Friday, January 16, 2004

Confession time

I'm burned out. I'm discouraged. I'm just feeling over-all blah about the whole damn thing.

First of all is my feeling that Dean has not handled the last couple of weeks of media assaults as well as I would have liked. Yes, he hasn't gone into a total meltdown. But he hasn't turned the attacks to his advantage in the ways that I would have hoped or as I had come to expect from his past performance. His public airing of complaints about the attacks comes dangerously close to looking like whining and that is not an attractive quality in a candidate. I would have much preferred that he just shrugged off the attacks as par for the course and just kept on arguing his points as he has in the past. I don't think he handled the whole brou-ha-ha about his caucus comments very well and I think that has hurt him in Iowa. His statement that he has changed his mind about the caucuses just struck me as pandering to the voters feelings when what he should have done was point out that the media was distorting his comments. He retreated instead of attacking and again that is not an attractive quality and not what I had come to expect.

Secondly, he has failed to enunciate a message of optimism about the future and has instead fallen back on the old standard strategy of attacking those who are nipping at his heels. Dean's message up until now has been about empowering people to take back the party and the country and he has done a lot with that message. But he has not done enough to convince those who were not already convinced that the party and the country were going in the wrong direction and that he offers a viable alternative.

Finally, the rest of the party has acted in a reprehensible manner in reaction to the whole Dean movement. Instead of celebrating the extraordinary level of enthusiasm that Dean has generated, they have reacted, for the most part, with fear and apprehension. Yes, there are things to be concerned about in the Dean movement (see what I wrote above). But the Democratic party is in desperate need of the kind of enthusiasm that Dean brings. But rather than embrace that enthusiasm, the party has tried to squelch it. I hate to say it, but I can't avoid thinking that there are some in the party who have become comfortable with losing.

There is something beautiful happening here and the idiots in charge are working over time to make sure it dies before it reaches its full potential.

How can one not be depressed when considering that?


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