When I was in middle school there were cool kids. I have to imagine this is a near universal reality of all middle schools. In high school diverse and divergent interests replace being "cool" as the sole arbiter of external worth. But in middle school, at least for me, being cool was THE goal to which a great many people aspired. Second to being cool was being able to join the cool kids in looking down on others. Third was being ignored. The Worst was being hated by the cool kids.
It seems as though we're about to learn these lessons all over again. Howard Dean's rise to chair of the DNC (scheduled for this weekend) is likely to bring about great scorn and derision from the Republican noise machine. It's going to get really nasty in a hurry. Talking heads informing everyone how out of touch Dean is, and how they (GOP) got exactly what they wanted. Etc. Like the cool kids, Republicans have bravado and perception on their side. Objective worth and value are not the currency of middle school "cool." I expect hours and hours and days and days of Republican mockery and puffery (they must have the op research books on Dean, and be dying to use them--- Did Dean perform abortions? Let's just ask the question a lot, and then it'll become an issue). But the real concern I have is what are Conservative/Establishment Democrats going to do. My guess, having been burned by the aforementioned groups many times, is that they are going to rush to the ed boards and press rooms of America to explain how they knew Howard Dean was flawed. And how they agree with the cool kids.
The last lesson from middle school: Those who were toadies were souless and never got to be cool. Those who were worthy of scorn were always later worthy of praise. So it shall be with this.