A great idea.
Sen. Harkin Backs Dean For HHS Secretary
I'm frankly skeptical that the pragmatist Emanuel would put dislike of Dean ahead of what's in the interest of furthering the Obama administration's agenda. The idea that Emanuel's personal conflict with Dean, stemming from their conflicting strategies in the 2006 Congressional race, might sidetrack a good nomination makes no sense. If that angle of the story is true, and if the Obama administration wants to preach bipartisanship, they might start by putting an end to counterproductive grudges within the Democratic Party.
More serious an impediment to Dean's nomination to HHS might be concern that it would be spun as a move to the left by the Republicans and the news media. I can just hear the Fox News crowd screaming "socialism" with wild-eyed expressions, and the CNN commentators thoughtfully intoning "partisanship". Obama shows signs of wanting to placate the right and their media sounding board with centrist nominations and talk of compromise. I don't know how Dean would fit into that strategy, but, frankly, that strategy is being overused. Dean is hardly a leftist, although he, like Obama, is sometimes portrayed as such. President Obama should choose the person best able to establish, articulate and implement the best policy. If the Republicans choose to attack Dean without concern for the real world implications, let their strategy be exhibit one in President Obama's argument against partisanship and for pragmatism. It's time to ask for bipartisanship to be reciprocated.