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December 8, 2003
Howard Fineman Rips the Other Howard

I swear to you that this will not be the Anti-Dean blog, but the man just gives so much material that it's hard to keep up with it all. On MS-NBC, Howard Fineman writes a splendid and pointed article on Dean's adventures in truthtelling, in this example regarding the closed files of his governorship (via Instapundit):

Dean’s public reaction to the mini-furor was revealing. When Matthews asked about the records, Dean—with a straight face—came up with this defiant howler: He had had the records sealed not to protect himself, God forbid, but to protect the privacy of HIV-AIDS patients. I think Chris was too stunned to laugh. As it turns out, the identity of such patients is automatically shielded; and, of course, Dean had long since gone on record with the refreshingly candid admission that the advent of the presidential campaign was the real reason. Politicians never seem to get the concept of irony: Here is a guy who is running on the notion that he is a fearless, truth-telling outsider, and he’s covering up the reason for covering up.

Dean campaigns furiously, in both senses of the word, and his fury has a sense of self-righteousness that opens him easily to charges of hypocrisy. This mini-crisis started out small, but he managed to blow it up into a big deal by accusing Bush of sealing his records as governor (false, although Bush tried) and then laying the blame off on AIDS patients, of all people. That should be, especially to the leftists that swarm to Dean's anger and self-righteousness like mosquitoes to a wide-open door, an appalling and insensitive bit of excuse-making.

Earlier, in January, Dean had acknowledged that he had the files sealed for political considerations during an interview on Vermont Public Radio, “Well, there are political considerations. We didn’t want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a crucial time in any future endeavor.” Fineman notes:

What about the interview last January, in which he talked about “future political considerations?” Said Dean: “That was sort of a smarty remark. I mean I wasn’t really being very serious about that.” Memo to the governor: When you speak to us from now on, please tell us when you are being serious and when you are merely making another “smarty remark.”

Perhaps the Governor will be good enough to inform us all when he's being serious, because thus far, the only time we can tell he's lying is when his lips move. Fineman finishes by talking about Dean's professed admiration for Harry Truman:

As for the original terms of the agreement to sequester his records, “I didn’t have anything to do with those negotiations,” Dean explained. Hardly a tough-guy answer, and an ironic moment. Just the night before, on “Hardball,” Dean had called President Harry Truman—the guy with “The buck stops here” sign on his desk—one of his heroes. It’s hard to imagine “Give ‘em Hell Harry” saying “I didn’t have anything to do with those negotiations.”
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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 8, 2003 9:23 PM

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