Just to clarify, I have no problems whatsoever with Dean. I simply do not want his supporters attacking the other Democratic candidates (and I’d be nonplussed if Dean approved of such steps). The same goes for all the candidates. For example, I was very disappointed in Kerry for his stupid “Dear Governor Dean” letter.
Goal number one is ending the primary with a minimally damaged candidate, or even better, pair of candidates. Who lands on the top of the ticket is a subordinate issue. It does–at least, at this early stage–appear that a combined Dean/Clark or Clark/Dean ticket will provide the strongest ticket (remember, Gore was Clinton’s primary opponent until Clinton chose him in July 1992 as his running mate). I love the prospect of matching Clark’s resume with Dean’s grass-roots appeal, in either order. If the primaries degenerate to the level of Bradley vs. Gore, that won’t happen.
CORRECTION: Gore ran in 1988, but not in 1992. How quickly memory fades. Commenter GW Plunkett also points out that Reagan choosing Bush in 1980 was the only time in recent history that two opponents joined forces. Still, that was an acrimonious primary (“Voodoo Economics” and all), so I’ll hold out hope for a pairing.