Saturday, June 11, 2005


There is a struggle going on for the soul of the Democratic Party. One way this struggle reveals itself is in the conflict over who, exactly, Howard Dean should be.

On the one hand there are left-wing zealots like's John Corey who proclaims that he loves Howard Dean just as he is, especially as he has been exhibiting himself over the past few weeks. The Howard Dean who has declared that he hates Republicans, who alleges that Republicans haven't worked an honest day in their lives, who derides the Republican party for being a bunch of white Christians, is the Dean who was elected Chairman of the DNC, and it's who he should remain.

Corey is exasperated that his fellow Democrats seem to be disavowing Dean's attacks upon Republicans. He writes:

So what is the topic that grabs the news and the Democratic leadership's attention? Howard Dean said something mean. Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Bush lied and people died. Nope - not news. Ohio Republicans involved in financial and voting scandal. Nope - not news. Republicans jam Democratic phone lines during 2004 election to stop the vote. Republicans hack into Democratic computers. No news there. Tom Delay has repeated ethical lapses and takes money from lobbyists like Jack Abramoff. Nope - not news. The White House edits critical environmental reports to refute scientific fact. Nope - no news there.

Wait a minute - this just in: Howard Dean said something mean. Oh my God! Stop the presses! Did you hear? Dean has gone mean, pass it on. Get Candy Crowley at CNN and Chris Matthews at MSNBC. Don't forget Scarborough. This is a week's worth of programming! Get Holy Joe Lieberman to speak for the good Democrats. Get Jive-Joe Biden, he'll be good for a sensible quote to contrast with the madness of Howard "Beal" Dean.

Quick, do you know why Republicans are against federal money for stem cell research? They're afraid the Democrats will use it to grow a spine. (ba-da-boom)

The Dainty Dems of Petticoat Junction got their knickers in a twist because Howard Dean spoke harshly about Republicans. Not that any of the Democratic leadership heard what Dean said or even asked him what he said. No, they got it from talk radio or from someone with good hair and white teeth on TV, or from some other reliable source.

I don't give a crap whether or not you like Howard Dean. It's about damned time the Democratic Party quit sucking up to corporations and Republicans and began sticking up for the people! You remember, we the people? Of the people, by the people, and for the people? It is there somewhere in a government document, as I recall. Make a Freedom of Information request and maybe one of your new conservative judges will let you look at it under the glass where they keep it.

You want to hold Howard Dean accountable for what he says, fine. How about holding Bush accountable for what he does? I want someone who will stand up not stand down. I want someone outspoken and outrageous and out there, for me. I want someone on my side, not on my back for more money. I want someone who fights, not folds at the first sign of fake indignation.

To paraphrase my good friend Titus: You whiny Democratic Leadership wussies - get down off the cross and use the wood to build a bridge to get over it! We love Howard Dean!

On the other hand there are the mainstream liberal Democrats who themselves have to stand up for election. They don't disagree with what Dean says, of course, they'd just rather he not say it. It's unnecessarily distracting and counterproductive since they find themselves constantly having to defend Dean's remarks to the press. A recent L.A. Times piece said this:

[A]t a private meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill, a number of worried Senate Democrats warned Dean that he had been going overboard and needed to choose his words more carefully.

The former Vermont governor and unsuccessful presidential candidate recently referred to the GOP as "pretty much a white, Christian party" and declared that a lot of Republicans have "never made an honest living in their lives."

Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.) said that at the Capitol Hill meeting, "there couldn't be any doubt that there was some concern, even by Dean himself," about how his comments had been received.

Also Thursday, two Democrats seen as rising stars - Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee and Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner - made a point of distancing themselves from Dean's remarks. Ford, who plans a Senate run next year, said on the Don Imus radio show that if Dean could not "temper his comments, it may get to the point where the party may need to look elsewhere for leadership, because he does not speak for me."

Ford later told The Times that Dean was "leading us in a direction that makes it difficult to win.... His leadership right now is not serving any of us very well." Warner, who has been mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate, said Dean was using "not the kind of tone that I would use, not the kind of tone a lot of the Democratic governors in mostly Republican states are using to get elected or to govern."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on her way into the Capitol Hill meeting with Dean that he "ought to stick to organization, raising funds and supporting Democrats, rather than creating friction and splitting the party." She added that she would advise Dean to "cool it."

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), up for reelection next year, said that he cautioned Dean "not to get caught up in the Washington game of political polarization."

"This is a learning process," Sen. Joseph Biden said. If Dean were to continue to make the sort of comments he has made recently, he said, "he might find himself in a real difficult situation. But I think you'll see him be a little more careful in how he phrases things. Do I think this has caused long-term damage for the Democratic Party? No. If it becomes the steady diet for the next three years? Yeah."

So the question is, whose advice will Dean heed? Who will Howard Dean be for the next three years? Will he be the moderate, reasonable, sagacious leader the mainstream Democratic politicos want him to be, or will he be the down and dirty, punch 'em below the belt brawler that the far left foot soldiers want him to remain? Dean's reply to this question is going to make one faction or the other very unhappy, and could precipitate an enervating and self-destructive internecine conflict among Democrats. That'd be too bad.

The Most Harmful Book Ever Written

Regarding the Ten Most Harmful Books list to which we alluded a few days ago, Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost writes that the most harmful book ever written wasn't in the top ten and didn't even make honorable mention. Check out his argument here.

An Offer Difficult to Refuse

Strategy Page explains how the war against the Sunni terrorists in Iraq is proceeding. Apparently Iraqi government representatives are offering the Sunnis in town after town a choice which many are finding difficult to refuse:

June 9, 2005: More towns in Iraqi's "wild west" are making peace with the government. The usual drill is not another Fallujah, but a government official meeting with local tribal and religious leaders, where an offer is made. It is announced that Iraqi and American troops are coming. Neighborhoods that support the government will see little or no fighting as a search is made for weapons, bombs and the like. Neighborhoods that wish to resist will be hit hard.

By now, everyone knows how smart bombs work. Increasingly, Sunni Arab leaders are being told, by their followers, that all this violence is not worth it. After Saddam fell, Sunni Arabs continued to believe in fantasies. For the last two years, the collective delusion was that the Americans had no stomach for guerilla war, and the Kurds and Shia Arabs could never get a government together.

Today, Sunni Arabs who can get away on a little vacation, go north to the Kurdish north, or south to Shia Basra. In both places you can sit in an outdoor cafe without fear of a suicide bomb going off down the street. The Kurds and Shia have more jobs, more reconstruction and less crime. The Sunni Arabs don't want to live in their own mess any more. They don't want to live in a combat zone, especially while the Kurds and Shia are not.

For Sunni Arabs to support the government, it often means fighting with the terrorist groups, and sometimes the criminal gangs they are allied with. The government offer includes help in building up local security. It has not gone unnoticed that Iraqi police are a lot more effective than they were a year ago. The government also has police commandoes who can go into any area, no matter how well defended, and take out terrorists or other heavily armed enemies. No longer does the government have to depend on the Americans for this sort of thing.

Read the rest at the link. Also check out the post for June 7th.