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Saturday, January 10, 2004

The Dean Dillema

I disagree with Richard Blow's analysis of the "Dean Dillema." Blow seems to be speaking as a "New Democrat," one of those Clinton-era Democrats that are more comfortable aligning themselves with traditional GOP issues rather than the traditional issues of the Democratic party. Blow suggests that Dean's bad temper, his dislike of the war in Iraq, his dislike and outspoken criticism of Bush and GOP values and his inability to be "liked" by the media, will make him unelectable. I am sorry, Mr. Blow. I don't vote for an empty head with a nice smile who looks good in a suit and does what he is told. If that is what you are looking for, then just go ahead and vote for George Bush. He seems to be the candidate you are looking for. Your argument reads that unless the Democratic candidate is Bush, the Democrats will not be able to beat Bush. I have to disagree. Even if I am wrong, I have to disagree. I can't let my country go the way of too much corporate money, too many tax cuts for the rich and ignoring the middle and lower class voters who make this country the diverse and fascinating culture it is. Of the viable candidates in the race, Dean is the candidate that can represent that. As Dean himself says in speech after speech, running a Bush-lite campaign won't work. It didn't work for Democratic candidates in the house and senate in 2002 and it won't work for the party nominee in 2004. Gen. Clarke is a war mongering soldier. Not someone I want at the helm of the world when so much before us is unstable and vulnerable. I may be very naive, but I have to live in a world where War Is Never The Answer. And Clarke is about as warm and compassionate as Dean. If you believe, Mr. Blow that personality is everything, Clarke can't beat Bush either. And for a whole host of reasons I won't tackle today, neither can Gephardt, Kerry, Leiberman, or Edwards (all running as conservative Democratic Republican wannabes). Braun, Sharpton nor Kucinich, (running on much more liberal platforms) cannot win either. My biggest concern is that Blow's thoughts represent those of the basic power base of the Democratic party right now. A candidate like Dean scares them. Money, popularity, and out side of the contol of the party centrists. And it seems, from the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliff, on down, are working very hard to discredit him and his campaign. But they haven't presented to me or many other voters, another viable candidate that can tackle a populist electorate and take the White House. The Democratic nominating process will be all but over by the first week of March. In just a week the Iowa caucuses will be held, followed by the New Hampshire primary and then state after state will begin to line up their delegates. Can the Democrats heal themselves and their distrust of their fellow candidates in such a short time? Dean has pledged to support the party nominee, regardless of the outcome. Will the rest of the party get behind him in time if he is the party nominee? The jury is still out on that. Is Dean perfect? No. Are any of the other candidates in the race perfect? No. Neither is the incumbent. But to retake the White House and get the country moving in a more progressive and positive direction, the infighting must stop and the focus must change from discrediting fellow Democrats towards the defeat of George Bush. There is an 11th commandment held by most members of the Republican party: "Though shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." The GOP doesn't air its laundry outdoors and instead settles all the infighting early on and is generally united behind a candidate very early on. It seems to work for them (although there is still an entire debate about the value of debate - open discussion and debating issues in public rather than in a smoke filled back room - but I can save that rant for another day.) Maybe it is time to take in some of the Democratic laundry off the line and take up some goodwill towards each other and focus on the real goal.