Thursday, April 07, 2005

Why Bother?

Against my better judgement, I'm not going to let Mike Slater's YDN column from yesterday go without comment. Slater's ostensible point, if in fact he has one, is that Howard Dean is guilty of hypocrisy because Dean accuses Republicans of nasty campaigning and then goes ahead and campaigns nastily himself. Snore. No doubt someone out there considers Slater a hypocrite for thusly criticizing Dean while making unkind remarks himself. And so the life-cycle of the pundit continues.

Nothing new there. What's new, or at least original, is writing like this:
Last week, Howard Dean told the Democratic faithful at a meeting in Toronto that Republicans are "brain dead." Although many conservative feelings were hurt, I'm holding my breath for the ACLU to file suit for infliction of emotional distress. While I'm here asphyxiating -- and for the sake of the lamebrained among us -- let's review why Dean is even speaking anywhere at all.
I mean, Jesus Christ. Waiting for the ACLU to file suit for emotional assault? Slater can't even get his dumb, fifth-hand National Review Online taunts straight. The ACLU is the organization that's in league with al-Qaeda. It's the professional PC lobby that sues conservatives for their insensitivity. Let's get our "facts" straight, okay?

But wait there's more. Skipping through Slater's really unnecessarily proffered opinion of the Democrats' decision-making process in selecting Dean as DNC chairman, we get to the real meat of Slater's indictment:
Dr. Dean is making the case to kick Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum out of office because, gasp, Santorum wanted Terri Schiavo to stay alive. In Philadelphia last week, Dean said he will do "anything" to defeat Santorum in 2006. Using the time-honored negative campaigns the Dems so loathe, Dean is more focused on trashing Santorum than promoting anyone else. He is throwing his support to the next best thing, Robert P. Casey Jr. -- a strange endorsement considering Casey is anti-abortion and anti-gun control, but he's a faithful yellow dog to the Pennsylvania Deaniacs.
Is that really Dean's sole reason for wishing to evict Santorum from office? I suppose I missed the headlines about Dean also trying to oust Tom Harkin. But why even attempt to retain a single thread of a coherent narrative when:
In a February stop in Kansas, Dean said, "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good." I try not to read too much into politicians' comments, but unless the Dems are now campaigning against Darth Maul and the Lord of the Sith, I think he's saying that Republicans are evil...If we have to focus on the cons of Santorum's re-election, let's shy away from adjectives such as "evil" and "brain dead."
Never mind the asinine Star Wars witticism (the full column is even more gimmicky than these excerpts), unless Howard Dean is clairvoyant, it's somewhat unlikely that remarks he made in February---and which Slater himself associates with Dean's anti-Santorum cause---could have had the slightest thing to do with the not-yet-taken-place Schiavo spectacle. So maybe Dean had and has other reasons for opposing Santorum's re-election. Mike Slater, can you think of any?
I'm not here to support Santorum's re-election bid. He should lose a lot of votes because of his thoughtless comments on homosexuality, but he would lose more if Dean weren't approaching the election like a raging bull.
Hmm, interesting. If you get the sense that Slater's nested concern is really for the hurt feelings of Rick Santorum, you may be on to something. How else to explain this tacked-on appeal to new age feel-good let's-be-positive-about-everything-and-everyone-ism:
Instead of only highlighting Santorum's faults, Dean should focus on Casey and talk about his strengths. Here's a great opportunity for the Democrats to prove that Republicans can be out of step with the morals of America, and to prove that a positive campaign can work.
Let's all hold hands now, no?


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