But as disappointing as Dean's failure to make Obama's cabinet is for Dean's loyal legions, many felt a more stinging slap in Dean's glaring absence from the changing-of-the-DNC-guard ceremony in Washington. When Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine assumed control of the party apparatus last month, Dean was traveling. No request was made by the White House that he reschedule to attend the event. The Beltway press was soon frantically reading tea leaves for an answer to the question: Was Dean's lack of an invitation an intentional slam by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanual, with whom Dean has famously clashed over tactics and strategy for electing more Democrats? Or was it just a scheduling conflict, no biggie, as Dean diplomatically maintains?
Dean's probably pissed and who can blame him? His 50-state strategy was ridiculed by both the Kerry and Clinton camps and now looks prescient. However, his national presence wasn't similar to Obama's. The latter was ticketed for stardom after his '04 Democratic convention speech in Boston. He was clearly a star, especially compared to Kerry. Dean, on the other hand, using his innovative methods, just appeared on the media radar suddenly in the spring of '04. Ultimately, I think he'll be written about, along with Joe Trippi, as visionaries of sorts, but that doesn't translate into a position in Washington, since he's considered sort of a free-speaking guy who's gaffe-prone. (Of course, that's a description of Joe Biden as well.)