On the topic of who should chair the Democratic National Committee, the media seems to enjoy painting the party as a fractured mess. If you're a populist/moderate, you want Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa. If you're a crazy left-wing radical, you're more inclined towards Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont.
The thing is, I don't think the party is divided much at all:
We think that terrorism is bad, but that the invasion of Iraq was wrong (or at least for the wrong reasons, conducted under false pretenses).
We believe women should have the right to choose whether they want to carry a baby to term.
We believe that gay men and women should be allowed to enter into a union, probably separate from marriage, that allows them the legal rights of a recognized partnership.
We believe that science is good and that religion should be largely kept out of government. If one is truly interested in a 'culture of life,' then why not want to do the stem cell research to prolong and improve life?
We believe that having students take national exams and then holding poor-performing schools hostage when they don't do well enough is not even close to substantial education reform.
We believe in civil rights and affirmative action, in that minority status should be one piece of a larger picture in choices involving admission and employment.
We believe that deficit spending is reckless, and that $300 tax cuts for every family in the middle class does not make up for the loss of jobs or for skyrocketing costs of various public services.
We believe that health care ought to be affordable and accessible to anyone who wants it. Speaking of public health, we believe that it's unrealistic to censor any form of disease or pregnancy prevention besides abstinence in sex education curricula.
We believe that judges should be able to see room for interpretation in the laws they are asked to enforce or change.
Can the Republican party truly say that they are united in opposition to all of this?
No. Therefore, the DNC needs a chairman who rallies the base of people who support all of these things I've just listed. That's not extreme or moderate. It's essential.
Howard Dean is the best choice to galvanize the voters.