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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Dean, Bobby and the ghost of landslides past

Dean, Bobby and the ghost of landslides past

Far from not being able to "compete" with Bush, Dean is the one viable Democrat who isn't trying to compete on the playing field that Bush and Karl Rove have laid out.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Arianna Huffington

Jan. 7, 2004 | I swear, if I hear one more Democratic honcho say that Howard Dean is not electable, I'm going to do something crazy (maybe that's what happened to Britney in Vegas this weekend).

The contention is nothing short of idiotic.

Consider the source: the folks besmirching the Good Doctor's Election Day viability are the very people who have driven the Democratic Party into irrelevance. Who spearheaded the party's resounding 2002 midterm defeats. Who kinda, sorta, but not really disagreed with President Bush as he led us down the path of preemptive war with Iraq, irresponsible tax cuts, and an unprecedented deficit.

Dean is electable precisely because he's making a decisive break with the spinelessness and pussyfooting that have become the hallmark of the Democratic Party.

So, please, no more hand-wringing about Dean being "another Dukakis." And no more weepy flashbacks about having had your heart broken by George McGovern, whose 1972 annihilation haunts the 2004 Democratic primaries like a political Jacob Marley, shaking his chains and warning about the ghosts of landslides past.

There is a historical parallel to Dean's candidacy. But it's not McGovern in 1972, as the DLC paranoiacs would like us to believe -- it's Bobby Kennedy in 1968.

Like Kennedy's, Dean's campaign was initially fueled by his antiwar outrage. Like Kennedy, Dean has found himself fighting not just to represent the Democratic Party but to remake it. Like Kennedy, Dean is offering an alternative moral vision for America, not just an alternative political platform.

And like Kennedy, Dean has come under withering attack from his critics for the very attributes that his supporters find most attractive.

"He could be intemperate and impulsive ... the image of wrath -- his forefinger pointing, his fist pounding his palm, his eyes ablaze." Sean Hannity on Howard Dean? No, Theodore White on Bobby Kennedy in "The Making of the President 1968."

It's the same ludicrous charge of being "too angry" that's being constantly leveled at Dean. Have his Democratic opponents -- and the notoriously decorous Washington press corps -- suddenly morphed into Miss Manners? Personally, I could never trust a man who does not occasionally get hot under the collar.

posted by Steve @ 5:20:00 PM

5:20:00 PM

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