I think you can make the case that Howard Dean founded the movement which indirectly led to Obama's election. Dean's 2004 candidacy was a kind of clumsy prequel to Obama's. He demonstrated the power not just of railing fearlessly against the Bush Republicans, but also of attacking the purportedly collaborationist Democrats who supported the Iraq war and either actively or passively enabled Bush to do a slew of other things loathed by party regulars. (This latter element previewed the winning formula for use against Hillary four years later.) Meanwhile Dean of course showed off the power of blogging, social networking and online fundraising--all of which played a major role in Obama's success. And as others have noted, as DNC chairman Dean urged Democrats to expand their playing field to all 50 states not just the same old swing states and districts they'd fallen into a routine of targeting.
So how bizarre that Dean is not only an outsider but something of a persona non grata in the new Obama regime.