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As Long as We Remember...

March 10, 2005

Dean Leads Dems Over The Top

Edward Lulie III

Ecstatic Republicans are applauding the Democratic Party’s selection of its new leader – Howard “Screaming Socialist” Dean. Ritual suicide is one way to describe this action by Democrats.

Immediately after his selection, former Vermont Governor Dean began his leadership, not by calls for inclusion of other political viewpoints, but by declaring that Democrats were engaged in a struggle between good and evil. Republicans are, in the new leader’s opinion, “evil.”

His “take no prisoners” attitude will outrage moderates and energize his European socialist base. Governor Dean will begin denouncing Republicans with his morning coffee and continue until he falls asleep at night. His dreams will be filled with images of Chris Rock, Michael Moore and Jacques Chirac applauding his every word. The question for Democrats is this: Will Mr. Dean be able to help them win elections?

Republicans are not surprised by Mr. Dean’s words. The left’s belief in the existence of “evil” was something they concealed among themselves for years, fearful voters might think them to be extremists, or out of touch with reality.

Howard Dean has brought this belief out of the closet and made “Evil Republicans” the new battle cry of his party. Under Dean’s leadership Democrats have now abandoned any pretext of political civility. Governor Dean has launched a socialist religious jihad against them. Republicans have been more delighted than dismayed by this because they sense that it will bring Democrats political disaster on election days.

Republicans view Dean’s leadership as a source of wonderful political cover. Hard political questions on war, taxes, or the expansion of federal authority to deal with terrorists may now be easily avoided by the simple response of “Did you hear Governor Dean call us “Evil?” How can you expect us to deal with extremists like that?” How indeed?

We may expect that Governor Dean’s profuse and delusional socialist pronouncements will continue to flow unchecked. Each new outrageous Dean remark will be used by Republicans as evidence to persuade voters that Democrats have lost their sense of reality. Every political debate will tend to follow Governor Dean’s lead and deteriorate into cries “Republicans are evil.”

If asked: Mr. Dean, where do you stand on reforming social security? He will reply, “Republicans are evil.” If asked: What about lowering taxes? He will answer, “Republicans are evil.” Expect to see “Republicans are Evil” bumper stickers on sale in the near future.

Many veteran Democratic politicians believe Dean’s election to be bad news. While they think that George Bush is flawed and wrong on many issues, they don’t believe that he is the prince of darkness. They consider Dean’s new quest a perilous lurch to the extreme left.

Many of them are quietly distancing themselves from Governor Dean and now concentrating on their own political survival. They fear Dean’s election was actually a disaster of Watergate proportions for Democrats.

For many, Dean’s leftward course change ignores the lessons taught by Bill Clinton: that you pose as a moderate and muzzle the left until after the election is over.

Triangulation worked to elect President Clinton twice. Because they can count, they realize that you must have moderate votes to win. Governor Dean’s essentially anti-U.S., one-world socialist viewpoint leaves no room for moderates. His message only resonates with the far left – for true believers. If you don’t agree with him, then you are on the side of evil. His vision for his party is equally clear: If you don’t share it, GET OUT!

Moderates will be left with no choice but to sit out the next few elections, or grimace and join the Republicans. The infusion of moderates into the GOP will greatly annoy some fringe elements in the Republican Party. They believe that the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as California’s governor was actually a disaster rather than a huge victory.

Media leftists, who have listened to their complaints, dream that there will be a massive split in the GOP as the right walks out in protest. This seems very unlikely to actually happen. Controlling the presidency and Congress allows Republicans to widen their tent.

George Bush has been working very hard to welcome moderates into the party. Remember it was President Bush who was supported by Governor Schwarzenegger in Ohio. Right wing members of the GOP may grumble, but they know that it is far better to be just slightly influential inside the party in power than to be on the outside looking in.

If the price of power is to accept Governor Schwarzenegger and other moderates, then they will accept the mild discomfort and reach for the Pepto-Bismol; but they won’t walk out. They are far closer to Schwarzenegger’s viewpoint than Howard Dean’s.

Democrats are demoralized and Governor Dean is trying to rally them. They have good reasons to despair. They have lost the presidential election twice in a row. They have lost control of the Senate. They haven’t had control of the House for over a decade and lost even more seats in 2004.

This is very hard for a party – that once ruled Washington with an iron fist – to accept. For over 40 years Democrats were masters at entrenching themselves inside government; but without the reins of government they have been cut adrift and are powerless.

They can no longer feather the nests of aspiring young Democrats. They are unable to nurture party workers and future candidates inside the federal system. They have no governmental base to draw support from.

Howard Dean’s base is not in Washington as was John Kerry’s and Ted Kennedy’s. Dean’s support comes from places like pure blue San Francisco and from the left wing dot-com millionaires behind groups like MOVEON.ORG.

These are places full of activists but not linked to the reality of governmental politics and power. As a result they value the purity of their political beliefs more than the need to win elections.

The votes Democrats need to win are in Middle America, with pro- United States moderates. Can Governor Dean win national elections by exclusively relying on just the far left? How? The numbers do not add up – no matter how one does the math.

If Governor Dean drives all the moderates away, his party may be pure but his chances of success in winning elections will be almost nonexistent. This scenario looks so good for Republicans that one has to stop and wonder; can Governor Dean really be this stupid?

Might it be that Mr. Dean is just solidifying his base? That he really has a plan? Probably not, it is much more likely that Mr. Dean is only saying what he actually believes. He will continue to preach to the Chris Rocks and Michael Moores of his congregation with fire and brimstone speeches heedless of what it costs his party.

Governor Dean’s jihad and demonizing of Republicans appears to be far more likely to lead Democrats over the brink into political disaster than to the promised land of victory.

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