. . . Wednesday February 18, 2004

Howard Dean: Party Animal

I’m pissed. And I have Howard Dean to thank for that. Well, maybe not for the anger itself, but certainly for giving voice to that anger. I never found myself swept up in the Dean movement, nor did I think he had a very good chance at getting the nomination – even when he was getting Bruce Springsteen-in-’75 coverage from the major weeklies. But whatever enthusiasm is being felt by Dems today, whatever real hope there is for victory in the Fall, is due in large part to Howard Dean. He may not be the guy to carry the torch, but he was certainly one of the few hitting two rocks together to light it in the first place. And of those two rocks, only one was being thrown in the direction of the White House. The other one was being aimed directly at his own party. A party that, in the shadow of the personality-driven tour de force of the Clinton era, had lost its soul; and more importantly, had lost its gonads. Howard Dean gave voice to the rage many Dems felt towards the wishy-washy weakness of their own reps in D.C.

Dean was never the perfect campaigner. And at times he fluctuated between fighting the power and leaning on it (Gore? Why Howard?). I still wish he had told Diane Sawyer and the rest of the media to shove it when it came to questions about Judy and the scream. Was he an angry guy? He had every right to be. I wished he had embraced it. The scream of course will be the perpetually defining moment of the media coverage of Howard Dean. The yelp heard ’round the world was all-too-pleasing to both news junkies and late night talkshow hosts. We live in a knee-jerk society and on that night in Iowa, Howard Dean found himself smack dab in the receiving crotch. Maybe if he had kept yelling, things would’ve been different.

Howard Dean was at the front of the battering ram. He loosened the hinges on a locked door that prior to his arrival had only been hit with handkerchiefs and softball platitudes. At the very least he departs the race with a well-earned political purple heart and the secure knowledge that he served his party well…


Dean speech (in Real format)


The last days of the campaign

Concentration is important!