Made a sortie to a private house outside Milford to meet Howard Dean on the campaign trail - my second close scrutiny of Dean. And, as it turned out, my second personal greeting and handshake from him. A good handshake he has, too.
Despite the fact that the house of hosts Paul and Nancy Amato was out along dark country roads, there was a massive turnout. Fortunately, the large and gracious house also had lots of land - all of which was needed for parking. And they had floodlights, a sound system and, of course, hospitality in the form of tea, coffee, punch and fancy cakes.
Dean was 15 minutes late - not bad for a man on the campaign trail. He was profusely apologetic. His message may have been familiar, but his speech seemed fresh - and passionate and punctuated with ironic humor. He opened himself to questioning and did not dodge the issues when answering.
The more I see of him, the more I feel that America would be well served by him. I hope the people feel the same.
Of course, now Wesley Clark has thrown his hat into the ring, the dynamics may change. Clark has some very impressive credentials and is a Southerner, to boot. However, he has only had authority over a highly-disciplined bureacracy. He is a political ingenue. Dean, on the other hand, has had extensive hands-on experience as a Governor - a very successful one at that.
And so far as hands-on is concerned, I was contemplating this and the brags of Kucinich, Gephardt and Edwards about their humble, grass-roots origins. Dean may not have come from the wrong side of the tracks, but he has lived with the grass roots and been very literally hands-on with the people in his role as a doctor. You just don't get closer to the people than that.
A doctor in the Whitehouse? Some healing for the nation? Sounds good.