Larry Elder

 Armchair psychologist and former President Bill Clinton might have a perspective -- maybe Dean is a self-loather. Back in December, conservative Republican fundraiser Arthur J. Finkelstein "married" his longtime male partner in a Massachusetts civil ceremony. When Finkelstein announced his intention to form a campaign chest to defeat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for re-election in '06, Bill Clinton said, "Either this guy believes his party is not serious and he's totally Machiavellian in its position, or . . . there's some sort of self-loathing." So, according to Clinton, when a gay man renounces the customary liberalism of the gay and lesbian community, he becomes "self loathing." Hm-mm.

 Howard Dean's father was known as "Big Howard." Big Howard was a conservative Republican who supported Barry Goldwater in 1964. Does Dean consider his late father "brain dead"? Did he "hate" his Republican father? Indeed, according to Steven Thomma and James Kuhnhenn of the Detroit Free Press, Dean himself called his relationship with his father "complicated." "His father, Dean said, . . . was 'an enormous personality' who 'could suck the oxygen' out of a room," wrote Thomma and Kuhnhenn. "'He and I had as complicated a relationship as he had had with his own father, another magnetic and well-regarded individual who was a hard act to follow.'"

 Dean opposes President George W. Bush's plan to allow optional private savings accounts. Bush's plan would allow younger workers to invest part of their Social Security contribution in a diversified account that could include stocks. But guess what "Big Howard" did for a living? Dad was a successful -- and apparently honest -- stockbroker. Dean's dad did quite well -- successful enough to live in the exclusive oceanside community of East Hampton on Long Island and on Park Avenue, and to send young Howard to pricey private schools like St. George's, a small Episcopal boarding school in Newport, Rhode Island, plus a postgraduate year at an English boarding school.

 There's more. Dean's brother, Charlie, who was traveling in Laos in 1974, was captured and killed by communists. The family had predicted Charlie, not Howard, would be the future family politician. Charlie demonstrated both the interest and the necessary debating skills. About his brother, Dean said, had Charlie lived, "he'd be the one running for president and not me." Did Republican Big Howard prefer Charlie?

 So Howard Dean says he "hates Republicans," although his dad was one. He believes the option of allowing workers to invest their money in stocks is irresponsible, even though his dad made a successful living as a stockbroker. And it turns out the family saw a political future for Dean's brother Charlie, but not for him.

 Where's Dr. Phil when you need him?


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.