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As Long as We Remember...

June 16, 2005

Howard Dean: GOP Hero

Edward Lulie III

Howard Dean continues to amaze and dazzle Republicans. His ongoing escapades and stylistic rantings have created a brilliant sense of expectation that the GOP will continue to rule the government for years, even decades, to come.

Former Vermont Governor Dean's histrionics continue to reveal to the public what the elitist European socialists among us actually think. This is not exactly a smart move since those beliefs are largely way outside the mainstream of most Americans.

In fact the socialists among us have to hide themselves, lately masquerading as "progressives," in an attempt to fool voters into electing them. Mr. Dean was chosen to rally demoralized Democrats but has been brilliantly rallying Republicans; they may not agree on everything but they agree on Mr. Dean.

Even worse for the leftist elites is the fact that their views, loudly espoused by Mr. Dean, are actually ridiculed by most Americans; a hard thing to accept since Democrats continue in their delusion that they "represent" the views of "real" Americans.

While Howard Dean has been front page news, fundraising for Democrats is down and staff members have been quitting the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Morale among Democrats is falling along with their realization that the public, far from loving Dean's views, is laughing at them. Instead of being the cutting edge of vision and leadership, Mr. Dean has seized an image of being the pre-eminent loose cannon on deck.

The problem is that with so few well-known Democrat leaders left they now have a huge image problem. Governor Dean is the defacto spokesman for all Democrats; much to the delight of Republicans. Now the GOP has a great way to divert attention from any problem, real or imagined. War in Iraq not going as well as hoped? Hey, did you hear Howard Dean call us Republicans "evil?"

Republicans are blessed now with an instant topic changer, which makes it hard for Democrats to gain any momentum at all. How do you keep the media focused on your talking points when Howard Dean continues to upstage everyone with a new 'Republicans are evil' rant?

It's hard for Republicans not to gloat as they watch Democrats twitching in withdrawal as they keep reaching for the reins of power only to continually discover that they are no longer within their reach. All the traditional political ploys, particularly the dog and pony committee hearings, are gone. No longer can Democrats hold their classic hearings such as "Republican president, threat or menace?" Or grill an administration figure for fundraising and profit.

Making President Bush the subject is now left in the weakened grasp of the mainstream media, but there is no Dan Rather to lead the nightly news with his always stern commentary along the lines of: Republicans continue to deny being in league with the devil, but a well placed source has revealed. Well you get the idea.

It is really amusing to watch Democrats pull their dog-eared ploys from the old playbook and suddenly remember that as the minority they can't force the majority party to hold any hearings. Instead of using impressive committee rooms, they are reduced to gathering a half dozen democrats outside in the awful D.C. weather under the trees. No coffee or donuts or air-conditioning for the press. Is it any wonder there aren't many there or worse - that instead of the old fawning and adoring reporters (ala Dan Rather) - there are hot and irritated ones that now include Fox News.

You can actually see leading Democrats visibly shaking in rage when they can 't make this media behave like they want them too; it wasn't that way when Dan Rather and company ran things! That's pretty much the point and you would expect that some of the remaining politicians with intelligence left in the Democratic Party would pause and go back to the Clinton play book instead of constantly trying to pick up the mess that Mr. Dean leaves them.

So, why haven't Democrats tacked to the winds of moderation and talked moderate so they can reposition themselves to a place where victory is possible? Oh, that's right, Howard Dean.

Governor Dean is still pandering to Jacque Chirac and company. No chance of real moderate talk from him. Besides, the pretend-to-be-moderate game is pretty much exhausted. You can still hear lots of Democrats getting misty at the thought that Hillary Clinton, masked as moderate, will ride to victory in 2008.

I admit, there is a small chance that the public would actually be that stupid, to believe that Senator Clinton really is a moderate. In reality she is exactly the same self-promoting leftist who declared herself Bill's partner in running the country back when they were president. Her plan for socialized health care hasn't been forgotten either. So it isn't a real surprise that Hillary, despite her core of devotees, is no sure thing for victory in 2008.

The real problem for Democrats is that they now have an identifiable image and it's Howard Dean. He is dividing Democrats when they are already a minority. Democrats are still in denial. They haven't even taken that first step towards recovery, admitting that they are now a minority party.

Yet Democrats have been delusional about their self image for quite awhile. Remember Jimmy Carter? By my standards he was hands down the worst president in over 100 years. His disastrous presidency left such a bitter taste with voters that the mention of his name still resonates with memories of dismal and painful days happily long gone.

He had recovered a bit of prestige and image by his work with Habitat for Humanity. But that is all mostly gone after several years of unabated criticism of the United States.

However, if you believe that Jimmy Carter was a great president, then take comfort, you are not alone; Howard Dean loves him, too. In the minds of most Carter admirers, he was "great" because he reined in the power of the United States. Never mind that he engineered returning the Ayatollah Khomeini back to power and reneged on promised support for the Shah of Iran.

The millions that died in the Iran-Iraq war (a direct consequence of Carter' s actions), as well as the turmoil in the region (Iran is not a stabilizing influence) never seems to register with Carter supporters as a blot on his resume. Neither does the fact that allowing Khomeini to return ended the modernization of Iran, which was becoming a strong country and U.S. ally, and let it fall into the clutches of religious zealots who promptly returned Iran into a country more in keeping with a religious feudal society.

Yet Carter supporters are far less concerned with the aftermath and consequences than with the fact that he diminished the influence and prestige of the United States. For socialists who imagine the U.S. as the last major imperialistic power that was Carter's claim to fame.

That's pretty much the divide here. The European socialist view that the United States is too powerful, too rich and too free to act as it wants versus the American view (and, yes, the liberal viewpoint of many as well) that while the U.S. may make mistakes, it remains the most powerful force for good in the world - not the United Nations.

It is a point of view that the European socialists among us find intolerable and exasperating. They are angry that they are powerless to make the United States bend the knee to the United Nations. First and foremost promoting that viewpoint is Howard Dean. Is it any wonder that Dean's anti-America flavor of politics just will not sell in the "red states?"

Unless Democrats select a course of self preservation and decide to gag Howard Dean so that they can reposition themselves towards the middle, ala Bill Clinton, they are doomed to lose national elections. They simply don't have enough votes to win. That's great news for Republicans who, while stumbling here and there, are beginning to understand how to take advantage of being in power and to use it to help them stay in power as Democrats did for over 40 years.

Democrats now find themselves burdened with a leadership hoping for disaster in Iraq; for world opinion to reverse Bush's stand on Kyoto; and for some miracle to reverse the downward slide of their political fortunes. It seems that any careful analysis of the situation must conclude that Dean's leadership, heading left at full speed, is making a bad situation steadily worse.

Luckily for Republicans, that sort of thinking is banned under Howard Dean's puritanical leadership. For the moment, and some Republicans even admit it openly, Howard Dean continues to provide an unexpected political bonanza for the GOP.

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