Edwards and Biden, frankly, are right to denounce Dean. I like the Governor but his recent rhetoric doesn't just go too far, it goes there pointlessly. What, for instance, is the use of saying Republicans have never made an honest living in their lives? I'm as partisan as they come, but with Republicans easily winning the middle class, even I'm not able to believe this is a clear cut proletariat v. bourgeoisie confrontation. And even if Dean was, as he says, limiting his comments to the Republican leadership, that's still idiotic. Dennis Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach. Having been a wrestler, that means he was sticking around campus from 7AM to 6PM most days, and turning up for weekend tournaments as well. That's the textbook definition of an honest living, as the NEA would certainly tell the chairman.
There's a right way and a wrong way to be virulently partisan. For an example of the right way, Dean should get some pointers from Harry Reid, who's been landing punches without falling out of the ring. Here's Reid in Rolling Stone:
RS: You've called Bush a loser.
Reid: And a liar.
RS: You apologized for the loser comment.
Reid: But never for the liar, have I?
The lesson? Nail them for what they've done, not what you think of them. DeLay's corruption is proven, his criminality is not. The leadership's myopia is obvious, their working habits are not. It's fine for Dean to punch hard, but even the newest fighter knows you have to hit from higher ground.
Update: I'm kinda fascinated by the idea that Dean was wrong in his comments, but Edwards/Biden was wrong to condemn them. Is there any evidence that private warnings spur Dean to bit his tongue? Further, isn't it likely that Edwards and Biden were trying to separate themselves from Dean's comments, not passing objective judgment on what he said? The fault here, in my eyes, is Dean's for making comments outlandish enough that other Democratic pols are not only being asked about them, but feeling compelled to distance themselves from them.
As comparison, this isn't like Reid's liar comment, where Democrats want to start a discussion about whether or not Bush is a liar. Dean's comments, though understandable, are basically indefensible, and any self-interested poll confronted with them is going to quickly create daylight. Dean should stop putting them in that position. And I, by the way, like Dean very much and think he's been doing a generally good job. But he's got to be smarter about his rhetoric.