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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Sunday, December 28, 2003

"Dean: Left of Center is Right"

Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode LXVII

I haven't taken to fisking the items in the Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode series. But this one cries out. It, too, is from Friday's Concord Monitor; why it hasn't received as much attention as the other, I don't understand.

For a model political strategist, Howard Dean is looking less to Bill Clinton these days than he is to Karl Rove.
Clinton knew how to build a "broad bridge" from the center to the left of the American electorate, Dean told Monitor editors earlier this week. But the 2002 elections proved Democrats can't win by pitching down the middle and taking the party's base for granted, he said. Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, has taken the opposite approach to great effect, he said.
"We live in a polarized country," Dean said. "We've got to get our side out."

Huh? If the country is polarized, doesn't that mean that you have already gotten your "side out"? If the man had denied that the country is polarized — if he had claimed that the country is a political monolith — then it would make sense to say, "We've got to get our side out".

Here's a clue for ya, Howie: "your side" does get out, and the country doesn't like it any more.

Dean's Rovian strategy for the left looks something like this: "Really get people excited about being Democrats again. Reach out to the people who quit voting because they don't think there's a difference (between the two parties). Bring third-party people back to the Democratic Party. And crank up the base turnout."
Dean said that his rivals - who include three senators, two congressmen and a four-star general - could easily hold 40 to 45 percent of the vote next November. He said he would "cheerfully support" the party's nominee if one of them wins. But his rivals "are going to look like conventional politicians who are going to say whatever it takes to win." The former governor of tiny Vermont presented himself as a bit more of a gamble - but an enticing one for primary voters.

You may, Faithful Reader, see the previous blog for a good idea of what a politician looks like who is "going to say whatever it takes to win". Gee. He looks just like Howard Dean.

"I think with me, sure there's a risk, but there's also a chance you could win," he said. "We're going to be attractive to the swing voters not because we position ourselves well, but because we believe what we are talking about. And because I'm not afraid to tell people things I know they disagree with, and I get points for that."

There's a chance you could win: I think that's a great deal more inspiring to the Republicans, Howie, than it is to the Democrats you're courting. As to your telling people things you "know they disagree with" — let me just say that I disagree with that.

At the same time, though, Dean describes his platform as "a reasonable, centrist program." He is less inclined toward stricter federal gun control than some of his rivals. And he is a balanced-budget fiend - the enormous growth of the federal deficit under Bush, he said, would figure prominently in a Dean general election campaign.
Dean said he has been mislabeled a liberal for two reasons: his opposition to the Iraq war and his signing of the country's first law recognizing gay civil unions in Vermont.

This could have been a serious mis-step for Dean if any of his most ardent supporters showed any signs of cognition: he is appealing to them as a radical left-winger, but here he is denying that he's liberal, let alone a radical left-winger.

Dean shrugged at a recent New York Times poll showing strong support for outlawing gay marriage - and estimable support for outlawing gay relationships entirely.

Shrugged? That's good news for the Republicans.

"In the South . . . (Republicans) will say 'race,' we're going to say 'jobs,' " he said. "They're going to say 'guns,' we're going to say 'education.' They're going to say 'gay marriage,' we're going to say 'health care for everybody.' The Republicans will try to run on as divisive issues as possible; that's what they've been doing since Nixon's Southern strategy. We're going to have to be really disciplined about running on the issues that we all have in common."

For forty years and more, the Democrats have written the playbook on dividing the nation into groups and pitting them against one another: either (1) Dean honestly believes it's the Republicans who have been doing that, in which case he is psychotic, or (2) he knows the truth and is lying about it, thereby attempting himself to be divisive.

Yes, Howie, the Republicans may very well say all that. And you may very well say all that. And then the Southern voters will say "four more years".

As evidence of his durability, Dean argues that of all the Democrats, he has withstood the harshest attacks best over the last year. "For reasons that I can't explain," he said, his credibility with his supporters has only grown stronger.

I can explain it: his supporters are nuts.

Asked why he thinks the country is so polarized, Dean said that after the 2000 election Democrats simply "collapsed" for some "impossible-to-determine reason."

I think the reason could be that they keep walking further and further out onto a long limb, which is starting to crack.

"The president said, 'I want $1.2 trillion worth of tax cuts' when he first got there," Dean said. "The Democratic leaders' reaction to it was, 'Oh, no, it should only be $900 billion.' You know, you cede the debate to them. Now . . . it's like Winston Churchill: 'We've already established what you are, madam, now we're just talking about the price.' It's ridiculous."
If he's the nominee, Dean believes he can win by reversing that dynamic. "You don't work with ideologues, you stand right up to them. I'm going to point out what George Bush is doing to this country. . . . And I'll do it with just the same amount of self-confidence the president has when he makes statements like, 'We had to go to war because Iraq was an imminent danger,' or 'They were buying uranium from Africa.'"

Dean lies. Bush neither said nor implied either of these statements. But, boy howdy, those wacko Dean supporters just love it when he says crap like that.

The Blog from the Core asserts Fair Use for non-commercial, non-profit educational purposes.

The editor at the Monitor thought he was being clever with his play on words: Dean: Left of Center is Right. He was a lot more right than he knew: this article plays up just how little sense of direction Dean has. I don't know if the Monitor is aware of it, but I'm pretty sure Dean isn't. :-)

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/28/03 07:29:19 PM
Categorized as Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode & Political.


Howard Dean Hospitalized: Same-Day Flip-Flop Breaks Back

Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode LXVI

Okay. I made that up. It's called satire: after all, he's got no spine to break.

Demonstrating that there's no such thing as strictly local news any more, at least in the political arena, Howard Dean puts his foot in it in an interview published, Dec. 26, in the Concord Monitor, which publication I didn't know existed before Friday.

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In his interview with the Monitor, Howard Dean repeated his contention that Saddam Hussein's recent capture had made America no safer.

"My opponents spent the week criticizing me for that, which I think was to their detriment" since the federal government had just increased the terror alert level to orange, indicating an elevated risk of an attack.

But he said two other recent events had benefited national security: the capture of a ship loaded with drugs in the Persian Gulf - "which is almost certainly how al-Qaida is partly financing their operations," Dean said - and Libya's decision to declare its illegal weapons programs and get rid of them.

Dean said there was no evidence to suggest the Bush administration's use of force against Iraq had anything to do with Libya's move.

"I have no way of knowing whether we could or could not have done it" before the Iraq war, Dean said. "But I do notice the president has a discomforting tendency to justify after the fact his various actions, depending on whatever evidence happens to be on hand. We've had six or eight justifications of why he went to war in Iraq, depending on what the events of the day are."

Asked about the futures of Iraq and Afghanistan, Dean said the Bush administration must work harder in both countries to achieve peace and a stable, democratic government. Criticizing the president for "turning four-fifths of the country over to warlords," Dean said winning the peace in Afghanistan would require "a much more serious investment in troops, time and money."

Afghanistan is a model for Iraq in one sense, though, Dean said: Afghanistan's indigenous system of representation, the loya jirga, has street credibility that will lend legitimacy to the constitution now under construction. The Bush administration, Dean said, must devise a way for Iraqis to elect an interim government to write a constitution. The election doesn't have to be American-style, Dean said, but it must be "a natural, local selection process" that will be viewed as legitimate.

Dean said Iraq is "probably the best place" for Saddam to be tried, but "I'm willing to be flexible about that because I don't think it's essential to the security interests of the United States."

The Monitor asked: Where should Osama bin Laden be tried if he's caught? Dean said he didn't think it made any difference, and if he were president he would consult with his lawyers for advice on the subject.

But wouldn't most Americans feel strongly that bin Laden should be tried in America - and put to death?

"I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said. "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials. So I'm sure that is the correct sentiment of most Americans, but I do think if you're running for president, or if you are president, it's best to say that the full range of penalties should be available. But it's not so great to prejudge the judicial system."

Asked to discuss his lack of foreign policy experience, Dean said he knows his way around foreign policy more than his rivals give him credit for - he's visited 50 countries and met foreign leaders on trade missions as governor. But the larger point, Dean said, is that all presidents listen to advisers with expertise in particular areas.

"The question is how to pick apart the advice and figure out what the right course is, based on the various arguments that people are making," he said. "That's what I've done as governor."

Asked how he would beat primary rivals with more experience on foreign policy, Dean said he would keep reminding Democrats that he was the only major candidate who opposed the Iraq war, despite polls showing the vast majority of the American public supporting the invasion at the time.

"The bottom line is, what kind of foreign policy experience do you want in Washington, in the White House?" he said. "Do you want the kind of foreign policy experience that was willing to vote for the Iraq war, or not?"

And how will he convince swing voters who weren't so opposed to the war to fire President Bush?

"By going after him on terrorism, where he's really weak," Dean replied.

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The Blog from the Core asserts Fair Use for non-commercial, non-profit educational purposes.

Did you catch that? Dean is going to beat that awful President Bush because Bush is "really weak" on terrorism. Ooooooookaaaaaaay.

The other Democratic candidates immediately came out swinging. Er... no... wait... Dean himself immediately came out swinging... at himself, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle in this AP interview, also Dec. 26.

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Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says the Bush administration missed an opportunity to soften the impact of the country's first mad cow scare and that the American beef industry should receive federal aid to weather the crisis.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Dean also said Friday he wants Osama bin Laden to get the death penalty, seeking to minimize fallout from a New Hampshire newspaper story in which he was quoted as saying the terror leader's guilt should not be prejudged.

"As a president, I would have to defend the process of the rule of law. But as an American, I want to make sure he gets the death penalty he deserves," Dean told the AP in a phone interview.

The former Vermont governor, who solidly leads the field of Democratic presidential candidates in both polls and money, said he was simply trying to state in The Concord Monitor interview that the process of trying bin Laden needs to be fair and credible.

In that interview published Friday, Dean was quoted as saying, "I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials."

Dean told the AP that sentiment doesn't mean he sympathizes in any way with the al-Qaida leader. "I'm just like every other American, I think the guy is outrageous," he said.

Dean also weighed in for the first time on the news earlier this week that a cow in Washington state has tested positive for mad cow disease, the first such case in the United States.

The former governor, whose state has a large dairy cow population, said the Bush administration failed to aggressively set up a tracking system that would allow the government to quickly track the origins of the sick cow, quarantine other animals it came in contact with and assure the marketplace the rest of the meat supply is safe.

"What we need in this country is instant traceability," he said.

Dean said such a system should have been set up quickly after the mad cow scare that devastated the British beef industry in the mid- to late-1990s. The Bush administration was still devising its plan when the sick cow was slaughtered Dec. 9, and on Friday the government still hadn't determine the infected animal's origins.

"This just shows the complete lack of foresight by the Bush administration once again," Dean said. "This is something that easily could be predicted and was predicted."

Dean said as a result the beef industry will suffer enormously. Officials said Friday 90 percent of the foreign markets for American beef have been closed off because of the announcement.

Asked if he supported a federal economic aid package for the industry, Dean said: "The answer is, yes, of course I do. The question is how much? And we don't know how much yet."

Dean said the government's first job, before the economic damage is calculated, must be to "close down that impact as soon as possible" by tracing the cow's origins and credibly reassuring the American public and the world that the rest of the U.S. beef supply is safe.

As a doctor, Dean said he was more concerned about the impact of the announcement on the U.S. economy than on public health. "The truth is this is going to have a minimal health impact," he said.

Dean also reacted to comments attributed to Democratic rival Joe Lieberman in a story published Friday in The Union-Leader of Manchester, N.H., suggesting the Roe vs. Wade decision needs to be revisited because scientific advances allow a fetus to survive outside the womb much earlier than in the 1970s.

Lieberman issued a statement Friday saying he was misquoted and doesn't want the historic Supreme Court decision to be reopened.

Dean said he wasn't personally familiar with the Union-Leader interview, but he said Lieberman is "very much off base and doesn't understand the science," comparing him to anti-abortion Republicans.

"I think Joe makes the mistake that Republicans do, insinuating himself in the doctor-patient relationship," Dean said.

2003 Associated Press

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The Blog from the Core asserts Fair Use for non-commercial, non-profit educational purposes.

"What we need in this country is instant traceability," he said. Well, Dr. Dean, I am very happy to be able to tell you that what we have in this country nowadays is "instant traceability" — thanks to the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the Blogosphere. Oh, not "instant traceability" of cows and bovine products, but "instant traceability" of the horse manure shoveled out by Democratic candidates for president. Say what you really mean, be quoted, get negative feedback from your base (or even from the more general public) and have to issue an instant retraction or obfuscation clarification: now that's what I call "instant traceability". :-)

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/28/03 07:05:14 PM
Categorized as Democrats in Self-Destruct Mode & Political.


For the Troops


Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/28/03 05:48:15 PM
Categorized as Social/Cultural.


Christmas 'Round the Parish...

Thanks to Times Against Humanity for the notice, Dec. 26.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/28/03 05:41:43 PM
Categorized as Other.


Three from Morrison IV

Poems from Masterpieces of Religious Verse.

"And the Word Was Made Flesh"

Light looked down and beheld Darkness.
   "Thither will I go", said Light.
Peace looked down and beheld War.
   "Thither will I go", said Peace.
Love looked down and beheld Hatred.
   "Thither will I go", said Love.
   So came Light and shone.
   So came Peace and gave rest.
   So came Love and brought Life.

Laurence Housman (b. 1865)

The Holy Child

He is the Ancient Wisdom of the World,
   The Word Creative, Beautiful and True,
The Nameless of Innumerable Names,
   Ageless forever, yet Forever New.

Charles Carroll Albertson (b. 1865)


To be Himself a star most bright
To bring the wisemen to His sight,
To be Himself a voice most sweet
To call the shepherds to His feet,
To be a child—it was His will,
That folk like us might find Him still.

John Erskine (b. 1879)

Masterpieces of Religious Verse (1948), ed. James Dalton Morrison, ## 423, 421, 460.

See also Three from Morrison III.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 12/28/03 11:15:15 AM
Categorized as Literary & Religious & Sunday Poetry Series.


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