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Republicans for Dean
September 16, 2003 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Republicans for Dean... but not in the way you might think. An interesting op-ed piece by David Brooks on why a Dean candidacy might be good news for the Bush team. (NYTimes, but no registration required.)
posted by UKnowForKids (60 comments total)

 
It is only the dark cloud of Wesley Clark, looming on the horizon, that keeps their happiness from being complete.

Go, Wes, go....
posted by grabbingsand at 7:39 AM on September 16, 2003


Clark is expected to make his candidacy official by this Friday where he's got a speaking engagement arranged in Iowa somewhere. It should soon be official.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:41 AM on September 16, 2003


I keep seeing Dean as the McGovern of this age. He whipped up much passion among liberal Democrats. . . .his values were impeccable to the left. . .and he got his butt handed to him by Nixon in 1972. Of course, if we want to keep on this line of comparison, we can wish for a second Bush administration similar to the second Nixon administration. (One needs to grab hope wherever one can.)
posted by Danf at 7:43 AM on September 16, 2003


Good for them. Back in the day, I joined with some of my buddies to rally in support of Alan Keyes. When he came into town for the Iowa caucus, we were there cheering. Ultimately, I crossed party lines in the primary (we can do that here in Illinois) and voted for him.

While this was in part due to his clear inelectability, it was also because he was such a great orator. Though I loathed nearly everything he stood for, it was great fun to listen to him speak.

Back to the topic at hand: I'm curious. Is Dean considered inelectable because his ideas are too radical, or because - as the current front runner - he's being labeled as such by Republicans and Democrats alike?
posted by aladfar at 7:44 AM on September 16, 2003




As voters become more educated, they are more likely to be ideological and support the party that embraces their ideological label. As a result, the parties have polarized.

Oh, I don't know. I'd think a certain amount of "with us or against us" rhetoric has done some damage as well, no?

Now, there is a Democratic liberal mountain and a Republican conservative mountain. Democrats and Republicans don't just disagree on policies — they don't see the same reality, and they rarely cross over and support individual candidates from the other side.

I might concede that on a national level (although I do find it dreadfully pessimistic and I'm hoping it's just a sign of the times) but I don't think this is true on a state/local level (recalls and fleeing politicians notwithstanding).

I hope there isn't a trickle-down effect though where the partisan backbiting and polarization drags down local politics, which affect the day-to-day lives of citizens more than the Federal level, to the black and white/ red and blue level.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2003


Sincere Republicans for Dean
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:50 AM on September 16, 2003


Whether or not voters will embrace Dean in December will rely heavily on the state of the economy, which in my opinion, is showing subtle signs of impending weakness.

If Bush builds his campaign against the Democratic candidate on what are essentially non-domestic issues (the "war on terrorism"), then a toppled stock market will leave voters with a murderous desire to oust him. (e.g. they're hanging Grasso.) In that case, the more drastic the opposition, the better that candidate will fare.
posted by Pinwheel at 7:52 AM on September 16, 2003


why is it that the loudest voices condemning a dean candidacy seem to be coming from the right? as far as i can tell, the whole "dean == mcgovern" meme got it's start on the right side of the fence, and has been pimped ever since by the wurlitzer. note to democrats: don't take your candidate-choosing advice from the enemy,^H^H^H^H^H, opposition. Of course, not all Republicans feel this way
posted by irix at 7:53 AM on September 16, 2003


(errr... I mean, November.)
posted by Pinwheel at 7:53 AM on September 16, 2003


Clark is in the race.

See the AP piece at the Gaurdian.
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:55 AM on September 16, 2003


It's an interesting piece. The central question to me is, why does Bush not make the centrists froth at the mouth? If Dean is too left-wing for the centrists, why is Bush not too right-wing? I could understand Daddy Bush and Clinton appealing to the centrists, but by all measures I can think of, Bush Jr is the worst President in memory.

I have certainly noticed an increasing polarization in American politics. Lefties and righties simply cannot debate at all on any meaningful policy. That is why political discussions here and on Fark are so excrutiating. People just can't understand their opponents point of view. In 'To Kill a Mockingbird', Atticus Finch said, "You never really understand a person until you walk around in their shoes for a while". Lefties and righties are just incapable of doing that.

That sort of polarization exists to an extent in the UK, but it is nowhere near as bad.
posted by salmacis at 7:57 AM on September 16, 2003


Yes, Clark is in the race! Finally a viable, electable candidate for us moderate Democrats.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:58 AM on September 16, 2003


If Dean is too left-wing for the centrists, why is Bush not too right-wing?

Because he gave everybody checks for $300.
posted by jpoulos at 7:59 AM on September 16, 2003


why is it that the loudest voices condemning a dean candidacy seem to be coming from the right? as far as i can tell, the whole "dean == mcgovern" meme got it's start on the right side of the fence

Of course that's where it got it's start. It's a lazy attempt to discredit somebody without having to tackle issues. Dean's got some policies that I would think moderates or even some conservatives would embrace. He's been very careful about saying what he would do as President and makes a big deal over the fact that he thinks that states should have more power over certain hot-topic issues (gun control, gay marriage, etc.).

But the more those that oppose Dean hang on to the meme of "He's the anti-war candidate!" or "He's for Universal Health Care!" and beat that into the ears and eyes of the populous, the more the populous will pigeon-hole Dean as being those and those only. It's lazy, tainted, and smart politics.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:06 AM on September 16, 2003


If Dean is too left-wing for the centrists, why is Bush not too right-wing?

I think Bush retains appeal with the center because (a) his administration has become very adept at deflecting attention for more extreme right activities to his wingmen, primarily Ashcroft. Ashcroft all but admitted he was serving as a lightning rod for anti-Republican attention to deflect that attention away from the president in an article in Esquire not so many months ago (can't remember the exact issue), and (b) for better or worse, a substantial portion of the American public is willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt and subsequently their support because he is the post 9/11 president (see Britney Spears' recent comments for an example).
posted by UncleFes at 8:06 AM on September 16, 2003


I'd be very surprised is Dems warm to Clark. He has no history of working to advance the issues important to Dem primary voters - race and gender equity, pro-union policies, etc. Based on his lack-of-record he could just as plausibly run in the Republican primary

I think that the media will warmer for him than Dem activists will be. So it's unlikely he'd be nominated.

Dean's biggest weakness in the general election will be his prercieved weakness on national security, but a former general would be perfect the ticket-balancer as vice-presidential nominee.

So I think the biggest question is - would Clark take the job of VP?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:09 AM on September 16, 2003


As voters become more educated, they are more likely to be ideological and support the party that embraces their ideological label.

Actually, voters have, over the last couple of decades, been much more willing to describe themselves as more independent-leaning or at least less attached to party, although many political scientists will tell you that party still matters - even if people don't admit it. I remember reading an an explanation to the effect that many educated people believe that knee-jerk partisanship doesn't become them.
posted by raysmj at 8:15 AM on September 16, 2003


Jos Bleau is onto it. It's easy to take potshots at Dean, but candidates don't win presidential elections--tickets do. A national-politics neophyte like Bush wouldn't have been elected without the experience Cheney brought to the ticket. No yankee democrat can win without a southerner as his running mate.

Dean-Clark in '04 would get my vote.
posted by jpoulos at 8:16 AM on September 16, 2003


Publicly, the administration has been bullish on their chances against Dean for some time. Remember Karl Rove's comment, "That's the one we want," on the Fourth of July? But in private, they're not quite so sanguine at the prospect.
posted by GreyWingnut at 8:20 AM on September 16, 2003


So the straegy is repeat the lies and hope they come true? Are all republicans as stupid as Bush or what?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:33 AM on September 16, 2003


But the more those that oppose Dean hang on to the meme of "He's the anti-war candidate!" or "He's for Universal Health Care!" and beat that into the ears and eyes of the populous

Ufez, I don't see what's so lazy about that -- it is, after all, the truth. And I think those things are far more important to the vast majority of voters than gay rights, or even gun control.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:35 AM on September 16, 2003


The "Dean is too liberal" meme is both intellectually lazy and a product of wishful thinking. Most people who say this have no idea what Dean's policies stand for (a preview for next year: fiscal responsibility + civil liberties + not pissing off the rest of the world), and let us not forget that the electoral season is very long -- people will not be able to get away with this charge for too long, as little things like "past record" and "policy initiatives" get discussed.

The truth is that Republicans are only saying this as a preemptive attempt to discredit the frontrunner. It will take a lot more than this to get rid of a guy with good policies, good smarts, and no skeletons in the closet.
posted by norm at 8:40 AM on September 16, 2003


And he's off.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:42 AM on September 16, 2003


I keep seeing Dean as the McGovern of this age
You're not alone. Here's a piece that fleshes out that analogy.

Bush Jr is the worst President in memory
A large part of the electorate is old enough to remember Nixon and Reagan. Bush Jr. is doing a lousy job, but he is neither the most corrupt nor the most right-wing president in my memory. Basing a campaign strategy on Bush's extremism is not going to work.

At this stage of the campaign, the important thing about a candidate isn't so much his personality or his stands on issues, it's the constituency he represents. Dean is clear about trying to unite the left-wing of the Democratic party, and he is beholden to that constituency just as much as Bush is to the conservative interest groups that back him.

To defeat Bush, a Democratic candidate is first going to have to neutralize the advantage Bush has on foreign policy, by admitting the validity of people's fear of terrorism and proposing a clear plan to address that fear. Then he can shift attention to Bush's failure and corruption on the domestic front, where a Democrat can win the center. Dean won't be able to do this, because his stance on Iraq puts foreign policy at the center of the campaign. He can't moderate that stance without abandoning his base, who will not forgive him if he does what it takes to win the election.

I've got to say, I really identify with the word "solutionist". I can't stand Bush, but I find almost all of the Bush-bashing and Dean boosterism here on MeFi to be about as convincing as talk radio.
posted by fuzz at 8:43 AM on September 16, 2003


fuzz, that was excellent. I agree with you on all points, especially: "I can't stand Bush, but I find almost all of the Bush-bashing and Dean boosterism here on MeFi to be about as convincing as talk radio." Amen.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:46 AM on September 16, 2003


Democrats and Republicans don't just disagree on policies — they don't see the same reality

This, I think, is the crux of the whole thing. If the GOP is dismissing Dean out of hand, it's because he's seen as a "real" liberal democrat (whether that's true, I'm not so sure). The republicans have such disdain for liberalism, they think it can't be what the country really wants. They laugh at liberal sensibility, so they laugh at Dean. But I think they underestimate us.

posted by jpoulos at 8:56 AM on September 16, 2003


[Clark] has no history of working to advance the issues important to Dem primary voters - race and gender equity, pro-union policies, etc. Based on his lack-of-record he could just as plausibly run in the Republican primary

First, don't get me wrong, I'm a Dean guy in name as well as politics, but it is precisely because Clark has little experience with Dem party interest groups voters that he is much more able as a candidate to attract a broad base of support than Gepahrdt, for example. Few of us are members of manufacturing or teachers' unions, are members of Mothers for Gun Safety, etc., and those numbers are getting smaller. Instead, there are a large number of Democratic voters that aren't memebrs of any of these traditional interet groups who are just waiting for a candidate to say "I care about you guys and need your help." Dean has that, and Clark has that. Candidates trying to play up the "I'm supported by enough unrelated interest groups to give me enough votes to win" don't-- they actively alienate this already disaffected voters.

That said, the Brooks article is half-crocked. He has an incredible talent for repackaging the common wisdom from 6 months ago as "new insight." Nothing new here, other than standard "Dean is a fringe candidate" boilerplate.
posted by deanc at 9:00 AM on September 16, 2003


I think that the media will warmer for him than Dem activists will be. So it's unlikely he'd be nominated.

Actually, I think that might be backwards. Clark is held in very high esteem by the DLC "new Democrats," and it would seem as if they would want someone besides Joe "nosedive" Lieberman to support. They have been nastier to Dean than have Republicans. Clark seems like an honest, good guy for the most part, but if he can't control his friends his candidacy will be divisive.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:02 AM on September 16, 2003


Ufez, I don't see what's so lazy about that -- it is, after all, the truth. And I think those things are far more important to the vast majority of voters than gay rights, or even gun control.

It's lazy (or simplistic may be a better word) in the same vein that most politics are lazy/simplistic. Some candidates do it to themselves as a platform ("tax-cut candidate", for example), and sometimes the press will do it to candidates. For the most part though, it's done because the vast majority of the public thinks along those lines. If they don't vote party-line then they'll vote singular-issue-line.

My point in this is less trying to slag the press for doing this to Dean than it is frustration with the public for heeding it. Sure, war/terrorism is probably one of the two largest issues for election '04, but so is the economy, which is somewhere where Dean/Clark/Kerry/Whoever has a great opportunity to gain a major foothold. But at what point to the remaining issues not matter at all anymore? If you agree with candidate X on issues 1 and 2, but disagree with them vehemently on issues 3-10, do you still vote for them? That's what I would like voters to consider, but the candidates and the media (sometimes one more than the other) don't provide them the opportunity to have the knowledge to think this way. It's really pretty solutionist, if you will, but I don't see it much.

My question for you, pardonyou?, is since you're a Clark supporter and moderate Dem, would you vote for a Dean/Clark ticket?

I've got to say, I really identify with the word "solutionist". I can't stand Bush, but I find almost all of the Bush-bashing and Dean boosterism here on MeFi to be about as convincing as talk radio.

Signal/Noise. I agree with you though. Lazy/simplistic thinking is abound, both here and everywhere.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:10 AM on September 16, 2003


"Dean's biggest weakness in the general election will be his prercieved weakness on national security, but a former general would be perfect the ticket-balancer as vice-presidential nominee".

well, you're probably right, but that was the idea behind the Dukakis-Bentsen ticket (ACLU-supporting, ethnic, short liberal with Texas oilman, WASP, tall Conservative Democrat)

and we all know how _that_ ended right?

(one just hopes Dean won't be photographed in a tank)



my biggest problem with Dean "electability" issue is not of course his perceived radicalism (his centrist, fiscally conservative record as governor, blah blah blah -- the man is just anti-Iraq war and hates Bush's guts, but nowadays that seems to be enough to be labeled anything from a radical to a Osama fan)
my problem with his "electability" (besides the silly "the taller candidate wins" tradition) is his anger -- with the exception of Nixon I don't remember an angry candidate being elected President in the last century (OK, maybe Truman in '48, but he ran as incumbent President, not as Mr Nobody)

the President's club is made of smiling, positive-thinking Candidates (nice white-haired there's-still-hope FDR, quiet grampa Ike, young tanned smiling JFK, country preacherman Carter, nice reassuring Ronnie Reagan, that Connecticut wimp-gentleman Bush I (he let others do his dirty Willie Horton work), Man From Hope Clinton.
Dean's anger could be a real problem next November. "where's the outrage" candidates almost always get their ass kicked by American voters. Clinton understood that all too well
posted by matteo at 9:15 AM on September 16, 2003


A large part of the electorate is old enough to remember Nixon and Reagan.

As someone who likes to play "what Republicans would you rather have in office than Bush?" and routinely chooses Dan Quayle, I have got to say that just by listening to Reagan's old speeches alone that man is sunshine compared to the current crop, at least until I begin to remember Ed Meese.

That being said, most of Dean's appeal to me is the prospect of seeing him mercilessly beat the crap out of Bush in the debate if we get to have one this time around. Dean isn't so much about the left wing of the Democartic party as he is about the exasperated wing. But unless Clark somehow screws up or fizzles out he's money as far as I'm concerned. The point is to win.
posted by furiousthought at 9:26 AM on September 16, 2003


My question for you, pardonyou?, is since you're a Clark supporter and moderate Dem, would you vote for a Dean/Clark ticket?

Jeez, you might as well ask me if I'd cut off my arm to save my leg. But here goes: assuming no remotely viable 3rd party candidate -- in other words, a choice between Bush/Cheney and Dean/Clark, I would be torn between not voting and Dean/Clark, but would probably ultimately choose the latter.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:48 AM on September 16, 2003


His critics say that the good doctor can bend it like Beckham when he has to.

Wow. Football (saw-cer) parlance enters the US political spectrum. I never thought I'd see the day...
posted by i_cola at 9:49 AM on September 16, 2003


Maybe I have a new perspective because this is going to be the first election I can vote in, but it seems to me that everyone's going about increasing voter turnout all wrong.

The concept of winning elections through stirring up the base seems as ridiculous to me as winning through appealing to the 7% swing voters. Brooks is right about the latter--swing voters aren't worth fighting over. It's not so much because of how small a number they are these days, as Brooks claims, it's that true swing voters are, in the words of MWO, Moron-Americans. These are the people swayed by the last television ad they see before going to the polls. They're often confused with independents, but in my opinion, they're a whole different animal with a much smaller brain. Independents don't pre-judge candidates based on their party, but swing-voters don't even judge them based on their ideas. These voters are won by luck alone.

The key to American politics is that only 51% of the 205 million voting age adults voted in the 2000 presidential election. Those are the REAL swing voters. 49% of America said they didn't give a shit about Gore, Bush, Nader, or Buchanan.

Now, there are people who've posted above that they don't think Bush is an extreme or radical president, not next to Nixon or Reagan. I disagree, partly because, well, a lot of the same guys are in all 3 administrations. In any case, Bush is radical enough that it should be possible for an enthusiastic campaign, like Dean or Clark has, to convince just 2% of the voting age population that doesn't vote to read a bit about the things this President has done: 'Clear Skies', arsenic in drinking water, the details of how those tax cuts really play out, the utter LIE that was Bush's first campaign, failed promises to education and Head Start. Now, there are a lot of people who will just say "Well, politicians lie, so what?" But all you need is maybe 2% more voters, and it'll change the whole political landscape.
posted by jbrjake at 10:02 AM on September 16, 2003


Can someone please explain why a Democrat should vote for Wesley Clark other than that he looks good in a uniform? I'm talking issues, ideas, facts; something other than "electability."
posted by PrinceValium at 10:28 AM on September 16, 2003


"Can someone please explain why a Democrat should vote for Wesley Clark"

It's "kick Bush out of the White House first, then try to figure out how President Clark will govern and hope he doesn't suck"

I guess, if he actually runs, he'll do that as a DLC, Clinton/Gore Democrat (you know, Holbrooke at State, Summers at Treasury, stuff like that). Like a Clintonite in uniform -- a candidate who, unlike these last two Presidents, didn't dodge the draft. A Democrat McCain or something. But it's mostly I guess about the desire to beat Bush, no matter who the winning candidate is. And if America is scared, give her a man whose uniform is not a May 1 aircraft carrier photo-op prop, you know what I mean?
Also, what was actually known about Eisenhower's politics in 1951?


posted by matteo at 10:51 AM on September 16, 2003


a Clintonite in uniform

I think I hear a campaign slogan!
posted by goethean at 10:57 AM on September 16, 2003


Can someone please explain why a Democrat should vote for Wesley Clark?

Clark on the issues, ideas, facts.
posted by stonerose at 10:59 AM on September 16, 2003


Also, what was actually known about Eisenhower's politics in 1951?

Not enough, of course. Eisenhower didn't run the ship in the 50s; Congress, the cold war Cabinet, and the judiciary did. Even George Washington knew he was basically going to be a figurehead. And Grant had arguably the most corrupt administration in history. You want someone whose glory days are ahead of them, not behind. I'm not convinced that Clark has any relevant experience beyond killing people or telling others to kill people. Maybe that's good enough nowadays.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:03 AM on September 16, 2003


Can someone please explain why a Democrat should vote for Wesley Clark other than that he looks good in a uniform? I'm talking issues, ideas, facts; something other than "electability."

On the Issues.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:04 AM on September 16, 2003


BTW, thanks for the link to Clark's positions.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:06 AM on September 16, 2003


PrinceValium, I share your unease with military people at the head of the executive branch, but I don't think you're being fair. Clark has held numerous positions at the head of immensely complex organizations and networks. He was also a Rhodes scholar, first in his class at West Point, and - if you read his published comments - he seems relatively liberal and well-versed in the issues.

As for "you want someone whose glory days are ahead of him, not behind" - that's the kind of rationale that gets us George W. Bush: a serial failure in academia, business, and the military.
posted by stonerose at 11:10 AM on September 16, 2003


The anger image, protest-candidate, being-against-Bush-more-than-for-something-else images are all worrisome if they stick to Dean. The idea that "his values were impeccable to the left" is simply uninformed (the most obvious example is his gun-control position but I've tabled for Dean in Oakland and lefties come by and accuse Dean of being a Republican, fwiw).

I like what I see of Wesley Clark, but I fear the desire for a general to save us is another symptom of cringing cowardly liberalism. I think it's about time we took back the idea of being liberal as a positive thing. And frankly, I think a lot of the nonaligned voters (I'm an independent thinking of registering for the first time ever as a Dem to vote for Dean in the primary) have gripes with Bush as well.

You can't go around goring so many oxen (no pun intended) without stimulating opposition. If a quest for purity (whether left-wing or DLC purity) prevents the cohesion of a united-front coalition against the Bushies, then we're screwed (again).

Having said all that, the "anger" issue is tricky, but not impossible to finesse. I agree with Harry Shearer, who said that Americans elect happy conservatives and fighting liberals.
posted by xian at 11:13 AM on September 16, 2003


BTW, here is a recent, and lengthy, Esquire piece on Clark.
posted by stonerose at 11:14 AM on September 16, 2003


I don't give Clark much a chance of actually winning, but his candidacy will call attention to the fact that Dean looks extremely wimpy on the war on terror and defense issues.

Notwithstanding Dean's attempt to turn the nation against the war on terror, national defense still remains an important issue -- probably the most important issue -- to most voters outside of Dean's left-wing base. The Deanies are very worried about Clark's candidacy, which might explain why Gov. Dean allegedly spent weeks trying to sign Clark up as his running mate.
posted by Durwood at 11:25 AM on September 16, 2003


First -- why Democrats would want to take 'friendly advice' from Republicans (from Rove to Brooks to Novak) is beyond me. What possible reason would these guys have to give good advice to Democrats? Wheels within wheels, y'all.

Second, the characterization of Dean as 'anti-war' is ridiculous if you're paying even the slightest bit of attention. He supported the first Gulf war and the war in afghanistan. It's as if people who say this believe that one must be pro-war, all wars, any time, any place (which, maybe some do, but that's a pretty morally bankrupt point of view.)

Third, the notion that Dean is trying to 'turn the nation against the war on terror' is also absurd on its face. Surely there are legitimate policy questions as to how the 'war on terror' is best fought, no? We already know that Bush & Co. prioritizes tax cuts over funding for homeland security. That is not helpful to the 'war on terror.'

I'm about halfway through Clark's book Waging Modern War. He's very smart, bordering on brilliant and I'd have no qualms about voting for him for President. However, Dean's also very smart and is running a campaign that emphasizes putting power back in the hands of Americans throughout the country as opposed to in the hands of the DLC and the Clinton-Gorians (who seem to be promoting Clark, probably to preserve their own power base).

If there's a clean nomination fight, then may the best man win. If there's dirty backroom dealing, then I'll know what the Democratic party values and my refusal to affiliate with either party will be reaffirmed.

Anybody but Bush in '04, though.
posted by Medley at 11:42 AM on September 16, 2003


Clark entering the race now seems essentially to be an admission by the DLC crowd that their boys, Kerry and Leiberman, have dropped the ball. Rather than rallying around Dean, they're switching horses and will continue trying to tear Dean down. If they succeed and Dean does not get the nomination, whoever does get it will end up in the same boat as Gore, where the "debates" are nothing but two vanilla-white dudes sitting there saying, "me too!" and the vote is split 50/50 due to the mere fact that the general public can't tell any difference between the two candidates. Me, I don't happen to believe that Bush vs. Dean will be a cakewalk for Dubya. However, if Dean runs in the general election the way he is running in the primary, and then he loses, I will at least feel like voters had a clear, legitimate choice in the direction of the country. Would Clark represent a similarly well defined option? I don't know yet, because I've yet to hear a word out of his mouth. But I will listen when he starts his campaign. I do suspect, however, that he is primarily just a telegenic puppet of Democrat Party smoke-filled back room operatives, much in the same way that Bush is exactly that for the Republicans. Overall, in my estimation, the Democrats would be much stronger going into the general election if the party elders would rally around Dean instead of constantly attacking him, and if Clark joined the ticket as his running mate. You can pooh-pooh Dean's candidacy and supporters all you want, but in reality, every single one of the other nine contenders would sell their kidneys on eBay to have the same amount of support from the general public.
posted by spilon at 11:57 AM on September 16, 2003


I do suspect, however, that he is primarily just a telegenic puppet of Democrat Party smoke-filled back room operatives, much in the same way that Bush is exactly that for the Republicans.

This is a Nader argument. The extreme policies of the Bush presidency have proved Nader's arguments wrong.
posted by goethean at 12:08 PM on September 16, 2003


I like the sound (literally) of "Dean-Clark." This Dean Clark sounds like an all-American hero. It's a good brand name.
posted by callmejay at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2003


Nader Nader Nader!
posted by solistrato at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2003


I like the sound (literally) of "Dean-Clark." This Dean Clark sounds like an all-American hero.
no, I think Gen Clark needs to win the nomination then choose any Democrat named Kent as his running mate. Clark-Kent for president? That'd kick some serious, superhero ass

smoke-filled back room operatives
nah. Democrats don't smoke anymore (unless they represent Virginia)
posted by matteo at 1:00 PM on September 16, 2003


Hell, its a two-party system. Whoever the dems go with will not be that big of an issue compared to how well things are going in Iraq, how many more jobs we've lost, etc. The two-party knife cuts both ways.

>If Dean is too left-wing for the centrists, why is Bush not too right-wing?


Did you see the debates in 2000? The Bush we were presented with was not this ultra-conservative fundie warmongering nutcase. The daily show did a classic skit called Bush vs. Bush in which he debates himself post and pre-election. Amusing to say the least. Kind of ignores how 9/11 changed government policy, but Bush was going extremely right prior to that anyway.

Clark is a fool not to say yes to Dean's VP question. Dean has backers, name recognition, and they're both critical of Iraq. Clark called it "elective surgery" in an interview not so long ago. Not to mention Clark is very much a non-candidate compared to Kerry and Edwards who have already established themselves an their take on the issues. Eventually the field will pan out and some of these guys will be each other's VPs. I'm expecting Clark to drop out early once he realizes how hard this campaign is going to be.
posted by skallas at 1:26 PM on September 16, 2003


The point is to win.
Why I hate the "Parties". Which does sound like the "me" society in action.
[derail]
Al Sharpton last election talked about this, voter's voting for "the one they thought would win". One of the few times I saw eye to eye on an issue, he talked about casting your vote for the man that could do the best job in office and your vote being your opinion. Not just casting your vote for a "winning" candidate. Yet he may have been referring to himself.[/derail]
posted by thomcatspike at 2:00 PM on September 16, 2003


As voters become more educated, they are more likely to be ideological and support the party that embraces their ideological label. As a result, the parties have polarized.

Oh, that's priceless. He's flatly asserting -- no data to back him up, natch -- that being better educated makes you less likely to have any understanding of political reality and its subtleties, and more prone to fall back into blinkered ideology?

Did someone at the Times finally decide the paper had gone on too long without a comics page?
posted by mattpfeff at 3:08 PM on September 16, 2003


mattpleff - [ re: "As voters become more educated, they are more likely to be ideological..." ] I think that this embarrassing quote might actually amount to a bizarrely addled distortion, by the author, of research which shows that voters tend to become more politically conservative as they achieve higher levels of education.........but only up to a point. Then, they swing strongly democratic.

I suspect this phenomena is due to the effect education has on income: a moderate amount leads to a substantial increase in income (and the desire to protect one's income from taxation, though the Bush "spend and cut" policies won't do much to cut taxation in the long run, but still....) while obtaining several masters degrees, a PhD, or more provokes too much thought which, in turn, leads insidiously to liberalism.

Or, perhaps, the institutions of higher education in the US are stuffed with unreconstructed marxists marching in lockstep. There's surely a little truth, at least, to this caricature.

But Manichean (black vs. white), ideologically driven government policies and rhetoric ("you are either with us.....or you are with the terrorists!") can only be, in my book, dumb.

Dean-Clark! Clark-Dean! Dean-Clark! Clark-Dean!.......
posted by troutfishing at 6:41 PM on September 16, 2003


Meanwhile, I'd sooner sleep in a bed of angry rattlesnakes then look to David Brooks' public opinions for my political bearings.
posted by troutfishing at 6:44 PM on September 16, 2003


I think jbrjake's dead on. Dean has a chance because he has the ability to rouse such strong support from otherwise politically apathetic audiences. Getting any significant portion of the disillusioned masses out to the polls could clinch the race. Fire in the belly is easy to underestimate n a candidate.
posted by blissbat at 7:23 PM on September 16, 2003


Hell, its a two-party system. Whoever the dems go with will not be that big of an issue compared to how well things are going in Iraq, how many more jobs we've lost, etc. The two-party knife cuts both ways.

I want to believe this.

Did you see the debates in 2000? The Bush we were presented with was not this ultra-conservative fundie warmongering nutcase.

And except on MeFi and a few other random websites, much of America doesn't believe that Bush is a "nutcase". Sorry to burst your partisan bubble, but America has become more conservative since 9/11. Not to say that it's permanent, but the Republicans are capitalizing on a state of fear, and will continue to do so until Americans toughen up or the attacks on our soil become a distant memory.

As voters become more educated, they are more likely to be ideological and support the party that embraces their ideological label. As a result, the parties have polarized.

I believe this quote refers to the LCD theory. As people become more educated, they have very specific and ideological demands for candidates. Party leaders capitalize upon polarizing demands, such as the death penalty, prescription drugs, school vouchers, social security...AKA very personal issues that affect the masses on a regular basis.

Oh, that's priceless. He's flatly asserting -- no data to back him up, natch -- that being better educated makes you less likely to have any understanding of political reality and its subtleties, and more prone to fall back into blinkered ideology?

Most people associate with parties, not issues. Most people aren't registered as independent. They'd rather have a defined direction to help guide their thought than put a lot of thought into political decision-making. Look at specific-issue MeFi political threads vs. general political threads. Everyone and their mother has an opinion about general politics, but most people don't have the time or desire to care about specific policy issues.

Meanwhile, I'd sooner sleep in a bed of angry rattlesnakes then look to David Brooks' public opinions for my political bearings.

David Brooks makes you think. Not a deep, intellectual, detail-filled thought, but a, "Huh, that's interesting" type of thought. His columns in The Atlantic are the first that I read whenever I get my issue every month. He's just light, fluffy, slightly intellectual, and fun. He's not trying to be a policy/political analyst. Krugman, on the other hand, needs to get his head out of his ass because he, like Friedman and others, are wasting their type writing op-eds for the Times when they could be writing thought-provoking books. Op-ed columns are for lazy intellectuals who'd rather have opinions than create solutions.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:56 PM on September 16, 2003


this embarrassing quote might actually amount to a bizarrely addled distortion, by the author, of research which shows that voters tend to become more politically conservative as they achieve higher levels of education.........but only up to a point. Then, they swing strongly democratic.

Ah, interesting. That would indeed be a bizarre distortion, but maybe at least not completely random....

Most people associate with parties, not issues. Most people aren't registered as independent. They'd rather have a defined direction to help guide their thought than put a lot of thought into political decision-making. Look at specific-issue MeFi political threads vs. general political threads. Everyone and their mother has an opinion about general politics, but most people don't have the time or desire to care about specific policy issues.

Sure, sure -- but Brooks is deliberately drawing a correlation between education and ideology, which is something entirely different.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:28 PM on September 16, 2003


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