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September 28, 2003

My Concerns About Dean

By Byron LaMasters

I did surprise a couple of people with this post where I wrote that while I am still "leaning Dean, [...] my support is much softer than before". I got a few emails over it. Basically, this story from the Washington Post basically echos my feelings about Dean:

Peter Lehmen and his wife, Theresa, of Keene, N.H., attended Clark's town hall meeting late Friday. Lehmen has given money to Dean and credits the scrappy Vermonter with having the courage to take on Bush and start a dialogue among the Democrats that has shaped both the tone and the substance of the debate. "He was talking about things that other people were afraid to talk about," Lehmen said.

Lately, however, both Lehmens have begun to question whether Dean is the best Democrat to beat Bush. Peter said he finds Dean inconsistent in some of his views. Theresa said Dean is "coming across as a little more abrasive" and appears to let his ego get in his way. Clark, she said, impressed her as someone who could successfully negotiate with foreign leaders. "He certainly presented himself in a very diplomatic but forceful way that I would call presidential," she said.

I hate Bush. I HATE him. I hate everything about him. There's lots of people that I can disagree with, but respect. I highly respect a lot of Republicans like John McCain, Bill Ratliff, Ron Paul, Colin Powell and Carole Keyton Strayhorn. I even respect conservatives like Tom McClintock and some others (there's a good number of them out there) because they're honest about what they believe in, and they don't play games. Bush isn't one of them. Why do we hate Bush? This piece summarizes a lot of the reasons. That Bush hatred is what led us to Howard Dean. When everyone else was being a wimp, Howard Dean was firing back. Now that Bush is less popular, Howard Dean has emerged as the frontrunner because he was critical of Bush when it wasn't popular. But I do think that there are serious issues about Dean's ego, about his abrasiveness, about his issue positions, about his ideas for Iraq that his harecore supporters would like to ignore (or just pretend that it's DLC propaganda). Can Dean win the nomination? Yes. Can he be elected President? Yes. But he still has a lot of maturing as a candidate to do (although you could say the same about any of the other candidates, especially Wesley Clark). Back to Bush. I don't just want to beat him, I want to beat him bad. I don't want it to be close enough for their to be any doubt. And I want to bring a Democratic Congress in with our Democratic president. I'll support the candidate in which I think could best do that. If after a few months, it become clear that Wesley Clark is in the best position to bring us that victory, then I'll endorse him. If Howard Dean remains that candidate, then I'll stick with him. We'll see.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at September 28, 2003 11:20 PM | TrackBack


I can agree with most of what you say, but regarding your hatred for Bush, I would have to take Sam Rayburn's position on hating people. Sam Rayburn used to say "That he didn't hate anyone. But there were some real shitasses that he loathed."

Posted by: Jacob M. at September 29, 2003 01:24 PM

You're writing about heartfelt passion, and I respect that. But ugh -- surely when you're looking for objective data to cite in support of your passion, you can do better than Ted Rall! I could fisk that whole piece -- it'd be like shooting fish in a barrel -- but lemme just take one particularly egregious example:

Bush's recount guru, James Baker, went on national TV to threaten to use force to install him as president if Gore didn't step aside: "If we keep being put in the position of having to respond to recount after recount after recount of the same ballots, then we just can't sit on our hands, and we will be forced to do what might be in our best personal interest--but not--it would not be in the best interest of our wonderful country."

Hello? I practiced law for six years at the law firm where Baker works now. I don't seem to recall that we had an army. The Commander in Chief of the American armed forces was one William Jefferson Clinton, right up until the day in January 2001 when he shook Dubya's hand when Dubya was sworn in, and all of the people at the inauguration Republicans, Democrats, independents applauded, including Al Gore. So the coup d'etat was going to happen ... how, exactly? And the mind control that Dubya and James Baker exerted on the Clinton appointees who agreed that what the Florida Supreme Court was doing violated the Equal Protection Clause worked how, exactly? I'm reasonably sure that what Baker was talking about wasn't assassinating some Secret Service men and seizing control of the "football" with the nuclear codes, but sorta more what lawyers more typically do, and what Bush's team ended up doing -- seeking relief in court.

I can see why Democrats can still argue about the 2000 election. You can make principled arguments that the Supreme Court was wrong or that the Bush camp was cynical. But this coup d'etat stuff is just UFO-caliber stuff.

Posted by: Beldar at September 30, 2003 02:05 AM
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