Monday, December 22, 2003

Dean, Writing His Own 'Scrip 

speakingcorpse and I were talking the other night about the ultimate necessity of the Dem candidate's writing his own script: the script of who he is, what he stands for, why he is going to be the president--indeed, that he is "presidential," that he is going to be the president--rather than succumbing to a "role" in a script the media whores have pre-prepared, or even catering to their script by entering into an ersatz "dialogue" with it. (This was Gore's biggest failure during the 2000 campaign. Whores: "Will Gore show the American people that he is his own man?" Gore: "I stand before you as my own man," etc.)

The fact that the whores have come up with this "radical left-wing" script for such an obviously centrist (even by some measures conservative) candidate like Dean is beyond laughable--it simply proves that not only do they not listen, they willfully disregard actual observation and facts in favor of their wacky preconceptions and prejudices. speakingcorpse went so far as to suggest that perhaps this is even a good thing: the sheer wackiness of the media whores' Dean script opens up such a wide gap between fact and fiction that it leaves plenty of room for Dean to define himself on his own terms--which is exactly what he's doing. I too think this deliberate misunderstanding (and miscalculation) of Dean is actually a good thing, since it plays to what I think will be one of Dean's major strengths during the campaign: his ability to baffle both media and opponents by publicly disregarding their nonsense and defining himself on his own terms. "Who is Howard Dean?" you ask? Well, he'll tell you. And people will be continually surprised and refreshed.

Look at this anomaly: a presidential candidate standing up for himself in the Op-Ed pages of the Washington Post:
Out of the Mainstream? Hardly

By Howard Dean

The Post's Dec. 18 editorial discussing my recent foreign policy speech ["Beyond the Mainstream"] badly misrepresents both my position and the central argument in the coming election on how best to strengthen America's security.

To start: The Post repeatedly misstates my views. For example, I support missile defense efforts that make us more secure; I oppose deployment of any system not yet proven to work. I favor active talks with North Korea, backed by the threat of force, rather than a stubborn refusal to engage that has allowed the situation to become more dangerous by the day. And the role I support for the National Guard is hardly "radical"; it was endorsed by the bipartisan Hart-Rudman commission and in fact is enshrined in our Constitution (Section 8, Clause 15).

More important, The Post's editorial comes close to equating the Bush administration's foreign policy -- including its signature doctrine of "preemptive war" -- with the American foreign policy mainstream. In fact, the Bush agenda represents a radical departure from decades of bipartisan consensus on the appropriate use of U.S. power and our leadership in the world community.

Full story.
On another note, I watched on C-Span a little book rally James Carville held in D.C. recently. No matter what a clown I often think that guy is, he really brings the serious thunder when he needs to. And he reiterated (in his own terms) a very important point: that this campaign cannot and will not be run on liberal "special interest" issues like gun control, abortions, and gay marriage. The GOP has a major advantage in that (as Carville put it) "Bush doesn't have to appear on TV with an AK-47" to prove to the NRA that he's on their side. They know he's on their side, and they support him like a vast silent army, knowing that he'll deliver the goods. Bush is a radically anti-gun-control candidate who never has to talk about gun control.

So it must be with the Dems and the "hot issues" that are a passionate matter to us, but which are not salable in the sphere of a national campaign. As Dean himself has said of his campaign, "We're not going to talk about guns, gays, and abortion. We're going to talk about jobs, health insurance," etc. In other words, he's going to be a uniter, not a divider (despite the best efforts of the GOP). We all know where Dean stands on gay rights and abortion (and where, I believe, he will ultimately stand on gun control as president, despite his record as governor of Vermont). And our liberal "special interests" should know this too, and understand that the winning strategy is: Dean sticks to his script and does what he needs to do, our organizations get out the vote in droves and do what we need to do, and in the end everyone's happy.

Hopefully as the campaign goes national, Dean will stop laying out his strategy in such overt statements ("We're not going to talk about guns, gays and abortion")--rather he'll simply execute the strategy, with the discipline and relentlessness he has shown he's capable of.


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