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Jewish World Review June 20, 2005 / 13 Sivan,
This week, a bunch of newspapers in places like Cincinnati and
Pittsburgh tried to rally support for the beleaguered Howard Dean, and I am
with them well, somewhat.
The thing you've got to love about Howard Dean is that he is
sincere in his hate. No phony he, Dean despises Republicans, and everything
for which they stand. If it were up to Dean, those white, Christian
layabouts would be shunned, scorned and mocked. Come to think of it, it is
up to Dean. As the DNC chief, he is launching personal attacks against
Republicans all over the place.
Honestly, where would Howard Dean be without hate? Last year, it
made him the darling of the far-left Internet crowd, who poured millions
into his presidential campaign. Dean's loathing of the GOP sent the
self-described "Deaniacs" into ecstasy. The more Dean poured on the vitriol,
the more money came rolling in. Dean embraced abhorrence with a vengeance
Joseph McCarthy would have admired.
But that was then, and this is now. Some Democrats like John
Edwards and Sen. Joseph Biden have recently criticized Dean's personal
attacks, but that's akin to ordering salmon for dinner and then, when it
arrives, complaining that you don't like fish. Democrats knew Dean was a
character assassin when they elected him chairman of the Democratic National
Committee. This is like the scene in "Casablanca" when Claude Rains
announces he's "shocked" there is gambling going on in Rick's Place.
The truth is that hate has been very good to Howard Dean.
Without his animus, he'd probably be running a bed and breakfast in
Bennington, Vt. Dean broke away from the bland political crowd by being a
mean guy. He relished calling people names and surrounded himself with media
smear merchants. Can you imagine a responsible politician saying publicly
that he "hates" Republicans? That's alienating about half the country with
one sentence. So much for Dean's insistence that the Democrats are the party
To be fair, at the height of the Clinton bashing hysteria there
were Republican politicians throwing defamation bombs all over the place.
But they were very specific. Clinton was the devil. The GOP did not expand
its hatred to include Sally and Joe, who voted for the man. They kept their
fire concentrated on Bill Clinton and pretty much left the civilians alone.
Fair-minded Americans know trafficking in hate is foolish and
destructive. Howard Dean's anger may be amusing, but the unintended
consequence is it has made him a joke. Dean can
command a forum of true believers now, but America has always dismissed
haters over time. And that's what will happen with Dean and anyone else who
deals in character assassination.
I know some readers will disagree with that assessment because
the hate industry can be very profitable. But there's a price to pay for
blood money. Let's look at two examples one from each side.
Ultra-right-wing radio talk show host Michael Savage was recently ignored by
most media when he attempted to hawk his new book, a kindly tome in which he
says liberalism is a "mental disorder." Savage couldn't get booked anywhere
in the national media. His use of personal attacks has made him radioactive.
Which is why Howard Dean's conduct is so strange. Do you think
Hillary Clinton or any other Democratic candidate for president in 2008 will
want Howard campaigning for them? I can just hear it now: "I hate
Republicans, and so does Hillary! Hooorah!"
Despite the absurdity of Dean's demeanor and the chorus of
fellow of Democrats who want him to button it, the governor remains
unrepentant and seemingly untroubled with his tactics. Many in the left-wing
press are solidly behind him, and the guy continues to talk the trash talk.
He does this because ol' Howard Dean knows something that many
of us do not know: Hate means never having to say you're sorry.
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