Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Wild-Eyed Lunatic

His name is Howard Dean. He has been accused of treason. He has been vilified by his opponents and members of his own party. He has been depicted as wild-eyed and insane.

He must be doing something right.

I linked to “In Defense of Howard Dean” from The New Republic by John B. Judis article yesterday, but I think Dean’s comments deserve to be repeated.

From the article:

February 2003. After Secretary of State Colin Powell made his case for war at the United Nations, most other leading Democrats applauded. Senator Joe Biden called Powell's case "very powerful and, I think, irrefutable." Senator John Kerry called it "compelling." Only Dean dissented. "I heard little today that leads me to believe that there is an imminent threat warranting unilateral military action by the United States against Iraq," he said.

Later that month, Dean warned that the Bush administration was preparing to invade Iraq unilaterally. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay charged that Dean "either doesn't know what he's talking about ... or he's seriously uninformed, or he's just misleading the American people and his party."

April 2003. Senator Joe Lieberman declared that the capture of Baghdad and the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime vindicated his support for the invasion. "The vindication that I feel is the confidence that with Saddam gone, America's going to be a lot safer than it otherwise would have been," Lieberman said. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt said that "it's a continuation of a historic, long-term trend that we stand on the right side." Once again the dissenter, Dean said, "All these folks who are crowing about their vote and the outcome are going to learn that the occupation will be very difficult." He added, "I'm not a pacifist. We've removed a horrible dictator, but the price we're going to pay is down the road."

June 2003. As reports began to surface that the Bush administration might have misled the country about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, many leading Democrats were hesitant to question the administration's probity. Republicans dismissed any doubts. Senator George Allen asserted, "It's not a question." But Dean said, "We need a thorough look at what really happened going into Iraq. It appears to me that what the president did was make a decision to go into Iraq sometime in early 2002, or maybe even late 2001, and then try to get the justification afterward."

December 2003-January 2004. After Saddam Hussein was captured on December 14, Dean appeared to go out on the farthest of limbs. "[T]he capture of Saddam has not made America safer," Dean said. "The Iraq war diverted critical intelligence and military resources, undermined diplomatic support for our fight against terror, and created a new rallying cry for terrorist recruits." Gephardt termed Dean's statement "ludicrous." Kerry took it as "more proof that all the advisors in the world can't give Howard Dean the military and foreign-policy experience, leadership skills, or diplomatic temperament necessary to lead this country through dangerous times." Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said, "It's baffling that anyone could possibly think life under a brutal dictator who routinely tortured, raped, and imprisoned his own people is better than the freedom and democracy taking root in Iraq today."

[Last week] "The idea that we're going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong.” “What we see today is very much like what was going on in Watergate.”

[End of excerpts]

While I’m at it, let’s take a look at some of the other ravings from this "wild-eyed lunatic."

“Tom DeLay is corrupt. No question about it. This is a guy who shouldn’t be in Congress and maybe ought to be serving in jail.”

“I don't hate Republicans as individuals. But I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country. I really do.”

“I supported the war in Afghanistan because 3000 of our people were murdered and I thought we had a right to defend the people of the United States.”

“I think most people... would be glad to pay the same taxes they paid when Bill Clinton was president, if only they could have the same economy they had when Bill Clinton was president.”

“I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy. Democrats have strong moral values. Frankly, my moral values are offended by some of the things I hear on programs like ‘Rush Limbaugh,’ and we don't have to put up with that.”

“I'm a committed Christian. I worship in my own way. That's my business. That's not the business of the pharisees who are going to preach to me about what I do and then do something else.”

“The issue is not abortion. The issue is whether women can make up their own mind instead of some right-wing pastor, some right-wing politician telling them what to do.”

“The way we're going to win elections in this country is not to become Republican lite. The way we're going to win elections in this country is to stand up for what we believe in.”

“What the propagandists on the right have done is make people afraid to say they are Democrats."

"We have got to stop having the campaigns run in this country based on abortion, guns, God and gays..”

“Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings.”

Howard Dean is never going to be President, and his days as chairman of the Democratic party are likely numbered.

Too bad. I guess old H.L. Mencken was right when he said:

"The men American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try and tell them the truth."


Anonymous blue girl said...

Hi Al,

I've always really liked Howard Dean, too.

And that Mencken quote is so true. And I've never understood that. I find myself -- when having a conversation with someone on whatever current event -- and they get a fact wrong or whatever -- if I try to nicely point it out -- I get my head bitten off.

I read somewhere that people like it "blurry" -- then I guess they don't have to face facts. I myself, like to live with eyes wide open.

Check out this post today: (hope you can click on it...)

10:36 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I'm so disgusted with the mainstream Democratic "leadership" and their lack of opposition to Bush and the Iraq war over the past few years that I admit to not being as much a fan of Dean as you are. (I also admit that's kinda unfair.) He is, after all, still part of this completely ineffectual "opposition" party.

On the other hand, I'd probably vote for him. I agree with just about every statement you quoted and I understand that, rather than debate Dean, because he was right so often the Repiblicans and teh Dems opted to smear him.

We all know the real wild-eyed lunatic is in the White House.

11:57 AM  
Blogger joebftsplk said...

thanks for this post and the last one. Garcia might have been moved to more overt commentary by the current situations. note that Dylan is committedto a dj show on subscription radio next year and perhaps, perhaps. material like yours deserves to be published far and wide.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Neil Shakespeare said...

Bravo, Viscount! Great post. Right on.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Decatur Dem said...

American news consumers (quaintly referred as "citizens", back in your grandpa's day) seem to like their public figures cartoonish and two-dimensional. You only need to "know" one thing about each politician, and it evidently doesn't have to be true.
Gore: "claims to have invented the Internet".
Bill Clinton: "The bastard's getting laid a lot more than I am".
Hillary: "The lesbian who killed Vince Foster".
Bush 43: "Good man. 9/11. Straight shooter. 9/11. Strong. 9/11."
And Dean... "The Scream".

A Democratic supporter told candidate Adlai Stevenson "Senator, all thinking Americans support you". Stevenson quipped, "That's wonderful. However, we need a majority". Dean is in the same boat with AES. I'd crawl over a mile of broken glass to vote for Dean. I'm still proud of getting to shake his hand in Atlanta during his campaign. No other candidate has excited me like that since Bobby Kennedy. He's got no chance in hell.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous The Heretik said...

Lot to think about here. Bien.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

decature dem: "A Democratic supporter told candidate Adlai Stevenson "Senator, all thinking Americans support you". Stevenson quipped, "That's wonderful. However, we need a majority".

OMG, how I love that.

And yet it scares me so...

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Decatur Dem said...

On the brighter side, maybe we should all go to dailykos and read "Howard Dean: the Life of the Party" by Andrew White. Dean-inspired Dems are running for local office and winning seats long held by Republicans. Mr White's post is long on anecdotes, but encouraging nevertheless. We must keep up the fight. And send a check to DFA.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me why I like Dr. Dean so much. Great post.

11:33 AM  
Blogger fuckstick2020 said...

I just read an interesting chapter in Matt Tabbi's book "Spanking the Donkey" about Howard Dean. Tabbi couldn't put his finger on it but something about Dean wasn't real on the campaign trail.

I think the problem with Dean and his ultimate downfall was he wasn't himself all the time. He allowed pr reps to mold him into something that he wasn't. If he would just be completely real and say to hell with "the rules" of politiking I think he could be pretty damn amazing.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Gothamimage said...

Dean tells tough truths- painful truths. Part of that is from being a doctor.

But the ultimate un-Dean is Frist, who ran like a baby to the Senate well (with it's Const. protections against libel suits) and went on to attack Richard Clarke for being a whistleblower.

If you ever wanna see the dirtiest speech -look at the one the creepy Frist gave about Clarke, on WH wishes.

3:25 AM  
Blogger cali said...

Bravo, Al. So glad Howard Dean is the chair of the DNC. What would it be like to have a no BS kinda guy like him as President? I hope we find out.

11:18 PM  

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