As the Front-Runner, I Thought More People Would Be Interested

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Annie, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/496lzgvn.asp


    Stop Dean
    From the December 22, 2003 issue: Al Gore's endorsement signaled an pivotal moment for the Democratic party. Who can stop Dean now?
    by Fred Barnes
    12/22/2003, Volume 009, Issue 15




    AL GORE'S ENDORSEMENT of Howard Dean was anything but polite. A more diplomatic politician would have praised Dean's major rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination--Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark--as esteemed colleagues and said they were all capable of being president (including one selected by Gore himself as his 2000 running mate). Instead the former vice president dismissed the whole bunch as "great candidates."

    "Only one" candidate for the 2004 nomination, said Gore, had stepped forward as he had and come out early, loudly, and extravagantly against President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. "Our nation in its 200-year history has never made a worse foreign policy mistake," Gore said. And there was more. "We need to remake the Democratic party. We need to remake America."

    Chances are, Gore's endorsement didn't sway many voters. But it did signify a pivotal moment for the Democratic party. The party has shifted. The antiwar, Bush-loathing, culturally liberal left now has the upper hand. Its dominance will likely culminate in Dean's nomination.

    This is an event to be feared. Why? Because it will harm the Democratic party and lead to a general election campaign brimming with bitter assaults on the very idea of an assertive, morality-based American role in the world. And all this will play out as the war on terrorism, and the outcome in Iraq, hang in the balance. Gore's lurch to the left and Dean's likely nomination mean trouble.

    Can Dean be stopped? A stop-Dean movement may appear quixotic, but it's not. Dean has no lock on Iowa, and a lead even as large as Dean's in New Hampshire is always precarious. Many Democrats are terrified that a nominee who vehemently opposes the war, likens the Bush administration to the Taliban, and plans to raise taxes on the middle class can't be elected. But they've been scared into silence by Dean's tough talk and momentum.

    The worst offenders on this score are Dean's Democratic opponents. Dean is vulnerable on at least two issues, taxes and the war. But his rivals have confronted him effectively on neither. At the Democratic debate in New Hampshire last week, Kerry was asked by ABC's Ted Koppel why he hadn't raised his hand to show he thinks Dean could defeat Bush. What an opening! Kerry was free to insist, before the largest New Hampshire audience he'll ever have, that Bush would crucify Dean on the tax issue. But he lamely explained the reason he didn't raise his hand was his belief "in my vision for the country." Only when interviewed after the debate did Kerry attack Dean's tax hike proposal, declaring taxes the chief difference between himself and Dean. It was too late. No one was watching.

    Lieberman and Gephardt, both backers of the war, have been no more aggressive in criticizing Dean on Iraq. Sure, they're wary of provoking boos and hisses from the Democratic activists who attend debates. But a plurality of Democratic voters in New Hampshire support the invasion of Iraq. Why not remind everyone that Dean would have left Saddam Hussein in power, with his mass graves, torture chambers, $25,000 stipends for families of Palestinian suicide bombers, ties to al Qaeda, and all?

    Dean's foes have let him get away with insinuating that Bush may have been told about the 9/11 attacks beforehand by the Saudis. Dean raised this loony-left conspiracy theory during a radio interview on December 1 and called it "interesting." Kerry, Lieberman, Gephardt, and the others let it pass. On December 6 on "Fox News Sunday," Dean was asked about the theory. He said he didn't personally believe it, "but we don't know and it'd be nice to know" if it's true. Again, not a word from his rivals. And last week, after Koppel questioned Dean about it in the New Hampshire debate, Dean's opponents said nothing.

    Two other Democrats are threatened by Dean and Gore: Bill and Hillary Clinton. Dean would undo Clinton's previous shift of the party to the center. Gore would make the prowar position unacceptable for a Democrat in 2008, when he challenges Hillary for the presidential nomination. Bill Clinton has warned Democrats against becoming "more liberal" and Hillary has backed the Iraq invasion. For themselves and their party, and because others haven't the moxie to step forward, it's time for the Clintons to take on Dean.


    --Fred Barnes




    © Copyright 2003, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    More on Dean. Unfortunately the more I read the more I dislike him.

    http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_2500288,00.html

    Carroll: Dean's thirst for world's approval is childish
    December 13, 2003

    Howard Dean believes a president should be judged by the worldwide popularity of his policies. At least that is what he suggested to Fox News' Chris Wallace the other day, after Wallace asked Dean why he'd said Bush "doesn't understand what it takes to defend this country, that you have to have high moral purpose."

    Wallace apparently thought he could cajole Dean into admitting the president did indeed have a moral purpose "in trying to set up democracy in the Middle East," even if the president's policies were all wrong. But the Democratic front-runner would have none of it.


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    The president "has forfeited our moral leadership in the world," Dean insisted - adding later, in case Wallace missed the point, that "most people in this world think that America has forfeited its moral leadership. That's a terrible thing, because our moral leadership is part of our defense, not just having a strong military."

    Things have gone so badly, Dean opined, that "today there are not very many countries, after three years of George W. Bush's presidency, where people want to be like us anymore."

    There are two problems with Dean's analysis. The first is that it's adolescent. People who wring their hands over whether their behavior will be liked, as opposed to whether their behavior is right, belong in junior high school. "What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, 'I stand for consensus'?" Margaret Thatcher famously asked.

    The second problem with what Dean said is that it's based on a false premise: the world once liked America but now despises us because of Bush. To be sure, for a few shining days or so after Sept. 11, 2001, much of the world radiated goodwill toward the United States (beyond the dark recesses of the Muslim street, of course, where the attacks were celebrated). But anyone who expected the goodwill to last simply hadn't been paying attention to the 20th century. America may be the perennial destination of choice for millions of immigrants, but it has rarely been celebrated or even appreciated by the intellectuals who dominate the press and universities abroad. In fact, more often than not they have despised this country, or at least ridiculed it as a bumptious backwater.

    The origins of this attitude go back many decades, particularly in France. In the 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville's appreciation of America was the exception. Most French intellectuals tended toward Stendhal, who dismissed the United States as "this nation of ignorant shopkeepers and narrow-minded industrialists, which, throughout a vast continent, cannot boast one single work of art."

    Attitudes actually hardened after World War II, as Jean-Francois Revel explains in his book Anti-Americanism (Encounter, 2003). In the 1950s and 1960s, Revel explains, Europeans "saw America as the land of McCarthyism and the execution of the Rosenbergs (who were innocent, we believed), of racism and the Korean War and a stranglehold on Europe itself . . ." And Revel says those who claim anti-Americanism came into its own only after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a single "hyperpower" have simply rewritten the past.

    Anti-Americanism "was almost as virulent" in Europe during the Cold War as it is now that the totalitarian threat has disappeared, he recalls - and from both the political left and the right. "The European right's anti-Americanism stems fundamentally from our continent's loss during the 20th century of its 600-year leadership role."

    If you find the attitude of French President Jacques Chirac maddening, consider the nasty libel of America by Charles de Gaulle. "In 1944," de Gaulle said, "the Americans cared no more about liberating France than did the Russians about liberating Poland."

    To be sure, the average European hasn't necessarily shared such views, anymore than the average citizen of Latin America has always agreed with the frequently virulent anti-Americanism of the intellectual class of that region. As an exchange student in Brazil years ago, I was repeatedly interrogated about my opinion of the nefarious David Rockefeller and other North American financiers, but mainly by college students.

    It is wonderful to be liked, and it's understandable why some people try so hard to curry the favor of their peers. But striving to be liked by the world is a fool's mission if you are president of the United States, as history has shown time and time again. It is lesson Dean himself will learn in short order if he actually does manage to oust the incumbent.
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Contrary to, but implicit in this article:

    http://www2.observer.com/observer/pages/conason.asp










    December 13, 2003|5:23 PM







    He admits that too often his mouth outruns his mind.

    Will Dean Become A Sitting Duck?
    by Joe Conason



    Late last year, a little-known Democratic Presidential candidate confided deep misgivings about his party’s revamped nomination process. The would-be Bush challenger worried that by accelerating the tempo of primaries and caucuses in 2004, the Democrats would make a decision they would later regret.

    "In the past, when we’ve done this, settled on somebody quick, then you have buyer’s remorse," he told The Boston Globe, one of very few media outlets interested in his opinions back then. "We’ve become a sitting duck for that."

    The candid Cassandra who issued that warning—well before his own surprising rise—was Howard Dean.

    As the man now considered most likely to win the Democratic nomination, Dr. Dean can be forgiven if he has changed his mind about the merits of the primary schedule. He may find the subject quite amusing, because the changes in primary rules pushed through by party insiders were hardly designed to enable a candidacy like his own.

    Apparently nobody anticipated that a grassroots, independent insurgent might so dominate early states like Iowa and New Hampshire as to become an almost unstoppable force. Yet such juggernauts have showed up in the history of both parties, overthrowing expectations and undoing well-laid plans. According to the conventional wisdom, that is what Dr. Dean’s skilled, energetic and passionate crusade seems to be on the verge of achieving next month.

    The same sages who regard candidate Dean as virtually unbeatable in the primaries often suggest that he cannot possibly win the Presidency. On both counts, their pronouncements are premature.

    Whether Dr. Dean would enhance or harm the party’s mixed prospects of defeating George W. Bush cannot be determined with any certainty. He would bring strengths as well as weaknesses to a national campaign. He credibly suggests that his small donors can compete with the wealthy Republican "Pioneers"—and that his hundreds of thousands of dedicated supporters could eventually rival the huge ground campaign being mounted by Karl Rove.

    While the President easily defeats the former Vermont Governor when voters are asked to choose between them today, those figures don’t necessarily predict the outcome next November. Those same surveys reveal serious doubt about whether Mr. Bush deserves to be re-elected. Republican strategists often say that this election will be close no matter which of the leading Democrats is nominated.

    But the advantage still belongs to the incumbent, so heed the warning offered by Dr. Dean when he was still obscure. If Democrats care most about winning back the White House, is he their most promising champion?

    The outspoken, discursive style that has won Dr. Dean so many dedicated admirers occasionally trips him up with awful malapropisms and gaffes. He admits that too often his mouth outruns his mind. Even though this President has lowered the bar on that score, any Democrat who runs against him will come under the kind of severe scrutiny that Mr. Bush has largely escaped. Ill-considered remarks on such topics as the current leadership of the "Soviet Union" will be repeated on an endless video loop.

    Dr. Dean’s prickly personality and cultural distance from flyover country also provoke concern among Democrats who hope to defeat the faux-folksy President. But what deserves the most attention is how little we still know about the Democratic front-runner—and what we are only beginning to learn about him.

    Only lately, for example, has the news media examined Dr. Dean’s draft record during the Vietnam War, owing to the discovery of his late brother Charles’ remains in Laos. After winning a draft deferment due to a disabling back condition, the young Dean spent the following year on the ski slopes of Colorado. His snappy response explained little: "I took a physical, I failed a physical. If that makes this an issue, then so be it." That won’t deflect the Bush camp’s inevitable attacks on his qualifications as commander in chief, despite the President’s own curious military service.

    And what of Dr. Dean’s record in Vermont? He deserves credit for his successes, notably in expanding health-care coverage. But that isn’t the whole story—and the former governor seems determined to prevent reporters and opponents from looking at the state documents he placed under seal in 2002.

    That may protect him until the primaries are effectively over. But how will he criticize Vice President Dick Cheney for meeting secretly with energy-industry lobbyists, if he won’t release the records of his own meetings with nuclear-power executives in Vermont? Dr. Dean replies sharply that Mr. Bush, too, hid his gubernatorial records. On this and many other issues, however, the national media will treat the challenger more skeptically than the incumbent.

    Until now, the press has subjected Dr. Dean to little of the withering interrogation that is to come. The only certainty in this race is that any such indulgence will end on the day he clinches the nomination.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    we cannot keep up with the news or perhaps I should say op-eds:

    http://www.prospect.org/print/V15/1/tomasky-m.html

    Is It Time to Believe?
    Bill Clinton rebuilt the Democratic Party in crucial ways. But Howard Dean is rebuilding it in a way Clinton missed. Party insiders would do well to make their peace with it.
    Michael Tomasky

    As Democrats in Iowa and beyond prepare to start voting, we can look back and identify four distinct phases of this nascent presidential campaign: the early, we-get-to-know-them phase; the preliminary nuts-and-bolts phase, concerned with which candidate hired which professionals; the money-chase phase; and, most recently, the first winnowing phase, when observers felt they finally knew enough about the play of things to start making predictions.

    These phases have had their distinct characteristics, but they have one thing in common: In each of them, Howard Dean was prematurely and mistakenly written off. In phase one he was too abrasive; in phase two he'd hired second-raters; in phase three he couldn't possibly raise big money; and in the last phase he'd peaked too early. The reality, instead, is that he and campaign manager Joe Trippi have run a dazzlingly brilliant and innovative campaign. Al Gore's imprimatur or no, he could still be "stopped"—other candidates in the field have positive attributes, and voters haven't cast a ballot yet. But Dean just seems to get stronger every week, challenging not only the laws of politics but of Isaac Newton himself. Why?

    Let's rewind the tape to December1988. the Democratic Party had hit rock bottom. It had just lost its third presidential election in a row, and this time with a candidate who'd been 17 points ahead in the polls as late as August. The party was riven by ideological divisions. And it was losing the memory of itself as a vibrant organism—no Democrat under 35 or so in 1988 had a living memory of a truly successful Democratic president. Finally, there was no clear "comer" who could save it, certainly not that gabby governor from Arkansas who jabbered on and on at the 1988 convention podium to such an extent that he became a national curiosity, invited on The Tonight Show to explain himself (yes, yes: publicity was the point).

    It turned out that Bill Clinton was the comer the party needed. He rebuilt it; indeed, he saved it. But for the purposes of thinking clearly about the Dean phenomenon, it's crucial to think about the particular ways in which Clinton rebuilt the party, and one way in which he did not.

    Clinton rebuilt the party ideologically. He shed it of some of its more hidebound ways. Whether one agrees with, say, his support for welfare reform or NAFTA, it must be said that those moves took some political courage insofar as there wasn't much of a natural constituency within the Democratic Party for his positions. Moving something as large as a political party off a marker on which it has stood for a generation or two is no easy thing.

    He also rebuilt the party as a fund-raising machine. This, as we know, has had both its good and its ill effects. But whatever the downsides, this rebuilding, too, was necessary. From the stock-market boom to the exorbitant price of gourmet mustards, the 1990s culture was about money. Politics was not immune. The Democrats, always cash-poor compared with the Republicans—and especially so after losing three presidential elections in a row—needed to join the financial big leagues to be able to compete.

    But there is one way in which Clinton did not rebuild the Democratic Party: from the ground up. Beyond rhetoric, and the occasional action, he didn't really make it a party of the people. He and Al Gore did energize a youth vote in 1992, and he made millions of voters who'd been disaffected feel comfortable voting Democratic again, bringing important states like New Jersey back into the Democratic camp.

    But he never situated the party as an entity that represented the aspirations of its people—its most committed members. Back to Newton: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And the reaction to bringing the party to the center and allying it more closely with corporate donors was that the people at the bottom of the totem pole felt a little detached. (Remember: Fierce loyalty to Clinton within the party's base didn't really kick into fifth gear until the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when many progressives defended Clinton less because of the man himself than because of what they saw as a functional coup d'état.)

    This is where Howard Dean comes in. If one thinks of the Democratic Party as rebuilding itself after its disastrous 1980s, then Dean—or more appropriately, "Deanism"—is a new and potentially more powerful stage of the rebuilding process. Clinton rebuilt (forgive the Marxist terminology, but it happens to fit) the superstructure. Dean is rebuilding the base. "If Clinton modernized the message," says Simon Rosenberg, the most prominent centrist Democrat who's enthusiastic about Dean, "then Dean is rebuilding the party. In the '90s party, it was, 'Write us a big check.' Regular people were left out of that equation. Now, through new technology, we're getting them back in."

    There's a tricky thing about this rebuilding stage, though: It excludes party insiders. It has nothing to do with Washington. It's no wonder that Democratic insiders, so accustomed to having complete ownership of a process like a party primary campaign, should dislike Dean and even fear him: He has stolen the process right out of their hands. He is not "of" them in any way, shape or form. In fact, his accumulating successes merely serve to emphasize their irrelevance to this rebuilding stage. No wonder they should take a kind of emotional comfort in writing him off as the new George McGovern; it's much easier to dismiss a thorny thing than to come to terms with it.

    It isn't clear—yet—that Dean can rebuild the potential Democratic electorate beyond the party base. But it isn't clear that he can't, either.

    If Deanism was, and is, a natural and entirely logical part of a larger historical process—there's still a question: It's the right movement, sure, but is he the right candidate?

    The voters, the process and the man himself will tell us that in time. Dick Gephardt, John Kerry and John Edwards would all be perfectly good candidates. Each has an argument. With regard to Wesley Clark, we can't quite say yet whether he'd be a good candidate, though he brings a few qualities to the table whose potential appeal in November is obvious. And goodness knows, if any of the above manages to overcome Dean and become the nominee, he sure will have earned the title.

    Unless, that is, he benefited from an insider-driven process designed to block Dean at all costs. At this point, after he has amassed the armies of small donors and bloggers and volunteers, blocking Dean is not blocking one man. It's blocking the hopes of millions of Democrats who—understand the importance of this—would walk through fire for a candidate for the first time in their lives. That isn't something that should be done cavalierly; in the long term, blocking the active participation of these millions may do more damage to the Democratic Party than four more years of George W. Bush.

    Besides, insurgents do win sometimes. Because the standard historical analogies to Dean (McGovern, Barry Goldwater) have now run their course, let me add two more to the mix. The first is Andrew Jackson—invoked, significantly, by Dean himself at the Dec. 9 endorsement event with Gore. Say all you want about 1828 being ancient history, but some things are eternal. Bringing new constituencies into the process and transforming politics through that infusion is one of them. Yesterday it was the pamphleteer, today it's the blogger; but the impulse and the ardor are the same. Another is Harold Washington. It was impossible, the experts said, for African Americans to elect a black mayor in Chicago. Couldn't be done. Well, it happened. He won the way Jackson did, which is the way Dean is hoping to.

    But ultimately, forget historical analogies. What's important is not to ponder past Novembers but to focus hard on this coming one.

    Insiders need to start thinking about making their peace with Deanism. The party—the (still) post-1988 party—needs a rebuilt base, and Dean is doing that in a way that has no precedent. And instead of fretting about all the ways Dean could lose, the insiders might do better to spend some time thinking about how he might win.

    Because he might. It was interesting that, in the wake of Gore's endorsement of Dean, it was conservative commentator William Kristol who wrote the column that most emphatically enumerated Bush's vulnerabilities. Sure, Kristol may have had his own reasons for arguing that Dean is competitive, but the facts of Bush's weak points are real. He has the powers of incumbency, money and a feared (actually, overly feared) political operation. But his numbers are soft. Gore's 2000 states plus Ohio or Arizona is a long, long way from being an impossible task—for Dean or for any of the aforementioned.

    So let the race begin. And expect the impossible. It happens often.
     
  5. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    all in all, one could only hope that those wing nuts in control of both the dem and republican parties really foul up and the moderates of both sides can come together with the independent swing voters.
     

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