Joe Klien:

Dean turns out to be a flagrantly political anti-politician. As his campaign gains altitude, he seems to change a position a week. In the debate, he changed two—first on American troops in Iraq, then on American labor standards on trade. Before that, he trimmed his honorable position on raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and his support for lifting the embargo on Cuba. Dean still proudly struts his pro-gun stance in the anti-gun Democratic Party, but as often as not he points out the political efficacy of that position in the red states. The question is: How many of Dean’s positions are negotiable? As victory becomes a possibility, how much integrity will he compromise to win? Another question: How long before Dean’s tough talk—the apparent candor that propelled his charge—begins to seem arrogant, uninformed, unpresidential? “I think Dean confuses being smart with knowing a lot,” says a prominent Democrat who wants Dean to succeed. “I’m not sure he knows a lot.”

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