Democrats are wimps
Atrios makes the point that all Dems must understand if they are to have a hope and a prayer of beating the Bush machine: do not buy into and propagate the themes manufactured by that same machine.
This is perhaps what has most bugged me about some of the Democratic critics of Dean. Much of their fear and angst seems to be based primarily on right-wing media stereotypes of Dean rather than what he really stands for. Yes, many of his critics know they are stereotypes, but they work from the assumption that those stereotypes will be the operant message in 2004 and that we might as well give up if Dean is going to be the nominee.
This is complete and total bullshit. The reason these lies become "truth" in the minds of the public is not because the Republicans dominate the media machine but because the Democrats don't fight back against them!
Instead, the Democrats consistently roll over and let the Republicans get away with their lies about where Democrats stand. Then they compound the problem by buying into some mythical notion of the perfect candidate who will be immune to these lies.
I have said this repeatedly but it bares repeating until it gets into some people's thick skulls: THERE IS NO PERFECT CANDIDATE WHO WILL BE IMMUNE TO THESE LIES!
The way to fight the lies is not to look for the perfect candidate but to fight them head on. When all you do is look for the bulletproof defense you come off looking weak and wimpy the general public.
And you know something, they're right! It's not just a false impression on their part. Democrats are weak and wimpy and will continue to be weak and wimpy so long as they continue to search for some white knight on a horse with bulletproof shields and an impeccable resume.
The key to the Dean campaign is that it openly acknowledges that its candidate is not perfect. But, it refuses to give into the pessimistic stew that the right-wing is serving up.
Stop being such wusses!
(Atrios' post was inspired by this excellent post by Jesse Taylor)