Howard Dean: Unelectable

I just watched Howard Dean’s appearance on Meet the Press. After a full hour, here’s what I imagine voters gleaned about Dean and his views:

-Dean wants to repeal 100% of the Bush tax cuts, and therefore raise my taxes along with the rest of the middle class.

-Dean is willing to raise the retirement age for my social security benefits.

-Dean would give my 12-year-old daughter an abortion without notifying me, the parent, because of the possibility that maybe I caused it.

-Dean supports gay marriage because that’s what they did in Vermont. As president, he would want the states to recognize gay marriages from Canada.

-Dean was against the death penalty and now he’s for it. The political pundits in Vermont say it’s because of his political opportunism.

-Dean wants to send hundreds of thousands more American troops to secure Iraq and Afghanistan, but he boasted about what a great time he had skiing in Aspen rather than serving in Vietnam. He says he’ll get military advisors to help him make those decisions once he wins the nomination.

-Dean thinks the Bush foreign policy is making Americans less secure, but he can’t/won’t say how he will protect me and my family by combating terrorism abroad and securing the homeland.

Of course, many of these perceptions are far off from Dean’s actual views. But I only know that because I’ve followed Dean since he announced his exploratory committee, not because he clearly explained those views in a way that normal, working-class Americans can understand them.

Predictably, the Deaniacs are taking to the Web to decry Tim Russert’s big corporate hit job on their candidate. It’s funny that they should speak up now, after being so silent when Russert took the same bulldog approach and savaged John Edwards a few months ago. Many of them were even delighted when reporters played “gotcha” with George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign (“Can you name the current leader of Pakistan??”). Now that their golden boy has stumbled on national television, it’s a conspiracy. Typical.

A successful candidate parries silly questions like “how many active duty troops are there?” and uses the opportunity to repeat broad themes that appeal to the electorate. Instead, Dean allowed Russert to control the entire discussion, spending much of the hour on the defensive and even bickering, at one point, over whether saying “I’m sorry” constituted an apology to Bob Graham. I’m sure many viewers had deja vu over the meaning of “is.”

This was Howard Dean’s chance to define himself before a national audience and not only point out Bush’s faults, but also set forth a positive vision that would inspire people to support him.

Instead, in a single hour, Dean allowed himself to be defined as a bleeding-edge liberal more along the lines of Dennis Kucinich than John McCain. Worse, he was unpolished, rambling, shifty on his past statements and generally unstatesmanlike. He was unpresidential.

Dean’s appearance was a failure, not because he’ll lose any liberal activists’ support, but because it illustrated faults that are unlikely to diminish over the course of the campaign. There is plenty of time to change, but if Dean’s character is any indication, he won’t. That said, I’ve concluded that his candidacy is doomed, and if he wins the nomination, so is the party.

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One Response to Howard Dean: Unelectable

  1. scott huminski says:


    In a 1997 Vt News Bureau interview, Dean admitted his desire to appoint judges willing to subvert the bill of rights. Now the fallout from Dean’s appointments are before the US 2nd Circuit at Foley Square, NYC in two outrageous cases. Docket #s 03-7036, 02-6150, 02-6199, 02-6201 One case is being prosecuted by Washington, DC first amendment attorney Robert Corn-Revere against two of Dean’s judges for their banishment of a Vermont “citizen-reporter” for life from all state courthouses because he criticized one of Dean’s judicial appointees. The other case features Dean’s judges violating Double Jeopardy, First Amendment, State law and the State constitution. See Docket No. 99-445 (Vt. Dec. 13, 2000), aff’g, Docket No. 167-1-99 WmCr (Windham D. Ct. Aug. 30, 1999) Both cases have been briefed before the Manhattan Court awaiting oral argument. Also filing a brief in federal court against Dean’s appointees is the Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection of Freedom of Expression.

    Below are links regarding Dean’s voicing his problem with the Bill of Rights. He constantly complains about “legal technicalities” (i.e. the Bill of Rights) as he did in the June 22 meet the press interview.
    A link to a story regarding the courthouse banishment case.

    A commentary on Dean’s subversion of the public defender system.

    Dean’s statement on “re-evaluation” of our “civil liberties”.

    Criminal sentences doubled during Dean’s tenure as a result of his appointments. I wonder how many of those serving these inflated sentences were also subjugated to constitutional deprivations at the hands of Dean’s Judicial appointees leading to their convictions? How many of those serving inflated sentences were prejudiced by Deans’ subversion of the public defender system mandated by the 6th amendment?

    In the Meet the Press interview with Dean while discussing the death penalty he stated,

    “So I just—life without parole, which we have which I actually got passed when I was lieutenant governor— the problem with life without parole is that people get out for reasons that have nothing to do with justice. We had a case where a guy who was a rapist, a serial sex offender, was convicted, then was let out on what I would think and believe was a technicality, a new trial was ordered and the victim wouldn’t come back and go through the second trial. ”

    Now, according to Dean, the Bill of Rights (ie. legal technicalities) has “nothing to do with justice”. In the above quote, is he saying that if someone was unconstitutionally convicted it is better that the government kill them before they can point out the constitutional problems with their conviction?

    A further commentary on Dean’s death penalty stand.¬Found=true

    and, noting the “anti-due-process” Dean message,

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