Let them mock
I initially reacted with anger and frustration when reading this NY Post column by Deborah Orin about Howard Dean's possible run for the DNC chair. First there was the ever-present anonymous Democrat expressing the establishment fear of Dean. Then there was Orin's own characterization of Dean as leading the Democrats off the cliff because his leadership would show that Democrats are "not ready to face the fact that terrorism was the key issue on Nov. 2". The column was frustrating to me because it presented so many of the misconceptions about Howard Dean, both deliberate and otherwise, that have become legion and it did so in such a compact fashion.
But then it occurred to me that I have seen this kind of thing before. I've seen a political leader characterized as someone who would destroy their party, said characterization coming from members of both parties. I've seen that leader mocked by the opposition as being obviously unfit for the roll. I've seen that leader succeed despite, if not in part because of the derision.
That political leader was and is George W. Bush.
We really need not be angered by the mischaracterizations, distortions and jokes about Howard Dean. We just need to give him the power necessary to make the changes he is advocating. Let others mock him and us. It can just make us stronger.