Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Howard Dean, Loudmouth Extraodinaire

Howard Dean just can’t control himself. The ever-quotable and increasingly cartoonish Dean said this week in San Francisco:

”[Republicans are] a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party.”

Uh-huh. Say what you want about the President, Dr. Dean, but it’s kinda hard to deny that his cabinet is full of minorities in important and visible positions and that the Chairman of the GOP, Ken Mehlman, is Jewish. It’s also hard to deny that in 2004 Bush received 11% of the Black vote (double what he got in 2000), 44% of the Hispanic vote, 44% of the Asian vote, 25% of the Jewish vote and 25% of the so-called “other” religions’ vote.

But Dean wasn’t done there. He went on to say:

"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. We're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are.”

Well, unless you’re a Republican, and then, apparently, Democrats aren’t so welcoming. So what is Dean’s plan to win back the party?

”We're going to be in every state. You're not going to see any 18-state strategies. We're going to be in places like Mississippi and Kansas and Idaho. We're going to be in the Republican counties of California from now on…"

So, let me get this straight, Dean’s strategy is to demean Republicans and then go into Republican-dominated areas and ask for their votes? I half expect Dean to come out and say, “Hey, all we gotta do is slap some Republicans around enough until they realize how stupid they are and start voting for us.”

When Dean has these episodes of partisan anger, he always tries to clarify what he meant. But that’s not really fooling anyone. Dean’s a loudmouth and confirms many people’s worst stereotypes of the “unhinged Democrat”.

The left wingers that gamed the system to get Dean elected party chair are probably ecstatic about their leader’s mad dog persona. But unless sane Democrats can reign Dean in, I don’t think anyone on the left is going to be happy about the road to defeat the Chairman will certainly take them down.

Some great discussion on this topic can be found at The Modertate Voice


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this person makes the mistake all right wingers do, which is why they are so inept at attracting minority, non-white, non-christian voters. By stating Bush's case with the example of him appointing minorities and jews to high positions, this writer has undermined any sense that the gop is not racist. just the idea that such an act should pacify minorities and jews when those appointed work against their interests is racist in and of itself. good luck trying to get over 11% black, 40% hispanic, 35% jew next time, but it will not work. the numbers will likely decrease simply because of subtle racism such as this.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think minorities are stupid enough to vote republican simply because they see one of their own appointed by Bush? That insults the intelligence of all minorities and angers me to no end. This implies minorities arent smart enough to analyze issues and choose who is best for them, which they obviously do since the vast majority of minorities in every group vote Democratic. Howard Dean is absolutely right.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

You know how I can always tell when a far left-winger comments? They mistake a Centrist for a right winger.

The inverse is also true. I've been called a crazy liberal more than once.

If this poster returns, I would like to know 3 racist policies supported by Republicans. Don't find views held by specific Republicans ('cause we all know there are racists Republicans out there). I want actual policies that have come up in the Bush administration.

The Republican party has a lot of negatives, but institutionalized racism isn't one of them.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

One more thing, I didn't say Bush appointed minorities to win votes. I said that the appointment of so many minorities makes it hard to call him a racist.

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gay marriage (gay), christian parayer in school (jew), border vigilantes tageting mexicans as terrorists (latino), anti-affirmitive action (black), any other minorities i left out that they want to institutionally hurt?

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

Well you can make fun of Dean all you want, but your Republican president stands against federal funding for more lines of stem cells because of moral issues? It is obvious that this means he has declared the abortion line to begin at conception... which is a vastly christian position.

Now take a look at other aspects of the platform Republicans use as wedge issues, like squelching equal rights for gay people. How is that not Christian?

Bush declared a mandate with 53% of the vote... if only non-Christians and minorities voted in the election... what would that percentage be? About 25%? I think you should read Dean's quote again... he says "pretty much".

At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush only got 50.8% of the vote. The closest re-election in history. Not a mandate. He got more latino votes than any other republican in history and that trend will not continue. He was personally less hated that usual by latinos. That likely wont continue. Run Bill Frist or Sam Brownback and it will drop back down to 20%.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

Bush's opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with racism. Gay people are not a seperate race. Nobody ever said he appointed a lot of gays to high positions.

Also, I don't think opposition to affirmative action makes a person racist. I personally think the policy is no longer useful for the problem it is trying to solve, not because I have something against minorities, but because it think it is simply the wrong solution for the issue.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gay people are a minority and bush and the gop's policies hurt that minority. Period. Explaining it away wont make that minority feel the gop is not racist toward them.

Affirmitive Action. That is an argument, but to say that it has served its purpose in this short time span and it is no longer needed, with the condition of inner cities that is a flat out wrong argument. Explaining it away wont make that minority feel the gop is not racist toward them.

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Corey said...

I agree that gay people are a minority, and that the GOP has done quite a few things in the past couple of years that hurt that minority. I would also argue that they are entitled to the the same rights as everyone else.

My point is that if you are going to make an argument that the GOP is racist (meaning discriminating against someone based ONLY on their race), bringing up their policies regarding gays is not all that convincing.

Also, in terms of the Aff Action - my point wasn't that the problem is solved and therefore we shouldn't do anything, it was that Aff Action is not solving the problem. I think there are other things that would BETTER serve minorities in the inner cities. An earlier entry on this site that dealth with getting the education system in the inner cities on more equal footing with the schools in the richer suburbs by changing the way schools are funded is a great example.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Lead Dog said...

Wow, lots of stuff here, most of which misses the point about the original post.

Howard Dean is a problem, a BIG problem for Democrats.

Taking minorities for granted (which Democrats do) has only resulted in deteriorating share. Younger voters of color are voting more Republican because Democrats don't stand for anything beyond opposition to the Republican frame.

It is impossible to grow a coalition of interest AND action (you need both to win) simply by attacking your enemy. You have to do more than insult and demonize. His comments are proof-positive that he has no plan.

Yes, GOP policies are bad for Americans. What are the Democratic policies and ideas to lead America to a better place?

I have worked in Democratic politics for 13 years. I yield to no one on my blue bona fides. I just think Dean is hurting the Democratic party, and I think he should resign.

At 3:38 PM, Blogger iconoclast said...

To return the discussion to the topic of Dr. Dean ...

The position of DNC Chair lends itself to being a cheerleader for the party, and Dean tries to fill that role. His statements go a bit overboard, but that's to be expected from a partisan cheerleader. He's not making policy: that's not an option for him. He's there to boost the D's chances in the future. Whether he's successful in doing that, given his fiery temperament, is a topic for debate.

And, incidentally, I take issue with the statement that "left-wingers gamed the system" to get Dean elected. The good doctor appeared in regional meetings throughout the country, along with his seven or eight rivals. The debates at these meetings, and the Q & A sessions from the audience of delegates, allowed the candidates to make their case. These sessions were remarkably free of ideology; free, in fact, of policy arguments. The meetings focused on strategies for strengthening the Democratic Party. Dean won because he outshone his rather lackluster politico opponents.

Alan, your comments are usually measured and reasoned. I took exception to the general tone of this post, and to your characterization of Dean as a "Loudmouth Extraordinaire." While I am not a Deaniac, and don't approve of much about the former governor, I think we need to keep a level head, and a civil tongue, when discussing him. Keep his comments, if not his behavior, in context.

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a democrat i am much happier having dean raising twice as much money as we did in 03, and riling up republicans at the same time (he must be doing something right). Then having dean contend for the presidency. the fact that the right is so obsessed with his every word and that they cannot take it when attacked has exposed a serious weakness on their side.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

It Mehlman (dammit, I can never spell his name right!) and co may also be hanging on Dean's every word because he makes GREAT fundraiser material!

Here's an entertaining suggestion: let's get Ann Coulter elected as RNC chair, and then hold a DNC vs. RNC "debate." Talk about Must See TV!

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By stating Bush's case with the example of him appointing minorities and jews to high positions, this writer has undermined any sense that the gop is not racist. just the idea that such an act should pacify minorities and jews when those appointed work against their interests is racist in and of itself."

To the individual who posted the above:

I think your comment suggesting an inability on the part of the minorities working in the Republican administration to determine for themselves what is in their own best interest shows that you are the true racist here. ("Those poor, stupid minority Republicans. They just don't know what's good for them.")

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem is howard dean is straightforward and stands for what he believes in and what he says. Mehlman on the other hand is not in his league. He talks a good game but in the closet he is a gay man helping an anti gay party. Dean and Coulter are different. Dean actually can be elected by the American people. Coulter is a do-nothing, antiamerican hater of the USA. Noone cares what she thinks.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the peron who posted this

"I think your comment suggesting an inability on the part of the minorities working in the Republican administration to determine for themselves what is in their own best interest shows that you are the true racist here"

Thank you for making my point for me. Republican minorities, the few left, are looking out for THEIR OWN interests, and forsaking the interests of their race. Like all republicans do.

You just defined uncle tom's cabin for me. Thanks. You probably wouldnt understand because you are the whit christian howard dean is referring to.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Joe Weedon said...

I'm not going to respond to all the tangets brought up here, but I do want to say something in response to the comment by anonymous on Affirmative Action:

.... "to say that it has served its purpose in this short time span and it is no longer needed, with the condition of inner cities that is a flat out wrong argument."

Affirmative Action has been successful in providing opportunity in middle-class minority neighborhoods. It has not been successful in providing opportunities in the poorest of our nation's neighborhoods - be they white or black. That is why the program needs to be changed (whether reformed or reinvented is a policy discussion that I won't get into here).

The solution isn't a racial one. It's economic. We must provide the poorest in this nation - be they blacks or Hispanics in inner cities or whites in Appalachia economic opportunity.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to joe weedon

you are right about affirmative action. and republicans want to do the oppositte of what you suggest and work against minorities at every turn. So why is there such outrage over the fact that minorities dont vote gop and howard dean pointed it out? republicans simply cant take what they dish out.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who posted this:

"Republican minorities, the few left, are looking out for THEIR OWN interests, and forsaking the interests of their race."

So... you are suggesting that individuals should vote according to the interest of thier RACE. Does that go for white people as well?

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


Sorry you found the post to be intemperate, although I'm not so sure that calling Dean a loudmouth is too much of an overstatement given that prominent members of his own party keep disavowing what he says. It's not like I called Dean a jerk or anything (which I don't think he is)...I just think he tends to speak before he thinks. And when attention gets focused on the poorly considered things Dean is saying it paints the Democrats as a off-kilter.

Why does cheerleader for the party mean defaming the other side? He sometimes sounds like a talk radio host out there. It's like what would happen if the Republicans made Rush RNC Chair -- o.k., probably not THAT bad, but still...

Oh, and when I said "gamed the system" I didn't mean they did anything undemocratic. They just took the mainline party by surprise when they actually used the mechanisms to their advantage. These things are usually fixed and they, well, unfixed it.

But I don't think by installing Dean they're getting the kind of leader the Dems need. As a former Democrat, it just kills me to see the party so willfully shooting itself in the foot.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger emilie said...

In soccer my coach used to tell us the most important word on the pitch was 'anticipation.'
Rather than simply react to and toil over recovering the ball from the opposing team, we should simply play the way we know--with passion, confidence and skill.
In this way, he explained, WE would actually control the game, while leaving our opponents as the ones 'reacting' and being caught flat-footed.

Clip was a great coach, and I think the Dems and Dr. Dean could learn a lot from this great man.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

Dean is playing up the classic in/out group bias. This theory of group dynamics says that you believe your group (the "in" group) is larger and more diverse than the other group (the "out" group). This happens simply because you know more people in your group and therefore can see the differences of opinion, upbringing, morality, education, etc... more clearly in the in group, than you can in the out group.

Now as for Dean as the Chair of the DNC, Alan, you whine over the Dems not having a spine and rolling over on issues like the war and then you bitch when they stand up and talk about what is wrong with their opponents. Granted, Dean did not do this eloquently or perhaps with much real rational thought, but I do believe he may pull the Dems back to a reasoned platform for which they can stand up with pride and fight.

This does not mean that I think blatant generalities like Dean used are reasonable tools for debate, but it does mean that I have hope that Dean can help the Democratic party stand up and believe in stomething again. His energy and ire get him in trouble, but it may kick the Dems in the pants and get them working towards something again. I have hope that this fight can be waged with dignity and respect, for not only their opponents, but the country and the world as well.

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one unintended benefit of having someone of Dean's demeanor heading the DNC is that, every other Democrat running for office, regardless of where he or she falls on the political spectrum, will appear to be moderate by comparison.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

No matter what your political views might be... One thing is for certain. In these days of fast news and even faster life styles, we all seem to have forgotten those moments in history that so abruptly and tragically changed this beloved Country of ours.
911- How soon we forget...
With this I'll say-- GONE FISHING!

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


I don't see how anything that Dean said was in anyway a strong stance on an issue. There's a lot of difference between fighting for what you believe in and just defaming those who believe differently.

So, yeah, I'm going to continue to whine about Democrats spinelessness and I'm going to continue to complain when they mistake partisan attacks for strength.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Maggie said...

Alan -- Go back and read what I said..."then you bitch when they stand up and talk about what is wrong with their opponents". I certainly didn't say that Deans comments were anything other than griping about his opponents. I do think it is part of our political process to point out flaws in what your opponent says. Like I said, I do not think this approach was a reasonable tool for debate, but I do believe that it is acceptable and responsible to point out when your opponents are making bad choices and bad policy.

I agree with you that there needs to be a more broad middle ground in which to point out these flaws and that neither mainstream party has found that middle ground. It is wise to highlight people who do this poorly, but it is more important to elevate those who do it well.

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say that Howard Dean can control himself when he talks, but have you heard your ding-a-ling leader? If anyone can't control themselves it's Bush, with that stupid (tortured) laugh of his and his ridiculous way of not being able to answer a question (which is why he only let's people who agree with him come to see him speak. How uniquely American.)

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Austin Knight said...

Actually, I'm surprised at the surprise over what comes out of Dean's mouth.

Let's be blunt. The guy is a loser. He heads a loser party that is out of power in the Executive Branch, the Senate and the House of Representatives. By my count, that's 3 strikes.

So what are the American people supposed to expect from him...winningness, eloquence or even-handedness?

Only a winner acts like a winner.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


"then you bitch when they stand up and talk about what is wrong with their opponents".

Yeah, but Dean didn't point out what was wrong, he just repeated some tired stereotypes that are increasingly less relevent (well, the racism part is, the Christian part is increasingly more relevent).

Anyway, I do try to point out when people do well--which is why I highlighted Edwards last week. He'd have made a much better DNC chair.

At 12:17 AM, Blogger EG said...

The Chairman of a political party does two things: raise money and shore up the base.

Dean has raised $16 million for the first 5 months in office. But Mehlman and the GOP has raised over $34 million. So strike one.

Dean knows that his words will always be scruntinized by the press. McCauliffe raised lots of money but got little press. So comments about 'white Christian party' will be taken out of context and blown up in the press. The Democratic core doesn't need much to stay with the party. But to those moderate and conservative Democrats that voted for Bush and those 'Reagan Democrats' that left the party in the 1980s, is Dean providing a welcome home message? Does Dean's speech tell those Democrats they should return to the fold? No. Strike two.

The Democrats are the minority party. They need to attract centrists not propel away those who didn't vote Democratic in 2004. Dean's comments pushes those folks away from the party.

At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard Dean sounds like he wants to start his own jihad against America instead of defending America and its people from jihad.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

Not to pontificate, but I find it kind of sad that of all the great stuff Alan posts, this one on Howard Dean gets far more comments than, say, anything else!

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


That's the way of it. Most comments we ever got was for a post on Trump's plan to rebuild the World Trade Center exactly as before. Think about 100 people commented.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger h said...

I think Dean is looking at America's changing Ddemographics, and crudely trying to commnicate to new ethnic voters the idea that Republicans hate them. Just one man's opinion.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous sleipner said...

Bush's cabinet, though on paper appearing very diverse, is filled with ideological clones of white, christian, born-again males, much like a majority of the republicans in Congress.

I do think that some minorities voted for Bush over Kerry because of the apparent diversity of his cabinet (and the stupid lack of diversity in Kerry's). Considering their blatant bias towards the rich, minorities, who have a tendency to fall into lower income brackets, were stupid to vote for him and against their own interests.

Dean, in my opinion, is tapping into the enormous well of rage that the Republicans have created in those of us who are not corporate stooges or Jesus freaks.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Democrats seem too afraid of losing their corporate donations to stand up against corporate voter purchases, and too afraid of the christian right's organizational capacity to oppose them. So they end up doing nothing of interest and rarely enter the media spotlight, which is death for a political cause.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous redemma said...

Let's face it, a Democrat who isn't trying to sound like a Republican is always going to shock some people and annoy a lot of others. That's a problem for the Democrats, but it's created by the Republicans, who deep down don't understand why we should have two parties in the first place. I still don't understand why Dean's barbaric yawp proved him unworthy of high office. Atleast the man can pronounce nuclear, and is more likely to use the word correctly than the bomb incorrectly.


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