Friday, February 13, 2004

Criticizing Dean

Hoffman of Hoffmania has decided to "Dial Down the Deanamania" by taking down the Dean banner he had on his blog. Why? Because he doesn't like the tack Dean is taking in making direct comparisons of John Kerry to George W. Bush.

I agree with him to a certain extent. Dean has scored a lot of points by pointing out the obvious flaws in the "Bush-Lite" strategy that Democrats have adopted in recent years. But there is a fine line between pointing out that this is a bad political strategy (which it is) and outright claiming that those who follow it are doing so because they themselves are Republican in spirit.

Dean used much the same line of attack against Wesley Clark when he got in the race and I didn't like it any more then. Not just because I think it is an illegitimate criticism but because I think it is counter-productive. I was listening to a program on NPR yesterday that discussed appearances by Dean and Edwards in Wisconsin. They both brought out big crowds who cheered a lot, but the comments from the audience afterward were markedly different. Edwards had the people feeling good and positive about the future while Dean just seemed to irk a lot of people with his constant harping on Kerry.

I think a better strategy for Dean would have been to simply compliment Kerry and the others for finally coming around to his way of thinking and then asserting that it is Dean who is the Real "Real Deal". This would still be critical of Kerry and the party, but not in the pejorative sense that comes from calling them Republican-come-latelies. Dean's biggest flaw may be that he makes a better critic than he does a positive leader. We needed the former in 2003 but we need the latter even more in 2004.

(Though, I must admit, I like the fact that Dean is putting out the idea that calling someone a "Republican" can be considered an insult.)

I still support Dean and won't be taking down any links in protest (I have cleaned things up lately though by removing some old stuff that I'm not sure even works anymore). But I can certainly understand Hoffman's point of view on this.

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