Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Have You Stopped Beating Your Opponent Yet?

Naturally, Deand and the Dems will take a thump (gentle here, pronounced in West Virginia) for the Reeps-are-white-Christians comment. Nevermind that it's not a wholly inaccurate statement.

A DNC spokesman "scrambled to soften" the blow by saying that what Dean meant was "Republican leadership" is all white Christian.

Okay, still true. But that just let's the Reeps volley back with "see, even the DNC has to cop to the fact that our membership is diverse. We've got more color than ever!"

We can't win for losing can we? Too soft, too hard. How much longer will we Dems allow ourselves to be Goldilocksed into submission?

Predictably, GOP spin is running rampant on the issue:

"I'm thrilled he's the DNC chair,'' says Tom Del Becarro, chairman of the Contra Costa County Republican Party. "Howard Dean is scaring away the middle. People don't like angry people. They like hopeful people.''
Really? They like hopeful people? Funny, most of what you peddle is fear. Do people like scare people too? How about people who are hopeful that scary things will happen - no, check that - who are hopeful that people will fear scary things will happen - so they can stay in power?

And then there's helpful Joe Biden:

Still, the words brought sharp rebukes from fellow Democrats such as Biden, who said on Sunday that Dean "doesn't speak for me ... and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats."
Tap, tap. Excuse me, Mr. Biden, sir, [through clenched teeth] off-message.

And the last food for thought - Garry South on Dean's role:

Garry South, a leading Democratic strategist, said of Dean, "The only thing we can hope is that he understands the difference from being a shadow president to being the head of the party when we're out of office.''

His job is to "get the Democratic Party ready for the next election,'' South said. But "if he views himself as the public face of the Democratic Party, then we have a problem.''
Still mulling this one.

Howard, I'm a pragmatist, but as long as you're saying something, I'm willing to keep believing it's better than nothing. There is a danger in appearing "shrill, angry, and dismissive of all things Republican," as one commentator offered, it's the possible consequence of presenting yourself as smarter and better able to run the country. But at the same time, don't we have to believe we are smarter and better able to run the country? If not smarter as a matter of IQ or accomplishment, just smarter in the sense that we're taking a better look at things, offering more reasonable plans. That's the kind of confidently offered GOP-alternative we need to be. Just saying we're different but no better wins us nothing. Hells yeah we're smarter about things. Doesn't make the GOP stupid (most of them, anyway), but it means we're being smarter about leading.

Well, at least, that's the goal.


The_Question said...

Republicans: "Of course we're not all white! Didn't you see our convention?"

Anonymous said...

What if he just said "Yeeeaaaaaaghhhhh!?" Would that be better than nothing? Dean is a disgrace.

cd said...

Never use the scream as the example of anything.

It's one of the biggest distortions in the history of politics. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Well... you did say something was better than nothing...

"Asked about it on the Fox & Friends show, GOP Party Chairman Ken Mehlman joked that 'a lot of folks who attended my Bar Mitzvah would be surprised' he heads a Christian party."

Seriously, though, at least Biden had the sense to distance himself. When are Reid and Pelosi going to do the same? Dean's big cachet was that he could tap new voters and new money, but he seems to be turning off both.

Or maybe I'm just annoyed at the peddling fear comment.

Anonymous said...

Dean IS a disgrace. I'm willing to take heat for and defend our ideals, but the point at which we as Democrats have waste ink, money and time defending Dean the man, he's failing in his job. (I know you love him, CD, but are we really all that surprised to get an offensive off-the-cuff-comment out of this guy?)

South is (in my opinion) right on the money. Dean shouldn't be the face of the party. The ideals, the ideas of our platform and the electeds we have put in office should be the face of the party. His job is to promote those things, and to keep himslef (and to lead our party) out of trouble. The chairman's job is to build and operate "the machine". I for one, don't understand why we selected a man who built a great machine and then ran it into the ground as the man for that job.

I'm not willing to lay off of Dean for the scream, either. As a presidential candidate, anything you say, scream, any facial expression, hand gesture, overly friendly hug or extra long kiss, can and will be taken out of context and used against you. Duh. If he doesn't get that, it's just one more reason he sholdn't be chair.

I hate that discipline and messaging and "playing it safe" are required to win, but this isn't the 6th grade student council elections. This is the big leagues, and from what we've seen, Dean hasn't done a good job of playing the game.

cd said...

The moment I feel like our congressional leaders are fighting - and coming even close to winning - any ground for our side, I'll be harder on Dean.

Our party is in trouble because it lacks internal discipline. We were so used to being the majority that it allowed our factions to rumble, make waves, and ultimately, doom us to minority status. Sadly, we haven't even yet learned to hang together when there aren't many of us to hang. And so - as the old saying goes - we are all hanging seperately from nooses knotted by the Republicans. Hell, by us!

Dean isn't a disgrace. Disgrace is letting fear guide our party to support an unjust, wrong war - sacrificing our own troops, our own safety, and more Iraqi lives than we'll ever know about. Disgrace is necon-ish undertones being accepted from too many of our leading Democrats in Washington. Disgrace is a party feeding on its young because it's so goddamn scared of offending anyone it means nothing to no one instead.

We have no head of the party right now. Who? Clinton? I loved him too, but his time is over - fairly or unfairly - and his wife ain't no Bill and if we nominate her we get the loss we deserve. So who? Who is the face of the party? Dean has the spotlight. Yes, he needs to work on his presentation, but at least he's in the news. The shamefully small amount of Americans who might be able to name any political leader would certainly get him before Nancy P or Reid from "er, what state again?"

Yes, politicians will always have their words and deeds held against him. But the very thing that made him so attractive - he's an outsider (as much as a governor can be) with apparently little knowledge of AV equipment - doomed him. Shit, if he knew about AV equipment, Bush & Co. would beat him up - Jock on Nerd - like they operate anyway.

Let's go over it ONE MORE TIME, shall we?

mic is wired to camera. in the room, ambient noise drowns out all individual voices, blending them into a unified voice of hope for the future of a campaign about to be doomed by said unifed voice. mic goes to camera, camera goes to living room, network goes to make-up, election goes to hell.

I will never, ever, on this site or any on which I can, allow "The Scream" to be mentioned without clarifying the facts of the event.

My former roommate was there. I'll have him sign an affidavit if necessary. But goddamn it, even if it was a reason for America to buy that he was all crazy (like somehow taking a chance on a guy who might scream like he'd push the button was crazier than re-electing a guy who'd already PROMISED to push the buttong) - but it's not a reason to eat him alive now.

it is the big leagues, so time to step up and play ball instead of burning down the goddamn ballpark.

seacrest out.

cd said...

And commenter Chris (I know so many damn Chrises I don't know which you are) - you should be annoyed by the peddling fear comment because it is a crappy way to run a country. But it's happening. Every day.

And you shouldn't watch Fox & Friends - those people are inane.

Anonymous said...

It's tough to keep track of the DNC's corrections and clarifications to Dean's statements, but the "Republican Leadership" correction was to Dean's comments that no Republican "has worked an honest day in their life." Since the head of the RNC is not a White Christian, such a correction on the 'White Christians' comment would need a follow-up correction (isn't this fun!).

I loved Dean's 'clarification': "we should be talking about the issues that matter." Uh, yeah, but aren't you the one who went off the issues and started issuing critiques based on race and religion?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J Lehr said...

Always use the scream as an example. It proves that the American people are more easily swayed by how the media portrays the events then the actual events themselves. This is a good example..Dean consistently makes statements which are so easily distortable and made into sound bites it's like manna from the gods falling to the waiting lips of Fox news producers. Dean needs to fully evaluate his verbiage (I'm sure theres a name for a guy that can do this for him...political consultant?) Dean needs to start concentrating on the true ills of this country that the nation is truly worried about. (see new polls on Iraq, the economy, and shortfalls in retirement and social security) Why try and launch these inarticulate insults at the Reeps when a consistent message lambasting their policies and exploiting the worries of the public would be so much more effective?

Anonymous said...

The party needs leadership, cd, you're right.

I guess my point is, I don't see Dean filling a void with anything other than more stuff (i.e. this whole statement/clarification tango) that distracts us from what we should be doing.

I wasn't sure he was the best man for the job (either as president or as party chair), and he's not proving me wrong this week.

Josh said...

"Fox and White Chistians"

It kills me that you guys are even debating about this. Remember after the election when the "Reason we lost" sentiment was about how the Dems forgot who they are and how the Dems need to go back to the basics of their party? Now some of you are pissed that Dean called Republicans "White Christians"? He should not have clarified anything. He should have stood tall and stuck with it. I'm tired of fusing the lines. Rich White Christians vs. eveyone else. Go with it, see what happens. "Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh"!!!!!!

The_Question said...

Having witnesses "the Scream" as it occurred on TV, I don't see how it can be chalked up to an AV issue. The lead up to the scream was bad enough - the ever faster, more manic listing of states was bizarre in and of itself. The scream was just the crescendo to the moment. I remember watching it, thinking "I did not just see that!" I actually burst out laughing after it - not in a mean-spirited way (I think Dean is a good guy), but just because you don't see stuff like that in politics.

The problem with the "Scream" was that it occurred after Dean had lost, and lost after being way ahead a month prior. It seemed like the act of a man whose world was unraveling. If Dean had won and given the same speech (and scream), the spin would have been that this was an energized man ready to finally take the fight to the Republicans.

As for me, my candidate was Bob Graham, who had given up long before New Hampshire. Without much stake in it personally (although I rooted for Kerry because he seemed like the stronger candidate), I was mostly a passive observer.

JB said...

Have you stopped beating your opponent yet?

I'm afraid not, we got a lot more beating to go... 60 in '06!

The thing about Dean, is that he has a lot of those "did I say that or think that" moments. Which is fine it's nice to have some honesty in politics. Of course, when your trying to put on a show honesty can hurt. Dean just says what (I think) most Democrats also think...

Anonymous said...

wait- isn't your former guestblogger Jim Pinkerton on the inane Fox & Friends?

Anonymous said...

Yes, he was. But that was f&f weekend. so it's different. Jim Pinkerton is not one of the inane ones.

Anonymous said...

I think "The Question" gets it right on how I felt watching the Dean scream live. Fundamentally, the Scream isn't the issue, and I'm sorry that my earlier comment led to this debate about the scream.

The issue is that I was surprised that CD would be defending Dean (AND HIS ASININE COMMENTS!) so strongly. Chalk the Scream up to AV problems...maybe. But you certainly can't blame technical difficulties for his latest missteps. Add these to his lack of fundraising prowess, and I'd be calling for his head in your position.

Of course, I'm just a white Christian clone who has never worked for an honest day's living.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the Fox quote was from a later graph in the AP story on the white Christian comment. I can't bring myself to watch cable news...

Josh said...

Let me clarify.

Republicans work for Rich White Christians.

Democrats work for Rich White Christians and everyone else.

I concede that there are non Rich White Christian Republicans out there, but I don't know why.