Monday, November 03, 2003

Stop playing games

I agree with the Left Coaster's take on the whole confederate flag flap:

And I will say it once, and then let it go. I think that what Howard Dean said about appealing for Southern voters who have pickup trucks and confederate flags in their cars was fine. I think it was pandering for the rest of the candidates to then jump in and bash Dean by playing for the “I’d rather get the NAACP vote than the NRA vote” line like Kerry did. But Kerry wasn’t alone; they all did it over the weekend. No matter what Zell Miller thinks about the Democrats and the South, what Dean was trying to say was entirely plausible. The imagery to some is regrettable justifiably so, but it speaks volumes about the state of the campaign that the only thing people may remember about the campaign over the weekend was the comments in response to Dean’s original comment. For God’s sake guys, stop swinging at every ball in the dirt from Dean. Start leading with your own vision and coherent attacks against Bush and what you would do differently. But if your own campaign is defined as responding to whatever Dean says, then Dean has already won and you are irrelevant.

This goes back to what I said in my previous post. If people have problems with the specific positions that Dean has taken then please, by all means criticize them. But when you criticize him based on some amorphous concept like "electability" or if you deliberately distort his statements in order to play to wedge politics then you are doing nothing but shoring up the stereotype of Democrats as having no opinions of their own, always negative, and quite willing to pander to baser instincts to win elections.

I respect Zell Miller's and Joe Lieberman's disagreements with Dean on Iraq even if I don't agree with them because I can tell that they represent their true opinions. (I disrespect Miller, on the other hand, for endorsing the opposition and actively campaigning against his fellow Democrats. That's simply not acceptable.) I can understand people's concerns about Dean's "electability" (I've had them myself), but please don't let it be the deciding factor in your electoral decision because, again, it will just play into the stereotype of Democrats being afraid of their own shadow.

Stop playing games. Try to win on your ideas. And if Dean beats you on that battleground, maybe, just maybe, its because his ideas are more popular and may actually make him more electable.

That's all I'm saying.


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