Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 1, 2004

by J

Blumenthal on Dean

Sid Blumenthal has another interesting take on Dean's campaign in the Guardian. Blumenthal, emphatically a Heinleinian Not-Stupid, is not having an attack of the vapors like too much of the center-left elite. Blumenthal is also personally aware of just what kind of damage right-wing wackos can do and the fact that he's not in hysterics should tell people who care about getting the wackos out of power something.
By calling attention to Dean's boldness (or rashness) without any effectual action of their own, Dean's rivals are underscoring his fusion of acceptable political credentials as the only governor in the race who is also the insurgent. They appeal to a mythical establishment to stop him, setting themselves up as the establishment. But the unions are split, with some of the most powerful backing Dean; African Americans have no obvious candidate, with many leaders backing Dean; elected officials are widely diffused, with many behind Dean; Al Gore has endorsed Dean; Jimmy Carter is quietly helpful; and the Democratic national committee is peripheral.

[...] after 9/11, Bush betrayed the bipartisan consensus that had supported the Afghanistan war by smearing the congressional Democrats as unpatriotic. With that, in the 2002 midterm elections, he took back the Senate, rendering them impotent. The Democrats' illusion of good faith had disarmed them. They had behaved as though they were dealing with the elder Bush. Iraq, even for most rank and file Democrats who favoured the war to depose Saddam, is understood as an extension of the anti-constitutional strategy of the Republicans' ruthless exercise of power.

The sin of the "Washington Democrats" in the eyes of Democrats isn't simply their fecklessness; it's that they have appeared as appeasers.
Clueless, out-of-touch, craven, elite, appeasers. They project their own flaws onto Dean and his supporters, and then sit around scratching their heads wondering why they can't get any traction.

This also makes me wonder about Clark's motivation. Perhaps, unlike the CW that suggests that Clinton (which?) twisted his arm, maybe he just took a look at the party and thought, like Dean, "What a mess; someone's got to stand up and lead." Wouldn't surprise me. Patriots both.
Posted by J at January 1, 2004 04:10 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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