Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

March 9, 2004

by J

Dean's Speech at Gridiron Lunch

NYCO transcribed Dean's speech at the Gridiron lunch the other day. Some good quotes:
I do want to thank the Washington press corps, however, because for a year, nobody had any idea who I was, and I wouldnít be here if it werenít for you. But I also want to thank you for making sure that everybody does know who I am - they all think Iím an intense maniac with an anger management disorder now. [his expression was great during this line -- he's letting them know that he knows what they did and while he'll keep a sense of humor about it, he knows they know he's a serious guy, and he's calling them out for their bullsh*t; politely]

[...] People always ask me, ďWell, donít you think the people in Iraq are better off now that Saddam is gone? Donít you think America is safer now that Saddam is gone?Ē I said no, I didnít think we were safer. That was an opportunity for some of my opponents in the race and other folks to criticize me, but the truth is, weíve lost over 100 soldiers and many wounded since then, had orange alerts, had F-16 jet fighters escorting foreign commercial airliners into American airspace for the first time in a long time.

So clearly weíre not safer. [talking like a scientist again, Howard; you know that scares them...]

[...] We have a chairman of the Federal Reserve who has done something, to me, which is just absolutely stunning. Alan Greenspan, who has served this country with honor and very well for a long time, in the 1990s, was part of an attempt to fix the Social Security problem and help craft a solution - perhaps it was the late 80s - help craft a solution where we would raise payroll taxes some, and Social Security would be extended. Recently he suggested we would have to cut Social Security benefits, and recommended that perhaps we ought to extend the presidentís tax cuts.

The combination of those recommendations is as follows. Raise the most regressive tax in America, which is the payroll tax, on the vast majority of Americans - because you pay that tax until you make $86,000 a year - then, a few years later, cut Social Security benefits for those same people who paid in in the Eighties in order to save the system - and do it all because the deficits are so large, and then recommend extending the deficits by making permanent the presidentís tax cuts - the largest deficit in the history of the United States of America.

So we have in Washington an administration, apparently backed by the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who is willing boldly to say that we ought to preside over one of the greatest shifts of wealth and redistributions of wealth in this country, in history. From middle-class people, to people like Ken Lay who ran Enron.

[...] We have an enormous problem in this country. And Iím not here to beard the Washington establishment, but Iím going to tell you -- people in this town do not get it. They donít understand it -- and people in many places on the East Coast and the West Coast donít get it.

[...] This city, and the people in it, both Republicans and Democrats, have got to understand the extraordinary pain thatís going on in America. And youíve got to stop paying lip service to it. Because theyíre beyond that. And the things that you saw in our campaign show, more than anything else, that people want to hope again.

Posted by J at March 9, 2004 07:24 AM


Posted by: Scott at March 9, 2004 09:55 AM

No wonder they didn't want him to run. Can you imagine intelligent, informed voters? A disconcerting possibility.

Posted by: bob in the hills at March 9, 2004 09:26 PM

Along the lines of Dean calling the media on their BS, however politely... I've got a conservative (pro-Bush) Independent friend who totally blames the media for overhyping the so-called Dean Scream. She's pretty blunt about her opinion that Dean got screwed by the media on that one. Of all the Dem candidates, Dean was the one that she was most prepared to live with if Bush is defeated.

File that in the FWIW folder...

Posted by: Kevin@TIV at March 10, 2004 09:49 AM

Dean fought the Big Media and the Big Media won. Frankly, I don't know why anyone is surprised that Time-WarTurABCDisSonylubiaAT&T kneecapped him.

Posted by: moonbiter at March 10, 2004 01:10 PM

It was the way Howard spoke the truth. Hamhandedly. He always fed the press big, dumb juicy quotes and the nuance was drowned out.

This is politics 101 - figure out the best verbal sell, and don't go off it. Stay on message. Howard couldn't help himself. That fed into the "impulsive" definition, and when combined with the displays of emotion finished him off. He failed to handle the media; instead, the media handled him.

Posted by: Buford P. Stinkleberry at March 10, 2004 06:14 PM

Just gotta' put a placeholder that I disagree with Buford -- focusing on what Howard 'did wrong' places the spotlight in the wrong place. Even if he'd run a perfect 'campaign,' (and of course everyone has a different definition of what that means) he'd still have been kneecapped.

The only hope for John Kerry is that the media realizes they went way overboard with Dean and will hold back a bit on their 'kill the Democrat, extol the Republican' instincts a bit to try to be 'balanced.' Well, it also helps that the party establishment feels comfy with Kerry.

Posted by: J at March 10, 2004 10:12 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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