' Bob Tyrell
Jewish World Review Dec. 18, 2003 / 23 Kislev, 5764

Bob Tyrrell

Bob Greene
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Dean and me


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Dr. Howard Dean poses for me an unanticipated moral dilemma. Throughout the 1990s, I debated him on a little-known public affairs show taped in Montreal -- beautiful Montreal, I should add. It is a grand city with much of the elegance of France and the added asset of having almost no native-born French.

But to return to Dean and my moral dilemma. Owing to his combative politics and my impatience with political hokum, we found ourselves going tete-a-tete often to the exclusion of anyone else on the show, which by the way is called "The Editors." I was reminded of the dramatic nature of our confrontations on the show a couple of months back, when a member of Dean's campaign team stopped me in public to introduce himself. He had just spent a week reviewing those tapes of our epic confrontations on "The Editors," and naturally he had become very familiar with my face. Though we never met, he said: "Excuse me. You are R. Emmett Tyrrell, are you not?" And he proceeded to ask me some questions about our debates.

Now of course the political press is viewing those tapes. Just the other day, The Washington Post quoted some of Dean's characteristically ill-conceived quips. Journalists are beginning to call me to ask what Dean was like in those faraway days of his political virginity. "He seemed fiery, but was he genial?" "He seemed very much a conventional mainstream Democrat, but was he really ideologically driven?" One caller asked if the Dr. Howard Dean whom I encountered in the 1990s was a "George McGovern type or a McCarthy type?" I assumed he was referring to Gene, not Joe McCarthy.

Well, how am I to answer the increasing number of inquiries I receive from my brethren in the press corps? I try to observe the discretion of a gentleman. I try to keep confidences. When Dean confronted me, it was a turbulent time. His Democratic colleagues, the Clintons, had created problems of a moral nature that compromised other Democrats. Is it ethical to judge him today for sentiments he impetuously expressed in those days?

Frankly, I feel a protective sense regarding his youthful appearance back then. In terms of his political life, he was a mere pup. He was frisky with the urge to yip and gambol in the sunshine. And he was a loyalist. One could tell he wanted to leap to the defense of his party's standard-bearer despite the squalor that that standard-bearer backed into.

Donate to JWR

So I am conflicted. Today, Dean aspires to the Oval Office. If he has his way, he will be the first Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the 21st century. He will face our era's Herbert Hoover: a Texas Hoover who has mired the country in economic gloom, who has failed to confront tyrants from afar. Just as a priest must not betray what he hears in a confessional, I have a feeling that I should not betray the raw and primitive Dean that was presented to me in Montreal.

Politics is a rough business. It is a realm bereft of probity or principle. I have come to the position that there is almost no politician who is anything but an intriguer and a cad. Witness the late Al Gore's disregard for the niceties in dealing with his old running mate, Sen. JOe Lieberman. Think of how shamelessly President Saddam Hussein abandoned his pose as a Saladin and became a pacifist whence our troops removed the rug from his rat hole. Shall I betray my views of Dean lo those many years ago and be but another conniver in the political maelstrom of ego?

Possibly I shall. The fact is all these calls from the press are very enticing. Not much first-hand information has been delivered up on the ambitious doctor. Not many members of the press had a chance to meet the great man in battle. I could become his Boswell. I could become a Bernstein wrapped in a Woodward and with a yellow bow tied round.

What course will I follow? Will it be the discretion of a gentleman or the excess of a blabber mouth? I have to decide before the next press inquiry comes in. I am thinking.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

12/11/03: Long live Bob Bartley
12/04/03: "Hit 'em when they're down!"
12/01/03: The Wright Stuff
11/13/03: How wrong the naysayers and the utopians have been
11/06/03: Will I be banned from America's campuses?
10/30/03: They don't care about restraint
10/24/03: "The Reagans" and the evidence of a historic life
10/17/03: The Moron Vote
10/09/03: The politics of groping and the groping of politics
10/03/03: Is there a witch doctor in the house?
09/26/03: Funny Girly-Boy
09/18/03: Send Arafat to Paris!
09/15/03: The soi-disant party of Latinos comes down hard on a successful Latino
09/05/03: Placating the carpers
08/29/03: A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
08/07/03: Angry partisans
07/31/03: Why no ‘holy cities ’ in America?
07/25/03: They underestimate not only the president, but the American people
07/18/03: The irascible, bigoted Harry Truman was a product of his times
07/11/03: A grand affair of hot colors and surprisingly sedate audience participation
07/04/03: In search of anti-Americanism and the perfect bullfight
06/26/03: Calling on London
06/20/03: Too upsetting for the evening news?
06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/29/03: Shakedown
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :‘Grey’ turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies . Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
08/16/01: They claim to be doing so much good
08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy

© 2001, Creators Syndicate