Thursday, February 10, 2005

Bush should fear Dean

Bush sure is a clever politician. He never said one word about how he expected the invasion of Iraq would go. He left that dirty job up to henchmen. It was Chalabi who promised that the liberated [sic] Iraqis would be greeting the coalition forces in the streets with "sweets and flowers." Donald Rumsfeld said the military leg would be over quickly, but I don't think he ever said word one about the occupation (except in terms of how good it would be for us if the occupation were easy to handle, which is a hypothetical that I'm sure no one would complain about.)

Bush never says anything that can come back to haunt him. You get a sense of what he means, but he never says anything. I ran across a comment he made back in 1978 where he asserted that if Social Security weren't privatized immediately, it would be bankrupt by 1988. That's not a typo, I do mean nineteen EIGHTY-eight. Bush is a smarter politician these days—or Karl Rove is, anyway.

It's tricky: all you can do is tar his cabinet, and hope some of the crap sticks to them. Which it usually doesn't. With the passing of Terry McAuliffe from the Democratic leadership and the overdue exodus of Bob Shrum and that crowd, maybe they'll grow less docile. With Howard Dean poised to officially take charge of the party later this week, and with the quiet-but-scary Harry Reid in Tom Daschle's old post, this may happen. I hope it does, but we'll have to see. I'm comforted by the fact that the Democrats are already much more confrontational than they were in 2001, when they could have gotten Bush's first term off to a rockier start. Will it last? Will it matter? One day at a time, one day at a time...

Just watch Reid and Dean. Particularly Dean, who is part of one of the quietest political revoltions I've ever seen. (I mean his rise to the DNC chairmanship—not his presidential bid.) He's already got the Democratic old guard quivering, and he's got the 447 members of the DNC charged up with life that they haven't shown since... well, since ever. We're going to be hearing Dean's barbaric yawp again, and we're going to be hearing an awful lot of it. Fox News is going to be sorry they tarred him so much, helping to knock him out of the 2004 running; staying in would have rendered him an unappealing candidate for the DNC job, though it would be a moot point if he'd beaten Bush in the general election. At any rate, it looks like the Republicans are going to have a real problem on their hands, having to deal with a moderate like Dean. He'll be a lightning rod for conservative attacks, which will help the candidates, since he'll draw fire from them. I don't think Dean could ever get elected president, but that doesn't matter. If I can trust my judgement, I'd say there's a good chance that Dean's going to have more power as DNC chief than he ever did as president. Of course, I've done a pretty lousy job of election prediction; I figured a Democratic landslide in 2004. But sooner or later, I'm going to have to be right, right? Right, so...



At Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 6:38:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll keep my eyes and ears open. (Forget the ear part - I'm not stupid!)

But I'll keep my eyes open and see whether you are anywhere near right (pun) in your assessment of Dean. Presently, I think you have more hopes than odds. It's a bad bet imo.

At Monday, February 21, 2005 at 12:30:00 AM EST, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Well, with Karl Rove around, everything's more hope than odds. But I'll tell you something I learned from Karl Rove. Last spring, when the Iraq war was going particularly badly, some in the White House started thinking that they were in dire straights. Rove turned on all naysayers and demanded, "No negative talk! Everyone has to stay positive!" Unfortunately, it worked.

My point, I guess, is that Dean is ultimately irrelevant, for the most part. Dean is willing to engage the enemy, which Terry McAuliffe wasn't particularly prone to do. McAuliffe was a great fundraiser, but why win those battles if you can't win the war?

Dean's going to be better and finding candidates who can win at the local level, which is something that the Democrats need. As to the presidency, well... we'll see. 2006 is going to be Dean's real trial. What could hurt him is that I don't think he's got the same total lack of scruples that Karl Rove has. Can you really fight something like that in American government without destroying the goodness that you claim to be fighting for? If you just look at Rove, then apparently, you can't. Hopefully Dean can show us another way. Beats losing, anyway.

At Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at 4:18:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh "a moderate like Dean"

You are hopeless. Dean is just trying to get control of the party so he has a chance of winning the nomination next time. He was spanked by the democratic PARTY last time, and he wants to load it up so he can get himself nominated next time. But, he still alienates most of the electorate so if he runs again, you can count on another 4 years. In any event the left as you know it is doomed.
Kim Jong Il, Castro, Kofi all going out of power by the end of the current administration and then who does the left have to look up to? Perhaps you can worship Hitler or Stalin.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 10:59:00 AM EST, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Um... look, champ, why would Dean think he's got a chance of winning the nomination in 2008 if he fell apart so spectacularly in 2004? He indeed was rejected by his own party, as a candidate.

As head of the DNC, however, he's not a candidate but rather an organizer. He proved to be a hell of an organizer back in 2003, and the Democrats know this. The fact is that no matter how good the organization is around a candidate, if he's unelectable, he's unelectable. Dean is a good organizer, but as a national candidate, he just doesn't have it.

He was struck down in 2004, but he's coming back more powerful than we could ever have imagined. The DNC chief doesn't run for office; he just organizes the party. And Dean is a master organizer.

Of course, Anonymouse, I don't expect to get through a head as thick as yours. You don't recognize that Dean is a moderate, despite his very moderate record in Montpelier. You also don't see a difference between Kim Il Jung, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Kofi Annan and Fidel Castro? That's unbelievable. Here's a major clue for you: all those guys, except Annan, are authoritarians. And Hitler never even tended slightly to the left; he was a fascist, which makes you on the far right wing. Educate yourself and come back. Thanks so much!

At Monday, June 6, 2005 at 9:57:00 PM EDT, Blogger niT said...

Two members of his own party spoke out against Dean. "He don't speak for us..." Sorry i don't remember the exact names. It look like Dean's out and Hilary might take his seat next .. that's my prediction

At Tuesday, June 7, 2005 at 3:33:00 PM EDT, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

Two members of the Democratic Party publicly disagreeing with Dr. Dean doesn't constitute a brewing internal rebellion against him. And they just disagreed with the way Dean said something; it's not like they're calling for his head. The Democrats are different from the Republicans, in that they're more likely to tolerate dissent within their own party.

I doubt Dean will step down from his position. But even if he does, I can't imagine Hillary Clinton (or anyone else) giving up a Senate seat to act as the head of the DNC.


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