Monday, April 25, 2005

Was I really seeking good, or just seeking attention?

Howard Dean still can't help himself: Howard Dean may not be running for anything, but his elbows appear to be as sharp as ever. Since taking over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, the former presidential candidate has been quoted in newspapers making unusually caustic remarks about Republicans. Dean has suggested that they are "evil." That they are "corrupt." He called them "brain-dead" during a stop in Toronto -- and while the Terri Schiavo case was still in the news. He has tagged Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) as a "liar." Last week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he mimicked a "drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh" at an event there. Dean was noted for his candid and often unpredictable comments during his campaign last year. Then, as now, many Democrats said they don't mind the former Vermont governor's bluntness. [...] There's bluntness, and then there's the political equivalent of Tourette's Syndrome. In a nearly perfectly divided two-party nation, how can you expect to hike up support with such ugly behaviour? But his counterparts in the Republican National Committee have noticed. "It's odd that Howard Dean says he wants to earn the respect of those who live in the red states, but chooses to not only attack their views but attack them personally," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said. "Americans want to hear an agenda, rather than name calling." Precisely. How is insulting potential supporters supposed to gain their favour? Democrats should be gearing up to present a rational alternative in 2006, not more of the same content-free name-calling that marked last year's elections. Take it from Canada: It's just not healthy when one entire side of the polity manages to marginalize itself for years and years. It wouldn't be too hard for me to find a Democratic candidates appealing, if they could manage both to avoid insulting condescension, and get serious on defense. Where are good, honest, non-equivocating, non-pandering Cold Warriors when you need them?

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