Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the man regarded by many sharp political operatives as the progenitor of President-elect Barack Obama's successful 2008 campaign, finds himself without an obvious next job as his tenure at the head of the Democratic National Committee comes to an end.
Those closest to Dean insist that he has any number of job offers to weigh (although they wouldn't expound on any specifics), is traveling to Europe three times early in 2009 to advise progressive parties abroad about the lessons learned from the 2008 campaign and is speaking out on his pet issue -- health care -- as he did on Wednesday at a speech to the National Institute of Health.
And yet, it's hard not see Dean as a lesson in how political hardball is played in Washington. Never liked by establishment party figures -- Dean publicly feuded with incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel when the latter was at the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 election cycle -- Dean finds himself on the outside looking in as a new Democratic Administration comes to town.