Howard Dean's surprise presidential announcement
Howard Dean is not running for president.
A spokeswoman for the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee says that Dean 100% supports President Obama in 2012 and "has repeatedly said so publicly."
After all, why out of the blue would a former New England governor and liberal Democrat who was fired from his DNC job and denied a coveted Cabinet position hold any ill feelings toward the 44th president who arranged that? Dean should also publicly deny he has a temper, clear that up, too.
Joe Biden has already announced that he will be the Democrats' 2012 VP candidate. So the assumption is, of course, that Obama will accept Joe's partnership offer and seek at least one additional term, as is the custom for Chicago Democrats.
Remember back in 1966 everyone knew Democratic President Lyndon Johnson was a surefire re-nominee two years later? Faced with an unpopular foreign war, mounting....
Obama isn't conducting an increasingly unpopular, hopelessly quagmired war with U.S. troops in some godforsaken foreign land that Americans don't believe is worth a piece of spit. Biden announced the U.S. economy would be in full, job-creating recovery mode by the end of last summer. So the economy issue is off the table.
And after Obama closed Guantanamo, reformed immigration policy and ended the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on gays, as promised so often, why would some of the big-money liberal northeasterners inside the Democratic party begin to think that maybe the Real Good Talker isn't a Real Good Choice as 2012 nominee?
For that to happen Obama would have to incur historic midterm election losses in Congress this month. Lose the crucial independent voters. Maybe even be so stubbornly focused on some pet legislative issue that he costs the party its whopping, hard-won majority in at least one Hill chamber, giving Republicans a political podium to build on for 2012.
And besides, who could replace Obama? There's no female candidate out there with the legislative and White House experience, name recognition, national Democratic following and popular fundraising husband to step in.
Dean joins more than 310 million other Americans who are not running for president in 2012. Many have yet to make the same announcement of their non-candidacy. Clearly, they too are waiting to see if the 47% of Democrats who want Obama challenged increases. Or if the percent of those opposed to a second Obama term continues to climb beyond the 51% level of Americans who already feel that way.
In America, denying something is a very effective political ploy to convince people of something. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright could no more be denounced than someone's grandmother. Desiree Rogers has her boss' full confidence. Same for Van Jones. Why would Rahm Emanuel want to give up the powerful chief of staff job? Larry Summers is definitely not leaving. Nor Christina Romer. And Tim Geithner is doing a heckuva job.
To underline Dean's point and bury the subject once and for all, his spokeswoman added: "He is absolutely, categorically not running in 2012." (See photo above of Dean not running for president before a large crowd in Sacramento last month.)
To prove this denial theory, tonight at dinner, while grinding the pepper, volunteer to your spouse out of the blue that you are definitely not cheating with someone else. Categorically not. No way would you even consider such a thing because you are 100% in love with your partner.
Then, see if that same subject happens to come up again some other time.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press (Dean not running for president in front of a large Sacramento crowd last month).