Nice Guys, Assholes and Bastards
The current discussion about Dean's temper calls to mind the perennial topic of the old soc.singles newsgroup about Nice Guys vs. Assholes.
I see several people saying they are uncomfortable with Dean because they just don't like his personal style. His gruffness rubs them the wrong way. They wish he could be friendlier. That he would smile more. They are afraid that his "testyness" will turn people off.
Dean is a bastard. But maybe what the Democratic party needs right now is more bastards. They used to have them in spades. But over time the idea that we should all play nice and get along with each other has become so endemic that it has driven the bastards out of the party.
And Democrats have been losing.
Could there be a connection?
Has the Democratic party become the Nice Guy party? Nice to have around in case you need a shoulder to cry on, but not someone you would ever want to go out on a date with.
Of course Assholes are no better than Nice Guys in the long run. They inevitably screw you over just for their own self-satisfaction. George W. Bush is a classic Asshole in that sense.
But isn't it possible to combine the excitement of the Asshole with the compassion (real compassion) of the Nice Guy? I certainly think so. But such a composite probably requires the negative aspects of both personality types as well as their positive (that's God's little joke on us). So the composite requires a little bit of the Bastard as well as the Comforter.
Sometimes having a Bastard in charge can be comforting in and off itself. At least you know the guy will fight.