“You cannot accommodate right-wing zealots. There’s no accommodation to be had.”
That was the essential part of Howard Dean’s response to a question about breaking gridlock on judicial nominees in the radio debate.
Dean also said the following:
I actually have a plan to try to move the Congress back to being Democrat. What we’re going to do, which we did with Congressman Boswell here in Iowa, is we asked our supporters to send Congressman Boswell some money and they sent him $68,000 in 48 hours.
We’re going to identify 20 seats in the United States Congress and some seats in the Senate and try to get our majorities back, by using our vast network that we’ve built of grassroots supporters to change that.
That’s the best Dean could muster up in response to a question that was essentially about bipartisanship: “Governor Dean, what would you do about the seemingly permanent warfare in the United States Senate on judicial nominations?”
“Well, Neal, we’ll continue to wage that war, of course. It’s not bipartisanship or whatever, but you know, tough shit. We can’t accomodate (read: work with) Republicans, so we’ll just beat them. Once I’ve sewn up the nomination I’ll continue to milk my throngs of deluded supporters and have them send a lot of money to other candidates, and that’s how we’ll win.”
It took Joe Lieberman to remind Dean that “Republican” does not necessarily equal “zealot,” something Dean should have remembered from his own seemingly disavowed tenure as governor. Then Kucinich stepped in:
I want to inject a note of caution here, because political extremism grows when leaders are pulled into polarity.
And when any of us start castigating people based on their political philosophy — you know, let’s say the right wing — we lose an opportunity to go and talk to them about specific issues.
You know, there are very conservative members of Congress who have joined with many of us who are considered liberal in trying to repeal the Patriot Act, for example.
So we’ve got to be careful not to divide this house. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Our American eagle needs two wings to fly.
Now, I’ve always thought Kucinich was more articulate than Dean. But when the fringe, ultra-left-wing challenger is able to understand, and commit to, a greater measure of bipartisanship than the frontrunner, then the party is in serious trouble.