Strength to Strength from The Dean Phillips Clown Show

HENNIKER, NH NOV 8, 2023: Minn. Rep. Dean Phillips talks during a town hall at New England College in Henniker, NH. Phillips is running for president in 2024. Photo by Katye Martens Brier For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Even if many things are bleak, we still get to make fun of the comical dweeb Dean Phillips, the soon-to-be-former representative from the 3rd District of Minnesota. Philips at first claimed he was considering running for president to get someone else with a better shot to get into the race to challenge Joe Biden. It was, he said, not about issues or even about Biden. The party just needed a more youthful nominee and he wanted someone else to jump into the race. That didn’t happen. And somewhere along the way to getting in himself Phillips dropped the “God, it pains me to have to do this” routine for something more like “I’m gonna take this senile old coot down!” Having failed to get someone else to hop in the race Phillips decided his moment had indeed arrived. He got into the race and rapidly moved to challenge Biden from the right. He even hopped on the Hunter Biden-bashing bandwagon.

In other words, Phillips did a series of favors for anyone who started out invested in the idea that the whole saga was a massive and still largely inexplicable ego trip from a three-term backbencher who no one had ever heard of before.

But even with that, it was a massive face plant. Despite the abundant evidence that millions of Democrats are lukewarm on Joe Biden, Phillips has barely managed to get to 2% or 3% after almost two months in the race — and five months after he started saying he planned to get in.

Today we learn that this three-term member of the centrist “Problem Solvers” caucus is coming out for Medicare for All. Whatever you think of M4A on the merits, it’s a cynical and desperate ploy even for the cynical and desperate clown show which is the Phillips campaign. By the weekend he may be asking to join The Squad.

For awhile, one-time Republican and former McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt appeared to be the guy running Phillips’ campaign. He was advising him. But he seems to have quit after Phillips told a reporter that he’s running in part because Joe Biden is a threat to American democracy. Schmidt wants to make super clear he didn’t tell Philips to say this. He made it clear, along with a bunch of other things about Phillips, in this Substack post — and then quit the campaign.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: