September 02, 2003

No Chance In Hell
So, it looks like I'm going to have a Dean Hat-Trick today. Let the ranting commence....

I just had a conversation with one of my co-workers who'd heard Gov. Dean speak for the first time this weekend on C-Span. This gentleman, who'd campaigned for John F. Kennedy in the 1960 election, said that he believed Dean was his kind of candidate - he was thoughtful, strong, and had integrity. He said he would DEFINITELY vote for him.

But he also said that Dean has no chance in Hell of becoming President of the United States.

He cited the '60 election as an example: Nixon had spent the previous 8 years as the incumbent Vice-President from a popular administration. On paper, Kennedy had nothing even close to Tricky Dick's qualifications. But JFK was a good looking man and, in my friend's estimation, Americans vote with their hearts instead of their heads.

I cannot tell you how many times I've been told the exact same thing - people (usually men) love Dean but think he'll get creamed in the election. But when you listen to the reasons they cite, it tends to be something along the lines of this:

"The American people are too stupid to vote for what's good for them."

Now, to be honest and fair, I've said similar things myself. But then, I have to consider this: how often has the electorate actually made a mistake?

Gore actually got more votes than Bush, it's just that the election was within the margin of error and went to Bush on a technicality.

Was it a mistake for the public to vote for Reagan over Carter? Well, in light of that given moment in time (inflation, oil shortages, American hostages in Iran), it didn't really look like Carter was getting the job done. He was probably a better humanitarian than Reagan, but he wasn't handling the basic requirements of the job, namely peace & prosperity.

Was it a mistake to elect Bush over Dukakis? Or Nixon over Humphreys?

I think what all of these guys (Carter, Dukakis, Humphreys) had in common is that they allowed the opposition to paint them as soft. And the fundamental requirement of leadership is strength.

In the oath of office every President must take on his Inauguration Day, he pledges to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". It's not a job for equivocation. You can't run a country by citing your credentials or brandishing a resume.

If you want to be the most powerful man (or, dare I say, woman, Mrs. Clinton?) in the world, you have to demonstrate that you are worthy of power. And power begins with strength.

George Bush is many things, but, no matter how many mistakes he makes, it is his illusion of strength that makes him seem insurmountable. All of the Democratic Senators who are running for President are losing ground to Howard Dean because they are clearly pandering to Bush's side of the electorate instead of standing up for something. Guys like Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards & Lieberman would all be crushed against Bush. I mean, really, if I want a Republican agenda, why would I ever vote for a Democrat masquerading as a Republican? The country is polarized, and rather than trying to steal from Bush's thunder, Dean is waking up the other side of the equation.

Trust me, my friends, a Dean vs. Bush election will be VERY, VERY ugly. But guys only fight dirty when they're afraid they'll lose.

And I think Karl Rove gets the "Duck Season - Wabbit Season" award for asking for the thing he doesn't want to make people think he really wants it so they'll keep it from him. They don't really want to run against Dean, because Dean won't bow to Bush like he's f'n Hirohito.

No Chance In Hell? We'll see about that.
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