The [Howard] Dean who entered the 2004 presidential campaign was a pragmatic centrist -- the very sort of Democrat who could win a national election. As governor of Vermont, Dean was rather conservative. He held down social spending, much to the annoyance of many Vermont liberals. They used to call him "the best Republican governor we ever had."
....All that changed when Dean ran for president and started the first "net roots" campaign. The left-wing blogs embraced him, raising both money and his national profile. But instead of visiting the blogosphere as a friendly tourist, Dean went native. Before you knew it, he was transformed into a latte liberal and proceeded to lose the nomination to the ineffective John Kerry.
We don't want that to happen to Ned Lamont, who is challenging Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. The blogs have turned the Greenwich entrepreneur into a serious contender, and bless them for that. But now things get dangerous. Lamont is running a television ad in which he is joined by jubilant young supporters, including the DailyKos's Markos Moulitsas, who mugs at length for camera. That's cute, but stop right there.
Lamont is the best kind of liberal candidate. He's for universal health coverage and all the other good things, but comes at the issues from a sophisticated business perspective. It's not healthy for his campaign to become overly identified with the hothead dramatics and childish expletives of the lefty blogs.