The respect issue is, I think, what is at the core of a lot of Dean supporter's grumblings about
Clark. We've had to put up with months of bullshit from "experts" about how Dean will never get anywhere followed by these same "experts" expressing surprise at how successful Dean has been up till now (especially considering where he started).
If the Democratic establishment would simply acknowledge that the Dean movement is real, important and, most of all, good for the party then I think it would go a long way towards healing some of those wounds.
Here's my nightmare scenario: Clark wins the nomination. Dean drops out and throws his support behind Clark. We then immediately see stories about the Democratic establishment breathing a sigh of relief because they managed to "dodge the Dean bullet".
Dean supporters, on hearing this, tell the establishment to go fuck themselves. They scatter to the four winds. The most powerful grassroots Democratic organization of the last 20 years is destroyed by the condescending attitudes of a few idiots in the party leadership.
Clark has to spend the first couple of months of the general election season rebuilding the network that these fools destroyed with their thoughtless comments, giving Bush the window he needs to push past Clark and take the Presidency once again.
That is my nightmare. Let's make sure it doesn't happen.