Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Sunday, August 10, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.


Philly Weekly Cover Story On Dean


Nice article* on Howie:

Every stump speech Dean delivered last week during a breathless two-day barnstorm of 10 towns and cities spread over 10 counties ended with the same rousing exit line: "The biggest lie told to people like you by people like me at election time is that I can solve every problem in America. That's not true. But the truth is the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine."

Right on. Some folks say Dean's peaking too soon. They don't get it. This is a genuine movement, driven by the people, and it's not going to go away; rather, it's growing. But isn't Dean just an insurgent candidate, doomed to fail?

On first glance Howard Dean looks like...a beautiful loser, a Dem Quixote. Another McGovern liberal waiting to be fed into the Republican woodchipper, soon to be reduced to a wet pile of well-intentioned pulp. A big, fat white canvas to be painted by the Republican spin guys as a tree-hugging, peace bear Birkenstock liberal who wants to let the sodomites marry.
...
Howard Dean is generating something no Democrat in recent memory has: excitement. Not just partisan cheerleading, but real honest-to-goodness shake-shit-up excitement.

In the last six months he's gone from nobody to the Guy to Beat.

Some folks dismiss the emotional energy that Dean brings to the campaign. Many view it as simple anger, and posit that "you can't win on anger alone". They don't get it. This is passion, and it's not just the candidate, but his ever growing band of supporters who have it as well. It's infectious. But where does he stand on the issues?

He's pro-choice, but also pro-death penalty. He signed the civil union bill into law--after the State Supreme Court essentially left him no choice. He's been awarded an "A" by the National Rifle Association for his refusal to toughen Vermont's lax gun control regulations. And slowly but surely Dean achieved universal healthcare coverage for almost every child in Vermont. The statehouse press corps that covered him as governor openly admire his ability to know the pulse of the electorate without polling or focus groups.

"Howard Dean and the Great Middle, always in the same place," says a Burlington, Vt., reporter who covered him as governor. "And that's a gift."

Howies's a natural. He understands what people want because he's not the typical cynical politician trying to find an angle based on the latest polling. If he went with the polls, he would have found a way to fight our unpopular civil unions legislation.** Dean leads. And that's what makes him so electable, and so hard to emulate. I've seen the sad attempts to apply lessons of Dean's Internet prowess to the Liberman and Kerry campaigns. They don't get it. The medium has certainly allowed Dean's message to get out and really help with funding the campaign, but the message and the messenger are most important. Still, we can't ignore the failed insurgents of days past, can we?

There's a crucial difference between Dean and the insurgent ghosts of elections past.

None were this organized, this well-funded or this talked about this early in the election cycle. Dean's stated goal is to get the millions of Americans who don't vote back into the process. And the plan appears to be working.

A lot of people have been trying to paint Dean as somebody else, and draw comparisons to every other candidate who has lost. They don't get it. Tens of thousands have given him money, many contributing to a campaign for the very first time. There are already over a quarter of a million people working to get Dean elected. Every day more people learn about him and get behind him. And with the early, compressed primary schedule coming up in six months, all this is working to his advantage. I think he has a great shot at the Democratic nomination.

Conclusion?

Karl Rove is a smart man. A smart man in Karl Rove's shoes would be crapping himself right about now.

Yup. Unka Karl, the GOP in general, anti-Dean Dems...they all publicly claim that Dean is the candidate most likely to lose to Bush. They don't get it. Given the mood of the electorate regarding the war, the economy, and the Bush tax cuts, Howie's got a realistic chance of becoming the next President. A growing number of people agree:

Electable.

ntodd

* Okay, it's clearly biased, but still a nice article.
**Many observers say our Supreme Court forced him to sign the bill that came out of the legislature. However, Dean could've supported alternate, watered-down bills proposed by the GOP that presumably were more palatable to the Vermont electorate. Instead, he went with the right bill that guaranteed basic civil rights. 
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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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