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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Can we stop talking about Dean now?

Look, I really don’t feel the need to have a big discussion about Howard Dean, but here are some quotes with which you are probably familiar:
[The 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,"
"have never made an honest living in their lives."

"I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization."

[Tom Delay] "ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."

Gee, you just have to admire his dedication to debate on the issues.  I mean, why would he possibly want to sit down with Ken Mehlman and Tim Russert?

And like I said, he hasn’t been very good at the whole fundraising thing, which is kind of his job now.  Howlin’ Howie may be a bit of caricature, but there is no denying that it is at least partially of his own creation, and he hasn’t exactly done much to rebut that image either.  

I didn’t want to start a debate on Dean’s patriotism, in fact, its barely interesting, but it is hardly new, and I can see how someone could make the charge and see evidence of it in the story that I linked, among others.  

“I like Howie” vs. “what a nutjob” doesn’t really amount to anything except personal preference.  Me, I don’t much care for him.  My point was more “how is this man chair of the DNC”.


I've been wrestling with whether I could respond to this while respecting your titular request. As a compromise, I'll stop talking about Dean, but ask that you read this New Republic article with some other Dean quotes, these ones on substantive issues.
I still don’t see Dean’s redeeming qualities that you seem to. You say that he governed as a moderate in Vermont, and well, that was awful nice of him, but as a candidate and as party chair he has made clear his intention to appeal to the more radical portions of the party.
In the article on TNR (and yes, believe it or not I have a username and password for their site)
"What we see today is very much like what was going on in Watergate," he said.
Yeah, those were the good old days for Democrats weren’t they? Channeling Vietnam and Watergate is a great way to get lefties nostalgic, but such statements have little or no meaning. Quite simply, there’s no comparison. Campaign of deceit my ass; sometimes you can be wrong without lying.

The author sees Dean as some kind of oracle of truth, asserts that even though he doesn’t like him and that his statements have been impolitic, he has been right. Ok, lets look at some of these assertions:

In Feb. 2003 after Colin Powell addressed the U.N.:
"I heard little today that leads me to believe that there is an imminent threat warranting unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq,"

I have before me a copy of the October 16, 2002, Authorization For Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, (cite as 116 Stat 1498), which was essentially a declaration of war (notwithstanding what Ted Kennedy thought). The word imminent is not used once, but thanks for sharing Howie. The imminent threat myth was peddled by Sens. Kerry, Biden, and Rockerfeller. Neither Bush nor Cheney used such language. In fact, here is what the president stated in his 2003 State of the Union address:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

And the constant unilateral charge, what’s with that? I mean, the D’s may not have liked the size of the coalition (Kerry used that to justify opposition to the war during the 2004 campaign), but it was not in any sense of the word “uni”, that means one.

Dean was right on the occupation (if you like that word) was going to be difficult, but everyone knew that, even if they varied in their estimates of just how hard.

The author sums up with:
Much of what Dean said on those occasions has now become conventional wisdom. But as the recent fracas over Dean's remarks demonstrates, his statements continue to be poorly received.

Yeah, maybe to Michael Moore and The Nation. Its just unfortunate to see TNR buying into it so much.

Also, I laughed when I read the word titular. I think that means I should study for finals.
All right, almost done here. I'll just point to another website, this time it's sadly the Center for American Progress, but they're not spewing their own propaganda here, just quoting that of the Bush administration.
The 'imminent threat myth' was ABSOLUTELY not just put forth and peddled by Democrats. The rest of your comment is a matter of opinion and interpretation (as in when you say the Bush administration was wrong, but others say it was lying), but that statement is simply factually wrong.
I don't think "unilateral" is a matter of opinion or interpretation, it has one very specific meaning. As to the imminent threat myth, you're right, people on both sides used the word, though I think Bush's SOTU formulation is more representative of the pro-war side, which many, again on both sides, agreed with (won't list all applicable quotes right now), whereas Dean demanded it as a condition precedent. As for Bush lying, I can only repeat the old saw that if he lied so did Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and numerous Democratic Senators who were privy to the same information, and if you can somehow excuse them of lying, it would be a hell of a stretch to not excuse Bush as well.
Even if everyone thought Iraq was an imminent threat, does that really excuse the decision to invade Iraq?
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