Nation-Building >> Dean hates Republicans? | return to front page

"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Dean hates Republicans?

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 03, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
Dean is alleged to have said at the recent meeting in New York, "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for".

I remain skeptical, though I have sent out several feelers to old contacts within the campaign and at DFA to see if I can verify the statement. I'll share what I learn, of course.

Frankly, the first I heard about it was on NewsMax (referred to by Adam). I don't believe he actually said it unless I see a transcript by a more neutral source. The Jacoby piece in the Globe is just a retelling and not original coverage of the alleged statement.

And even if he did say that sentence fragment, I don't think it's any more logical to conclude he actually hates good people like Adam than it is to conclude that Tom Coburn genuinely thinks Brad Carson is evil [AP 9/2/04] or that the good people of Oklahoma City are "crapheads." [Washington Post 9/12/04]

But if the statement is going to be taken literally, I find it rather selective to be outraged by Dean's alleged rhetoric and yet remain silent about the systematic slandering of "The Left" (cases in point). Why doesn't rhetoric aimed at me, rather than at folks on Adam's side of the ideological fence, get the same condemnation in such public, visible terms? The answer is obvious; it's because the object of vilification is a straw man, and if Dean said what he is alleged to have said, then it was a straw man he was attacking as well. Though, to be fair, a party that approves of torture and disapproves of ethics is one that deserves condemnation. Hypocrisy is nothing new to the GOP leadership in Congress, though I for one do not believe that it extends to the rank and file. Neither does Howard Dean. You will see.

For a detailed look at how Dean fought back the entrenched Democratic Party establishment and earned the position of Chair - and for a good taste of the implications of this victory for the future of the grassroots democratic tradition within the Democratic Praty - read Ryan Lizza's piece in The New Republic.

Important excerpts:

The DNC chair race has exposed deep fissures within the Democratic Party. Some of these are ideological, but the real story of the race is the diffusion of power away from Washington and to new people and entities that have rushed to fill the power vacuum at the top of the party. When the Democrats control the White House, the president can simply pick the chair of the party. But, even when out of power, Democratic pooh-bahs traditionally rally around a consensus figure and present him to the DNC members as a fait accompli. An open process with all the trappings of a modern political campaign--including a seven-candidate field, fund-raising, regional debates, and smear campaigns in the press--is unprecedented in the party's history. To many Washington Democrats watching the circus-like contest from afar, it has been an embarrassment. "I think it's pathetic," says James Carville. "It's so indicative of the Democratic Party. Now we're just playing into every stereotype: We're weak, disorganized, flopping around. ... Somebody should have fixed this damn thing in November. I wish someone would have taken charge and three or four people would have gotten together in a smoke-filled room. ... They're not running for president! They are running for party chair. This is supposed to be a rigged deal. You think the Republicans would do it this way?"

But every attempt to rig the race failed, revealing that the levers of power in the Democratic Party have shifted out of Washington's hands. From the congressional leadership to the governors to the Clintons, top Democrats were all terrified of a Dean victory. They believe he will turn what is essentially a low-key fund-raising and management position into a lightning rod for GOP attacks, eclipsing other voices and emphasizing exactly the elements of the party that weeks of postelection soul-searching had determined the Democrats needed to play down (e.g., its liberal stance on cultural issues and its weakness on national security). And yet none of them could stop him.


Dean's apparent victory--aides to Roemer and Fowler insist they'll stay in the race, but the rest of the field had dropped out or had plans to drop out by the time The New Republic went to press--proves that a process he sparked in the primaries hasn't faded. Back then, he splintered the party roughly into a reform wing and an establishment wing. That divide was only temporarily papered over during the general election. In his plan for the DNC, Dean declares that he will "make Democrats the party of reform," and reform happens to be a hot word among Democrats these days. The emboldened DNC members talk about reform when they call for Washington Democrats to cede power and help rebuild their state parties. In the pro-Dean blogosphere, the coolest thing to do is to declare oneself "a reform Democrat." What the Deaniacs mean by that is anyone's guess, but they speak in apocalyptic terms. "We need revolution. We need total upheaval," Joyce Nowak, a 60-year-old MyDD blogger told me at one DNC meeting. Chris Bowers, another MyDD blogger, declared, "I can barely believe it. It looks like we finally won something. Outside becomes inside."

But reform is also the new buzzword in the party's idea factories and among its elite as well. Much of the Democratic Leadership Council's recent advice for the party is to retake the mantle of political reform from Republicans using issues like redistricting, ethics, and electoral reform. Similarly, Carville tells anyone who will listen that Democrats must embrace the label of reform. But they are not talking about party-wide revolution. (Carville, after all, was appalled by the open process of the DNC chair's race.) They are talking about issues Democrats can use to defeat Republicans. Dean's first hurdle as chairman will be to erase the cartoon image of him that is seared into the minds of most Americans. But, beyond that monumental task, Dean will somehow have to mend the insider-outsider cleavage in the Democratic Party, a cleavage that he, perhaps more than anyone else, is responsible for creating--and which finally brought him to power.


It was in a Q&A session after his speech, and he was apparently referring to what Republicans do while commenting that he admires their strategy. It just looks like a poor choice of words.


Another Dean gaffe. This is just more proof that Hillary Clinton should be the DNC chair and Dean should be the Democratic Nominee in 08.


what? I don't follow you, Heath - Dean's gafe qualifies him to be the nominee in 08? Did you mean that the other way around?


Why is this a gafe? It seems to me to be the perfect example of what democrates need. I am delighted with someone speaking the truth, not being afraid to offend the right wing. The democrates need to stop being afraid of sounding passionate. Lets speak out since we are the party of opposition.


Aziz, thanks for making this a post over here at Dean Nation. FWIW, my name is Adam Doverspike, doverspa is what my college's email system came up with to put in front of the @ sign.

My post at Redstate openly admits that Dean could be a good DNC chair and that he is more qualified for that position than for President. The incredulity of my post is focused on the idea that you and other Deaniacs have pushed that Dean could open a new chapter in politics and help unify the country. Your efforts to use Dean Nation to discuss a "Purple Nation" are an example of this hope. There are haters on both sides and we rightfully call them partisans and dividers. I am merely pointing out that Dean is now in that category. He is not and can not be a Democratic McCain. He does not desire to bring the country together. That is fine since a DNC chair is not charged with accomplishing that feat. However, I do ask that you and the other Deaniacs give up the idea that these are "gaffes" and that he really loves everyone. Has he ever said that he hates terrorists, Saddam, or anyone else that you can remember? Not that I've seen. His ire is directed toward the evil of all evils: Republicans.

As I put in my post on Redstate, liberals have prided themselves in the tolerance and diversity for quite a while. This is just the culmination of a long trend toward encouraging (or at least accepting) intolerance as a way of showing your liberal credentials.

Let me be clear. He has every right (as do all the people you cite above) to hate anyone he wants. I don't believe in thought police or hate crimes. But you can't claim he is an uniter and have him go around hating groups of people.


Greetings, all. Adam, you'll recognize me as "amos" from RedState.

I agree with mimi. Why is this a gaffe?

I doubt that Dean hates Republicans personally. He might hate some. That would be unfortunate.

It's less unlikely that Dean hates the Republican platform and policies. Hate is a strong word and a strong emotion. It might not be the best point of view for Dean to take. But, I would not see that as offensive.

I don't think we'll see Dean reaching out to the Republicans. I think we'll see him confronting them on every issue where he sees a difference between them and the Democrats. I would find that to be splendid. Democratic resistance to Republican policies has been tepid at best for years. It will do noone any harm to have Democratic leadership that is willing to get right in Republican's faces.

How does that make Dean "purple"?

Dean's not a liberal. He's fiscally conservative, friendly to business without being in anyone's pocket. His political CV is as governor of a relatively poor and rural state, with a population and issues not all that different from that of many red states. His policies and priorities address very directly issues that are relevant to many red state folks.

If the red/blue divide is purely about religious values -- abortion, evolution, prayer in schools, gays -- then Dean probably doesn't have all that much to offer "red" folks. If it's about the pocketbook -- decline of the middle class, accessibility of medical care and other basic services -- he's got a lot to offer them.

Regarding "why hasn't Dean said he hates terrorists" -- isn't that a little thin? Google is your friend, you can find many, many very hawkish comments from Dean concerning Al Qaeda and terrorists in general. His primary objection to the invasion in Iraq was his belief that it was a distraction from the offensive against Al Qaeda. Dean doesn't wrap himself in the flag, but he's no shrinking violet when it comes to national defense. I find that combination very appealing, personally.

Regarding the "you all used to be so tolerant" issue, maybe those days are over. Maybe they should be over. If so, that's a situation the Republicans helped create. They'll just have to deal with it.

Cheers -


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.