Sunday, June 12, 2005

Will Dean Learn?

In a fantastically titled article for this week's Newsweek ("Scream 2: The Sequel") Howard Fineman writes "Dean's real problem may not be his mouth, but his mindset. ... [B]y labeling the other party a bastion of Christianity, he implied that his own was something else - something determinedly secular - at a time when Dean's stated aim is to win the hearts of middle-class white Southerners, many of whom are evangelicals."

Dean reportedly told senators last week that he is planning to watch his words more carefully, belatedly recognizing "It's important to make the news, not be the news." On Saturday at a meeting of the DNC executive committee, Dean seemed to get back on message (or at least closer to it), noting a need for Democrats to speak about moral values and to be competitive in all fifty states. The problem is that Dean can't seem to get in front of an audience and speak about those issues (or any issue) without firing off a gratuitous zinger that completely overwhelms whatever his real message was.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has a similar post to this today, although he looks at things from the angle of the DNC and its apparent support for Dean's method of discussion (and the corresponding finger-wagging at Dean from elected Democrats). Jeff Jarvis at Buzzmachine notes that "Both sides are role-playing into each others' hands. Dean is acting like the rabid underdog and the Republicans are acting like cornered kitties and both are ridiculous." And Rick Heller at Centerfield adds, as I've been saying, that Dean's rhetoric seems quite unlikely to attract new voters from the pool of centrists and moderate Republicans who could see themselves voting Democrat but don't particularly enjoy being insulted.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

Normally I like to be contrarian, but sometimes the connventional wisdom is right. Dean isn't DNC, he's

MIchael Reynolds

At 7:17 PM, Blogger M. Takhallus. said...

BTW, I just realized I didn't have you on my blogrolll. I've fixed that and I apologize for the screw-up. Sometimes I'm not too bright.

Michael Reynolds

At 9:11 PM, Blogger I Think You're All Idiots said...

Just browsing and ran acroos your blog. Good work.
"Both sides are role-playing into each others' hands. Dean is acting like the rabid underdog and the Republicans are acting like cornered kitties and both are ridiculous." I agree fully.

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I have mentioned in my own blog that Dean is either a secret Republican operative or an idiot, but I am starting to believe that he is crazy like a fox. What better way to make Hillary look more moderate than to make America think he represents a party that is radically left? There is the possibility that it is part of a plan, but most likely, he is just a loose cannon. I don't think the Democrats are willing to take that kind of risk, but who knows? After all, they ran John Kerry in the last election, and that had to be a risky move, knowing that he didn't have anything going for him except his suspect military service.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger EG said...

I have given Dean's comments some thought. I believe he's not harming the party but shaking a red cape at the GOP bull. If they attack him, they spend less time attacking Reid, Pelosi and their favorite, HRC.

Also, Dean may see the 2004 voters as voting for Bush, not Republican. (Bush had very short coat tails for a 'mandate'.) That is, Dean may believe Kerry was the Democrat's problem in 2004, not the party's beliefs and stance on issues. Had another candidate been the party's standard bearer in 2004, Bush might have lost. To ensure that the GOP doesn't make the 2004 voters as party loyalists, Dean attacks the party. It's a risky move but most people aren't born partisan and have little loyalty to either party.

Dean realizes that he will never get loyal GOP voters but the Independents and moderates are up for grabs. He needs only for a few percent of Bush's voters to listen to Dean and question the GOP's makeup to have the desired effect.

It's a form of praeteritio.


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