In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Howard Dean Tells TPMDC: 'Big Night' For Progressives

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At the same time, Dean thinks Sestak is a Democrat in the mold of Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) -- a centrist who was elected in 2006 in part thanks to online progressives supporting and funding his candidacy until it attracted national attention. "New progressives are the old centrists. Conway and Sestak will be pretty damn appealing to the middle of the road," Dean said. "Joe is a bit of an iconoclast and that's what you want in a race like this. Joe is a centrist with conviction politics."

(He added that Halter would also appeal to the center, but it's not clear how he'll fare in that June 8 runoff against Sen. Blanche Lincoln.)

Dean said the results in Arkansas are positive for people seeking change in D.C. "It's interesting to see these folks in Washington being squeezed. Arlen did everything asked of him, becoming a progressive Democrat and backing EFCA and health care and everything else. But he's been in Washington for so long that hurt him, and that hurt Lincoln," Dean said.