Dean: Gee, I'm sure glad we get to run against McCain instead of Mitt Romney

Sure, pal. Sure you are.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday he feared his party’s nominee facing Mitt Romney in the general election more than any other candidate.

“Frankly, Mitt Romney was the candidate I feared the most in the general because he’s got plenty of money, he’s wealthy,” Dean told reporters at a committee briefing. “He’s very articulate and he willing to say practically anything, and Republican voters want discipline.”

When asked if he’d fear a McCain-Romney ticket, Dean said the former Massachussetts governor was the best candidate the Republicans were probably “ever going to get.”

He has to spin this news somehow but to take the extra step of suggesting that Mitt, of all people, is the best Republican evah is a typically, gratuitously hamfisted Dean-o touch. He feared a guy who couldn’t beat McCain in New Hampshire despite the huge financial advantage, months of early campaigning, and proximity to the state he governed? He feared the social con whose faith and very belated conversion to the cause left him suspect in the eyes of much of the Christian base? Whose own most devout supporters felt compelled to beg him in the pages of the New York Times to stop running such a phony campaign? I thought Mitt would have been the easiest to beat of the big four in a general election: McCain and Giuliani would have captured the center and taken their chances with the right and Huckabee would have done the opposite. Who would Romney have captured? He probably would have outraised McCain (and certainly would have if he donated to himself), but that assumes that he would have declined public financing. Would he have? Mitt’s monthly intake was never like Obama’s has become, so even if he opted out he’d still be at the huge disadvantage McCain faces. Even Maverick-haters are being forced to acknowledge the horrible truth.

Exit question: Aren’t you glad we get to run against Obama instead of Bill Richardson? Bullet dodged!

Update: Dean-o’s wish may yet be granted.

Update: Sure, pal. Sure you won’t.