Howard Dean is back....."YEAHGH"!!
This weekend I was watching ABC's this week with George Stephanopoulos interviewing Howard Dean. I have to say that I was impressed. Howard Dean fell off of the radar during the Democratic Primary race. Even before he gave his famous, "I have a scream speech", he found himself being derided not only by the GOP, but by some of his own party members. He made, what appeared to be at that time, many gaffes that made him out to be the type of person who speaks without thinking. Many people, myself included, began to get frustrated with Dean, and consequently he lost the lead to John Kerry. I personally thought that Dean was trying too hard to come off as a populist, this thought was confirmed when he made the statement, "This party should not be the party of urban liberals, but of they guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks." I couldn't see it then, but I do now.....Dean made a great point. To me, part of the problem with the Democratic Party has been a loss of vision, a loss of purpose, and a loss of directions. In early years, it was very easy to maintain power by simply "not being Republican", but as we can see, the social and cultural tide has shifted in this country, and the GOP is at least saying enough to keep people interested.
During Stephanopoulos' interview with Dean, he spoke of Bill Clinton and his appeal to the common people, he started to say something to the effect of, "so is that what the Democratic Party needs, another Southern Democrat to...."
At this point, Dean cut him off and said that "we don't need to start thinking like that". He was right, we don't need to wait on a Democratic Messiah to rejuvenate the party. It has to start at the grassroots level in order to get us back on target. The Democratic party is on the ropes, yet, while a defensive posture is necessary, curling up in the fetal position is not going to save us. The Democratic Party, like the African-American community is too content to wait on the big Icon of the day to save us. Even if we could take the DNA of the five greatest U.S. Presidents and make a super leader, that would not help the Democratic Party in the long term. We don't need one Icon, we need many iconoclasts to break away from the conventional "party thought". Whether we agree with him or not, Howard Dean has the Populist appeal that is necessary to turn this Party around. His failure in the Democratic Primary was not in being PC enough in regard to Confederate flags, his all-white Cabinet in Vermont, or even his "I have a 'scream' speech",(Personally, I felt all of the media coverage of the infamous scream was much ado about nothing. Yes, he may have sounded like 'The Rock' when he spoke, but I thought he was just trying to energize his supporters.), his failure was in completely speaking his mind. Despite all of the opprobrious gestures by the current administration, the Democratic Party was dealt a one-two punch that is still being felt at all levels of government.
Dean, though he fell from grace as a candidate, will make a good Chair of the DNC. There are many people out there who say that he is, "too liberal". People say that, especially in reference to Dean's stance against the War. But, we forgot that he spoke out against gun control, socialized medicine, and gay marriage. And certainly his economic plans would have been a great deal more conservative than the sitting administration. But on that same note, just like Ted Kennedy said, "we don't need to make ourselves out to be Republicans in order to regain our strength." We need to come up with an objective, state it, and work toward it and the betterment of our country.
John Kerry was trounced by Centrist voters despite the fact that his economic policies would have been more advantageous to them than W's. In retrospect it would seem that Dean's call to reach out to culturally conservative voters was prescient. Many Dems, much to my dismay, are trying to derail Dean's quest for the DNC chair, and they also say that he is using this position to facilitate a 2008 run. Dean claims that if he gets the chairmanship that he will NOT seek the presidency again. Of course he could change his mind....in a way I hope he gets both. In either capacity he will be great because whether you agree with him or not, he will always speak his mind, and the common people will know what he is saying.