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Howard Dean still looks like he has a board up his back, but you can't wipe that grin off his face.

I put it in those muscular terms in the spirit of his appearance on Comedy Central's definitively irreverent Daily Show last (Nov. night, the only show where the interviewer–Stewart–could get away with asking the chairman of the Democratic National Committee whether, if the Democrats had managed not to pick up a lot of seats given the general disaffection with the war in Iraq, it would have been akin to "not being able to get laid in a whorehouse with a fistfull of twenties."

Dean did not respond, other than to point out it was a very Daily Show-centric question. But the smile never left his face.

Stewart teasingly asked Dean if there were some noise he could make to express his enthusiasm, a reference to "the scream" that helped derail his presidential bid. Dean offered a "booyah!," though not with sufficient maniacal overtones to displace him from his current post.

Dean ended his appearance–via satellite–with a shout-out to Jon Stewart's audience, which he said was instrumental in the Democratic victory. He was referring to the TV audience and not the studio audience, though they might have been enough to tip the Montana election by themselves.