Politics: LATimes on the race for the DNC chair and why they fear Howard Dean.
|"Skeptics are also concerned that Dean will use the chairmanship to establish himself as a competing voice to the party's elected officials. Among some party insiders listening closely, he raised eyebrows and anxieties Saturday when he suggested that as chairman he would feel free to criticize Democrats who veered from the dominant party position on several key issues. "To put pressure on somebody from the Midwest for voting a certain way in a conservative state … is a mistake, and we shouldn't do that — except for four or five issues that are absolutely critical," Dean said. The fear that Dean won't accept the party leader's traditionally subordinate role on issues is probably the biggest hurdle he faces. In an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry defended Dean against charges that he was too liberal but added that Democrats in Congress were "not looking for a spokesperson in the chairmanship." Some senior Democratic operatives say unease about a Dean chairmanship is widespread among congressional leaders and many governors. But almost none of those grumbling privately have expressed their concerns publicly — in part, some believe, because they fear crossing the ardent grass-roots, Internet-activist community still backing Dean."|