I have mixed to positive feelings about Dean's tenure at the DNC, and now the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza is asking where Dean will end up. But it's important to recognize Dean's power base, which Cillizza gets wrong.
And, in early 2005, when Dean made clear he was running for the DNC chairmanship, many members of the permanent political class in Washington searched desperately for an alternative -- only to be overwhelmed by Dean's loyal following among the netroots...
Dean is beloved as a prophet by the blogosphere and derided as a flash-in-the-pan by many within the party establishment.
Dean's power base was never the netroots (though there were strong alliances), it was disaffected state party chairs and eventually, certain local Democratic elites in red states that had been starved of party resources. During the race to become party chair, 'the netroots' got zero votes; the fight was over how funding was allocated, and Dean's campaign to push cash to the state parties was very popular among the state parties who got the money. It sounded like a good strategy, but I also haven't seen a lot of evidence one way or the other as to whether it worked. Obama by and large built his own network, and there were robust party and external groups working in 2006 and 2008.
Dean did what he promised at the DNC, but that did not include building power for progressives on the internet. He was not involved in the FISA fight, the Iraq war funding fight, and he took the other side when Obama called for Lieberman to keep his gavel. The strict functions that should be contained within the party - Actblue, software like DIA or Bluestatedigital, Running for Change - are still external or defunct. He has never posted on Dailykos. And DFA is still moving forward, with clear leadership from Jim Dean.
Howard Dean is a friend to progressives, what he didn't do is institutionalize any power for progressives at the DNC. There just is no power base screaming about how he's getting nothing from the Obama administration. The state parties don't really care about that, and I'm not sure who else has a strong incentive to push for it.