Some bolder prognosticators (cough!hack!WayneAllynRoot!) have predicted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will contest the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination, maybe even sending Obama to the bleachers and certainly handing the election to whatever old nag the GOP can chivvy onto the track.
I just don't see that happening. Unless Obama keels over with a fatal coronary or something, Clinton will remain a dutiful apparatchik until and unless she feels up to making another run at it in 2016.
Howard Dean, on the other hand, he's got guts.
He got robbed by the Democratic establishment in 2004, but he came back and orchestrated the 50-state campaign that put the Democrats in charge of Congress in 2006.
Then he got robbed by that same establishment again when Obama and Co. pissed all his hard work away.
Third time's the charm, maybe?
Most rank and file Democrats with two neurons still up to forming a synapse know damn well that if Dean had won the Iowa caucus, he'd have run the table for the nomination and beat George W. Bush like a red-headed stepchild that November.
They probably also think -- rightly or wrongly -- that he'd then have had the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan by mid-2006, and that he wouldn't have allowed "national health care reform" to become just another all-you-can-eat buffet for the insurance industry's welfare queens.
If he took on Obama, he might just pull it off. And if he pulled it off in the nomination process, he'd romp in November 2012.