Dean predicts backers may stay home if he doesn't win the nomination

SF Gate

Howard Dean said Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to politics by his campaign may stay home if he doesn't win the Democratic presidential nomination, dooming the Democratic Party in the fall campaign against President Bush.

"If I don't win the nomination, where do you think those million and a half people, half a million on the Internet, where do you think they're going to go?" he said during a meeting with reporters. "I don't know where they're going to go. They're certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician."

..."I think eventually the nomination is going to be won by somebody with a positive agenda," Dean said. "What's happening is, in their desperation, those guys have thrown their positive agenda out the window. I can't imagine it's going to help them. It might hurt us but it can't help them."

He added: "If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, it would be calling the other candidates and saying somebody has to win here. If (former Democratic National Committee head) Ron Brown were chairman, this wouldn't be happening."
He's dead on here. Debra DeShong rejects this, saying Dem primary battles are all like this. Bull. The infamous Osama-Dean commercial comes to mind. There's been nothing in Democratic primary politics as publicly foul as that.

Yes, I'm a strong Clark supporter, and I'm pulling for him, and I hope Clark gets the nod. But if it's Dean, then I'll be working for Dean in the general, and these whiny little insider candidates had better get used to the idea. I'm beginning to wonder whether or not the DNP will just roll over and hand the election to Bush if Dean gets the nod from the voters.

On edit: JMM at Talking Points Memo has his take on this, and he has some good points to make. Dean's open talk is encouraging a split of the Democratic ticket, but it's a split that's coming from the other side of the party in my mind. Dean shouldn't feel entitled to the Democratic Party's full support right now, but the party leadership should do a better job of showing he'll get that support if he gets the nomination. Right now, I don't see that happening.