Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gimme Some Truth!


I’ve been saying it everywhere but here. The ‘crats blew it. Karl Rove and the Oil Mafia outsmarted the “liberal intellectuals.” Here is how it went:

Sometime in 2002, Howard Dean started to hint at a candidacy for ’04. Two years before a presidential election, only the political junkies and party strategists are paying attention. The first time I noticed Howard Dean, he was on one of the Sunday morning talking head shows, and he said something that must have struck fear in the heart of Rove. He said something like the following, which are actual Dean quotes, but probably not that particular day:

“I come from a rural state with a very low homicide state and no gun control other than the federal laws. I support those federal laws vigorously. Hunters don't need AK-47s to shoot deer and most hunters I know don't believe that it should be easier for criminals to get their hands on guns, but I know that states like California and New Jersey want more gun control than that. I believe that they should be allowed to pass what gun controls they think they need, but that it is unreasonable to apply laws that may be necessary in California to rural states like Montana or Vermont. The cross border issue has been resolved in one case: Virginia now limits the availability of gun purchases because so many Virginia guns were turning up in New York City illegally.”

“I support the assault weapons ban. I do not support the elimination of liability for gun owners. I support background checks. And I support background checks for people who buy guns at gun shows. I come from a rural state where people hunt. We have the lowest homicide rate in America. So my attitude is, let's have those federal laws and enforce them. And then let every state make additional gun control as they see fit.”

Dean realized that the gun control issue was a big loser for the democrats. Many people who by all rights should vote democrat were voting republican for one reason: Guns.

Dean came up with workable position for the democratic party that would take one of the big three divisive issues (the other two being God and Choice) off the table. Dean is a Christian, and professes his belief in God, but he keeps that part of his life private. 2nd issue addressed.

He wasn’t going to budge on Choice, but that was ok because a conservative estimate of the statistics indicates 48% of the US population are pro-choice.

All the above aside though, the thing about Dean was that he told the truth. He was his own man. He answered questions off the cuff, he was unapologetic for his brashness. In a world where career politicians worry about the tiniest of details, Dean was a breath of fresh air.

And make no mistake, Rove was terrified of him. They needed someone with a long voting record behind him. Dean was a governor and his record was like Cascade; “Virtually Spotless.”

The first part of the Rove strategy was to pretend that Joe Lieberman was the front-runner. They had him on Fox News, and they were nice to him. They treated him as if he was Dick Cheney. They spoke of him as if he was the one true chance that the democratic party had of defeating Bush, which was absurd because the man is thoroughly unlikable, and sorry to say, wayyy to Jewish for middle America to accept as president, and had no appeal for moderate and progressive democrats. He was Republican lite. Against Lieberman, Bush would have cakewalked into back into the Whitehouse. When Gore decided to back Dean instead of his ex-running-mate, the conservative pundits kicked and screamed as if Gore had gone and enlisted in Al Qaeda. It was a joke.

So, what did they do then? Well, for one thing, their job wasn’t really that difficult, because the democrats had problems with Dean. The DLC thought he was “too liberal” and the progressives thought he was “too conservative.” Still, Dean was gaining in the polls and collecting large sums of money through small donations on the internet. He even got some of my money.

So, the next idea was to pretend that they wanted to run against Dean. All the paid shills in the media feigned an attitude of, “Oh please please please nominate Dean! If you guys are THAT stupid, all the better for us!”

Oh really? Is that what you do when you want a particular candidate to run against? Hmm. Seems to me that you don’t tell the opposition what you want, and you work behind the scenes to get what you do want. If they really wanted Dean, why didn’t they claim they wanted Kerry or Gephardt, and quietly support Dean behind the scenes? I think they knew that Sharpton, Kucinich, Lieberman, Wes Clarke and Carol Mosely Brown had virtually no chance. They already had their strategy against Kerry in case he got the nomination, which we all witnessed. “Liberal from Massachusetts,” and “Swift Boat Veterans.” Gephardt was a hack with a long record that could easily be attacked. And Edwards looked like a college student. Any one of them would be just fine.

So they continued to pretend to "want Dean," publicly and privately started to spend money to defeat him. I’m sure that the other democratic candidates saw right through the strategy, but it was to their benefit, because a Dean candidacy meant that they would not be president, and most politicians care about winning more than they care about what is best for the country, so they were all too happy to play along. They ganged up on him during the debates. They bellowed in outrage at his remarks about the Iraq war and about trying to appeal to the southerner with the pickup trucks and confederate flags. Didn’t matter that he was right on the money. Dean was a threat to the entire democratic establishment in Washington, and they did not want an outsider.

Then two things happened. The first one was the video tape showing Dean deriding the Iowa caucuses from a few years back. The airwaves were flooded with this meaningless sound byte. I don’t want to offend an entire state, but those Iowans turned against Dean because of that one statement, which had absolutely no meaning in context with the trouble this nation was in because of the policies of President Farquaad and Vice President Wormtonguue.

Then, “The Scream.” How many people know that the sound of that clip was “filtered” to make the crowd sound subdued and Dean sound like a raving lunatic? How many people know that his supporters were actually very vocal at that rally and that his “scream” was not the shriek of a madman? Doesn’t matter. The “liberal media” wall-papered the airwaves with that doctored scream for the next 24 hours. The statistic I heard was that CNN showed it almost 900 times in the 48 hours immediately following Dean’s loss in Iowa.

And then it was over. Two meaningless video-clips killed the one chance that we had to get these jokers out of DC. It didn’t matter that Dean was “too liberal” for the DLC and “not liberal enough” for the progressive wing of the democratic party. Dean had the core issues right: Healthcare. Foreign policy. Progressive Taxes. Jobs. Choice. It was all there. But the most important thing that Dean had was integrity. Nobody is right all of the time. Almost all politicians filter every word that they say, and then pretend that they are never wrong. Dean was one of us – he answered questions honestly, and he aggressively defended himself against the lies and the smears. He had the ability to bring people back to the polls who stopped voting because they felt like it didn't matter. He knew that the democrats real chance was to unite everyone who was against these neocons, and he also knew that trying to lure the conservatives away from the Republican party was futile. Howard Dean told the truth, and had he won the nomination, the truth would have been blasted all over airwaves and everything would have been different.

Please read the speech that I think was one of the most important speeches Howard Dean ever gave, and one that most people never got to hear.


“Gimme Some Truth”
By John Lennon


I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
Money for dope
Money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
It’s money for dope
Money for rope

Ah, I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

7 Comments:

Blogger XTCfan said...

Excellent Dean speech (and Al post). Almost Clintonian ... and a reminder of how hard it is to be for something, as opposed to the seductive ease of being against things.

But, if the message is conveyed well, people will be inspired to work toward something. Unfortunately, Kerry was unable to do this, and Bush won (if you believe the results in Ohio and Florida, that is ... I don't) because he was able to unite people in their fear of terrorism and social change at home.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Wolf said...

I don't I agree completely with your assessment of Dean but things being what they were last time around he'd probably still have received my vote.

Imagine trying to face down the Republican attacks, the utter lack of support from his own party, and the dreadfully lopsided coverage from the not-at-all-liberal media. All of them - battling against this for months.

No wonder he "lost."

3:13 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Excellent analysis, dude.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

First time I heard of Dean -- was in the Sun NYTs Magazine -- maybe in 2002? Don't remember, but very, very early. I had a *feeling* he was going to do well. My husband and I would always say -- "where's that Dean guy?" And he'd pop up again and again until most people had heard of him.

And I agree with you -- I've always, always liked him and knew he got a total raw deal while it was all happening.

But, I have to respectfully disagree with you on one point. I saw the "Dean Scream" live. As SOON as it happened -- I knew he was done. I've read all the angles of that situation -- but, in reality -- it *appeared* over the top -- I wouldn't have dumped him at all because of it -- but it did bring out all the 8th grade humor in most people -- he gave way too much precious ammunition to the other side.

It's all so much about image -- and perception -- the Scream just played the wrong way.

I felt really bad for him --

8:44 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

BG: Granted, the initial scream did not play well, but the enhancement and repition did not help. Just more evidence that the media is not liberal, and that people pay too much attention to trivial style and not enough to the important substance.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

Yes, you're right about that.

I completely believe it was the *8th grade humor* thing.

It got good laughs -- it was too rich to pass up. I don't think the media played it over and over to kill him. I think they did it cuz it was funny. And easy.

Like Bill Maher says: The media's lazy.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous KathyF said...

Excellent wrap up. I heard the scream live, with a room full of people, and none of us thought it was over the top. One of the Union guys who worked with us was there--with a megaphone to amp his voice to be heard in the din--and he said the scream barely registered with the audience.

What a shame about Howard, huh.

1:56 PM  

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