...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, December 04, 2003
      ( 9:12 AM )
Molly Picks Her Man

Well, Molly Ivins went and did it. She has publicly endorsed Howard Dean. Now what - one of the most progressive voices in the country is willing to back a not-so-liberal reformer who doesn't seem to care about toting the party line - what next? Al Franken? Jim Hightower?

For a while, I fretted over Dean being angry,
or at least appealing to the political anger that
is normally manipulated by right-wing radio
jocks. Anger makes liberals uncomfortable: We
prefer peace, reason and gentle persuasion.
Beloveds, it is way past time for us to get mad
-- social, economic and political justice are being
perverted by the Bush administration.

Dean gives a hell of a speech -- even if you're
Republican, you should go and hear him just for
the experience. But I fretted about Dean on TV
-- TV is so important. How could anyone poker up
on Margaret Carlson of PBS, not one of the world's
toughest interviewers? But then I saw Dean laugh
his way through a Chris Matthews interview
(which he should have done with Tim Russert, who
was hell-bent on gotcha questions), and I know
the guy can take care of himself. So he fights back
if you get in his face -- that's not all bad.

She concludes her article with: ...I don't think Dean is a moderate centrist. I think he's a fighting centrist. And folks, I think we have got ourselves a winner here."

I think Ivins is exemplifying what a lot of people are starting to recognize about Dean. He's not afraid to fight back. His Chris Matthews interview on Monday showed that. Liberals are sick and tired of leaders who milktoast their way through situations - who dodge and duck and dish out sweet platitudes when they should be kicking and yelling and pushing the nonsense being thrown at them out of the way.

William Greider of The Nation had an editorial in this week's edition about why he's for Dean, and it was basically the same reasons:

Howard Dean is an odd duck, certainly, in the
milieu of the contemporary Democratic Party.
He is, I surmise, a tough and savvy politician
of the old school--a shrewd, intuitive pol who
develops his own sense of where the people
are and where events are likely to take public
opinion, then has the guts to act on his
perceptions. That approach--leading, it's called
--seems dangerously unscientific in this era of
high-quality polling and focus groups, the data
interpreted for politicians by expensive consultants.
The press corps has not had much experience
with Democrats of this type, so reporters read
Dean's style as emotional, possibly a character
flaw. He reminds me of olden days when Democrats
were a more contentious bunch, always fighting
noisily among themselves and often with
creative results.

The wimpy Tom Daschles, the turncoat Zell Millers, the flashy Bill Clintons - what have they done (a) for the party or (b) for us? Not much - by betraying the very progressive values of the Democratic party, that most Americans hold, even if they are not Democrats, most of our leading politicians have sold us down the river to the highly organized, very slick and manipulative GOP rightists. The agenda has been so hijacked to the right that what once would have been considered a very conservative proposition is now closer to the left-of center. It's time to stop going along with this system. It's time to fight back for what actually is GOOD for this country, not what's good for politics.

I think that's why more people are leaning towards Dean. It's not just that he is a winner, but he's willing to stand up for the people of the country and not mince words and not play the Washington games. The party of Roosevelt and Truman - the party that came up with all the good ideas - the party that has rolled over for too long. The time has come to an end to stop complaining and start fighting back and winning.

James Carville is telling Democrats the same thing. Fight back. In an interview I saw with him earlier this week he was saying that among the things Dems need to do is stop apologizing, stop conceding points that don't need to be conceded, stop acting like the other side has a point at all, and start standing for something.

Hmmm... what a novel idea...

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