Howard Dean: The crazy uncle in the attic
I say that in the title fully understanding that in reality Howard Dean reflects how some (many?) on the liberal side of the house actually feel, or perhaps a better way of saying that is how they delude themselves into feeling. Take this for instance … Howard Dean on the Wisconsin recall election:
DEAN: First of all, we look at Wisconsin as a win. We, which is not reported in the mainstream media, we picked up a senate seat, which denies Scott Walker a majority in the senate. So we put the breaks on him at least until the next election season. Secondly, you know, I always thought the base would come around because, as they like to say in Obama-land, we’re not running against the Almighty, we’re running against the alternative. Mitt Romney is well-known among the American people, let alone progressives, as someone who mostly caters to very wealthy Americans, and doesn’t have a lot of understanding or sympathy for those who aren’t. I’m pretty sure we’re in good shape and I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a big progressive turnout.
Wow. First, the Senate win was an empty win. The legislature is not in session and with redistricting (which was done by the Republican legislature), the “new” Senator will have to again run for the seat before the legislature again meets. Forecasts say the Republicans will pick up at least one more seat at that time. So the win is a win in name only. It means nothing whatsoever until the next election.
Second … does anyone, given the turn out in Wisconsin, believe that line of crap about “progressive turnout”? And even if progressives do turn out, they’re what, 25% of the electorate tops? It isn’t the progressives who are going to re-elect Barack Obama. It is the big middle who is deserting him right now.
But, that said, I just don’t see a big progressive turnout in the cards either.
Dean, however, is going to stay on message no matter how ridiculous it sounds:
REPORTER: Are you seeing a difference in the mood here compared to previous years? Last year, there were some combative moments and this time around it seems, so far anyway—
DEAN: Again, it’s the fourth quarter. I’ve had my differences with the administration, particularly over health-care policy, but this is the fourth quarter. I always used to say when I was DNC chair we’re going to elect a Democratic president and hold their feet to the fire to make sure they behave like Democrats. In the fourth quarter, everybody’s on the same team again—we’ve got to win this game. I hesitate to think of what’s going to happen to the budget deficit, because of course the Republicans are the biggest creators of budget deficits, should Mitt Romney win and have a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We’ll get a big turnout.
Yup, that’s sort of the same message about teams that you hear on the GOP side. Everyone get onboard.
However, in the real world, it seems that the team forming on the right is much more enthusiastic (at least at this point) than the one on the left, and on the right they don’t even have an official nominee yet.
As for the budget nonsense – boilerplate crap that adheres to the discredited spin that Obama has spent less than any president in 60 years. Only progressives believe that, apparently.
REPORTER: Do you think there’s a change in the relationship between the Democratic base and labor in particular? I’ve talked to a couple activists here who say they’re a little dispirited, that they don’t know whether engaging in electoral politics is the best role for labor unions after Wisconsin.
DEAN: Well, I think the parameters have changed dramatically. The old politics is not going to work anymore. We’re not going to be able to outspend the Republicans under the circumstances of Citizens United, so I think we’re going to have to look for a different kind of politics. I think that the campaign, actually, in Wisconsin—the principal problem there was not being outspent; the principal problem there was people were tired of elections. Had they waited another three months, they might have gotten an indictment in the administration, and that would have been significant grounds to throw out a sitting governor—and I think a lot of people would think so. The most interesting thing about the Wisconsin race was that about 10 percent of the electorate that voted to keep Walker, also said they would vote for Obama in the fall, which gave Obama the state. We’ll see. I’m not one of those who thought last week was a bad week for the Democrats. I actually thought last week was a good week for Democrats.
Tired of elections? That’s why record numbers turned out and resoundingly thumped the recall effort? We’ve already seen the “outspent” nonsense debunked. If your fall back to an electoral debacle is “people are tired of elections” given the turnout and result, you’re out of credible ideas and just pumping out hot air.
Dean, along with perhaps Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and David Axlerod are about the only people in America that thought last week was a “good week for Democrats”. That said, I wish them many more like it.
REPORTER: How about in the fall? Do you think that when it comes to Obama communicating with the base and doing things that will energize the base, is there anything that you’d like to see him do between now and then?
DEAN: I’d like to see him keep hammering away at Romney’s—the one thing, you’ve got to hammer at people’s beliefs. You can’t sort of convince people that, for example as the Republicans have been trying to do, that the problem with the president is that he was born in Kenya—that’s just not going to work. You don’t have to convince people that Romney only cares about rich people, because that’s what they believe already. So you just have to keep hammering that message home, that this is not a guy who understands you. And I think we’re going to win.
And I can only hope Obama takes Dean’s advice, because it will guarantee a one term presidency if he does.
I put all this up because whether Democrats like it or not, this is one of the faces of the Democratic party. And if you think he’s out to lunch, tune in to Debbie Wasserman-Shultz for a while. She makes Dean seem sane.