The David Brooks column today is spot-on. I made a similar point in my Dean cover story in the current issue:
“But there is a chance Dean can be portrayed as a phony. The fact is that Dean governed, in Vermont terms, as a budget-balancing moderate. He could easily have run for the nomination as a Joe Lieberman centrist. Instead, the running room was to the left, especially with all the credible candidates on the record in support of the Iraq war resolution.
So Dean ran left. Very little in his campaign would have seemed a natural fit two or three years ago. He spent his career fighting the angry, shaggy Left in Vermont, exactly the constituency he is attracting nationally. He was a free-trader, but now tells the labor unions, ‘When I am president, we won’t be talking about free trade in the Americas.’ He was pro-business, but now rails against corporations. He drove Vermont environmentalists batty with his flexible approach to regulation, but now seeks a comprehensive ‘re-regulation’ of American business. To top it off, he was a computer illiterate who knew nothing about the Internet that has become an indispensable organizing tool for his campaign.”