning over swing voters? Gore did the latter but not the former. He won the election, but, thanks to Ralph Nader's megalomania (with an assist from the SCLM--So-Called Liberal Media--and Gore's own crappy campaign), not by enough to prevent the Supreme Court from handing it to Bush. Today, the nation remains no less divided than four years ago, with about 20 percent of the vote up for grabs. The punditocracy has chosen its side. Perhaps it's time the rest of us choose ours.

William Greider made similar observations about anti-Dean sentiments two weeks ago, in "Why I'm for Dean."
First, the rivals saw him as a McGovernite lefty from the 1960s. When that didn't take, they decided to depict him as a right-wing clone of Newt Gingrich who wants to dismantle Medicare and Social Security. Finally, opponents sold political reporters on the story of Mr. Malaprop, an oddball from tiny, liberal Vermont so insensitive to the nuances of American politics his mouth will destroy him. Howard Dean surged ahead through all this. The other candidates and witting collaborators in the press got him wrong every time.

Whether the nominee ends up being Dean or Clark or Gephardt or Kerry, I hope the Democrats can rally quickly around their party's candidate. I for one will be happy to see them focusing more energy on Bush&Co than on each other.