Dean The Disappointment

Discussion in 'Politics' started by wonderwench, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. wonderwench
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    wonderwench Guest

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    Peggy Noonan's excellent piece on Howard Dean - an insurgent who is also a big disappointment.

    As I usually do with Peggy, I am in complete agreement.

    I really wish the Dems could come up with an admirable candidate. I disagree with many of Joe Lieberman's positions, but he is the pick of the litter when it comes to being reasonable and having integrity. Of course, those two characteristics are deal killers for the Dems these days.


    I want to like Howard Dean. I don't mean I want to support him; I mean I want to like him, or find him admirable even if I don't agree with him. I want the Democratic Party to have a strong nominee this year, for several reasons. One is that it is one of our two great parties, and it is dispiriting to think it is not able to summon up a deeply impressive contender. Another is that democracy is best served by excellent presidential nominees duking it out region to region in a hard-fought campaign that seriously raises the pressing issues of the day. A third is that the Republican Party is never at its best when faced with a lame challenger. When faced with a tough and scrappy competitor like Bill Clinton, they came up with the Contract with America. When faced with Michael Dukakis they came up with flag-burning amendments. They need to be in a serious fight before they fight seriously.

    I do not know how Howard Dean will do in Iowa, but I am one of those who think the Democrats will nominate Mr. Dean, and so I would like to like him and be able to imagine that many others will. I also would like to like him because now and then he says something that shows promise. Yesterday when asked if he ever wonders what would Jesus do, he replied: "No." This was so candid, I loved it. In the same interview, when asked if his wife would join him on the campaign trail, he said, "I do not intend to drag her around because I think I need her as a prop on the campaign trail." Political spouses often are dragged around as props. It's not terrible to say so. It's refreshing.

    But it is hard to like Howard Dean. He seems as big a trimmer as Bill Clinton, and as bold and talented in that area as Mr. Clinton. He says America is no safer for the capture of Saddam Hussein, and then he says he didn't say it. He floats a rumor that the Saudis tipped off President Bush before 9/11, and then he says he never believed it. When he is caught and has to elaborate, explain or disavow, he dissembles with Clintonian bravado. This is not a good sign.

    He is not a happy warrior but an angry one. In the past I have thought of him as an angry little teapot, but that is perhaps too merry an image. His eyes are cold marbles, in repose his face falls into lines of mere calculation, and he holds himself with a kind of no-neck pugnacity that is fine in a wrestling coach or a tax lawyer but not in a president. We like our presidents sunny, easygoing and optimistic. They have access to the nuclear launch code, and we don't want them losing their tempers easily. Mr. Dean's supporters no doubt see him as optimistic, but optimists aren't angry.

    There is a disjunction between Dean's ethnic background and his personal style. His background is eastern WASP--Park Avenue, the Hamptons, boarding school, Yale. But he doesn't seem like a WASP. I know it's not nice to deal in stereotypes, but there seems very little Thurston Howell III, or George Bush the elder for that matter, in Mr. Dean. He seems unpolished, doesn't hide his aggression, is proudly pugnacious. He doesn't look or act the part of the WASP. This may be partly because of his generation. Boomer WASPs didn't really learn How It's Done the way their forebears did. (Boomers of every ethnicity are less ethnic than their forebears.) George W. Bush is a little like this too--less polished, more awkward, than one might expect. At any rate there is some political meaning to this. It will be harder for Republicans to tag Mr. Dean as Son of the Maidstone Club than it was for Democrats to tag Bush One as Heir to Greenwich Country Day. He just doesn't act the part.

    On the other hand, Mr. Dean's angry look and angry demeanor will not serve him well as he tries to carry the women's vote.

    Howard Dean is as much like George McGovern as 2004 is like 1972, which is to say not much. But Mr. Dean is not Mr. McGovern in a more important way. Mr. McGovern was guided and inspired by his own sense of a particular ideology. He reflected it, and his young supporters, who that year took over the party, shared it. They stood for something. Mr. Dean's people--and Mr. Dean--don't seem to have anything as coherent as an ideology. Instead they have attitude.

    Howard Dean's rise is about two things. The first is the war. Most of the other serious Democratic candidates were reasonable about it, if you will. Dean didn't bother to be reasonable, or to appear reasonable: Bush is a bum and his war is a fraud. This was pitch-perfect for a disaffected base made lastingly furious by the 2000 election. Having gained the advantage, Mr. Dean never let go. His imprint was set. He left his competitors stuttering, "But at the time the president's data did seem compelling, and so . . ." He forged on. His was the shrewdest, quickest read of the Democratic voter of 2004.

    The second reason for his rise is that he is not an insider but an insurgent. He has an insurgent's attitudes and subtle disrespect (or sometimes unsubtle, as when he referred to members of Congress as cockroaches). The young and Internet-savvy found this approach attractive. (An essay should be written by a Democrat on what it was about the Democratic establishment--the men and women of the Clinton era, the party members in Congress--that elicited such contempt.) Mr. Dean's forces used the Internet with great and impressive creativity, and not only in fund-raising. Have you seen Flat Howard? It's a life-size Howard printout you can get off your computer. You tape the pieces together and have a life-size Howard Dean. They're ingenious and spirited in Dean-land.

    Because Mr. Dean is operating as an insurgent, his supporters hold him to different standards. Is he inconsistent? No, he's nimble. Is he dishonest in his statements? No, he's just tying those establishment types in knots. Mr. Dean's supporters seem to like him not in spite of his drawbacks, but because of them.

    Dean's problem in the future will not be so much credibly pivoting right on major issues as attempting to pivot into something like the normal range in terms of temperament, personality and the interpretation of things he's already said when he's popping off--and he pops off a lot. Some of the things he has said or suggested--Osama bin Laden shouldn't be presumed guilty, for instance--are the rhetorical equivalent of Michael Dukakis in the tank. He looked silly. He looked unserious. Mr. Dean is going to look that way, too.
    I hope something surprising happens in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and in the South. I hope it becomes a real fight on the Democratic side, and I hope that fight yields up someone who is serious, substantive, and thoughtful. But that's not what I see coming. What I see coming is a Dean nomination followed by a rancorous campaign followed by a Dean defeat.
     
  2. lilcountriegal
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    lilcountriegal Senior Member

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    :laugh:

    Rivals accuse
    Dean of fraud
    Claim front-runner slipping in
    non-residents to vote in Iowa

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posted: January 8, 2004
    9:00 p.m. Eastern



    © 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

    The campaign of leading Democratic candidate Howard Dean is under fire from opponents for an alleged plan to pose non-Iowan supporters as state residents in the Jan. 19 caucuses.

    The manager of Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt's campaign, Steve Murphy, contends one of his staff members learned of the plan from a Dean field organizer in Iowa. In a letter to Dean manager Joe Trippi, Murphy said the aide was told some of the 3,500 out-of-state supporters coming to Iowa to support the Vermont governor intended to participate in the caucuses.

    "It has come to our attention that your campaign in Iowa is engaged in an effort to violate caucus rules and send out-of-state supporters to pose as Iowa residents and caucus in cities and towns across the state," Murphy said in the letter [pdf file], posted by the Drudge Report.

    Trippi denied the allegation and told Murphy "sleazy tactics like yours are exactly the reason that people have stopped participating in the political process," Reuters reported.

    Meanwhile, the Iowa director of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's campaign, John Norris, demanded the firing of two Dean staffers, claiming one admitted misrepresenting himself as an Iowa voter.

    The letter to a Dean staff member, posted on the Drudge Report, said, "You should know this is not how we campaign in Iowa, and I demand that you take action to remove these staffers from the Dean campaign immediately."

    The letter charged a man came into the Kerry campaign's Creston, Iowa, office Monday stating he was an Iowa resident.

    "He claimed he was in town for business, working at a local farm," Norris wrote. "He asked numerous questions about what our staff did, the territory they covered, and what type of folks we were calling in Creston. Our staff was immediately suspicious."

    Yesterday, another young man came in, claiming he had just moved from Georgia, and began asking questions about the operation and "snooping around the office," said Norris.

    "Our staffers were confident they had seen him wearing a Dean sticker around town, so they asked him why he had come into the office. He said that he was an undecided Iowa caucus-goer, and was interested in politics," the letter stated.

    Norris said the second man returned today and admitted "he and his friend had lied, and that they were employed by your campaign. He identified himself as Mitch Lawson, who moved here from Georgia to work for Dean. According to Mitch, 'We came into your office to find out information and get your calling scripts from you.'"

    "In order for Iowans to trust that the caucuses will be free of further Dirty tricks, these two men should be asked to leave your campaign immediately," Norris asserted. "The sanctity of the Iowa Caucus depends on it. If your folks are lying today, what's to stop them from stealing the caucus from Iowa voters for Howard Dean on January 19th?"

    Gephardt's manager Murphy told reporters Dean's effort was "a direct challenge to the integrity of the caucuses" and called on Trippi to fire the people responsible, according to Reuters.

    Participants in the caucuses can register on the spot without ID or proof of residence. They must, however, be registered Democrats, old enough to vote in November.

    Murphy noted the fraud would not result in any legal penalty because the caucuses are a party event and said he would not challenge the results if Gephardt lost, Reuters reported.

    Last November, a Dean staff member asked if a hotel address was sufficient for participation in the vote, prompting Iowa party officials to warn the campaigns against the tactic.

    Claim front runner slipping in Non-Iowans to vote
     
  3. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    I don't know why Gephardt's people are bitching about this, bussing in people to caucuses, even from other states, happens all the time, both Republicans and Democrats have done it in caucus states for years. Dick Gephardt can bus Missouri people in if he wants. Pat Buchanan bussed people in from Kansas in 1996 to help him win the Missouri Republican caucuses (Missouri now has a primary vote), Dole tried to do the same, but Buchanan had whole churches coming out for him.
     
  4. wonderwench
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    It's quite simple. Most career pols believe that only they themselves are entitled to use dirty methods.

    Example: Gore's multitude of lawyers challenging the ballots of military personnel stationed overseas.

    Classy. :rolleyes:
     
  5. tim_duncan2000
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    tim_duncan2000 Active Member

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    The author was at least trying to like him, but I'm not. I vehemently disagree with him about the war, but that's not why I don't like him.

    I really enjoyed it how NBC showed his comments about the Iowa caucus and how he changed his tune about it (now he sings its praises. What a shock). He also changed his tune about a lot of things as well.

    I also enjoyed it when he kept referring to the "Soviet Union" over and over (where were the liberals who constantly make fun of Bush for that one?).

    And I know a lot of politicians do this, but it seems like Dean tries extra hard to make it seem like he's "one of us" because of his upbringing and stuff like that.

    I just could never vote for someone like that
     
  6. bamthin
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    Clark will kick Bush's ass.


    -Bam
     
  7. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    The Humor section is at the bottom of the board.
     
  8. eric
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    eric Guest

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    We all have our dreams !:eek:
     
  9. tim_duncan2000
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    tim_duncan2000 Active Member

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    I doubt that will happen.
     
  10. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    G.W. at present has a 60% plus approval rating.... with these #s who ass is going to get kicked...you have very funny dreams...
     

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