Howard Dean saved the Democrats. Howard Dean forced the party to fight with one hand behind its back.
Stop! You're both right.
Some commenters were riding me for playing up the catfight between James Carville and Howard Dean, without digging deeper into who was right.
My basic take was that it was unknowable. Dean's 50 state strategy probably helped the party pick up a couple of unexpected seats. And it probably doomed campaigns like that of Patricia Madrid in New Mexico, who lost by a razor thin margin and where a late influx of cash might have made all the difference.
John Dickerson, writing at Slate, does some digging and comes to the same frustrating, inconclusive conclusion.