Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Getting it

More and more commentators are starting to "get it". Today it's David Talbot's turn (to be fair, David may have gotten it a long time ago. This is just the first time I've seen him express his "getting it").

Why Dean and Franken are so hot right now
After years of being kicked in the teeth by GOP bullies, Democrats have finally found two brawlers who know how to give it back.

Sept. 3, 2003 | Nothing is so gratifying to a movie audience as the moment when a sorely abused hero (man, woman or animal) finally feels his strength and gives his tormentors what they richly deserve. From "High Noon" to "Rocky" to "Seabiscuit," America loves to see a comeback, a righting of wrongs, a bully brought to his knees. Which is why, I think, Al Franken and Howard Dean are the men of the hour. For years, we have suffered while right-wing bullies hijacked American politics and media -- persecuting a president for a consensual sex act; stealing the 2000 election; trashing the country's economy, environment and constitutional safeguards; handing the government over to the highest corporate bidders; deceiving the public into a bloody quagmire; and then brazenly smearing anyone who dared to criticize this orgy of dreadful leadership as un-American.

After Clinton left office, and in particular after 9/11, Democrats seemed to lose the will or skill -- or both -- to fight back. The opposition party was a sad palooka slumped to the canvas, cowering in anticipation of the next blow. Think Tom Daschle, the party's "kick-me" standard bearer, being gleefully libeled as a Saddam-hugging traitor by GOP carpetbaggers in his own state while his brave colleagues... ran for cover. This wasn't the give and take of a robust democracy, it was a blood bath.

But month after month, the resentment grew -- you could see it and feel it on Web sites that the corporate media dismissed as fringe. And then finally, it came pouring out, in a wave of money and volunteer energy for the Dean campaign. And it's still cascading, turning a candidate once scoffed at by the punditocracy into the Democratic front-runner -- and forcing his rivals to amp up their Bush-bashing rhetoric to match the party faithful's passionate mood.

Back in March, when I first signed on to Dean's campaign, I was realistic about Dean's chances. I didn't really expect that he might win. I was more interested in supporting his fearless, take-no-prisoners approach to politicking in the hope that it would rub off on the Democratic party as a whole.

Never did I dream that this campaign would be as successful as it has been.


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