Friday, February 4

IS DEAN DELUSIONAL OR JUST A HATE-MONGER?

Fred Barnes, in this column from "The Weekly Standard," diagnoses as delusional, Howard Dean, the failed, once front-running candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and now seemingly successful, front-running candidate for the DNC's chairmanship. Hate-monger might have worked better; but, delusional suffices. You see, I thought hate-monger might be more apropos since Howard Dean, in yet another of his rants, but with less histrionics and shrill falsetto this time around, announced proudly that he "hates Republicans." His personal manifesto was delivered in a speech designed to secure the positon he now covets -- chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And, if you think about it, its tone and tint was consistent with the poison he's been spitting, like a stirred-up cobra, ever since first drawing President Bush into his political crosshairs in 2003.

Since, as Fred Barnes observes, the Democratic Party "has all the liberals" (and Zell Miller would undoubtedly concur) -- and they can be a nasty lot with their penchant for anti-Bush animus -- it kind of follows that a callous contempt for Republicans, as opposed to a busineslike disagreement over their principles, platform, and proposals, is seen by candidate Dean as the catalyst to achieving his immediate goal and victories for his party in 2006 and 2008. Howard's a firebrand, after all. And he doesn't just want to electrify their "core"; he wants to electrocute ours!

Liberals will accept Dean, because they've proven in selecting their past two presidential candidates that they won't abide moderate voices in the party and in their chairman, Terry McAuliffe, that they have no vision or discernment. You see, once you learn how to lose and lose consistently, it becomes habit forming, and no matter that you want to kick the habit. Just watch a video clip of any of Dean's hyperbolic rants or one of Al Gore's damnable diatribes and you begin to understand just what bitingly bitter, lost souls each has become. And their frustration and ineptitude have transformed these warriors and much of their party's leadership into unabashed bile factories. So Dean hates and hatred becomes the "closer" in his sales pitch, the favorite arrow in his quiver.

But I suspect there's more to all of this -- to Howard Dean's resurgence as a front-runner for the chairmanship. Democrats won't just buy into the dear doctor's manifest hatred and contempt for Republicans, although they have their appeal in a party that has long since foresaken substance for slander. They'll do it for two other reasons, one showing savvy, the other stupefying stupidity.

The savvy comes from within the Kennedy and Clinton camps of the Democratic Party. They'll each ensure that Dean, if elevated, agrees not to run for political office in 2006 and 2008. That will be the quid pro quo and serves to get the hyperactive, shoot-from-the-hip, distraction that is Dr. Dean under wraps and out of the way for Hillary's inevitable presidential candidacy or, should her bid to win the party's nomination go awry (highly unlikely), a Kennedy-knighted candidate (and surely not Kerry again) to take over as the party's standard-bearer. One must wonder, however, if the senior Senator from Massachuetts will even have that kind of clout at that juncture given his predilection for miscues and miscalculations. Truth be known, Ted Kennedy appeared more powerful than he really is as a kingmaker last year, because the Clintons knew better than to have Hillary go down in flames opposing George Bush. Indeed, their nuanced acquiescence redounded to Kennedy's self-promotion.

The stupidity is in reinventing Terry McAuliffe in the figure of Howard Dean. Terry was a nonpareil fundraiser, to be sure; but, he never could win the big game for the Democrats. Time and again he failed to rally the team and put the right gameplan in its hands. Dean, too, has proven himself adept (and far more innovative) at raising money, but equally inept at winning. The governor's house he occupied in Vermont was not of the stature of those in California, Texas, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania or Florida. So Dean's credentials are fundraising and hate-mongering. Period. In the latter, he proves himself hardly an aficionado of the movie classics making up the "Godfather Trilogy." Were he, he would remember vividly the scene in "Godfather III," in which Michael counsels his mercurially incorrigible nephew Vincent: Don't hate your enemies; it clouds your judgement.

I hope Dean ascends to the chairmanship of the Democratic Party. I truly do. If for no other reason, it will cast in bold relief the error of their ways in the Democrats' obstinate resistance to Republican-led tort reform. And why do I say that? Because the Dems, by 2009, will have sued Dr. Howard Dean for malpractice and finally won something!