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Democrats' Fury, and Values, Go AWOL

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Larkspur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:20 PM
Original message
Democrats' Fury, and Values, Go AWOL

I've been thinking a lot lately about Howard Dean.

A year ago, the Democratic establishment was openly vexed at the prospect that Dean, the former Vermont governor who led an insurgent campaign for president, might win the Iowa caucuses and so be catapulted to the Democratic nomination. As it happens, Dean lost badly in Iowa and then imploded spectacularly.

I did not think highly of Dean's candidacy, nor of the legions of Deaniacs who were mostly young and inexperienced at politics and so thought they knew better than the old and experienced. But I understand what drove their fury.

And I have been thinking about Dean lately because I've been thinking about the Democratic response - rather, the stunning lack of one - to the Alberto Gonzales nomination.


No senator has come forward to oppose Gonzales. Senate Republicans coalesce around their commander-in-chief. Senate Democrats coalesce around a strategy of convenient fecklessness.

The Democrats are, of course, opposed to torture. They have, they say, "serious questions" or "grave concerns" or "deep reservations" about Gonzales' record on the subject. And they are, most all of them, planning to vote for him anyway.

Just like most of them voted to give the president authority to invade Iraq, even though they had serious questions and grave concerns and deep reservations about that, too. The Iraq war vote, more than anything, is what ignited the Dean insurgency. There was this sense - a correct one - that Democrats in Washington would not stand up to stop George W. Bush even when they sensed the president was driving us over a precipice.

Now these senators are poised to take the following position: They are against torture but they are for the man who set the stage for torture.

The Democrats lost the presidential election in part because they aren't trusted on national security. How is this problem solved by embracing one of the administration's worst foreign policy failures?

What did acquiescing on Iraq get the Democrats? Substantively, they are complicit in the misadventure and will be part of the political generation that must spend the next decade or two digging out from the rubble. And politically? The Democrats lost seats in Congress and the contest for president, too.

Enabling the Bush administration's habit of escaping accountability for even the grossest failure isn't smart politics. It's cowardice. If Democrats are to compete on the political turf of values, they'd better find some they stand for.


She makes a good point about Dem leaders in Congress being mostly "all show" and no substance when it comes to standing up for principles.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. I resent being called a 'Deaniac'
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 05:23 PM by ixion
just because I agreed with his platform. :grr:

And I am neither young nor inexperienced.

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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. I am proud to be a Deaniac, but I also
took exception with the "young and inexperienced" supporters label. Yes, Dean had a lot of "first timers" but he also had a lot of old RFK/JFK supporters. Many compared Dean's campaign to Bobby Kennedy's, myself included. I'll be 50 this year, and Dean let the grassroots in so we could participate.
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. The media latched onto that one early.
We've never been able to shake it.
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naryaquid Donating Member (282 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I am also a baby boomer who supported Dean..and I know many
others in my age group...As for the Media latching on to the "young, inexperienced" thing, it's probably because - before they were able to attack on the similiarly dubious point of "the scream"..they had nothing else...Trust me, a Repug with that kind of following and success his followers would have been lauded as something along the lines of the Second Coming...The politics come first, the "point of attack" second.
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ChiciB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
As a Proud Liberal, it's hard to look at the Democrats in Congress and not wonder "wha happened?" I'm so disenchanted and lost because I remember WHEN!

Many say Dean isn't very liberal, well maybe not, but at least he said what was on his mind and didn't back down! He made the noise that needed to be made and look at us now!

I wasn't a Dean supporter but I do respect him a great deal. I have to admit I was ALWAYS a Kerry supporter, maybe it was because he was from "my generation" but I no longer see any of "my generation" doing what "my generation" did! Time passes, things change and of course we can't relive the past, but PUUULLLEEEEZZZEE... stand up and HOLLER!
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naryaquid Donating Member (282 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. This would be a great piece to send to the DLC/DNC
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