Former DNC Chair Howard Dean urged progressives on Sunday to have patience with President Barack Obama, predicting that the White House would pass comprehensive health care legislation and touting stimulus package successes.
The former Vermont Governor, a respected progressive voice himself, told Fox News Sunday that he thought Obama was "going to do fine" and would "get re-elected" in 2012.
"But I think we'll have a tough election in 2010 unless we can start dealing with the job situation," Dean added.
"He's not in big trouble with his own base," the former DNC Chair said. "I think we need to give him time. If we are successful -- and I do think there's a better chance than not that we'll pass a decent health care bill at the end of the day. It's just a frustrating time right now. I think he needs some time and he'll have that time and we'll pass a decent health care bill that really is going to start reform... Jobs are the biggest concern right now. I will say this -- the stimulus package, which has come under Republican attack, has been unbelievably successful in saving jobs. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and police officers would have been laid off by the states. Now we have a big problem coming up. That money is going to be spent halfway through the next fiscal year and states are really going to be on the hook. These huge drops in state revenue as we go through this recession. But I'm more optimistic in that I think small businesses will be helped enormously by health care reform, small businesses with payrolls less than half a million dollars don't have to buy health insurance anymore for their employees. That's a big step forward."
Dean's positive take on the Obama presidency was echoed to some extent by his co-panelist, Fox News host Mike Huckabee. While the former Arkansas Governor scoffed at the idea that the stimulus had been, in any way, a success, he did caution fellow Republicans not to buy into the narrative that the president was in some sort of political malaise.
"The Republican Party needs to unite if it's going to win in 2012, and anyone who thinks Barack Obama is an easy mark off, just remember Bill Clinton was just labeled politically dead and came back to win a resounding re-election in 1996," said Huckabee.