Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Driven Nuts by the Bushies?

Joe Klein, Time magazine columnist and the erstwhile "anonymous" author of Primary Colors, offers an interesting bit of history on Howard Dean's rise as Democratic front-runner. Here's my favorite paragraph:

"...The grass-roots dismay [among Democrats] began with the disputed election result in Florida, 2000. The Republicans seemed far more tough-minded in pursuit of the prize, bringing in their heavy guns -- the Jeb Bush operation, family consigliere Jim Baker and, ultimately, five Supreme Court justices -- to win the presidency. Then the Democrats in Congress made the disastrous assumption that Bush would be amenable to bipartisan compromise. 'Bipartisanship is another name for date rape,' the fanatic G.O.P. tax cutter Grover Norquist later said, in what could stand as an epitaph for the gullible Congressional Democrats. No less a liberal than Ted Kennedy gave his imprimatur to Bush's No Child Left Behind education bill, only to find that the money he expected to fund the program had been left behind. Democrats also enabled Bush to pass his tax cuts, his Medicare prescription-drug plan, the Patriot Act -- and, the most egregious case, the Iraq war resolution. When Howard Dean made his landmark speech to the Democratic National Committee last February, he opened by asking, 'What I want to know ... is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the President's unilateral attack on Iraq?' The audience -- leading Dems from the outback -- went wild...."

Klein is so right. Since the election of 2000, national Dems (primarily in the House & Senate) have been door mats. A tough-minded Democrat is such a novel spectacle ... which partially explains Howard Dean's runaway popularity. Some people have already dubbed him "MeanDean."

And a tough-minded Democrat is so startling to your regular run-of-the-mill mean Republican that they have been reduced to diagnosing "Democratic anger" at this president as a mental disorder.

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