Friday, June 10, 2005

How does Howard Dean play in the red states?

Given the recent "controversy", it might be interesting to know what the people who "should be offended" by Dean's comments really think about them. I get daily alerts from Google and Yahoo about Dean related news stories. There's been a pretty typical "Dean's a loonie" type columns in some places, but there have also been some pleasent surprises, including this little gem from Kentucky:

Howard Dean was right to say what he wanted

By DAVID MANN THE KENTUCKY STANDARD

This week Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean lashed out on Republican lawmakers.

Among other things Dean said most Republicans haven't worked an honest day in their lives and Republicans are "pretty much a white, Christian party."

You'd think by now, of all people, this guy would have learned his lesson. In case you live under a rock and didn't see the clip, it was Dean who went nuts in a third place victory speech during the Democratic Primary in Iowa. He screamed the names of all the states he was heading to and ended his speech with a loud, enthusiastic "yee-haw."

Of course the nation media crucified him for the outburst.

Dean's comments this week were wrong but allow me to play the devil's advocate on this one.

Dean was wrong to say some of the things he said, but he was right to act like a human being.

It's a very rare thing for a politician to do in this day and age.

Politicians play a game, that the national media is created. The game is called: "Don't say exactly what you mean." Anytime a politician breaks the rules of the game the media jumps all over them.

Personally, it sickens me to the point of disenfranchisement. Politically correct or not, I say what I mean both in my writing and in my speech, why shouldn't they.

Last year Vice President Dick Cheaney told a United States senator to "F*** off." It was one of the few times I admired Cheaney.

But imagine a career politician like John Kerry trying to tell somebody do the same thing as Cheaney did. I think it would go something like this: "I would like, senator, to convey my aggravation, not at you but at the comments you were making and please ask you to remove yourself from my line of sight in an off-putting and roguishly an offensive manor."

I like Cheaney's version better.

This is important stuff these guys in Washington are dealing with day-to-day - let them get emotional about it. I would be. I'd be weaving together a fabric of profanity, if I had to make some of the decisions these guys made on a day-to-day basis.

And I would be excited if I took third place in the Iowa caucus.

I never understood why Dean was given so much grief over the "yee-haw" incident. The entire country was making fun of him for a few days. I liked the "yee-haw."

People in the media were acting as if they've never gotten a little too excited about something before. I've said, "yee-haw" on a number of occasions, and I'll be the first to admit that.

His comments this week did cross the line. I would imagine that all the Republicans have worked at least one honest day in their lives. And as far as the white Christian comment goes - you could say the same about the Democratic Party.

I think he meant both comments as a hyperbole, to drive home a point: The Republican Party is corrupt and caters to the narrow agenda of white Christian conservatives.

I want to make clear politicians should be held to a certain standard. But if a politician believes something, they need to quit beating around the bush and just say it. I disagree with Dean, but he should be commended for speaking his mind, at least he had the guts to do it. That's more than the rest can.

Chalk this one up for the "being real is a winning strategy". Note how, even though Mann is critical of Dean's comment, he still managed to get the point that Dean was trying to make. Perhaps if people in the media and the Democratic leadership were just willing to credit ordinary Americans with a little intelligence then maybe they wouldn't hyper-ventilate every time a Democrat let's it hang out a little?

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