. . . Wednesday February 4, 2004

Rage Against the Machine

I miss Howard Dean. The old Howard Dean. The one from before the media slapped his wrist (followed by his face, his body and his privates) for being too, well, too Howard Dean. Like the dominatrix in any such scene, the media is actually enjoying the role of Howard basher – and why not? When dealing with a pinata, better to be the guy swinging the stick than the guy holding the candy. If we look to the Iowa Yell as a metaphor for all that went wrong, we might be tempted to blame Dean’s current predicament on the wide perception of his anger problem. But anger was never Howard Dean’s problem. Anger was his friend. His personality can be off-putting, he couldn’t close on the votes when it counted, and the issue of electability reared its ugly head. But anger got Howard Dean this far. Lip-biting, counting to ten, and deep-breathing it away – far from resurrecting his chances – has only secured his downfall.

Dean’s anger wasn’t simply focused on W and Republicans. It was aimed at his fellow Democrats for being too silent, too weak and too lost in the post Clinton personality-driven era. And he was dead on. He tapped into the very real frustration Democrats felt towards their own party leaders. Too much anger? Too much yelling? If anything, the Iowa moment made the media look bad for the greatest overreaction to a cultural event in modern history (modern history here referring to the period between the cancellation of JLo’s wedding and the baring of Janet Jackson’s knocker). Take a look at the exit polls. This election is all about anger. Of course, Dean will not climb back into the race and the media will love his downfall. And that combination will make Howard Dean, above all, really pissed off. Frankly, that’s just how I like him…

Concentration is important!