Tales from the Dean Camp
November 9, 2003 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Dean forgoes federal campaign funds. This goes contrary to his beliefs, although favors his campaign considering he's the front-runner. Why the ideological shift? You might ask why I'm linking to the Des Moines Register, since every major newspaper is carrying this story anyway. Well, a little more than a week ago, Dean made some rather off-color remarks to this same paper. Edwards is now calling him out on two of his latest twists. Not that I think Edwards stands a chance of winning, considering he blatantly came out against gay marriage on the program. But, Edwards has a point, and Dean seems to be stumbling.
posted by BlueTrain (49 comments total)
 
"off-color"? that's a pun, right?
because if it's not, it's deliberately misleading.
posted by quonsar at 7:14 PM on November 9, 2003


What was off color about what he said?
posted by nyxxxx at 7:18 PM on November 9, 2003


Jesus, this whole flag thing is so stupid. He basically just said "I even want everyone on my side, even those who may not normally vote for a guy like me." Why wouldn't he? He's not saying "I want the racists to vote for me, not the blacks."

It's just stupid politicizing from his rivals because they are pissed off and scared because of the monstrous amount of support he has.
posted by Espoo2 at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2003


Dean seems to be stumbling? Um, what? My guess on why you used the Des Moines Register is because the New York Times version of the matching funds story reads a little differently. (Adam Nagourney, the writer, is one of the top political journalists in America.)
"WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 — After months of being viewed by Democrats as an improbable if persistent candidate, Howard Dean has erased questions about his staying power and forced his rivals to upend their strategies to counter his increasing influence on the race, party leaders, strategists and even rival campaigns say.
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In the past week, Dr. Dean lined up two important labor endorsements, and on Saturday he became the first Democrat to withdraw from the public campaign finance system. That strategy, though potentially risky, will allow him to far outspend his rivals and further establish himself as an unconventional driving force in the primaries.

While Dr. Dean was shaken this week by attacks on his statement that he wanted to be "the candidate for guys with Confederate flags," he thus far seems to have endured the harsh criticism in a way that even his competitors said demonstrated the resilience of his candidacy and the intense loyalty of his supporters."
posted by jbrjake at 7:29 PM on November 9, 2003


You're all doomed.

Also, this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:35 PM on November 9, 2003


So, to sum up, other Democratic candidates are upset because Dean has advocated such outrageous ideas as "embracing significant Southern voters" and "raising more money than them."

This is kind of like last time when Lieberman similarly promoted his "Let's Not Win" initiative for the 2000 campaign.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:36 PM on November 9, 2003


Trolling on the front page? Keep it to your blog.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:41 PM on November 9, 2003


Honest question for MeFites:

If a Republican had made the exact same Confederate flag comments, how many of you would be saying, "He basically just said 'I even want everyone on my side, even those who may not normally vote for a guy like me'", and "Dean has advocated such outrageous ideas as "embracing significant Southern voters"?

How many of you would defend his words? And how many of you would be lighting torches and screaming, "He's pandering to racists!!"

Hint: be honest.

You gotta love Space Coyote's accusations of "trolling", too, which are suspiciously absent in any similarly worded post decrying Bush's policies. It's only trolling when you disagree, I guess.
posted by dhoyt at 7:48 PM on November 9, 2003


If a Republican had made the exact same Confederate flag comments, how many of you would be saying, "He basically just said 'I even want everyone on my side, even those who may not normally vote for a guy like me'", and "Dean has advocated such outrageous ideas as "embracing significant Southern voters"?

Because Dean responded by saying he wanted to embrace significant Southern voters. George W. Bush in 1999 ducked the entire flag issue to avoid alienating them. The former notes a need to overcome an issue tainted by racism and ignorance, the latter seeks to avoid the benefits of exploiting it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:56 PM on November 9, 2003


personally, i wouldn't want to be associated with some asshole driving a pickup with a confederate flag on it anyway. mullets can be contagious.
posted by quonsar at 7:58 PM on November 9, 2003


Because Dean responded by saying he wanted to embrace significant Southern voters.

Dean also said the flag was a racist symbol - So, it's ok that he wants to embrace the racists because Democrats should have a 'big tent.' I guess that tent lets the boldy hypocritical in too.

(n.b. I do not believe the confederate flag is a racist symbol, however.)
posted by alethe at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2003


dhoyt: There's a fundamental difference between Trent Lott supporting a presidential candidate opposing civil rights who could have avoided "all those problems" and an admittedly sloppy statement that asks support from "guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." The former implies solidarity with a position, specifically sanctioning a candidate who could have cured ills by denying civil rights; the latter simply asks for those with Confederate flags to support the politician, though without the politician necessarily supporting the bloc.

Or, to put it simply, post hoc ergo propter hoc, mofo.
posted by ed at 8:02 PM on November 9, 2003


what ed said ;>

And to further his point that Dean wasn't implying "solidarity with a position" is this quote from his first response to Kerry and Gephardt's initial attacks on this subject: "I want people with confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic--because the need for quality healthcare, jobs, and a good education knows no racial boundaries."
posted by jbrjake at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2003


The thing is that by kicking up this kind of uproar, the other candidates are saying "anyone who owns a confederate flag is a racist". This may not be true, and Dean wasn't bringing race into it. Remember, in Vermont a Confederate flag is a curiosity, far different than what it means to someone living in Georgia. It was a reference point more than anything. But the other candidates are not winning any favours among potential voters by trying to solidify the automatic association.

And I stand by my troll accusations, and I don't recall saying "no post about bush has ever been trollish".
posted by Space Coyote at 8:07 PM on November 9, 2003


woo, it's gonna be a long year.
posted by crunchland at 8:13 PM on November 9, 2003


Dean also said the flag was a racist symbol - So, it's ok that he wants to embrace the racists because Democrats should have a 'big tent.' I guess that tent lets the boldy hypocritical in too.

Interesting. You don't believe the flag is a racist symbol, except in your single analogy when it suits the idea of calling Dean a hypocrite.

Consider this: the Confederate flag is a racist symbol through its association with hate groups. So is a cross. Does that mean those waving a cross are racists? The point Dean was trying to make is that if Southerners truly believe their flag is not racist, albiet a viewpoint shrouded in ignorant delusion, then they should cast aside the suggestion made by (no offense) suggestions that you just made: that Democrats see Confederate flag-wavers as racists.

Personally, I think Confederate flag-wavers who are not openly racist are victims of deeply cultural-induced delusion, and I openly support getting rid of its place in active Southern culture. However, I also support the meaning of Dean's statement, that being that Southerners who really could care less should stop falling for the blatant attempts to make them think they should care in the first place.

dhoyt, you asked how would the response be if a Republican made similar comments: I submit that Bush did far worse. He visited Bob Jones University, and asked for racist bigots to embrace him and his campaign. At least Dean admitted he believed their viewpoints were bigoted. Bush just took the money and ran.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:16 PM on November 9, 2003


I thought this was the most interesting take on Dean's flag remarks, recounting how the identical comment drew ovations before black audiences several months ago.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:22 PM on November 9, 2003


CunningLinguist, that article is great. My favorite detail is
Sharpton also said, "Maynard Jackson said that the Confederate flag is America's swastika. . . . I don't think you're a bigot, but I think that is insensitive."

That last dig showed how fast Sharpton and the Democratic candidates get lost without a compass. Maynard Jackson, Atlanta's first African-American mayor who died this summer, gave Dean some of the loudest applause at the DNC meeting. "Dean blew the roof off today," Jackson said. "There was no mealy-mouth wishy-washiness about it. It was very gutsy."
or maybe
Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for the 2000 presidential campaign of Al Gore and Lieberman, and no mealy-mouth herself, said Dean's words were "the medicine to cure my depression."
posted by jbrjake at 8:32 PM on November 9, 2003


You don't believe the flag is a racist symbol, except in your single analogy when it suits the idea of calling Dean a hypocrite.

Dean said it was a racist symbol - the analogy stands.

At least Dean admitted he believed their viewpoints were bigoted. Bush just took the money and ran.

Dean said it was a racist symbol, and he STILL wants racists in the 'big tent.' I think you mean it's Dean that's taking their money, and votes - if they choose to vote for him. Yep, that's much better than what Bush did. *sigh*
posted by alethe at 8:36 PM on November 9, 2003


Dean said it was a racist symbol, and he STILL wants racists in the 'big tent.'

Jesus christ, stop paraphrasing. Here's the full context of what Dean originally said:

"I intend to talk about race during this election in the South because the Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us. . . . White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals in the back ought to be voting with us and not them, because their kids don't have health insurance either and their kids need better schools, too."

If Dean is guilty of anything, it is of poorly restating that concept in later speeches.
posted by machaus at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2003


alethe, you're still trying to set up some straw man suggestion that Dean was saying he wants racists in his party. I'm not going to continuously make comments stating how we both know it's simply not true.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:42 PM on November 9, 2003


I think the issue with Dean and the confeds isn't what he said, it's how he handled it afterwards. If he'd just come across and said "OK that was stupid, but you SEE MY POINT RIGHT?" it would have been fine. Or if he'd just stood by his remarks and said "look I'm not racist, I just want to reach out to black AND white Southerners" that would have been fine, too. But he sorta split the fence, and that's what's made him vulnerable to continued attacks on the topic.

Space Coyote: I think it's interesting to discuss these sort of political questions occasionally. Does that make it trolling?
posted by Happydaz at 8:47 PM on November 9, 2003


Well no matter what Dean said, it can not be as thoughtless as this sound-bite from Wes Clark:

" I think all Americans - and this is a joke! - all Americans, even if they're from the South and 'stupid,' should be represented."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 8:48 PM on November 9, 2003


Dean could have avoided this whole stupid flap by rephrasing the line slightly. For example: "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with *gun racks* in the back ought to be voting with us and not them..." Same exact sentiment, controversy avoided. If anyone screwed up here I think it was the staffer that penned that line.
posted by fancypants at 8:49 PM on November 9, 2003


The problem the Democrats have is that they need the votes of the Confederate flag waving good ol' boys to win this election. Looking at an electoral map from 2000 proves this point. There aren't too many northern states left for the Democrats to win. Places like Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, and West Virginia -- while technically border states and not truly "the South" -- all will factor in greatly to a Democrat winning this election. Especially if Bush is able to grab Pennsylvania or Michigan or Wisconsin. Whether or not the aforementioned good ol' boys are racist because of their identification with the flag or not is irrelevant to a discussion of Dean and the other candidates' electability. Dean knows he needs those voters, but he's not savvy enough to figure out how to win them without alienating blacks and white guilt liberals. The rest of the field, with the exception of Edwards it seems, doesn't want the Southern white vote, which seems like a foolish position to take. Anytime politicians start saying they don't want a particular kind of person's vote, chances are they won't be getting it. Dean is stumbling and Clark is fading. Gephardt seems to be surging, but I still think Edwards is the most electable of the nine remaining candidates.
posted by marcusb at 8:52 PM on November 9, 2003


poorly restating that concept in later speeches

So he's only responsible for the things he "originally" said but not any "restatements" of those "original" ideas? You seem to be rationalizing from insanity.

It's a racist symbol, but I also think the Democratic Party has to be a big tent - He said that too, was that really a poor restatement?


on preview : I'm not going to continuously make comments stating how we both know it's simply not true.

Well that's good, because assuming you know what I think would make you either psychic or arrogant. Oh wait you did assume to know what I think.

That's part of the problem - I don't know if Dean wants racists or doesn't, I'm just trying to inject some truth into this with Dean's own words. But because some assume that he must not want racists, they are rationalizing the statement, instead of saying 'yeah, that's what he said and it was a stupid thing to say, here's what I think he meant...'
posted by alethe at 8:52 PM on November 9, 2003


What a lot up bickering here about the Dean/Confederate flag flap....wah wah wah, wah wah. wah wah!.....meanwhile, Dean emerges - improbably - from the Democratic rat pack as the only contender able to go toe to toe with GW's millions.

Any nominated Democrat unable to come close to GW's campaign spending $ power might as well be jumping in front of a moving train. So Dean's hypocritical? Fine then. I'll take hypocritical over clueless any day.
posted by troutfishing at 9:02 PM on November 9, 2003


I'll take hypocritical over clueless any day.

Thanks for the honesty ; )
posted by alethe at 9:04 PM on November 9, 2003


Happydaz, there are so many reasons this post is a troll. For one, it flips common wisdom on its head and gives no evidence for it. This has been a banner week for Dean. He's maintaining healthy leads in New York, New Hampshire, and the nation as a whole. He also won the support of the largest union in the AFL-CIO and the union which spends the most money on politics. He also evoked Clinton, by successfully asking his supporters to release him from a pledge which constrained his ability to campaign for the Presidency. Even the Paper of Record thinks Dean has shown resiliency and permanency this week. But to BlueTrain, Dean is stumbling.

Then there's the title: "Tales from the Dean Camp." Tales? Maybe I'm being paranoid, but that seems to imply that Dean is spinning fictions, and yet there is no evidence given of such a thing.

The true sign this is a troll, though, has to be the rhetorical question. "Why the ideological shift?" Of course, BlueTrain can't be bothered to link to Dean's rationale, or paraphrase it. Or even mention it. Not even on a process level: "because his supporters told him to in a nationwide vote." Just the open-ended question. That's why this post is a troll.
posted by jbrjake at 9:04 PM on November 9, 2003


Jbrjake: Thanks, now I get it :-) Now if I could only figure out how to put snarky titles on MY posts when I have fpps...
posted by Happydaz at 9:14 PM on November 9, 2003


consider the source.

choo-choo!
posted by quonsar at 9:38 PM on November 9, 2003


Well, racists exist, and so do hosts of other socially unacceptables (for lack of a better term), and guess what? They all fucking vote! So what, Dean shouldn't campaign to them so as not to be associated with the very people he will (if elected) govern? Even though I know he needs those votes, I hear him shaking up (whether deliberate or not) generations-old thinking by pointing out how we're all the same boat. And I'm ok with that.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:42 PM on November 9, 2003


alethe: What is so terrible about wanting racists in your party, if you also want them, and the party itself, to be anti-racist? Wouldn't you want the sinners to come to church and see the light? Clearly, it's a WWJD kind of moment.

jbrjake: This post hardly qualifies as a troll, at least on a site like this where there's a genuine diversity of political opinion; there's nothing terribly outrageous about it, or anything else to suggest that it was written specifically to get (more of) a rise out of people (than such news normally would), or that BlueTrain is messing with our heads. Also, metatalk like this should probably go to MetaTalk.
posted by skoosh at 9:44 PM on November 9, 2003


My understanding is that the connotations of the Confederate flag with white power groups is a relatively recent phenomenon. What Dean ought to be concerned with is that he's courting the vote of people who display the symbol of a group who openly declared themselves traitors to the Union and actually went to war against their own country!

I'm personally hard-pressed to determine which is worse, traitorous wretches or racist scumbags. I guess I'm no politician, but there are some people whose vote I wouldn't want. A man is judged by the company he keeps - and courts. But hey, imo I think Dean is just about the only Dem who can give Bush a run for the money right now. I can't rightly blame him for doing the ugly but necessary job of courting the votes of the unpalatable. Politics is not a genteel business.
posted by UncleFes at 10:05 PM on November 9, 2003


Space Coyote: I think it's interesting to discuss these sort of political questions occasionally. Does that make it trolling?

The way the question was set up is definitely trolling, yet. This is totally apart from the question itself (the value of which is debateable). It's the same thing as saying that discussing the Middle East is valuable, but someone poting a thinly-veiled bash disguising it as sometihng else is not a helpful contribution to that discussion.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:06 PM on November 9, 2003


UncleFes - Exactly. Jeff Cowie over at the American Prospect seconds this view: "Howard Dean's assertion about truck drivers and Confederate flags was clumsy -- but on the right track. When a white, patrician guy from a very white state starts talking about Confederate flags, he really ought to be careful.....But though he fumbled the rhetoric, burned himself politically and failed to develop his idea in any sophisticated way, the sentiment behind Dean's statement is exactly what the Democratic Party needs. ...."The Republicans have been talking about [race] since 1968 in order to divide us, and I'm going to bring us together," Dean has said....Before the Civil Rights Act, however, the white, southern working class was primarily Democratic, not simply because of segregation but also because of the party's progressive economic policies...lost in the hoopla about Dean's remarks was his argument that those poor southern whites "ought to be voting with us because their kids don't have health insurance, either, and their kids need better schools, too." That's the part not enough people heard -- and that's what we need to hear more about from Dean."
posted by troutfishing at 10:22 PM on November 9, 2003


"I think all Americans - and this is a joke! - all Americans, even if they're from the South and 'stupid,' should be represented."

Wes Clark should stick to talking about OutKast. (.mov link)
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:45 PM on November 9, 2003


Dean could have avoided this whole stupid flap by rephrasing the line slightly. For example: "White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with *gun racks* in the back ought to be voting with us and not them..." Same exact sentiment, controversy avoided.

Actually this is what Dean used to say. A reporter was questioning Dean on his liberal credentials, pointing out the "A" grade that the NRA gave Dean as Governor of Vermont. When the reporter pressed, Dean repeated his often used line of wanting to be candidate for the rural southerners, but this time Dean switched 'Confederate flags' instead of 'gun-racks' in the 'pickup trucks' line. (perhaps the two are equivalent in Dean's mind) My guess is that since the line of questioning was NRA related, Dean wanted to avoid gun-rack reference, and Confederate flags were the first rural southerner adjective that popped in to his head.

All of that aside, this is really much ado about nothing. I find it doubtful that Dean intended something racial, and this is just sniping at the frontrunner.

The only thing that can really be learned here is that at best Dean thinks this caricature of the south will sell in sound-bites, and at worst Dean actually believes the caricature.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:17 AM on November 10, 2003


Confederate Flag: I can easily understand why some see this as a symbol of racism. Plenty of people using it that way. Certainly there is plenty of history of racism in the south (and other locations of colder clime).

I'm a genuine Yank. A Northerner. Yet where I grew up there were plenty of transplanted southerners around. Some of those folks had a Confederate flag around, but weren't intending any kind of racist comment. No, they were more making a statement about their own heart-felt longing for a place with a warmer climate. So they had a flag that stood for this. But for many, this practice was no different than my having a large photograph of the Mackinaw Bridge as a symbol of my yearning for the land of fresh water seas.
posted by Goofyy at 3:31 AM on November 10, 2003


White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with *gun racks*...

And also, we have lots and lots of gun racks in Vermont [esp this time of year] so it's a metaphor that more people can get and the Vermonters will think it's a wink in our direction.
posted by jessamyn at 5:20 AM on November 10, 2003


I submit that Bush did far worse. He visited Bob Jones University, and asked for racist bigots to embrace him and his campaign. At least Dean admitted he believed their viewpoints were bigoted. Bush just took the money and ran.

Bears repeating.

The only thing that can really be learned here is that at best Dean thinks this caricature of the south will sell in sound-bites, and at worst Dean actually believes the caricature.

Um, have you ever spent any time in the South? This "caricature" lives and breathes and, as noted above, votes (occasionally).
posted by rushmc at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2003


Just because you find the characterization embarrassing doesn't make it a caricature.
posted by jpoulos at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2003


Dean's doing pretty well, if this is the worst people can throw at him. I just hope the rest of the Democratic Party is sensible enough to pull together behind the frontrunner - even if it isn't Dean - instead of wasting months squabbling over the nomination. There are a lot of people waiting to vote for Anyone But Bush, but not enough of them to carry the election.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2003


October 15th, 2003 - Dean makes nationally televised appeal to 'bring the US back together again to confront terrorism, the challenge of Iraq, and the need to build good Jobs for Americans' -

"They say the South won't vote for a Northern Candidate. I think better of the South. I think the South is much bigger than that.......nothing can redress the abuses heaped on the South following the Civil War. But I would like to bring the two cultures together again - September 11th reminded us that we are all Americans, that when the going gets tough, we forget our differences and fight for common goals. Those southerners killed from the 101st, those from Massachusetts who have given their lives in Iraq - they fought not for the South or for the North. They fought together.....together....for you and me, for their families, for America....they died for America, for freedom - and now let us honor their sacrifice by taking bold steps to insure that freedom and democracy in Iraq can truly flourish, that the terrorists there can be defeated.... "
(...sketches out plan for a phased pullout of US troops from Iraq which "maintains and preserves American honor and the sacrifices of those american soldiers who paid the ultimate price for their country" by bringing in a truly international force under the UN to manage the rebuilding of Iraq., then proceeds to launch into a Kennedy-esquely bold, visionary economic plan to create 5 million new jobs for out of work Americans....... )
posted by troutfishing at 9:19 AM on November 10, 2003


Pretty clumsy on Dean's part, but hardly approaching the Trent Lott, "Bob-Jones" Bush and the Republican wink-at-racism dance.

How many of you would defend his words? And how many of you would be lighting torches and screaming, "He's pandering to racists!!"

Hmmm, good question.

So where would you say his words fall on the "Lichter Scale" of dumb racist remarks? You know, that continuum that runs from cretinous-"I stereotype all minorities and that's my level of discourse"-humor to KKK singalong.

~chuckle~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:07 AM on November 10, 2003


Um, have you ever spent any time in the South? This "caricature" lives and breathes ...

Yes, I have spent much time in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (between family that lives there and time in the Army).

And yes, while the caricature of the gun-racked-flag-mounted-pickup does live in the south, we have 'good old boys' just like that here in Wisconsin.

The problem is that this caricature shows a lack of understanding. While there maybe some people who fit this stereotype, the vast majority of white rural southerners that have been at the core of the GOP's 'Southern Strategy', who Dean is after, do not fit this caricature.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:57 PM on November 10, 2003


Dean's doing pretty well, if this is the worst people can throw at him.

It won't be; give them time. Prediction: whomever the Democratic nominee is, the Republicans will go after them with unprecedented vigor and viciousness. This will be the ugliest campaign ever (to date).
posted by rushmc at 2:39 PM on November 10, 2003


Steve_at_Linnwood - Thank God, a conservative on Metafilter disputing liberal caricatures of the South.

Southerners - yes, I've heard of them. Don't they all drink Mint Juleps while they're out burning crosses or....
posted by troutfishing at 7:44 PM on November 10, 2003


Just doing what I can, troutfishing...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2003


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