I read about the Howard Dean / Cliff Claven similarity over at Junkyard Blog and found it an interesting insight. I then realized it goes a bitter deeper than that.
One of the essential plot points of modern sitcoms is the “cascading problem”. This is where the character does something dumb and rather than taking the hit and moving on, does something even dumber to cover up the first mistake, and something dumber to cover up that, etc. Before I stopped watching TV altogether, I used to sometimes be driven to shout at the screen “Just fess up!”. I now find myself shouting the same thing at the Democratic candidates for basically the same reason. It’s probably not the best election strategy to make citizens equate you with sitcom idiots.