Normalizing Howard Begins


Well, Rick Lyman has started the media assist of the most likely Democratic nominee. He tries to make Dean look like a Democratic version of Bush a/k/a a winner and tries to smooth rough edges while burying the “extremist” label. My favorite is comparing Bush’s tongue twisters with Dean’s off the cuff remarks that tend to let us peer into his thinking, see e.g. Osama should be tried in court and not killed. Here now is the link:

George Walker Bush and Howard Brush Dean III are from opposite sides of the nation’s political fault line. Yet besides energizing the left wing of his party, Dr. Dean has some Republicans worried that the characteristics he shares with President Bush could appeal to swing voters, especially when Dr. Dean’s current image as a Vermont liberal is leavened with details of the fiscally conservative way he governed Vermont for 11 years.

The two are sons of established blueblood families dominated by powerful fathers. They attended top prep schools and Yale. And they settled far from traditional power enclaves, reinventing themselves as archetypes of their chosen new homes, President Bush in swaggering Texas and Dr. Dean in outdoorsy Vermont.

They were known for hard-partying, hard-drinking in their youths, but those days ended when they simply gave up alcohol as adults. Each man’s character was shaped by the loss of a sibling: for the president, a sister who died of leukemia at age 3; for Dr. Dean, a younger brother who disappeared in 1974 in Laos while on an around-the-world trip.

And although each has a distinct political style, as governors they developed reputations for carefully bridging the political divide between liberals and conservatives, a skill that has thus far eluded them on the national stage.

Other, deeper similarities are apparent only to those who have spent significant time with each man: temperaments prone to irritation; political skills that play better in small groups than on television; rock-solid confidence in their own decisions.

In addition, each man is seen as being his own worst enemy on the campaign trail, President Bush for mangling his English and fumbling answers, Dr. Dean for creating unnecessary crises by speaking his mind too swiftly.

Too much can be made of these similarities, of course. Certainly Dr. Dean, 55, and his family feel it is misleading to tag them as Bushlike bluebloods, despite the fact that they own a Park Avenue apartment and an East Hampton country house.

Note how the Times tries to play down Dean’s Park Avenue upbrining and pump up the “rich boy” view of Bush.

Mr. Dean’s transformation from a bright, somewhat feckless son of privilege into a goal-driven family man began, his mother believes, in the year he spent in England after graduation from St. George’s.

Ah, yes, Dean becomes more liberally sensible after time in Europe. A Democrat’s Democrat.

In 1980, he worked on Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign. Soon afterward, he wandered into a presentation by a University of Vermont professor, Thomas Hudspeth, about revitalizing Burlington’s waterfront with a bicycle path.

“Howard came up after the presentation and said, `O.K., let’s do it,’ ” said Rick Sharp, a lawyer.

The three men formed the Citizens Waterfront Group, to secure a nine-mile stretch of land along Lake Champlain for the path.

“I remember Howard at the time was very good at sizing up people,” Mr. Hudspeth said. “He’d cut to the chase, every time. He’d say, `Let’s don’t bother with that guy, he’s too contentious, we’ll never convince him.’ Instead, we worked on some other guy. Howard was always a few steps ahead.”

Note how the Times leaves out the interesting tidbit of how Dean left the Episcopal Church over this bike path. Shallow and tempermental. A perfect candidate for the everything to everyone party.

After airing all the dirty laundry and the fact that many Dems fear Dean’s nomination, the Pravda of the DNC has jumped on the bandwagon to show the masses that Howard Deanovich is one of the people.

Deanovich is portrayed as a Vermont centrist. Of course Vermont regularly sends a socialist to Congress. So, I guess the analogy is Khruschev is to Bernie Sanders as Mikhail Gorbachev is to Howard Deanovich.

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Erick Erickson

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By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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