...to defending Howard Dean, I may as well get used to it, because it's pretty clear they're out to get him.
No, not some secret cabal of ABD Democrats. (That was me, remember?) What's about to hit the Governor as he transitions into his new role as Chairman is the seemingly endless need by some journalists to concoct conflict where there's little or none to be found. A case in point is a story by Will Lester on the AP wire today, carrying the provacative headline "Dean's Bid to Lead Dems Gets Mixed Views
I clicked it open, expecting, naturally, to find a mixture of views from Democrats about their incipient leader. After all, Lester assured me that...
"...some Democrats worry about the image Dean projects: anti-war Northeastern liberal from Vermont, the state that led the way on civil unions for gays. Amid all the talk of values, Democrats wonder if Dean would be an albatross as they try to make inroads with conservative-leaning voters in the South and Midwest."
Maybe he means NH Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan, who he quotes thus...
"He gave the Democratic Party its swagger back," said Kathy Sullivan, chairwoman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, reminiscing about Dean's willingness to challenge President Bush. "He reminded them that they should not act like a beaten dog."
Hmmm...doesn't sound too worried, does she?
Must have meant Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, who offers the view that Dean will...
"...invigorate the party with his enthusiasm and his organizational ability. After he lost, he went out and worked for Democratic candidates to get them elected. He's got volunteers all over the country."
Nope, couldn't be that one. How about erstwhile Clintonite Harold Ickes? He does have some advice for Dean...
"Howard's biggest challenge will be to understand that he is not a governor, not a presidential candidate. He's quick to take a position; he will have to slow that down."
Fair enough, but, as Lester is obliged to admit, Ickes endorsed
Dean's run for the Chairmanship. How worried could he be?
Surely Will Lester didn't rush to print without a solid source or two to back up his assertions about Democrats running scared from the spectre of Chairman Dean. There must be some evidence to justify the headline, right?
Well sure. There's Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, the source for all seasons. Of course, neither Mann nor Brookings can safely be described as 'Democratic' sources - in the eyes of some (me, for instance) the description 'non-partisan' is charitable, at best - but he knows Democrats, right? He can point out a couple who might compare Howard to a sea bird, right? Well...
"Some people worry that Republicans will portray him as a crazy liberal," said Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution. "The question is whether he can effectively counter that."
"Some people..." Not even "some Democrats." Well, some
people worry about most anything. I worry about a so-called objective journalist that sets out to torpedoe a DNC Chair before his selection is officially ratified, for instance.
The difference being that I seem to have an actual reason to worry...