Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another Angry Democrat

The "angry" Edwards theme has really picked up steam this week heading into the Iowa caucuses. Apparently the beltway punditry is trying to lighten their holiday workload by recycling old editorials from the Howard Dean campaign.

You remember the warnings about Howard Dean? Disregarding everything we knew about his decade as Vermont's governor, the media painted him as angry, alienating, and gaffe-prone. Talking heads predicted that a country run by such a volatile leader would surely result in endless gridlock and political meltdown.

When Dean ended up chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2005, the GOP revved up the spin machine into high gear. They gleefully reported his fundraising efforts were lagging, and forecast his imminent impeachment.

....the good doctor has worked with such zeal alienating voters and contributors that Republicans can only sit back and enjoy. The Democrats would be crazy to keep him, but they may prefer to let him and the DNC become irrelevant rather than suffer the public-relations crisis of a party purge.

Funny thing with Dean, though. His 50-state strategy emphasizing reform helped re-energize the Democratic base. Instead of a tenure marked by controversy and contention, his leadership has led to a remarkably unified and successful Democratic Party, which has set records for fundraising. The results of the 2006 election are hard to argue with. So maybe, just maybe, all that hotair about Gov. Dean being a hothead was a bit overblown, eh?

So with that in mind, Stuart Rothenberg's recent editorial evokes a little anger and a lot of deja vu. Rothenberg derides an "angry" John Edwards as divisive, and predicts an Edwards presidency would incite warfare between the middle class and the working class.

With all due respect, Stuart, you really need to get out more. White collar workers are every bit as much at risk in today's economy as blue collar, as companies outsource more and more high tech jobs and cut back on pensions and health care to squeeze profits. And while three dollar gasoline leaves the working poor choosing between transportation and utilities, in the tony suburbs, government's failure to take even the smallest baby steps in securing energy independence or curbing greenhouses gases is seen as a threat to the future of our children. The soccer moms and the waitress moms are on the same page on more issues that one might think.

Recent articles on Edwards even refer to his campaign theme as strident, a slap also frequently taken at Hillary Clinton, but one which still makes those of us old enough to remember Geraldine Ferraro grit our teeth. It behooves us to remember that this is the same media that in 2000 endorsed a Texas governor, who couldn't put together a coherent sentence on the campaign trail that wasn't prescripted, because his frat boy antics and pet names made him more fun on the campaign bus. Then they defended all his subsequent bone-headed policies by interpreting ideological stubbornness as leadership, saying "well, at least you know where he stands."

NTL hasn't endorsed any presidential candidate and doesn't plan to do so. Truth is, like much of the Democratic electorate, we're pretty happy with our choices and looking forward to the end of the primary season when the real debate begins. In the meantime, though, we call foul on any attempt to make personalities (or race, gender or religion) the central issue in this election. To do so is to do the GOP's dirty work for them. And frankly, we think the American people are smarter than that.

For more, see Eye on Williamson's "It's Not the Polarization, It's the Lack of Choice that Keeps Voters at Home" and David Sirota's "Gauging the Fear Inside the Palace Walls."


Anonymous said...

so at what bar do "angry" north texas edwardsians gather to watch the caucus?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Edwards will have the same fate as Dean. The man is a panderer and his views absurd.