DeanWatch Archives

December 2, 2003

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle

You have to love Chris Matthews; even though his loud and brash approach can wear on me after a while, it's that attitude that really exposes pretenders such as Howard Dean. Matt Drudge has posted an excerpt from the Hardball installment with Dean, where Dean announced that he would "break up giant media enterprises" out of a concern "how deeply media companies can penetrate every single community" in America. Not surprisingly, since Matthews works for one of those "giant media enterprises" (GE), Matthews attempted to pin Dean down on specifics: MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE? DEAN: I can`t -- you... MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening? DEAN: You can`t say -- you can`t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp... MATTHEWS: We`ve got to do it now, because now...

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle, Take 2

After visiting Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus and Best of the Web, I've discovered that the Hardball interview had a lot more landmines for Howard Dean than I first saw. First off, he seems to be flunking post-Cold War geography: The key, I believe, to Iran, is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran I believe mostly likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union, and it may require us buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union, you may recall, disappeared in the early 90s. Dr. Dean may have been in surgery that day -- who knows? -- but if George Bush had made a reference to "East Germany" in the...

Jeff Jarvis and Hugh Hewitt React to Dean's Hardball Interview

Jeff Jarvis isn't pleased with Howard Dean, by any stretch of the imagination: Howard Dean says he'd "break up" media companies. This is the worst of political pandering: Big media companies have been made into the boogeymen du jour and so he announces he'll go after them. No legal basis. No constitutional justification. Just because they're there. Jarvis quotes the same part of the transcript that I posted earlier, and reaches much the same conclusion I did, although he puts it more directly: Translation: He's going to meddle in news. He's going to decree who can and can't own media outlets. He's going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He's not concerned with the First Amendment. He's not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don't allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die). Yes, I work in big media. But...

December 4, 2003

Lileks Wonders About Dean

Okay, okay, I know that James Lileks isn't taking December off, no matter how much I libel him in verse. He doesn't have to keep proving it with excellent essays like this one on Howard Dean: So it was an interesting moment on MSNBC's "Hardball" when Chris Matthews asked Gov. Dean whether Osama bin Laden should be tried in the United States or by the World Court. For a presidential candidate, this is not a difficult question. It requires no long cogitation, no disquisitions about the role of international law from the Wilsonian perspective. It doesn't require any second-guessing. You say that bin Laden attacked America, and he deserves to be tried there by Americans. That's what you say if you want to be president of the United States, anyway. But as we all know, that's not what Governor Dean said, in his interview that included his contention that he...

December 7, 2003

Hewitt: Dean Lacks Seriousness

Hugh Hewitt doesn't think much of Howard Dean or his campaign, but then again, that's no surprise. Hugh writes extensively today on his blog about the false sense of singularity amongst the Deanies: The Dean people are too young to know what a rel "movement" looks like. This is a nice campaign, one likely to capture the nomination and get swept aside in a landslide for an incumbent President backed by a booming economy, significant legislative achievements, and a serious commitment to national security. At the close of business in November, these warriors of December '03 will look at each other with blank or dazed expressions. They never saw it coming. Because they never read a book on campaigns past. Just read the whole thing and remember this when you keep hearing about the "historic" nature of the Dean campaign....

December 8, 2003

Dean's Fiscal Conservatism: Fiction?

Jon at QandO has an excellent post deflating -- a bit -- the idea that Howard Dean is a tax-cutting conservative. He quotes from this Boston Globe article: On the campaign's website, Dean is even more specific, saying that his two cuts reduced the state's top income tax rate from 13.5 percent to 9.5 percent. But an examination of Dean's record as Vermont's governor has found that the bigger tax cut was in fact signed into law by his Republican predecessor, Richard Snelling. In 1991, Snelling signed legislation authorizing higher tax rates that would "sunset" two years later. Dean, then lieutenant governor, took over after Snelling died, and the rates dropped automatically at the end of 1993. While the section of Dean's website on his fiscal record highlights his role in eliminating the sales tax on clothing items, it omits the fact that the overall sales tax was raised from...

Top 10 Howard Dean Flip-Flops

I got into a big debate the other day with a Howard Dean fan about the merits of his presidential campaign. I think because he saw that I'm a white, tech-savvy, moderate-to-liberal east-coaster, he assumed I'm a Dean supporter. Once he became aware of my skepticism about the good doctor, he asked me to give him one good reason Dean shouldn't get the nomination.

The first thing that came to mind was Dean's incessant flip-flopping on a variety of issues. (This is not to say there aren't other reasons; it's just the first thing I thought of.)

Dean's fan acknowledged that a few of his candidate's policy positions have "evolved" over time, but rejected the notion that Dean is a serial flip-flopper. At a minimum, he said, Dean is no worse than any of the other Dem candidates.

My challenger had a point, at least about Dean's rivals. All presidential candidates waffle and flip-flop sometimes. It's been this way for as long as we've had presidential campaigns as candidates need to make the adjustment from representing a state or a district to appealing to an entire nation.

The current field of Dems has some candidates who've offered a few doozies. When Dick Gephardt first came to Congress, for example, he said that "life begins at conception" and proposed a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. Now Gephardt is ardently pro-choice.

John Kerry said in 1992 that affirmative action "has kept America thinking in racial terms," and lamented "the costs" the policy has had on the country. Today, however, Kerry considers himself as a champion of affirmative action.

Carol Mosley Braun said in 1998 that she'd never run for public office again, yet she's a presidential candidate now.

Dennis Kucinich had a dramatic conversation before entering the presidential race on the issue of reproductive rights. As Common Dreams reported, "Twice in the past three years, NARAL gave him a rating of 'zero.'" As recently as 2001, Kucinich agreed with a Bush proposal to withhold international family-planning funds from international organizations that even discuss abortions. In 1999 and 2000, Kucinich agreed with the Right to Life Committee on 19 of 20 votes. Now Kucinich, perhaps the campaign's most liberal candidate, says that he is definitely "pro-choice."

(And don't even get me started of George W. Bush, whose entire presidency has been one huge flip-flop. Remember the candidate in 2000 who bragged about a foreign policy driven by "humility," who emphasized "compassion," who boasted of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, and ran on a platform of a balanced the budget and a robust job market?)

Yet, despite these examples, I would argue that Howard Dean has flip-flopped more times, on more issues, than any of the Dems running for president. It's a continuing problem that may ultimately come back to haunt his campaign. In fact, it's so bad I decided to make a list.

I'm not talking about Dean's mistakes or apologies. I don't care that Dean mysteriously called Latin America "the most important hemisphere in American history" last week. It's easy to overlook the fact that Dean, when asked last month if he supported gay marriage, said, "I never thought about that very much." It may not matter that Dean said Saddam Hussein's fall from power is "probably a good thing" earlier this summer. No one will remember that he falsely accused John Edwards of avoiding talk of his support of the Iraq war before an anti-war Dem audience in California.

I mean straight up, direct examples of Dean holding one position and then deciding he believes the opposite shortly thereafter. It's happened often enough the last couple of months for me to create...The Carpetbagger Report's Top 10 Howard Dean flip-flops (in no particular order).

1. North Korea

In January, Dean said on CBS' Face the Nation that he approved of Bush's policy towards North Korea and agreed with the president that the approach will be successful.

"I concur with most of the president's policy on North Korea," Dean said, to the surprise of many Democrats and supporters who had criticized Bush's approach. "We have substantial differences on Iraq, but I like the idea and I believe in the idea of multilaterals. And the president's pursuing a policy in cooperation with the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans and the Japanese, which we ought to see bear fruition."

Just one month later, Dean flip-flopped without explanation, describing Bush's North Korea policy as "incoherent, inconsistent and dangerously disengaged."

2. Social Security retirement age

At a candidate forum hosted by the AFL-CIO in August, Dean faced criticism from Kucinich for considering moving the Social Security retirement age. Dean responded forcefully that he wanted to "tell everybody that I have never favored Social Security retirement at the age of 70, nor do I favor one of 68."

In 1995, Dean praised then-Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) for recommending changing the retirement age to 70. At the time, Dean said, "I believe that Sen. Packwood is on exactly the right track." A month later, Dean said "moving the retirement age to 70" was a way to help reduce the deficit and balance the budget.

Far more recently, in June 2003, Dean said on Meet the Press, "I would also entertain taking the retirement age up to 68."

3. Public Financing and Campaign Spending Limits

In March, Dean promised to raise a fuss if any of the other candidates decided to abandon spending limits and skip public financing.

"It will be a huge issue," Dean said in March. "I think most Democrats believe in campaign finance reform.... [I've] always been committed to this. Campaign finance reform is just something I believe in." As recently as June 7, Dean wrote to the Federal Election Commission that he will abide by spending limits in the primaries.

Last month, Dean said his campaign was "exploring" the possibility of opting out of the public financing system because of his success in raising money and his desire to spend more in the primaries than his opponents. He said he "didn't remember" making earlier promises to the contrary and said his campaign was free to "change our mind."

(Actually, Dean's flip-flopped on this issue twice. In addition to the recent conversion as a presidential candidate, Dean also did a reverse on spending limits while governor of Vermont. In 1997, Dean helped create a system whereby statewide candidates would agree to a spending cap and participate in public financing. At the time, Dean vowed that the bill would "change the way campaigns are run" in Vermont. When it came time for Dean to run for re-election in 2000 under the campaign finance system he helped create, Dean rejected public financing and exceeded the spending cap by 300 percent.)

4. U.S. trade standards

In August, Dean told the Washington Post that China and other countries could get trade deals with the United States only if they adopted "the same labor laws and labor standards and environmental standards" as the United States. When a reporter from Slate asked if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," Dean insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States.

Last week in the DNC debate in Albuquerque, Dean shifted gears and said he doesn't believe that our trading partners have to adopt "American labor standards," saying that international standards would work.

5. U.S. policy on the Cuban trade embargo

Dean, up until fairly recently, was one of many politicians from both parties open to easing trade restrictions with Castro's Cuba. He admitted as much in response to a question from a reporter last month, saying, "If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have said we should begin to ease the embargo in return for human-rights concessions."

According to an Aug. 26 article in the Miami Herald, Dean has "shifted his views" on Cuban trade now that he has "surged to the top of the race" for the Dem nomination. Dean said he believes the U.S. can't ease Cuban embargo restrictions "right now" because "Castro has just locked up a huge number of human-rights activists and put them in prison and [held] show trials."

6. "Regime change" in Iraq

In March, before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Dean sounded a lot like Bush on the possible war, suggesting that disarming Saddam Hussein, with or without the United Nations, should be America's priority.

According to an interview with Salon's Jake Tapper, when Dean was asked to clarify his Iraq position, Dean said that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

When the U.N. chose not to enforce its resolutions, Bush followed Dean's position and launched a unilateral action against Iraq.

Since then, Dean has held himself out as someone who has opposed the war all along.

7. Death penalty

In 1992, Dean said, "I don't support the death penalty for two reasons. One, you might have the wrong guy, and two, the state is like a parent. Parents who smoke cigarettes can't really tell their children not to smoke and be taken seriously. If a state tells you not to murder people, a state shouldn't be in the business of taking people's lives."

In 1997, his position was beginning to "evolve," but he insisted, "I truly don't believe it's a deterrent."

In June 2003, however, Dean had abandoned his earlier beliefs. He said, "As governor, I came to believe that the death penalty would be a just punishment for certain, especially heinous crimes, such as the murder of a child or the murder of a police officer."

8. Repealing Bush's tax cuts

A year ago, Dean started out saying he'd repeal all of Bush's tax cuts. Asked about how he'd pay for increased spending in health care and education, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Dean "doesn't hem or haw" when answering the question. "'By getting rid of the President's tax cut,' Dean says. Not freezing it, mind you -- getting rid of it. All $1.7 trillion worth."

Then Dean began to equivocate. In July 2002, Dean said on Meet the Press, "[T]here's a few little things I wouldn't repeal. There are some retirement investment pieces I wouldn't repeal, although I would have to add some so that lower-income workers could help pay for their retirement, not just people like me."

Dean's position changed a little more in March, saying his tax policy would be to "repeal the president's tax cuts for people that make more than $300,000, with a few exceptions."

In May, Dean came full circle, saying that he's back to wanting to repeal "all" of the Bush tax cuts.

9. Troop deployment in Iraq

In June, Dean said on Meet the Press, "We need more troops in Afghanistan. We need more troops in Iraq now."

In August, Dean said U.S. troops need to stay in Iraq. "It's a matter of national security," Dean said. "If we leave and we don't get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States."

In last week's debate in Albuquerque, Dean completely reversed course, saying, "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

10. Civil liberties in a post-9/11 America

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while Dean was still governor of Vermont, he suggested a "reevaluation" of civil liberties in America.

Specifically, Dean said he believed that the attacks and their aftermath would "require a reevaluation of the importance of some of our specific civil liberties. I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street."

More importantly, Dean said he didn't have a position on whether these steps would be good or bad. When asked if the Bill of Rights would have to be trimmed, Dean said, "I haven't gotten that far yet."

In March 2003, Dean told The Nation's David Cord that he believes "portions" of the USA Patriot Act "overreach," but added, "I haven't condemned Congress for passing" the legislation.

On August 19, however, Dean accused Ashcroft of taking advantage "of the climate of fear and adopted a series of anti-terror tactics that go far beyond protecting our country and erode the rights of average Americans." He added that the U.S. should "roll back" the USA Patriot Act.

I'm not reporting all of this to help Karl Rove and the Republicans, so spare me your emails. The truth is the bad guys already know all of this. I'd hazard a guess that Rove has dozens of college students locked up in the basement of the OEOB, sleeping on cots, and spending their waking hours chronicling every word every Dem candidate utters. Rove and the RNC don't need The Carpetbagger Report; they have an extensive research operation that blows my little blog away.

The point, rather, is for those of us who want a new president in 2005. Rove may know all about Dean's flip-flops -- he's probably already started crafting the TV ads -- but it's Dem voters who seem unaware of the good doctor's policy problems. We need to consider whether this is a problem before we vote for our nominee. Do Dean's flip-flops mean that he lacks conviction? A problem with discipline? These are questions that Dems should consider before we settle on our choice as a party.

Just as importantly, should Dean get the nomination, we need to know what the GOP will be using against our presidential pick once the election season heats up next year. Hiding public truths in the hopes that the GOP won't notice isn't an effective plan for success.

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...

December 14, 2003

The Face of the Dean Campaign

You would think that the capture of a known enemy of the United States would be good news for Americans of all mainstream political stripes, but apparently that does not include the Dean campaign supporters, if his weblog is any indication. Here are just a few comments from Dean's site, Blog for America (via Tim Blair): HEY GUYS WAKE UP!!! THERE IS NO SUCCESS EXISTS IN THE UNJUSTIFIED WAR WHOEVER WAS CAPTURED!!! IT IS ONLY A DANGEROUS ILLUSION OF SUCCESS WHICH MAY LEAD ONLY TO THE NEXT WRONG JUGMENT AND NEXT WRONG DECISION SUCH AS A NEXT WAR!!! Term “success” in this war should be applied only in the light of bringing international community IN and USA OUT. ... I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election. ... I am feeling pretty upset as well. I think our chances...

December 15, 2003

"We're Not About Anger," He Replied Furiously

Today's Washington Post takes a look at the Dean campaign, which more than ever seems to be all about tapping into anti-Bush fervor instead of actual political thought: But even though he has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination -- and his one-sedan campaign entourage has morphed into a full-scale motorcade, complete with press bus -- the Dean campaign is still running primarily on the tonic that fueled his rise: Democratic loathing of President Bush. All over Iowa, Dean encounters Democrats who get a "searing pain" from the president. "What we think of Bush can't be printed in a family newspaper," said John Kaiser, a veteran Iowa Democrat who decided to support Dean only after long, personal talks with four other contenders. "And Dean is the guy who has tapped that outrage." I recall a time not too long ago when Democrats accused Republicans of irrational hate...

December 16, 2003

Howard Dean: Iraq-Proof?

Hugh Hewitt and Power Line have written interesting posts regarding Howard Dean's tin-eared declaration yesterday that Saddam's capture didn't make America any safer. Despite the objective falsity of the comment -- we have lived with the possibility of Saddam's retaliation for so long, it seemed inevitable until Sunday morning -- it's unlikely to dislodge the vast majority of Dean supporters, nor is it likely to dissuade Democrats from supporting Dean in a general election, if he makes it that far. It's not that Dean himself is Iraq-proof as much as it is that Bush will always be a bigger bogeyman than Saddam or anyone else, in the eyes of the passionate left. Why should this be? It is a symptom of a polarized electorate; quite simply, more and more people associate with political movements on a tribal basis rather than a rational basis, and this is true on the right...

December 19, 2003

Howard Dean's Hypocrisy on Corporate Tax Breaks

As part of a continuing series on Howard Dean's association with the offshore "captives" tax shelter he set up in Vermont, the Boston Globe reports today that under his leadership, Vermont actively and aggressively set up tax shelter front companies for offshore corporations to enable them to avoid paying tax penalties for not being headquartered in the United States: As part of Howard Dean's effort to attract companies to set up so-called "captive" insurance businesses in Vermont, he signed legislation that enabled a Bermuda-based company to establish a Vermont branch, which industry analysts said at the time could provide a tax break for the parent firm. ... In May 1999, Dean signed a bill designed to help self-owned, or "captive," insurance companies that intended to remain offshore. The legislation, for example, allowed an offshore-based captive insurance company to set up a "branch" in Vermont as a way of complying with...

Hugh Hewitt on Dean's Retreat: Too Little, Too Late

Hugh Hewitt notes that Howard Dean has modified his stance on Saddam's capture a few increments: Yesterday Dean responds with this:"The capture of one very bad man does not mean this president and the Washington Democrats can declare victory in the war on terror." But of course, that is not what the President claimed, at any time. In fact, Bush made it very clear on several occasions that Saddam's capture was only one good step towards our mission to eliminate the international reach of terrorism, and the tyrannies that spawn it: I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq [emphasis mine]. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people,...

Saddam's Capture Didn't Make US Safer?

In yet another breakthrough based on materials found with Saddam Hussein, ABC News reports that Coalition intelligence services have identified moles working for Saddam within the Coalition Provisional Authority: Among the documents found in Saddam's briefcase when he was captured last weekend was a list of names of Iraqis who have been working with the United States — either in the Iraqi security forces or the Coalition Provisional Authority — and are feeding information to the insurgents, a U.S. official told ABCNEWS. "We were badly infiltrated," said the official, adding that finding the list of names is a "gold mine." Would someone at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune like to send a reporter to cover this and inform their editorial board of this development? (via Politburo Diktat)...

This Is Why Saddam's Capture Makes Us Safer

Despite the blatherings of our local broadsheet, the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein paid off in a spectacular way today: Libya has tried to develop weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles in the past, but has agreed to dismantle the programs, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday in simultaneous televised speeches. Bush said Libya's leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, had "agreed to immediately and unconditionally allow inspectors from international organizations to enter Libya. "These inspectors will render an accounting of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and will help oversee their elimination," Bush said. Gadhafi approached US and British officials in March to discuss the disarmament of Libya. Does anyone remember what was going on in March? And does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why Libya approached Bush and Blair, rather than the UN? It's because with the Anglo-American...

December 20, 2003

Howard Dean: Comedian

I had just about given up on posting for tonight after a long day of finalizing my Christmas shopping, but I read this little gem off the AP wire and couldn't stay silent: Howard Dean appealed to fellow Democratic presidential candidates Saturday to stop the bitter attack politics that have come to dominate the race for the party's nomination. The race needs "a little character transplant," he said. "It's not necessary to tear down the other opponents," said Dean, whose front-running campaign has come increasingly under fire from Democratic rivals. Dean's entire campaign has been one attack after another, not only on President Bush but also on Democratic candidates like John Edwards, who he accused at one debate of waffling on Iraq numerous times when in fact Edwards has been consistent -- wrong, but consistent. It's Governor Dean whose notoriety springs from his red-faced harangues on the campaign trail. "This...

December 22, 2003

Now, Now, Gentlemen, We're Mostly Democrats Here

Apparently, there's been a miscommunication between Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark regarding the potential VP slot on the Democratic ticket: Speaking in a taped interview on ABC's "This Week," Clark said Dean had asked him to be his running mate should Dean win the Democratic nomination in a conversation before Clark entered the race. Unfortunately for Clark, Dean's campaign doesn't recall ever having that conversation, and spokesman Joe Trippi said so shortly after Clark's comments were made. This prompted a testy retort from Clark's campaign: "Joe Trippi may want to check in with his candidate before talking," Matt Bennett said in a statement from Clark headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. "Howard Dean did in fact offer Wes Clark a place on the ticket in a one-on-one meeting that Trippi did not attend." This offer supposedly took place in a meeting over three months ago, when Dean's campaign still looked...

December 23, 2003

Russo-American Mission Retrieves Stranded Nuclear Fuel

Remember how a few of the Democrats complained recently about Bush's lack of attention to nuclear material that had not been tracked after the fall of the Soviet Union? Somehow, this story won't make them very happy: A Russo-American team of nuclear specialists backed by armed security units swooped into a shuttered Bulgarian reactor and seized 37 pounds of highly enriched uranium, in a secret operation intended to forestall nuclear terrorism, U.S. officials said Tuesday. ... It was the third time since last year that U.S. and Russian authorities have teamed up to retrieve highly enriched uranium from Soviet-era facilities. U.S. authorities have begun stepping up such joint operations with the Russians. In August 2002, a team from the two countries retrieved 100 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from an aging reactor in Yugoslavia. The second uranium seizure took place three months ago, when 30 pounds was removed from Romania. It...

December 24, 2003

A Warning We Also Should Heed

Jonathan Chait, in his TNR blog, wrote on Monday regarding the Dean bubble. Chait, who is no fan of the governor, diagnoses why the Dean campaign will remain parochial and detached from all but the true believers: One of the most disturbing things about Dean and his hard-core supporters is that they give the impression that they know nothing at all of why President Bush is successful, and therefore what it takes to beat him. Read the pro-Dean blogs, and the you come away with the view that Bush is strong because he's ruthless and has lots of money, and therefore if the Democrats are also ruthless and raise lots of money, they can beat him. This ignorance is compounded by the fact that many Deanies seem to exist in a isolated cultural milieu in which everybody is secular, socially liberal, and antiwar. They can't fathom why those things might...

December 25, 2003

Dean's Reversal on Tort Reform

Andrew Sullivan and Overlawyered (a great site) discover another Howard Dean flip-flop, this time on tort reform. In 1988, then-Lt. Governor Dean wrote the following letter to the New York Times: To the Editor: Randall Bezanson and Gilbert Cranberg detailed a situation that I hope will get far worse. As a physician, I have been frustrated for years by the reluctance of state legislatures and the United States Congress to deal with liability problems of all kinds. I have long maintained that until the legal profession and the news media are also afflicted with the increasingly severe consequences of a tort system that benefits few people outside the legal profession, there will be no return to a fair and reasonable system of justice. The trends toward lawyers suing one another for malpractice and toward outrageous-size punitive damages in libel cases give me hope that the crisis in our tort system...

December 26, 2003

Dean Switches Positions in the Same Day?

The master of flip-flops impresses everyone this week by issuing conflicting statements in the same day: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean will not pronounce Osama bin Laden guilty before a trial, he said in an interview published Friday. New Hampshire's Concord Monitor reported that Dean said he would not state his preference on a punishment for bin Laden before the al Qaeda leader was captured and put before a jury. "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," Dean said in the interview. "I will 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." ... Later, Dean released a statement clarifying, "I share the outrage of all Americans. Osama bin Laden has admitted that he is responsible for killing 3,000 Americans as well...

December 27, 2003

Dean Explained In A Nutshell

Sunday's Washington Post contains a somewhat brief article titled "Dean Tries to Summon Spirit of the 1960s: Candidate's Recollections Differ From Historians' Views of a Turbulent Decade" that explains a lot about the attraction of Dean's campaign amongst the aging hippie set, academia, and wannabes that make up the most passionate of his following: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has a vision of where he'd like to take the nation. It turns out to be the 1960s. ... His references to the '60s, Dean makes clear in an interview, are something personal. "We felt the possibilities were unlimited then," he said last week. "We were making such enormous progress. It resonates with a lot of people my age. People my age really felt that way." As history, however, Dean's memories of the era are selective. Rather than the time of great national unity and purpose he describes, the 1960s were...

December 29, 2003

Another Moment of Hypocrisy from Dean

Howard Dean has excoriated the Bush administration, and specifically Dick Cheney, for keeping secret its deliberations while developing its energy policy. This meme has been beaten to death over the past couple of years. Ultimately, what's important is the policy itself, and that's not secret at all. However, the advice given to the executive is just that -- advice -- and there is no need to disclose the internal debate that helped develop the policy. In fact, that is the essence of executive privelege, the entire reason for its existence. How nice, then, to discover that Howard Dean agrees -- at least when he's the executive: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, who has criticized the Bush administration for refusing to release the deliberations of its energy policy task force, as governor of Vermont convened a similar panel that met in secret and angered state lawmakers. ... In 1999, he offered...

It's Hard to be Humble

Howard Dean warns that he discovered "legions" of new voters who will not vote at all if he isn't the Democratic nominee for President in 2004: Howard Dean said Sunday that the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to politics by his campaign may stay home if he doesn’t win the Democratic presidential nomination, dooming the Democratic Party in the fall campaign against President Bush. “If I don’t win the nomination, where do you think those million and a half people, half a million on the Internet, where do you think they’re going to go?” he said during a meeting with reporters. “I don’t know where they’re going to go. They’re certainly not going to vote for a conventional Washington politician.” Words fail me at this pronouncement. While every campaign finds a handful of voters who have never voted before or who have never crossed party lines before, Dean claims...

December 30, 2003

Democrats Unimpressed with Dean's Complaints

Howard Dean's complaints about the tenor of the campaign over the past month fell on mostly deaf ears this wek, the LA Times reports: Democratic Party National Chairman Terry McAuliffe has no plans to play referee to what has become a vitriolic presidential primary, saying through a spokeswoman Monday that voters would decide whether the negative campaigning was good politics. A number of other Presidential hopefuls had some pointed barbs for Dean after his suggestion that McAuliffe force them to tone down their attacks. For instance, Joe Lieberman pointed out that if Dean was quailing at this primary campaign, then perhaps he's not ready for the championship round next fall. "If Howard Dean can't stand the heat in the Democratic kitchen, he's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him." John Kerry pointed out yet another Dean hypocrisy, which seem to appear on an almost...

December 31, 2003

Where's the Beef?

The Washington Post issued a smackdown to a couple of Presidential candidates this morning with an editorial chastising them for grandstanding on "mad cow disease", or BSE: Democratic front-runner Howard Dean announced that the discovery of an infected cow in Washington state "raises serious concerns about the ability of this administration to protect the safety of our nation's food supply." Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) helpfully urged President Bush "for once not to listen to the demands of corporate America and act on behalf of the health and economic needs of all Americans." All of this may be good politics for candidates who have to campaign in farm states such as Iowa. The trouble is that, at least at this stage, there is no particular reason to think that the regulatory systems designed to prevent an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in this country didn't function as intended. So far,...

January 2, 2004

The Race Education of a White Guy

Howard Dean inserted his foot yet again, this time on the subject of race, and Mickey Kaus is all over it: "Dealing with race is about educating white folks." Howard Dean seems to have said this. That'll bring in those Southern pickup guys! They love being singled out for 'education'! ... Is there really nothing in "dealing with race" that involves changing African-American attitudes along with white attitudes? Dean's comment would be more depressing if weren't also the sort of cluelessly pre-Clinton utterance that virtually guarantees he will never be president. It's the sort of mindless pandering that has become emblematic of the Dean campaign. He wants to bolster his standing among African-Americans, but in his greed, he steps on his tongue again. Dean wants to return to the demonization that has characterized race politics for decades, something that Clinton tried to change. The problem with race relations and civil...

January 3, 2004

New York Times: Missing The Point

The New York Times ran an article today on the temperament of Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, who has caused his supporters -- and his Democratic opponents as well -- some concern with his quick temper and his manner of speaking without considering the consequences. Predictably, the Times spins this as honesty given a bit too much free reign: Friends and former employees of Dr. Dean say his temper can indeed flare, although of greater concern to campaign aides is the occasional crisis created by his speaking too quickly on the issues. Even that, he and his top aides say, is not as detrimental as his opponents might hope: as long as he talks straight and from the heart, he said in an interview in Iowa not long ago, voters will overlook a little roughness around the edges. "What people are responding to is that I believe in what I'm doing...

Vermont Yankee Reactor Safety Ignored by Dean

In Power Line's words, this will hurt Dean, but I don't think it will be as bad as some would think. I originally saw this story this afternoon but didn't give it a good read. Fortunately, Hindrocket takes a close look at the story, as reported by the AP based on documents from an undisclosed source. Dean was warned repeatedly over more than ten years that security for Vermont's nuclear reactor was substandard, and in fact was rated the worst in the nation: During Dean's final year in office in 2002, an audit concluded that despite a decade of repeated warnings of poor safety at Vermont Yankee, Dean's administration was poorly prepared for a nuclear disaster. "The lack of funding and overarching coordination at the state level directly impacts the ability of the state, local and power plant planners to be adequately prepared for a real emergency at Vermont Yankee,"...

January 5, 2004

AP Review of Debate: Smoke and Fog

The AP writes an unusually critical review of yesterday's Democratic debate, noting the lack of honesty and factual argument that has become the rule rather than the exception, especially in regard to Howard Dean: For a brief time in their debate Sunday, Democrats seemed to be hewing to a New Year's resolution to stick more carefully to the facts on taxes, the budget and more. But old habits die hard. ... Dean repeated his frequent claim that middle-income Americans have not seen their taxes go down under Bush: "There was no middle-class tax cut," he declared. In fact, their taxes did go down. But Dean went on to explain what he really meant — that most people are worse off because college tuition, health care premiums, property taxes and other state and local taxes or fees have gone up by more than Americans have saved under the Bush tax cuts....

Has the Democratic Establishment Thrown In the Towel?

Further confirmation of Dean's inevitability will be forthcoming as early as tomorrow, as the AP reports that former Senator Bill Bradley, who vied with Al Gore for the nomination in 2000, will endorse Howard Dean: Former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, who lost the Democratic nomination for president to Al Gore in 2000, is expected to endorse front-runner Howard Dean, party officials said Monday. ... Dean has changed his campaign schedule to appear Tuesday in New Hampshire for a surprise announcement, state campaign director Karen Hicks said Monday. Dean can now claim endorsements from both major Democratic contenders from the last election, and even though Bradley represented the more liberal wing of the party -- until Al Gore decided to swing left over the past couple of years -- his endorsement has to be seen as an Establishment endorsement, perhaps even more than Gore's. Bradley commands respect across the political spectrum...

January 7, 2004

Broder on Dean

David Broder, in today's Washington Post, makes the same point as I did in my previous post -- that Dean is fortunate to still be running against eight other candidates: With nine candidates contesting for votes, he doesn't have to persuade a majority to support him. He just has to turn out the true believers. Even modest plurality wins in those races would translate into a wealth of favorable publicity, and with more money to spend than any of his opponents, Dean could well run the table of the early February contests before anyone else effectively mobilizes a counterattack. Eventually, of course, Dean will have to expand his support beyond the "true believers" that have lifted him to the top of a very crowded race, a campaign that seems stuck around the 24-27% mark amongst Democrats alone. As other candidates drop out, Dean has to find a way to attract...

Dean Gathers Some Establishment Momentum

The AP published a poll of Democratic "superdelegates" -- those electors who by Democratic Party rules are free to vote their own mind regardless of primary/caucus results in their state -- and Dean has done surprisingly well, capturing 31% of those who have decided on a candidate: In the first "ballots" cast of the 2004 race, the former Vermont governor has endorsements or pledges of support from 80 Democratic "superdelegates" — elected officials and other party officials who will help select a nominee at this July's convention. Rival Dick Gephardt, the former House Democratic leader who has served as Missouri congressman for 28 years, has the backing of 57 superdelegates. Four-term Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has the support of 50. Among the remaining candidates, three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the 2000 vice presidential nominee, has 25 superdelegates, while Wesley Clark, the retired general who has never held elected...

January 9, 2004

And Escape Dean's Paradise?

A border town in Vermont wants to change addresses: Officials in the popular ski resort area of Killington want the town to secede from Vermont and join neighboring New Hampshire in a dispute over taxes. They say the town's restaurants, inns and other businesses send $10 million a year to the state capital in sales, room and meal taxes, but the state returns just $1 million in state aid to Killington. Even more galling to the town is a statewide property tax imposed in 1997 to fund schools. The town of 1,092 won a Superior Court order that called the state's method of assessing local properties "arbitrary and capricious," but the state Supreme Court reversed that decision. After twelve years of Dean's administration and tax policy, the town of Killington is so fed up they'd rather be annexed to New Hampshire. Not much chance of that, according to Vermont's Secretary...

January 10, 2004

This Is How Dean Can Win

I don't recall a primary season starting with so many players getting double-digit support: In Iowa, the former Vermont governor was at 30 percent, with Dick Gephardt at 23 percent and John Kerry at 18 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times poll of likely Iowa caucus goers. John Edwards, a North Carolina senator, was the only other candidate in double digits, at 11 percent. ... A New Hampshire poll showed Dean holding a lead of about 20 points over his closest competitors. The poll done for the Concord Monitor by Research 2000 found Dean with the support of 34 percent, with Clark at 14 percent and Kerry at 13 percent. Others were in single digits. Normally at this point in a presidential election cycle, the party running against an incumbent has already eliminated all but two or maybe three choices. In Iowa, you would expect the two choices to...

Colbert King: Dean's a Fraud

Colbert King, the Washington Post columnist and no friend to Republicans, excoriates Howard Dean's attempt to suck up to the religious: Dean captured the suck-up prize with his revelation that -- praise the Lord -- he has finally found a way to talk about his deeply held religious faith. Most remarkable, and the reason he won going away, was his explanation for how he reached this exquisite moment of sudden understanding. Was it a particular scene, some road-to-Damascus experience, that occasioned such a flash of insight in Dean? What, pray tell, set off Dean's new compulsion to openly discuss Jesus and his mastery of the Bible? Dean disclosed that his willingness -- no, make that eagerness -- to start sharing his faith with any reporter, microphone or voter within the sound of his voice comes as a result of his travels on the campaign trail. Yes, credit Dean's journey --...

January 12, 2004

In A Rational World ...

... Howard Dean would have already dropped like a rock in the polls, based on the extraordinary number of gaffes he's already committed, such as his remarks after Saddam's capture. So far he's had a Teflon candidacy, but a couple of incidents yesterday may have put a big dent in his shields: Under fire in a campaign debate, Howard Dean conceded Sunday night that he never named a black or Hispanic to his Cabinet during nearly 12 years as governor of Vermont. "If you want to lecture people on race, you ought to have the background and track record to do that," Al Sharpton snapped at the Democratic presidential front-runner in an emotionally charged exchange in the final debate before next Monday's Iowa caucuses. ... "You keep talking about race," the former street activist chided Dean when he had a turn to ask a question. He said that not one...

January 13, 2004

Whither the Dean Angst?

Hugh Hewitt had a fun time on his show tonight discussing the source of all the Dean rage after reading this article in the Los Angeles Times today: Dean bristled at those who questioned his motives. He had long had a habit of popping off in public, but until he became governor, no one paid much attention. Now they did. Wisecracks lightened the mood during Dean's drawn-out news conferences, but on occasion, his flippancy curdled. An avid radio listener, he would phone talk show hosts from his state-issue car, raining instant responses on surprised critics. He traded barbs with a welfare mother who had called in to complain about his policies, Hogan recalled. When a station in the town of Waterbury ran a Republican legislator's rebuke of a visit by Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dean called in, angrily comparing him to a barnyard animal, recalled the offended politician, J. Dennis Delaney....

January 14, 2004

Dean: Unilateralism Sounds Great To Me

Howard Dean has castigated George Bush endlessly over "unilaterally" going to war in Iraq -- even though we were joined by several nations in actual combat and many more in diplomatic and/or material support -- but unilateralism used to sound really good to the combative Vermont governor, regarding Bosnia in 1995: After long and careful thought, and after several years of watching the gross atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs, I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United Nations and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure. ... Since it is clearly no longer possible to take action in conjunction with NATO and the United Nations, I have reluctantly concluded that we must take unilateral action. While I completely agree with you that no ground troops should be committed for other than humanitarian purposes in Bosnia, I would ask that you take the following steps in Bosnia. First,...

Did Dean Cover For Abusive Staff Member?

Howard Dean, who has accused George Bush of waffling on domestic abuse -- as if the federal government had jurisdiction anyway -- wrote a supportive affadavit for a state trooper on his security detail who later was discovered to be a wife beater, according to ABC News: In his presidential campaign, and as governor of Vermont before that, Howard Dean has taken a tough, zero-tolerance stand on domestic violence, accusing the Bush administration of not being committed to the issue. Yet Dean said he had no idea that one of the men closest to him was repeatedly abusing his wife. Dennis Madore, the state trooper who headed Dean's security detail for nine years, was "a classic abuser," according to Jerry Diamond, a Dean supporter and former Vermont attorney general who was the lawyer for Madore's wife, Donna, when she filed for divorce in 1997. ... Court records show that Madore's...

January 15, 2004

Chafets: Sharpton Skewers Dean for Payback

According to Zev Chafets, the "race harpoon" that Rev. Al Sharpton tossed with such effectiveness at Howard Dean was no spontaneous target of opportunity, but a well-planned revenge for ignoring the Reverend on his home turf -- and the fun may have just begun: A month ago, when Howard Dean came up to Harlem to get himself endorsed by Al Gore, Al Sharpton, the political proprietor of 125th Street, was not invited to the ceremony. It was clear even then that Dean would pay for disrespecting the Rev. On Sunday night in a nationally televised debate in Iowa, he got the bill. ... This time, he called Dean on it. How many blacks and Hispanics, he asked, did you appoint to your Cabinet in Vermont? The answer, of course, is none. Dean was forced to admit this sin against diversity, and he did it with a moose-in-the-headlights expression. Not since...

January 16, 2004

Is Dean Melting Down Under Pressure?

Blogs for Bush posts today on the strange interview in People magazine with the Doctors Dean, zeroing in on what has to be the most unusual campaign admission since Jimmy Carter revealed the lust in his heart: Howard: I'm not a big fan of most anti-anxiety drugs, just because they have addiction potential and things like that. You know, once in a while, I take stuff for sleep. That makes sense. But, listen, I don't want to dispense medical advice in PEOPLE magazine. The anti-anxiety drugs are very good for people who — Judy: And a lot of them are NOT addictive these days. Howard: Right. And you know anti-anxiety drugs and sleep drugs were essentially the same thing when I was practicing. And my experience was whenever I took a sleeping pill, there would be rebound insomnia and so I didn't like to take them. I'm not really sure...

January 19, 2004

Carter Plays Coy

Today's Washington Post describes in detail Howard Dean's trip to Plains, GA to meet with the man who has spent the last two decades as a pariah in his own party come Presidential election time -- and who oddly feels the need to play coy: Jimmy Carter spent much of the past quarter-century as a pariah among fellow Democrats. ... But presidential reputations move in cycles. Today, the former outcast was hailed as a hero by former Vermont governor Howard Dean. No longer shunned by politicians, Carter said he was flattered by the attention for a "has-been politician" -- but he also seemed eager to ensure that Dean did not take liberties in his pursuit. ... Pressed in recent interviews about why he would leave Iowa at crunch time, Dean said he could not turn down an invitation to appear with a former president he admires. But when a visitor...

January 21, 2004

The Suddenly Rudderless Dean

Howard Dean, still smarting from the thumping he took in Iowa this week, shifted strategies for the second time in two weeks, according to the Washington Post: Former Vermont governor Howard Dean shifted his campaign strategy Tuesday to emphasize domestic issues over the war and temper the red-faced outbursts like the one he delivered after losing Iowa, the candidate and his advisers said. Dean, after huddling with top aides to regroup from the stinging loss in the Iowa caucuses, sought to portray himself here as a more traditional policy-minded candidate focused on education, health care and jobs. The front-runner for much of the 2004 Democratic campaign suggested he would ease up on his year-long crusade to change the Democratic Party. ... Dean's strategy shift, the second in as many weeks, comes as the onetime front-runner is fighting to regain momentum. A loss in New Hampshire could signal the beginning of...

January 22, 2004

Hoist Upon His Own Petard?

Howard Dean, who pioneered the national Internet campaign, is finding out that the Internet is a double-edged sword, as reported by Newsweek and MS-NBC: You live by the Internet, you die by the Internet. Just ask Howard Dean. One minute, the Democratic presidential hopeful is harvesting new voters, and campaign contributors, online. The next, he’s being haunted by tech-savvy turntablists. Since his kinda-crazy concession speech in Iowa on Monday night, a bunch of audio files mixing music to his exhortations have been circulating on the Web. “We’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. We’re going to California and Texas and New York!” It's the type of stuff you’d hear at nightclubs, not political rallies. The highlight? Repeated splicing and dicing of Dean’s “Yeagh!” outburst. ... Thanks for inventing the Internet, Al! Fellow Northern Alliande blogger James Lileks gets a big mention and...

January 24, 2004

I'm Not Complaining, But Those Grapes Did Taste a Bit Sour

Governor Howard Dean, until two weeks ago considered all but a lock for the Democratic nomination for President, explains his stunning defeat in Iowa: Howard Dean said Saturday he was surprised by the "under the table" campaigning he faced during the Iowa caucus and said the state needs to prevent such negative attacks if it wants to keep the nation's leadoff presidential vote. Dean said his rivals "had their folks really beating up on the people who went in, trying to get them to change their minds in caucus." ... Asked Saturday for specifics about the negative attacks, Dean pointed to a book distributed by North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' campaign that instructed supporters how to attack other candidates during the caucuses. For example, it told campaign captains in Iowa to describe Dean as an "elitist from Park Avenue in New York City." "I never dreamed that would happen," Dean...

January 25, 2004

What Color Is The Sky In Dean's World?

Just when you thought that Howard Dean might have figured out that his mouth is his own worst enemy, the diminutive governor lets it get away from him again: Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean said Sunday that the standard of living for Iraqis is a "whole lot worse" since Saddam Hussein's removal from power in last year's American-led invasion. "You can say that it's great that Saddam is gone and I'm sure that a lot of Iraqis feel it is great that Saddam is gone," said the former Vermont governor, an unflinching critic of the war against Iraq. "But a lot of them gave their lives. And their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before." The Iraqi quality of life was better under Saddam Hussein? Under a regime that may have killed over 300,000 people and stuck them into mass graves? A regime where torture...

January 26, 2004

Dean: National ID-Card Requirement For Internet Access, Gov't Programs

The Drudge Report found a commentary from CNET News by Declan McCullagh asserting that Howard Dean actively supported a national ID card as recently as 2002. Not only that, but Dean wanted the ID card to be a requirement for Internet access so that identification information could be tracked on line: Fifteen months before Dean said he would seek the presidency, however, the former Vermont governor spoke at a conference in Pittsburgh co-sponsored by smart-card firm Wave Systems where he called for state drivers' licenses to be transformed into a kind of standardized national ID card for Americans. Embedding smart cards into uniform IDs was necessary to thwart "cyberterrorism" and identity theft, Dean claimed. "We must move to smarter license cards that carry secure digital information that can be universally read at vital checkpoints," Dean said in March 2002, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. "Issuing such a...

January 28, 2004

Dean On The Ropes

Governor Howard Dean's sputtering campaign hit more bumps in the road today: Democrat Howard Dean shook up his faltering bid for the White House on Wednesday, replacing his campaign manager with a longtime associate of former Vice President Al Gore [Roy Neel]. In a further sign of distress, the one-time front-runner implemented cost-cutting measures as he looked ahead to a series of costly primaries and caucuses, asking staff to defer their paychecks for two weeks. Management changes and budget cuts do not indicate a campaign firing on all cylinders; it demonstrates the extent of the problem Dean now faces. With his opponents raising more cash and with seven states voting on Tuesday, Dean has to spend a ton of money and needs a steady hand at the rudder. I'm not sure why outgoing campaign manager Joe Trippi suddenly lost Dean's confidence. Most of the problems Dean has he brought on...

January 29, 2004

Dean Flounders, Pulls Back Advertising

In what looks suspiciously like capitulation, the Howard Dean campaign has suddenly canceled its advertising in the seven battleground states voting next week on the Democratic nomination for President: Howard Dean will not air ads in any of the seven states holding elections next week, officials said Thursday, a risky strategy that puts him at a distinct disadvantage with high-spending rivals for the Democratic nomination. With his money and momentum depleted, Dean decided to save his ad money for the Feb. 7 elections in Michigan and Washington state and, 10 days later, the primary in Wisconsin, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. One of the stories on Joe Trippi's departure published yesterday reported on strategic differences between trippi and Roy Neel, who took his place. If surrendering on Tuesday is part of the strategic realignment of this campaign, why did Trippi need to leave? I assume that Trippi...

January 31, 2004

Neel's Strategy Memo to the Deaniacs

Thanks to alert reader Mark from Minnesota, we now have the latest strategy memo from Roy Neel, the new Howard Dean campaign chief. I'm posting it in its entirety. Neel attempts to explain the retreat announced this week from the February 3rd primaries, in what you could look at as the Ross Perot strategy: This campaign has always defied conventional wisdom. Our extraordinary rise last year defied conventional wisdom—so did our fall in Iowa, and so did our comeback in New Hampshire after most pundits predicted Howard Dean was finished. Conventional wisdom has been consistently wrong about this race. So when conventional wisdom says a candidate must win somewhere on February 3, or that John Kerry will have wrapped up the nomination after fewer than 10% of the delegates have been chosen, we disagree. Our goal for the next two and a half weeks is simple—become the last-standing alternative to...

February 1, 2004

Dean Sinking in South Carolina, Won't Get Delegates

The Post and Courier report that Edwards and Kerry are locked in a statistical dead heat -- and Dean has fallen far off the pace (free registration required): Edwards, a native of South Carolina and a senator in neighboring North Carolina, was at 21 percent. John Kerry was at 17 percent, Al Sharpton at 15 percent and Wesley Clark at 14 percent in an American Research Group poll. Howard Dean was at 9 percent, Joe Lieberman at 5 percent, Dennis Kucinich was at 1 percent and 18 percent were undecided. South Carolina will hold its primary Feb. 3, a week after New Hampshire's Tuesday primary. Edwards has come up from 12 points to take the thin lead, but the real story is Dean. He's tumbled from 16 percent and a contending position, or at least in a position to get some delegates. Now he's in fifth place, behind Al Sharpton,...

February 5, 2004

Master Of The Obvious

The Howard Dean campaign, in an e-mail to his dwindling supporters, proclaimed the obvious and stated that Dean had to win in Wisconsin or it's all over: Howard Dean told supporters Thursday he will be out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president if he fails to win the Wisconsin primary, declaring "all that you have worked for these past months is on the line on a single day, in a single state." ... In the e-mail distributed in the early hours of Thursday, Dean wrote: "The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. ... We will get a boost this weekend in Washington, Michigan, and Maine, but our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2 and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this...

February 7, 2004

The Dean Dot-Com Bubble

Howard Dean's backers are engaging in a bit of eulogism these days, looking back at the wreck his campaign has become and asking themselves what went wrong, or if it ever was right in the first place. The Los Angeles times writes on one possible cause of the grand self-delusion that the Dean campaign became -- their vaunted Internet backbone: The loose-knit group of academics, software writers and online commentators have identified a range of factors responsible for the campaign's stumble, from the actions of Dean himself and former campaign manager Joe Trippi to those of the media establishment. But some are also blaming their own habitat, what they now describe as an "echo chamber" of Web diaries and Internet message boards that lulled activists into thinking they were winning votes for Dean merely by typing messages to one another. "We may have been too glued to our monitors to...

Dean: VP A Possibility

Howard Dean, who has staked what's left of his presidential campaign on Feb 17th's Wisconsin's primary, has acknowledged that he would consider a VP nomination: During a campaign interview for the February 17 Wisconsin primary, Howard Dean left open the possibility he would accept a vice presidential nomination on a Democratic presidential ticket. The former Vermont governor's comments came in an interview with a Milwaukee radio station on Friday. Asked by radio station WMCS whether he would accept the vice presidential slot, Dean replied, "I would, to the extent, do anything I could to get rid of President Bush. I'll do whatever is best for the party. Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything." Dean's problem has been that he will say and do anything to win, leading him to odd reversals of previous policy beliefs and unusual statements. In this case, Dean's not...

February 11, 2004

Just Because He's Paranoid ...

Howard Dean has spent the past few months insisting that the Democratic Washington establishment has been out to torpedo his campaign, which up to now has sounded a bit like Ross Perot's accusation that Republicans wanted to harass his daughter at her wedding. However, a strange group of donors did conspire in Iowa to run negative ads against the then-frontrunner, including some of his own donors: Labor unions, former Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli and one of presidential hopeful Howard Dean's own donors were among big givers to a group that ran ads criticizing Dean in three early voting states. Americans for Jobs, Healthcare and Progressive Values raised $663,000 last year and spent $626,840 of it, a finance report provided to The Associated Press on Tuesday showed. ... It drew some big donors, including two giving $100,000 each. They are Slim-Fast Foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham of Florida, who also contributed...

February 14, 2004

Dean Campaign Fading, Not Yet Ready to Die

The Boston Globe today paints a picture of a campaign that has lost all forward momentum and awaits one final, terrible blow to put it out of its misery: Though the former Vermont governor, who for months led polls in the race for the Democratic nomination, says he will continue campaigning regardless of the results of the Wisconsin primary -- which polls indicate he is likely to lose by a significant margin -- his actions are beginning to say otherwise. His calendar for next week is not booked beyond Wednesday, when he plans to return home to Burlington, Vt. ... Turning serious, he told a group of reporters who joined him on a dairy farm tour: "I'm going to go back to Burlington and kind of regroup and figure out how to tackle 10 of the biggest states in the country at the same time." Yet moments later, when asked...

February 16, 2004

Only the Captain Goes Down With the Ship, Dr. Dean

A key leader in the Dean campaign has publicly announced that he will defect to the Kerry campaign if Dean doesn't pull off a miracle in Wisconsin tomorrow: The chairman of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, Massachusetts Democrat Steve Grossman, said yesterday that he will switch allegiance to the campaign of fellow Bay Stater John F. Kerry if, as Grossman expects, Dean loses tomorrow's Wisconsin primary. ... "If Howard loses the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday night, I will either reach out to the Kerry organization, they will reach out to me, or there will be a simultaneous outreach effort by both sides. And I will make a public commitment to do anything and everything I can to help John Kerry become the next president of the United States, including, but not limited to, building bridges between the two organizations so John Kerry can benefit from the strength of the Dean organization,"...

February 18, 2004

Dean Retiring From Campaign

Howard Dean, finally bowing to reality and 17 straight primary losses, will announce his withdrawal from the presidential campaign today or tomorrow: Howard Dean will end his campaign for the presidential nomination and launch a new "campaign for change" within the Democratic Party to keep his issues alive and his supporters organized, a key campaign aide said Wednesday. The former Vermont governor, who went winless in 17 caucuses and primaries after falling from leading contender early in the year, does not intend to endorse either John Kerry or John Edwards, the aide said on condition of anonymity. Dean has been impressed with Edwards and suggested on the campaign trail that he would make a better nominee, but Dean has decided to stay out of the Kerry-Edwards contest, the aide said. This makes sense of his remarks last night after losing badly in Wisconsin. At the time, I thought he sounded...

February 27, 2004

Dean Flacks For The Party

Howard Dean, who built his doomed Presidential campaign on being a firebrand outsider to the Democratic establishment, went out on the road to make sure no one took him too seriously: In his first public appearance since dropping out of the presidential race last week, Howard Dean thanked his supporters Thursday night and urged them to stay with the Democratic Party and "not to be tempted by independent or third-party candidates." ... [H]e urged his supporters to back the eventual Democratic nominee and described his plans to continue influencing the race from the outside. Go inside while I go outside? It almost sounds like a covert operation; perhaps Dean is cooking up something for the convention? If anyone still cared about Dean, it might make an interesting story. How does this message go down with the True Believers? Overall, they accept reality at the official Dean blog, but they're not...

March 1, 2004

Dean Campaign a Civil War: Post

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz wrote an extensive article on the Howard Dean campaign, revealing deep divisions within the ranks and a candidate afraid to win: In different conversations and in different ways, according to several people who worked with him, Dean said at the peak of his popularity late last year that he never expected to rise so high, that he didn't like the intense scrutiny, that he had just wanted to make a difference. "I don't care about being president," he said. Months earlier, as his candidacy was taking off, he told a colleague: "The problem is, I'm now afraid I might win." As Dean was swallowed by the bubble that envelops every major candidate, he allowed his campaign to sink into a nasty civil war that crippled decision-making and devastated morale. In the end, say some of those who uprooted their lives for him, these tensions hastened...

March 24, 2004

Howard Dean Erratic, Undisciplined, Self-Defeating: Aide

The Washington Post will publish a story in tomorrow's edition that gives a sobering, behind-the-scenes look at former Democratic front-runner Howard Dean, whose phenomenal rise stunned everyone, not least Dean himself: Paul Maslin [Dean's pollster] also reveals that Dean was so adamant about keeping his Vermont gubernatorial records sealed that he told his staff in December: "I'd rather end the campaign than have the world see everything." Although Dean maintained he was acting to preserve the principle of confidentiality, the real reason, Maslin says, is that the candidate was sure he had insulted important Democrats and liberal interest groups in the documents. ... Dean's "erratic judgment, loose tongue and overall stubbornness wore our spirits down," Maslin writes. "He refused to be scripted, to be disciplined or to discipline himself." In a twist eerily reminiscent to us in Minnesota, Maslin reveals that Dean never believed he would win the nomination and...

April 12, 2004

Howard Dean: Our Hate Must Unite Us

Howard Dean, who pulled the Democrats to the left-wing antiwar fringe during his abortive run at the Democratic presidential nomination by making the case that the party's Washington establishment wasn't sufficiently responsive to the International ANSWER crowd, makes a plea in today's New York Times editorial section for the support of uber-Establishment icon John Kerry as opposed to Ralph Nader. Dean argues that despite all of the party differences, Bush hatred must be the theme that unites every non-Republican: Many Democrats also admire Ralph Nader's achievements, as I do. But if they truly want George Bush out of the White House, they won't vote for Ralph Nader in November. ... Voting for Ralph Nader, or for any third-party candidate for president, means a vote for a candidate who has no realistic shot of winning the White House. To underscore the danger of voting for any third-party candidate in elections this...

April 30, 2004

And Now, Today on Dr. Howard, People Who Shout "YEEARGH!"

Matt Drudge reports on the nadir of Howard Dean's trajectory in what was supposed to be his triumphant march to the Democratic nomination. Instead, Dr. Dean may trade in politics to signify the end of his career as surely as a previous generation's Vegas shows marked the end of theirs: While everything's still in the early talking stages, the former Democratic presidential candidate is mulling the idea of hosting his own syndicated gabfest. He's hooked up with ex-Big Ticket TV topper Larry Lyttle ("Judge Judy") and longtime political consultant Gerald Rafshoon, who would likely serve as exec producers of a pilot for any such project. ... "The last thing we're going to talk about is politics," Lyttle said. "We'd talk about a myriad of other things instead of politics. He'd look at things like, What happens if you lose a sibling? What about when you're victimized by not having health...

November 8, 2004

A Gift That Keeps On Giving

I'm brushing off the long-abandoned DeanWatch category, as it appears the Democrats are about to reinforce their cluelessness by replacing three-time loser Terry McAuliffe with the darling of the International ANSWER set, former Vermont governor Howard Dean: Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party. "He told me he was thinking about it," Steve Grossman, himself a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Monday. Grossman was a Dean backer during the former Vermont governor's failed presidential bid. Dean, who was in Albany, N.Y., Monday night to give a speech, said he hasn't decided about the top party job, noting he'd received thousands of e-mails urging him to try for it. He said he's still uncertain about his future. "It's a lot easier to run for president when you don't know what you're getting into," he said. "I will stay...

January 23, 2005

Dems Run GOP's Anti-Dean Playbook

How desperate are the Democrats to prevent Howard Dean from becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee? Desperate enough to validate practically every argument made by Republicans and conservative commentators during the early primary season in 2003-4, according to Howard Fineman in Newsweek today: Last week the search for a surefire Dean-stopper (if there is one) reached new levels, NEWSWEEK has learned, with several governorsamong them Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Bill Richardson of New Mexicotrying to gin up a last-ditch plan: let Dean be chairman, but confine his role to pure nuts-and-bolts duties by layering him with a new "general chairman" spokesman for the party. They abandoned the idea after realizing that they didn't have the votes to change the rulesand because the person they wanted to take the new role, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, told them she had no interest. That left the anti-Dean forces with only one...

February 1, 2005

Faith-Based Hate From Howard Dean

I missed this yesterday, but Myopic Zeal points out a revealing New York Daily News item about Howard Dean and his quest to lead the Democrats for the next four years. Dean rallied his supporters by engaging in his famously moderate rhetoric: "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization," the failed presidential hopeful told the crowd at the Roosevelt Hotel, where he and six other candidates spoke at the final DNC forum before the Feb. 12 vote for chairman. But Dean said the Democrats should not change their beliefs to be "Republican lite." "We can talk about our faith, but we cannot change our faith," he said, echoing themes he sounded in his presidential bid. "We need to be people of conviction." Oh my. Does the DNC want the Democrats to become the Party of Hate? And just what kind...

February 8, 2005

Howard Dean Finally Wins A National Election

Howard Dean finally manages to win a nationwide Democratic election, although he had to have everyone else drop out of the race first to do it. The New York Times reports that Dean is the last man standing for DNC chair after Rep. Tim Roemer dropped out: Timothy J. Roemer, the last of Howard Dean's rivals in the race for Democratic national chairman, dropped out on Monday, assuring Dr. Dean of victory. Mr. Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana, had been backed by the House Democratic leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, and had staked out a position as the most conservative alternative to Dr. Dean. Roemer didn't leave the race quietly, however: But as he dropped out Monday, he stood his ground. He said Democrats had allowed President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, to define the party's abortion politics, and called on Democratic leaders to become more inclusive. "Some...

February 16, 2005

The Party Of Media Silence

Howard Dean started his reign as Democratic National Committee chair in style today -- silent-movie style, that is. Dean demanded a media blackout of a debate he held with Pentagon advisor Richard Perle, much to Perle's surprise: "DNC Chair Howard Dean has declared a news blackout of his appearance and requested the media not quote, record, and/or paraphrase his remarks," event coordinator Gabrielle Williams wrote in an e-mail sent to news agencies Wednesday morning. "We apologize for the late notice, but we were just informed of this request." Less than two hours later, Williams called to say: "We were told just a few minutes ago that it is now open" for media coverage. The decision to open Thursday's debate came roughly 30 minutes after an inquiry by The Associated Press. What gives, Chairman Dean? Perhaps a bit of reluctance to face the press from the new head of the Democratic...

February 20, 2005

Why Howard Dean Will Cost The Democrats More Elections

The rationale for the DNC's selection of Howard Dean as party chair has been that he "energized their base," driving many new voters into electoral politics and creating a juggernaut for his campaign. Despite his eventual humbling during the primary, the Democrats still want to harness that effort and star quality of Howard Dean to provide energy and momentum for their attempt to reverse three straight election-cycle setbacks. However, as Dan Balz points out in today's Washington Post, the Democrats appear clueless as to how Dean's leadership will affect the party's direction: The bloggers have been busy on the Democratic National Committee Web site since Howard Dean was elected party chairman a week ago. "Paul in OC" and "Steviemo in MN" wrote that they had made their first-ever contributions to the national committee. Someone identified as "J" pleaded with Dean to come to Florida, "home of Baby Bush," to "heal...

February 25, 2005

Dean Visits Kansas, Gets Snubbed By Dem Governor

Howard Dean fulfilled a pledge made during his campaign for the DNC chair by visiting and rallying Democrats in a Midwestern red state. Dean went to Kansas yesterday, a state that has supported GOP presidential candidates since Goldwater in 1964, and railed against Social Security reforms and budget deficits. He also urged Democrats to "show up", inadvertently highlighting an embarassing snub: The former presidential candidate and Vermont governor criticized President Bush's budget record and plans for Social Security while urging people to get involved in politics no matter what their philosophy. ... Before his selection as DNC chairman this month, Dean said he would bolster local and state party organizations even in the nation's most conservative areas. "How do we expect those places to vote Democratic when we don't even show up?" Dean said during Thursday's speech. Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who was elected in a 2002 race marked by...

April 25, 2005

The Coming Dean Debacle

The selection of Howard Dean as DNC party chairman has clearly become a liability for Democrats looking to recapture the center, as Donald Lambro writes in today's Washington Times. Democratic pollsters have discovered a significant 'parents gap' in last year's presidential election, as Bush topped Kerry by almost 20 points among moms and dads. Not only did these mainstream voters find more alignment with Bush, but the active sellout of the Democrats to the Hollywood entertainment elite producing ever more violent and inappropriate fare for children have turned large numbers of them away: An analysis by a Democratic think tank argues that Democrats are suffering from a severe "parent gap" among married people with children, who say the entertainment industry is lowering the moral standards of the country. The study, published last week by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the policy arm of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, admonishes Democrats...

May 20, 2005

Democrats Dissatisfied With Dean

USA Today picks up on a building realization in political circles that Howard Dean may not have been the best choice to represent Democrats as the party tries to find some appeal to centrists. Jill Lawrence uses the same contrast as I did earlier this week between Dean and his GOP counterpart, Ken Mehlman, to plumb Democratic dissatisfaction with the Vermont governor's first 100 days on the job: Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is courting black and Hispanic voters on a regular basis. Beyond the usual run of speeches, fundraisers and meetings with donors, he has visited Latino neighborhoods and historically black campuses. He has attended black-oriented receptions and ceremonies, spoken to minority chambers of commerce and raised money for Otto Banks of Harrisburg, Pa., a black city council candidate new to the GOP. Dean, who reaches Day 100 as Democratic National Committee chairman Monday, is for the...

June 7, 2005

Dean Plays Race Card

Howard Dean continued his self-immolation as DNC chair yesterday, telling a San Francisco audience that the GOP was nothing more than a "white Christian party", and then claimed he was just being "tough": Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party." "The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people," Dean said Monday, responding to a question about diversity during a forum with minority leaders and journalists. "We're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have deliver on things: jobs and housing and business opportunities." Howard's last broadside, that Republicans never...

June 10, 2005

The Devil Makes Him Do It?

After some disarray on how to handle their out-of-control party chairman, leading Democrats have finally arrived at a strategy to unite behind Howard Dean and his overactive mouth. They now blame the right-wing elements within the media for overreacting to his statements for reporting Dean's comments: The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate yesterday blamed "the right wing" and elements of the press "in service to it" for repeating Howard Dean's remarks about Republicans and inflating them out of proportion. "I think we all understand what's happening with you all," said Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, in remarks echoing Hillary Rodham Clinton's blaming a "vast right-wing conspiracy" for her husband's legal-ethical woes. "The right wing has got the agenda moving. Fox [News Channel] and everybody's got the agenda. It's all about Howard Dean. You've bought into it," Mr. Durbin said. "You can't let up on it. You ought to...

July 31, 2005

Dafydd: Flipper the Duck

Patterico has noticed an astonishing claim by Howard Dean -- no, I mean astonishing even on the Dean Scale -- a few days ago (I can't find the exact date). Here comes Mr. Chairman: The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is "okay" to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is. Let us all ponder this audacious argument. My old dictionary defines "chutzpah" as Lizzie Borden pleading for mercy from the judge on grounds that she's an orphan. But next year's edition will eschew written examples in favor of a photo of Chairman Dean. What Dean has done, of course, is simply to flip the political identity of the justices on the Court; in Dean's world, it was the "right-wing" caucus on the Court -- Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Kennedy -- that ruled in favor of the...

August 15, 2005

Saddam Treated Women Better: Howard Dean

Howard Dean gave his opponents another reason to look forward to his television appearances and his supporters another cringe-worthy moment in his interview on Face the Nation yesterday. Dean told CBS viewers that a genocidal Saddam provided a better environment than what he expects will come from a democratic Iraq: Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman who was the hero of his party's anti-war wing before his gaffe-prone 2004 presidential candidacy crashed and burned in Iowa, still doesn't think the Iraqis are better off with dictator Saddam Hussein out of power and in prison. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" yesterday, the fiery former Vermont governor said, "It looks like today, and this could change, as of today it looks like women will be worse off in Iraq than they were when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq." Of course, those mass graves certainly show plenty of evidence that...

November 12, 2005

Dean Flopping At DNC

A party chairman has two main functions, interrelated but not the same: building the voter base and raising funds. In the former role, the chair has to reach outside the base to bring in new voters while maintaining good relations with the people already inside the tent. The latter role gets measured more in opposition to what the other major party accomplishes during the same period. In both tasks, it looks like the Howard Dean experiment has failed. Dean has spent most of the past year playing to a radical base with statements like "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for," instead of working with liberal Republicans and center-minded independents that eschew that kind of hatred politics. Today, the Washington Post reports that Dean -- whom the DNC selected for his prodigious fundraising ability in the last presidential primary season -- has allowed another huge funding gap between the...

July 27, 2006

The Dean Of Divisiveness

In this ever-changing, mixed-up world, thank goodness that we have the constant of Howard Dean's mouth. Easily one of the most hypocritical political figures in the past generation, Dean decided to lecture America on "divisiveness". Of course, he blamed Republicans for it, within hours of comparing one GOP candidate to a mass-murdering dictator and calling a visiting dignitary anti-Semitic: Down with divisiveness was the message Wednesday delivered by Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean as he told a group of Florida business leaders that Republican policies of deceit and finger-pointing are tearing American apart. Great modeling for that anti-divisiveness campaign, Howie. The Republican agenda "is flag-burning and same-sex marriage and God knows what else," Dean said. "We need real change in this country. We're in trouble." And that would be .... less divisive? Actually, Dean was just cooling down from earlier statements, where he compared Katherine Harris to ... Joseph Stalin....