Howard Dean has done nothing for the Democratic Party. He has provided hours worth of embarassing rants for the GOP to dissuade moderate voters from the party and, less significantly in my opinion but nonetheless still important, he has failed to ignite the party base for 2006 or 2008.
He hasn't championed any issues that don't involve Republicans. If we believe every word that he says, we fully understand that the Republican leadership in the White House and the Congress is insufficient. However, we do not understand why Democrats are necessary replacements.
If Howard Dean wants to effectively communicate his plans for a "better America," why doesn't he come up with some issues that create some positive hope: health care, worker's benefits, reforming the justice system, and most importantly, rebuilding Iraq. Why don't the Democrats talk about their plans for rebuilding the nation we destroyed. Lack of troop commitment does not necessarily have to be aligned with lack of financial committment.
It's important that Democrats aren't seen as a party desperately hanging on to remnants of the New Deal as well as the Clinton legacy. To establish themselves as a 21st century party, they must talk about investment in job creating technology, medical advance, including embryonic stem cell research, and energy efficient fuel. The party must be united on that front, and it can't allow members from socially conservative districts to defect on those issues. The populist energy is right, but the populist stances are not.