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?