Dick Gephardt deserves Howard Dean. In a sense, he created him.
If anyone has personified the failure of the Democratic establishment to provide the party with a distinct profile during the Bush presidency, it's Gephardt. As House Democratic leader, Gephardt clung to Bush's Iraq policy until it all but unraveled over the past month. Gephardt's endorsement last fall of the administration's war resolution effectively derailed a bipartisan effort in the Senate to require the White House to win more international backing.
As revolutions go, this one began with remarkably little fanfare.
Last Thursday MoveOn.org sent out an e-mail to its members -- all 1.4 million of them -- asking if they'd like to take part in an online Democratic presidential primary later this month. Candidates would answer questions that MoveOn put to them, and if one of them managed to pull a majority of the members' votes, the organization would endorse him.
Save for the continuing search for its justification, the war in Iraq is over. For the United States, if not yet for Iraq, the consequences are clear. We have established yet again the utter supremacy of our hard power.
Unfriendly governments tremble anew at our armed might and our willingness to use it. Some, to be sure, are hard at work building their atomic arsenals, and the last thing we need is a trembling adversary with a nuclear trigger. Still, if the challenge before us is military, our government is justly confident we can deter or defeat it.
If the House and Senate conferees assembling this week to negotiate a prescription drug benefit and Medicare reform bill do in fact come up with a final product, the only thing certain is that they will have built a house divided against itself.