I’m not sold on the guy for any number of reasons. His offhand dismissal of single payer in yesterday’s debate, for instance, didn’t do a lot to win me over. Nonetheless, there is a very good chance that he’ll be the Democratic nominee, and honestly, the story line that’s developing in the media really pisses me off (hence the last couple of cartoons). One small example from today’s Times:

For sheer comedic appeal, the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday was short a Sharpton, though it had its moments. As when Howard Dean offhandedly promised to balance the budget “in the sixth or seventh year of my administration.”

Someone howled, and the audience, noticeably short of Dean partisans, broke up at the presumptuousness. Dr. Dean seemed not to realize that he was the butt of the joke, and even his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, later said he thought the crowd was laughing with him.

You know, I watched that debate too, but unlike the author of this article, I lacked the psychic ability to determine why the crowd was laughing. I suppose you could interpret it as laughter at his “presumptiousness,” but I think any such interpretation, if it were honest, would necessarily be preceeded by the statement “it seemed to this reporter.” Analysis pieces always get a bit more leeway from the Times’ editors, but still — a subjective impression is being reported as an objective fact. The crowd was also hungry, a little bored, tired of being away from its home in New York, and hoping it would get back to the hotel in time to meet its deadline…

…imagine Bush getting this treatment in 2000: The crowd laughed derisively at his blank deer-in-the-headlights gaze and his seeming inability to form a single coherent sentence…

…while we’re on the topic, Kos has several entries on the AP’s coverage of the debate.