January 25, 2004

Misinterpreted Quote of the Week

[crowd response from 3,500 campaign volunteers, some from as far away as Tokyo, in bold]

"Well, you guys, you have already got the picture here. I was about to say, you know, I'm sure there are some disappointed people here. You know what? You know something? You know something? If you had told us one year ago that we were gonna come in third in Iowa, we would have given anything for that. And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to New Hamphire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina, and Oklahoma, and Arizona, and North Dakota, and New Mexico! We're going to California, and Texas, and New York! And then we're going to South Dakota, and Oregon, and Washington, and Michigan! And then we're going to Washington D.C. to take back the White House!



We will not give up!


We will not give up in New Hampshire!
We will not give up in South Carolina!
We will not give up in Arizona!
Or New Mexico!
North Dakota!

We will not quit now or ever! We want our country back for ordinary Americans.


I.... and we're gonna .... win in Massachussetts!
And North Carolina!
And Missouri!
And Arkansas!
And Conneticutt!
And New York!
And Ohio!

Let me.... let me... let me.... Wait a minute, wait a minute, waaait a minute. There are some polite things we need to do here. And the first is to thank some people......"

- The entire text of the speech Howard Dean gave to his disgruntled supporters following his third place finish in the Iowa Caucuses last week.

Of course, my transcript can't actually do it justice. If you actually watch the video in the link above, you'll see that it was not a concession, but more like the St. Crispin's Day speech in Shakespeare's Henry V (e.g. "Once more into the breech, dear friends!!!!")

And, consider this: Dean's charm offensive Thursday night, with the help of David Letterman, Diane Sawyer, and especially his wife, Miss Crushed Cupcakes herself, Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean, has brought him back within the margin of error in polls relative to John "Vote for Me Because I Already Look Like The President" Kerry.

Which brings me to a really personal peeve of mine.

I've made my thoughts on so-called "Electability" known months ago. But let's get at something that seems to be on everybody's mind this week, namely, what exactly constitutes "Presidential" behavior.

Dean has taken alot of heat this week for not looking presidential for giving a loud, rousing speech to his supporters instead of hanging his head and sulking off into the night after his Iowa loss. But Dean stil has tremendous structural advantages over his Democratic opponents. In addition, Dean has the strongest, most compelling message in the entire Democratic field. How can I say that? Well, simply listen to the other candidates: they all SOUND LIKE DEAN. Even the Congressional Democratic response to the State of the Union lifted whole chunks from Dean's standard stump speech.

Dean is already leading the Democratic party, even as he takes the slings and arrows that come from leadership. Because he believes he's right.

With 600,000 people publicly hanging their hopes on Dean, it would have been irresponsible on his part to give a sheepish concession. These people were relying on him. And, whether they know it yet, so is the rest of the country.

Courage. Conviction. Responsibility. Leadership.

Those sound like Presidential qualities to me.

So, to those who're really big on pomp, circumstance, appearances, ceremonies, facades, and pretense - go ahead and vote for Kerry. Bush will thank you in the end.

But if you just want the country to work, vote for Dean.

So, while I'm waxing nostalgic about Shakespeare, let me simply quote Kenneth Branagh from Dean Again, the film he made after his own version of Henry V:

"This is all faaaaar from over............."

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