On Health Care, Dean Gives Obama a Pain

Passed over for administration post, ex-doc plagues prez
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2009 1:58 PM CDT
Howard Dean signs books at Netroots Nation, a gathering of self described progressive bloggers and online activists in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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(Newser) – By now, President Obama may wish he’d brought Howard Dean into the administration, because the former doctor has become his top left-wing antagonist on health care reform, the Hill reports. Dean has spent the summer advancing his views on the topic, and though the White House is backing away from the public option, he isn’t. “You can’t really do health reform without it,” he said today.

“It might have been a blessing in disguise that Howard Dean was not brought into the admin,” says one progressive activist, “because it has allowed him to be the bully pulpit” for progressives. Analysts note that Dean’s opposition has raised his own profile. “In a sense Dean becomes an antagonist of the president,” said one political scientist. “This is not a blogger somewhere.”