Are there enough “P”s in that title? Professor Bainbridge reviews the known information giving rise to an insider trading charge against Howard Dean. I don’t know what happened. He may very well have broken the law. He might have legitimately tried to avoid a conflict of interest.
But, let’s look at the politics of it. I can see several turns of events. (1) The other Dems pile on and make Dean look arrogant and corrupt causing him to lose the nomination. But, Dean probably has it in the bag by now. So, if he gets the nomination we can expect (2) calls that Bush is playing dirty when an investigation gets underway (regardless of whether it is Vermont or the SEC investigating); (3) a sympathy vote for Dean because people think Bush is using the government to abuse an opponent; (4) nothing because Bush doesn’t want to be accused of anything; or (5) Dean gets investigated by either the State of Vermont or the SEC and Bush beats the hell out of Dean convincingly.
My heart is with 5, but my money is with 4. If Dean wins the nomination, I think this story will fester under the surface with, God forbid, Republicans using it if Dean wins. Otherwise, I think it would be bad politics for the President for a Dean investigation to be on the front page — though I hope Karen Hughes is capable enough tto spin it properly.
What I think will probably (now that I’m typing away at this) happen is that the Dems will seize on the story now, try to beat the hell out of Howard, he still wins the nomination, and he’ll go into the general election mortally wounded.