February 25, 2005

Democrat Dissents about Dean...

A columnist in the DailyPrincetonian.com lays out a very compelling wake-up call to those Democrats who are still trying to convince themselves that Howard Dean's ascension to chairman of the DNC is a step in the right direction for the party. In his column, Democrats Miss The Boat With Dean, Jeremy Golubcow-Teglasi warns Democrats that the choice of Dean shows how little the party has learned in the wake of it's defeat on Nov. 2:

"The DNC fails to appreciate that throughout his primary campaign, Dean displayed only one talent: reminding disaffected voters that they were angry. As far as I can remember, Dean's rhetoric made absolutely no impression upon a single voter who was ambivalent about George W. Bush. Dean excited, but he did not persuade. All he ever demonstrated was an exceptional flair for telling his audiences exactly what they already believed.

Democrats delude themselves if they think that Dean qualifies as an effective exponent of liberal values. Dean's popularity was fueled by the intensity of his expressed frustration with the President — and not by the articulation of his own positive ideas. His strategy was to tap into a preexisting reserve of pent-up animosity; thus, he never really bothered to make the case for liberal policies in a way that took the opposition seriously. Everybody knows that Howard Dean was against the war. But I'm not sure anybody knows what he was actually for."

Generating "excitement" is not the Democrats' problem these days, rather it's a combination of their inability to articulate any new ideas and their unwillingness to listen to its members that are outside the core of the party.

"This criticism of Dean is not a veiled argument for centrism. A politician can be unabashedly liberal and still have the skills and temperament to engage with people who are not. There is a world of difference between having the courage of one's convictions and preaching to the choir. The problem with Dean is not that he proudly represents the left-wing of the Democratic party; the problem is that he has shown contempt for the party's internal diversity."
Hat Tip: Real Clear Politics

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