Howard Dean is not the tallest tree in the forest of national politics but it is bogus for political insiders to blame the Democratic mess on him.

There is one harsh criticism I would have of Dean. He should be speaking far more loudly against attacks that are so destructive they clearly help John McCain.

Howard Dean did not cause the mess and does not have the power to end it, and many with far more power than Dean have remained weak, silent and irrelevant.

Dean does not control 300 superdelegates who lack the minimum political courage to even take a stand supporting a candidate and have the presumption and pomposity to publicly consider whether highly unpopular poliical insiders should scorn the will of the people in primaries and caucuses.

Where is Al Gore, who has had nothing to say of even minimal import in presidential politics though he positions himself as a political and moral statesman? Where is John Edwards, with his interminable invitations to candidates to solicit his support and then his interminable leaks of these meetings and his interminable leaked commentary about why this or that candidate is not worthy of his support?

The list of suspects who deserve blame for the Democratic fiasco is longer than Agatha Christie's list in Murder on the Orient Express.

Howard Dean may be weak, but what is even more pathetic and weak is that those who could have more influence have lacked the courage and stature to act, while they whisper sweet nothings to The New York Times, blaming Dean for their own lack of courage and common sense.