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 of faith does Howard Dean have that requires him to “hate” Republicans? I have no problem with opposition; that’s the basis of free speech and democracy, after all. But to have someone who wants to claim the leadership post of one of the two major political parties tell the nation that he hates a plurality of Americans would disqualify a Republican candidate immediately. Apparently, over at the DNC, that’s their primary prerequisite.
Dean and his followers demonstrate the illness that has infected the American Left since the 1960s. They don’t just oppose — they hate. They hate Republicans, they hate suburbia, they hate just about everything America has done. They also hate it when people point out this rather obvious fact, claiming that their critics engage in censorship and McCarthyism. However, it’s pretty damned difficult to maintain that facade when Dean gets up on a stump and says, “I hate Republicans and everything they stand for.”
Will the Democrats elect Dean chair of the DNC? Are they prepared to endorse his platform of hate? If they do, they just confirm that the party has completely lost its mind, and the leadership has consigned themselves to a generation of diminishing minorities. They may as well change the name to the Whigs, as Howard Dean and the neo-Stalinists at International ANSWER will drive them to the same fate.

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 involved, believe me.”

I believe him — especially after watching his meltdown as it occurred in Iowa ten months ago. Afterwards, reports revealed that Dean had not believed winning possible and was unprepared for his role as frontrunner. It’s not likely after that performance that the Democrats would trust him for another run, especially after their string of poor national performances in the last three election cycles. The last person they’ll put at the top of their ticket in 2008 is a Northeastern liberal with demonstrated stability issues and a radical base.
However bad Terry McAuliffe is — and he’s been a catastrophe for the Democrats — putting Howard Dean in charge may only have the effect of a slight change in tone. It does nothing to drag the party back to Middle America. Let’s not forget that Howard Dean famously left his church in a fit of pique over their lack of support for a bike path; is this the man who could bridge the gap between the urban secularists of the blue states and the wide swath of red between the coasts?
Of course, Dean hasn’t even tossed his hat in the ring for the DNC chair yet. The e-mail barrage he’s received from disappointed Democrats still points to an essential cluelessness about their poor performance in this election as well as 2000 and 2002. The only positive aspect of a Dean chairmanship is that it couldn’t possibly be worse than McAuliffe’s leadership. Putting Dean in charge would only make the marriage beween the radicals at International ANSWER and the Democrats much stronger and put more distance between the Democrats and mainstream America.
In the words of their latest candidate … bring it on.

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 care?” Lyttle said, arguing that Dean has the perfect persona for the small screen [emph mine].”

I’d make a joke about that, but I’m already in trouble with Bill at the great blog INDC Journal, so I’d better leave it alone. In terms of the “perfect persona”, though, did anyone come away from the early primary season with an impression of Dean as a warm, approachable person, the kind of guy you’d welcome into your living room on a daily basis? To me, he alternated between cold calculation and angry passion, not a terribly winning combination for television unless you want to be the next Morton Downey.
I doubt we’ll actually see this project come to air, but if we do, perhaps we could suggest his first topic: “Men Who Torpedo Their Own Success With Subconscious Sabotage — on the next Dr. Dean Show!!”

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 close, a statistic from the 2000 campaign may prove useful: a total of eight third-party candidates won more votes than the difference between Al Gore and George Bush nationwide.

Dean sings paeans to Nader throughout the editorial, praising his “remarkable legacy as a consumer advocate.” However, Dean argues, the surest way to undermine Nader’s work is to cast a vote for him in the election. Each vote for Nader means a vote for the eeeeeeeeeeeevil George Bush, you see, and a second Bush presidency will apparently bring this about. Dean never mentions any specifics about what Bush has done in the first term to support his contention, but then again, this argument is much more about faith than logic. In that way, his editorial parallels his own run at the nomination, and has just as much coherence.
Nader, one suspects, will disagree with much of what Dean says here, especially when it comes to the idea that John Kerry and the mainstream Democrats will faithfully represent Nader on the campaign trail or in office. Nader is much closer politically to the permafringe candidate Dennis Kucinich, who also doesn’t seem interested in going away. Nader’s screeds against corporations and big money influence on the electoral process will not match up well with Kerry’s fundraising efforts. Nor should Dean push this notion too much; perhaps Nader garners respect as a consumer advocate, but as a candidate, his outlier status is only outstripped by Kucinich, but without Kucinich’s sense of humor and humility. While Kerry has proved adept at stealing other people’s message, this is one theft he’d do better to acoid.
Dean’s editorial perfectly encapsulates the Democratic approach this year; their focus isn’t on what they can offer the American public but simply to vent hatred as a selling point. Here’s a measure of what Dean is selling: Ralph Nader is mentioned in the text of this article eight times, not counting the headline. George Bush is mentioned seven times by name.
John Kerry is mentioned once.
Think about that when you see Dean on the campaign trail this election cycle.
UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! If you read his later note about our upcoming guest-hosting on the Hugh Hewitt show, I’ve posted more about that here. Bloggers on the national airwaves! What’s next, dogs and cats living together?

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 began to crack under the pressure of being the frontrunner:

Maslin quotes then-campaign manager Joe Trippi recounting a meeting with Dean after the staff insisted he release the Vermont records: “He just lost it in here. He basically told me that he never thought he’d be in this position. Never thought he could ever win. . . . He was just about in tears, and for once, I really feel for him. He said, ‘I don’t know why I say the things I do.’ ”
“Seldom,” writes Maslin, “have I seen someone on the brink of political success more conflicted about it.”

Jesse Ventura, the so-called maverick who won a third-party bid for Governor in 1998, also was reportedly stunned by his success; rumor has it that his first action on hearing of his surprise victory on the morning after Election Day was to throw up. Like Ventura, Dean apparently ran in order to shift the debate — in this case, to the left — not to actually win. Dean rolled up huge amounts in on-line donations and fired up his base, and generally appeared to be untouchable, until he actually had to run from the front of the pack after the novelty wore off. That’s when the rhetorical mistakes and the flashes of temper got Democrats worried about Dean’s ‘electability’, and sent them to the candidate who was busy stealing Dean’s message: John Kerry.
The real story here is that the campaign process weeded out a candidate who clearly could never have handled the presidency, or even the general election campaign, for that matter. However, the Post’s Howard Kurtz buries the lead once again by focusing on Dean’s reluctant endorsement of John Kerry in the first paragraph, which isn’t mentioned again in the article.

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 the implosion that brought Dean down.
The polarization revolved around two people: Joe Trippi, the rumpled, passionate, sometimes headstrong campaign manager who drew rock-star coverage in the press, and Kate O’Connor, the quiet, shrewd, low-profile Vermont confidante who never left Dean’s side.

Without a doubt, Kurtz’s article includes blockbuster revelations, but none that will prove more controversial than his conclusion — supported by his sources — that Dean didn’t want the nomination. The rest of the modern political soap opera is all there, too, from the senior aides who want to control the access to the King to the money woes, the rabid press corps, and the hatchet men who became sworn enemies to each other while professing undying loyalty to the nominee.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation, apart from Dean’s reluctance to win, is the internal fallout of the Gore endorsement. Kurtz describes the Dean campaign as two camps that struggled against each other: Kate O’Connor’s Vermont delegation and Joe Trippi’s Washington establishment retinue. Trippi claims that Dean and O’Connor kept Trippi in the dark about the endorsement until it occurred:

It was early December, and Dean and Gore had agreed to keep quiet about the former vice president’s plan to announce his support within days, fearing a premature leak. Trippi grew suspicious when staffers were asked to charter a large plane to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He asked Dean, who said someone would be endorsing him but he couldn’t tell Trippi who it was. Trippi reminded him that he was the campaign manager. But Dean wouldn’t budge.
The larger message was that O’Connor had known and the Washington faction had not. O’Connor said she was simply doing what Dean and Gore wanted. What no one knew was that this would be the high point and that the corrosive sense of mistrust would eat away at the campaign at the worst possible time.

Definitely read the entire article; it may one day be the seed of a much-needed look at the Dean phenomenon from a reasonably disinterested outsider, as I am sure that more than one “insider’s look” at the campaign will shortly be available at your local bookstore. For such an innovative venture, it descended rather quickly into the venality and pettiness that seem to be the destiny of so many failed campaigns.

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 happy about it, and some still talk of leaving the party altogether:
Ithacamom:But I’m with Patricia C. above. This whole experience has given me such a disgust for the party I’ve faithfully supported for 20 years. After the March 2 primary, I fulled planned on switching to Independent. As I suspicioned, Howard made the personal appeal to stay in the party. I’m really going to have to think about that, Guv. Even for you, I’m really going to have to think about it.
Darrell in Iowa: I voted for McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinto and Gore…… BUT I WILL NOT vote for Kerry!!!
ellen in orlando: Kerry’s position on gay marriage is clearly not progressive. How can Howard ask us to support Kerry? How will he make Kerry run as a progressive when Kerry is clearly not a progressive?
Dean may have been correct late last year when he said that his base may not pay attention to any endorsement he would give if his run failed.

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 eulogistic as he talked about the many accomplishments of his campaign, at least in his opinion, and the need for continuous change in the political process. He will probably convert his organization into a 527, pushing the agenda rather than his specific candidacy. This way he can keep his base from straying out of the Democratic Party and into the Greens or independents-based organizations. That is, he will if the Democrats are smart enough to embrace him now that he no longer threatens to take over the party — and I suspect they’ll be interested in harnessing Dean.
The biggest loser, aside from Dean, has to be the suddenly-radical Al Gore. Gore went out of his way to elbow aside Lieberman and endorse the maverick, if somewhat unstable and inconsistent, Dean. Since then, Gore has become exponentially more strident and less in control of himself in trying to emulate the passion that came a little more naturally to Dean. I’d be surprised if Gore is invited to participate in any meaningful way at the Dem convention in July; I think they’d prefer not to be foaming at the mouth.

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,” Grossman, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in a telephone interview from Stowe, Vt., where he was skiing with his family.

One wonders how the news of Grossman’s ultimatum will somehow enhance Dean’s chances in Wisconsin, because if that’s what Grossman intended — and presumably he’s trying to get Dean elected — watching rats desert a sinking ship doesn’t inspire confidence. It’s hard to lay all of the blame on Grossman, though, when Dean himself has been saying for two weeks that everything depends on Wisconsin. The subtext of that public strategy obviously states that a significant loss in Wisconsin means the campaign is over.
And why Wisconsin? Why not Super Tuesday in two weeks instead, where more delegates are up for grabs? Simply put, it’s cheaper. Wisconsin has a primary date all to itself, allowing Dean to focus on one state and not worry about spreading himself too thin and spending money he no longer has. Unfortunately for Dean, Wisconsinites read the papers and Internet, and know that Dean rolls into their primary a severely damaged candidate.
Grossman says that Dean intends to turn his presidential campaign into a political movement in order to stay involved, converting his organization into a 527 PAC for advocacy of Dean’s positions — and maybe for a little payback, too:

Such groups are known as 527s, named for the section of the federal tax code that defines such entities. The groups are exempt from taxation so long as they are aimed at voter mobilization. They recently have come under review by the Federal Election Commission after protests that they are being used to advocate for specific candidates, in violation of a campaign finance law that took effect in November 2002.
One 527, Americans for Jobs, Health Care & Progressive Values, aired ads critical of Dean before the Iowa caucuses, including one with an image of Osama bin Laden that questioned Dean’s national security credentials.
According to Democratic Party operatives speaking on the condition of anonymity, Dean’s group — which probably would be named in consultation with his supporters — would be funded through appeals to the core of donors who helped Dean raise $41 million last year for his presidential campaign, a record for any Democrat during a primary season. Dean burned through much of that money as he sought unsuccessfully to win the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, which were then followed by 14 losses in nomination contests.

In other words, Dean wants to be the conduit for the Soros money and be a kingmaker, if he can’t be a king himself. I doubt that George Soros would be too sanguine about giving Dean a whole lot of that money, though, considering how quickly Dean burned through his commanding advantage in funding before getting through the first two states. Besides, the DNC won’t want Dean to be in the middle of fundraising efforts, sucking available donations from their nominees in the fall election for Dean’s political advocacy. Grossman understands that and is looking to get the best deal he can now while there’s still time, which is understandable, but still somewhat disloyal.
UPDATE: Howard Dean has fired Steve Grossman, so if anyone from the Kerry campaign wants to know, Solid Steve’s available for parties …

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 if he would remain an official candidate heading into the March 2 “Super Tuesday” voting in those 10 states, Dean said, “I don’t know the answer to that question yet.”

The article describes skeleton crews manning silent phones at Dean’s headquarters in Burlington, and staffers who openly discuss vacation plans and almost as openly debate the merits of working for other campaigns. In polls leading into Wisconsin’s Tuesday primary, Dean trails Kerry by 42 points, 53%-11%, and is being edged by Edwards for second place — barely — at 16%. In fact, as many people are undecided as are voting for Edwards, which only means that it may be a dogfight as to who gets to lose better to the Kerry juggernaut.
Although he may not acknowledge it, Dean’s campaign ran aground in Iowa when he finished a distant third behind Kerry and Edwards, and he sealed his fate with his weird performance in the aftermath. With his temperament a continuous question, as well as his judgment and his foot-in-mouth speaking tendencies, Dean managed to crystallize all of these doubts into one singular, spectacular “Yeeaagh!” Muskie cried; Dukakis rode a tank; Dean held a pep rally. All that’s left for the Dean campaign is to decide when and where the corpse should actually lay down. That target keeps on moving. First, Washington’s caucuses were the threshold date, but that quickly changed to Wisconsin when polling numbers came back from the Pacific Northwest. Now Dean talks about Super Tuesday, but the parade has passed him by, and he knows it.
But of course, a much-subdued Dean still can’t resist displaying arrogance, even under these conditions, as an anecdote at the end of the article illustrates:

At one point, as the entourage swept past empty cattle stalls, Dean pointed to a deep gutter running the length of the barn — a trench for manure runoff. “Once when I was governor, I was on a dairy farm during campaign season,” Dean recalled. “So as I was walking around the corner and wasn’t looking what I was doing and — Whoosh! — and of course it was full.”
Turning to his media entourage, whom he branded “city slickers,” he said: “For those of you who don’t know anything about dairy, this is a manure trench, and it’s not good to step in it in loafers.”

Well, Farmer Dean, the press may not know a lot about dairy, but they sure know manure when they see it. And it seems an odd thing to warn the press about stepping in it, when Dean’s been doing that, figuratively speaking, since December.