Howard Dean is in trouble again. On Monday, he called Republicans "pretty much a white, Christian party." His point roused outrage by mostly white, Christian Republicans, who, like Oregon's Gordon Smith, called it hate speech. Had Democrats circled the wagons, though, the story might have died. Instead, presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and John Edwards weighed in. Biden distanced himself--and all Dems--from the Chairman: "[Dean] doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats." Edwards followed up by declaring that Dean "is not the spokesman for the party."
The resulting furor has Dems pitted against Dems. In the blogosphere, some bloggers are washing their hands of Dean, while others are raising money for him. Once again, the story isn't Dean's comments, it's Dean himself. Is it a distraction for a party finally finding its footing after years in the political wilderness, or signs that a new leadership is emerging and challenging old party orthodoxy? Is Howard Dean the solution or the problem?