Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Dean asks the important, if controversial, questions

Dean gave a foreign policy speech yesterday that was decidedly more wonkish than his usual speech. It has generally been getting positive reviews from those who were not already inclined to spin anything Dean says in a negative light. However, attention has been focused on one comment in particular:

"The capture of Saddam is a good thing which I hope very much will help keep our soldiers safer. But the capture of Saddam has not made America safer."

Dean's comment has drawn fire from the likes of Lieberman and Kerry who are trying to paint it as yet another indicator that Dean doesn't know what he is talking about. So we have to ask, has Dean made another gaffe that will hurt him?

I think not.

I think Dean made this provocative comment deliberately. He did it in order to get the dialog off the Bush/Rove theme that everything is going great now that Saddam is in custody. He did it to get the American people to ask the truly important question: has Saddam's capture really made us any safer?

As much heat as Dean may take for saying this, it will inspire a lot of water-cooler conversation. It is necessary for the Democratic candidate, whoever ends up getting the nod, to get people talking about these important questions. It is absolutely vital to get the media cycle off the preferred Rovian script and Dean, by his comment, is doing just that.

It ultimately may not work, but if we just went with the typical Democratic strategy of avoiding controversial questions like this then I can guarantee you that we will lose.


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