. . . Monday February 2, 2004

Meet the Mess

Two thoughts from yesterday’s full hour interview between Tim Russert and Howard Dean on Meet the Press (transcript here). First, the interview like so many these days, focused primarily on the strategies behind the race as opposed to the issues behind the campaign. Aside from a middle segment that focused on Iraq and the economy, the entire interview seemed to be about Dean’s campaign tactics. Second, I have argued from the beginning that Dean would not win because he just seems unlikable. Think Tim Russert likes him? Look at some of the questions from Sunday’s broadcast:

It looks as though you’re in very tough shape for these coming primaries and caucuses on Tuesday.

You say you’re a good manager, a fiscal conservative. How did you blow $40 million?

Do you regret spending all the money so quickly?

But, Governor, if your mission is to beat George Bush…and you haven’t won any primaries and John Kerry emerges as the presumptive nominee, would you continue on a scorched-earth policy?

(On Roy Neel) : How could you do that to all your supporters who signed on to take our country back, put a Washington lobbyist in charge of your campaign?

Russert, who often reads article excerpts as part of his questioning, pulled this gem from a friggin’ letter to the editor at the Des Moines Register: “Now, I know how Howard Dean gets his exercise while he’s on the campaign trail. He drops to his knees to beg ‘Washington insiders’ to endorse him, and then he jumps up to insult them. I’m guessing he does about 20 repetitions of that a day.”

Russert also unearthed an anger-related quote from Dean’s high school yearbook and of course replayed the Iowa scream. Time ran out on the interview before Russert could add:

Governor, your wife has been absent from most of your campaign stops and she insists that both John Kerry and John Edwards are better in bed (especially in tandem and when playing alternating roles from the upcoming movie Troy). Thoughts?

In Vermont, you backed family values, yet during the SuperBowl you removed an article of clothing revealing Janet Jackson’s breast. Were you driven by hypocrisy, perversion or a can of Jesus Juice?

Things were good but they suck now, huh?

Concentration is important!