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Why Howard Dean is not in the Obama Cabinet

December 16, 2009 |  7:43 am

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean unleashes the screan of the 2004 campaign

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, was the darling of the 2004 campaign, an Internet-savvy breath of fresh air who energized Democrats,  before the Iowa caucuses -- and a screaming rant during his concession speech -- slowed his momentum.

And in 2008, during the historic campaign that elected the first African American president, Dean was chairman of the Democratic National Committee that helped elect a Democratic House and Senate and gave President Obama a solid chance at enacting his agenda.

So you kind of wondered why Dean got no offer to join the new administration. Even after Tom Daschle had to withdraw his nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services, the White House continued to shun the Vermont physician-turned-politician.

Now we know why.

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As Congress moves toward passing a healthcare reform bill, Dean took to the airwaves last night and slammed the bill, calling it "a terrible disappointment" and saying no liberal "in good conscience" could vote for the legislation because "it costs too much money and it's not healthcare reform, it's not even insurance reform."

As MSNBC's Savannah Guthrie reported this morning, the White House is angry at Dean's outburst, arguing that Democrats should not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

But Dean does speak for a cohort of liberals deeply suspicious about a bill that includes no public option.

Your thoughts?

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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