More Libertarian Wishful Thinking
Michael Ubaldi, December 9, 2003.
Here's Dean's secret weapon in the general election: He's an angry jerk. Okay, he's not always a jerk, but he has his angry, jerky side. And that poses risks to his campaign that have been analyzed elsewhere.
Search me where this is going. Will Dean transform into a hawk as he walks over the Oval Office threshold?
Finally, Dean won't be running against a man regarded as a wimp - even by his detractors. The pro-dictatorship protesters' puppets of the Bush administration tell all.
WHAT WE WANT AND WHAT WE'LL RECEIVE: My confidence in Bush's victory over Dean (and Dean's unfitness for office) is based on reason and intuition - not partisan emotion. I hope that my strong statements in discounting Dean's chances as the Democratic nominee aren't taken as lockstep party-line pronouncements. Quite simply, they're not.
Take Dennis Kucinich (please!). I would love to see him yanked out of the House of Representatives. Two of his potential challengers - to whose websites I've linked in my right-hand column - are intelligent, visionary, brave young men. They would do well for Ohio's 10th District, far better than Dennis. As much as I want to see him defeated, however, I understand that campaigning against Dennis will not be an easy victory. The Republican nominee will need to overcome an enormous amount of calcified local support, union support, and name recognition. Can it be done? I hope, and can't think of better candidates than fellows like Herman and Cobbeldick. But I consider myself realistic about the challenge.
Therein lies the difference between a desire and an assessed objective. Dennis Kucinich will be difficult to unseat. So will George W. Bush, especially by Howard Dean.
THE PONNURUPHONE'S RINGING: Ramesh has more.
KRISTOL-CLEAR: Bill Kristol's warning to Bush and Republicans of Dean's potential found its way onto Instapundit's growing post. Personally, I find Kristol's domestic opinions to be less reliable than those on foreign policy - I recall him eagerly dismissing Schwarzenegger when the candidate was on a temporary plateau.
Kristol has a few interesting points, illustrating a gambit that relies on Dean living two political lives; one for the primary and a second for the general election. "Pivot" is the word Kristol uses, but I question if policy redirection that borders on dishonesty - Dean the Antiwar Candidate tries to come off as Dean the Somewhat Antiwar but Actually Nuanced Partially Pro-War Candidate with Qualifications - can actually work. If Gore, who never strayed too far left in the 2000 campaign, had successfully "pivoted," he would have been beaten Bush by a couple hundred electoral votes.
That didn't happen. Dean as Democratic nominee would carry quite a lot more baggage - and I suspect that news media in 2004, including weblogs, will allow far less spin to succeed. What's interesting is that while downplaying statements and promises he's made in the past year, Howard Dean as nominee would be drawing heavily on his governorship in order to "pivot." Will his record as governor dispel his off-putting, piecemeal nanny-state agenda? Only if he can actually demonstrate a real change in policy; if functionally distant political stances intruded into present time, we'd still consider Dick Gephardt pro-life and George W. Bush a foreign retractionist. But Dean can't have it both ways - and it looks like his substance will always remain on the left.