Jewish World Review August 29, 2003 / 1 Elul, 5763
A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
Let us turn our eyes from the reports that the
economy is growing vigorously again. Let us avert our gaze from terrorists
and the Middle East. Consider the Democratic presidential nominating
process. For comic relief, all that would improve it would be the presence
of Arianna Huffington, and she might make her entry yet.
Things have been going swimmingly for Dr. Howard Dean's
presidential campaign until a thick gray storm cloud floated over his shiny
oval of a head the other day. In New Hampshire, scene of the first
presidential primary, he had forged ahead of his nearest opponent, Senator
John Pierre Kerry. Last month, it was the Francophone senator who was ahead,
25 percent to 22 percent. Now, Dr. Howard Dean is ahead 38 percent to 17
percent in New Hampshire. Vast crowds have been turning up all over the
country to hear him. In Seattle, 10,000 showed up in another of what the New
York Times reports are "seemingly spontaneous crowds." You know, word
spreads from Starbucks to Starbucks, from health food shop to health food
shop: "Dr. Howard Dean is coming!" All of a sudden, 20,000 Birkenstocks are
stomping toward Dr. Howard Dean's venue.
There they will hear Dr. Howard Dean, attired in button-down
dress shirt and a nice tie -- he never wears a jacket, sports jacket or
otherwise. That is part of his message: "Don't be stuffy." So he leaves the
jacket in the plane. He does wear pants, usually the suit pants to the
jacket that he does not wear, and he wears leather shoes, but rarely
wingtips. Nixon wore wingtips. A lot of Dr. Howard Dean's supporters
remember Nixon, not with fondness. Nixon lied to the American people.
Dr. Howard Dean's wardrobe is only part of his magic. He is very
angry with President George W. Bush. In fact, of all the Democratic
candidates, Dr. Howard Dean is the maddest. This seems to be the reason for
the large crowds. They are really mad, too. They love it when Dr. Howard
Dean says things such as, "When this president talks, sometimes the opposite
of what he says is really the truth." As with Nixon, so with George W. Bush,
liberal Democrats do not like to be lied to. That is one of the things they
admired about Bill Clinton. He never lied to the American people .
"He's not running a campaign, he's running a movement," writes
Natasha C. on the Dean Web site, if the New York Times is to be believed.
"These are protest-size crowds, these are not politics-size crowds, and that
makes a critical difference," Ms. C. asseverates. Indeed it does. Join the
first protest of the Twenty-First century. The only problem this protest
movement faces is that there is almost nothing to protest. Yet Dr. Howard
Dean can face up to that problem later. For now he has that storm cloud
Just as he is forging ahead in the polls and his fund-raising
appeals are enriching the campaign so handsomely that he is considering
eschewing federal funds by ignoring spending limits, comes devastating news.
One of his opponents among the nine Democrats seeking the party's coveted
nomination, former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, has been endorsed by the
National Organization for Women's Political Action committee and by the
National Women's Political Caucus -- two in one day!
"We are particularly pleased that out of a field of strong
progressive candidates, the strongest feminist candidate turns out to be a
woman," intoned the president of the National Organization for Women upon
announcing her support of former Senator Braun. I suppose this is another
first, a woman Democratic presidential candidate who is also a feminist, or
is it a feminist Democratic presidential candidate who is also a woman? At
any rate, former Senator Braun was equally obscure. Said she: "Together we
are going to take the 'men only' sign off the White House door." Possibly
she does not know how big the White House is. It has many doors, and I
cannot recall any with a "Men Only" sign on it.
So it looks like Dr. Howard Dean is not going to get the
feminist vote. In his party, that is a large percentage of the vote. Now
what if Senator John Pierre Kerry takes the gay vote? And what if the
environmentalists go to Congressman Dennis Kucinich? We know that the unions
lean toward other candidates, and very few African Americans appear in Dr.
Howard Dean's spontaneous crowds.
The problem the clever Dr. Howard Dean faces is that his party
is a mélange of one-issue enthusiasts. Dr. Dean has reached for the anti-war
crowd, but what about the other groups? He hopes to corral them by striking
the one chord that holds them all together, hatred of President George W.
Bush. Democrats get very mad when they think someone other than a Democrat
is lying to them.
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© 2001, Creators Syndicate