Dean and Gore, Democrats in Opposition
by Duckman GR
Time. Time is such a fickle animal. It rushes by at the most inopportune times, then pauses to urge you forward with the hope of finding a greater well of, yes, time. It dances like the Dance of a 1000 Veils, then vanishes somewhere around veil 763, if you’re lucky, veil 34 if you’re less so.
I mention this because just last week, and I swear this is true, (actually, now it was the week before-there’s that Time thing again!) I was going to post, finally, something about the John Edwards campaign, give you the link to his website, discuss how he has challenged Bush to return campaign contributions from the CEO of Diebold ‘Steal the Election’ Computer Systems, mention how he only raised $2.5 million dollars in campaign funds in the third quarter, compared to $15 million for Gov. Dean, or around $3.5 to $4.0 million by the campaigns of Kerry, Gep, Clark and Lieberman.
Suddenly, the passage of time makes this less important. No matter what they say, no matter how much the pathetic losers of the Popular News Media trot out their tired and wrong aspersions, Al Gore has rendered several of the campaigns moot, whether they know it or not.
Don’t let the Richard Cohen’s confuse you, don’t let the bitter Pundits and Heathers weaken your resolve. This is a big deal. Al Gore has the support from a lot of actual people. If you’ve paid attention to Gore’s speeches, here andhere, since last year, you can see that he’s taken on George W Bush in no uncertain terms. When he came out in San Francisco last September and blasted Bush, he was throwing down the gauntlet. He was being the Candidate we wished he had been during the campaign, direct, believable, smart, nuanced, forceful, determined. He was looking to see who among the candidates embraced that stance, took his challenge, and ran with it. No wonder most of the other candidates have denounced him.
Really, it’s not that complicated. We need to oppose George Bush. Whoever does so, will win the hearts and minds of the Democratic electorate. Maybe not the Beltway Boys, the K Street thugs, the “bosses” and the chieftains. But the moms and dads, the bloggers and the people who put up yard signs, the folks who make phone calls for their local party and candidates, write letters to Rush’s sponsors, support the UFCW and don’t shop at the big grocery chains, the people who read their ballot pamphlets and then vote, those are the ones that want an opposition party, an opposition exemplified by Howard Dean.
And that’s why Al Gore endorsed Dean. Sure, there will be much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth. Democracy, as one notorious pundit said, is a bit untidy. DKos has a good analysis for those who complain that this endorsement subverts democracy that makes sense. People have been voting in one form or another from day one of this campaign. Money is votes. Organizers and Volunteers and Contributors and Union Endorsements (which are voted for by the membership) are votes. Or the lack thereof.
The others may not realize it, they might feel all energized and mad, but for the most part, they’re done. Clark, Gep, maybe Kerry, might still make it a fight. But the others are toast. Why? Between Dean’s grassroots army, and the many Democrats who support Al Gore, Gov. Dean has a lot of boots on the ground, and the money and organization to use those troops. People want to look at some grand political machinations on Al Gores part, but I think the truth is not so convoluted.
Al Gore is not standing for Inside Baseball, or Inside the Beltway. He’s standing for all those Democratic voters who still feel cheated by the Florida mess, who want to fight back at the smirking emperor and his flying monkey minions, . . . . . .
. . . . . who do not want to hop on the bush bandwagon and be better republicans than the republicans, like Fightin Joe Lieberman suggests.
Many don’t think this is over, that this makes things a done deal, like Digby and Atrios. But I think it does. I think it’s a brilliant stroke that gives Dean a lot of pluses and stature he didn’t have just the day before. You can go on and on about whether he should have called Fightin Joe or not, (The Daily Howler has a fine post on that whole issue here). I say, “Oh woe is me, Joe!” After all the good he did during their campaign, Al Gore doesn’t owe him a thing.
The Democrats cannot win if they don’t start acting like an opposition party. The Medicare bill is a prime example. Too many Democrats voted for it, or in the case of Kerry and Lieberman, didn’t even bother to vote. Get that, two of the presidential candidates couldn’t be bothered to vote against the bill, and they want the support of the Democrats to become President? Ted Kennedy realized that his project had been screwed by the time the bill was finalized, yet too many Democrats calculated that some seniors or some rural voters might be displeased by a vote against this abomination, so they went along with the President. By voting with the GOP you tell the country, especially on such a huge and pervasive issue, that the republicans have the right way, and the Democrats don’t. Some opposition. They might as well game plan with the San Diego Chargers for all the good they do with that strategy. If you are going to agree to what the other side wants, what leg are you going to stand on when you say vote for me, the opposition?
Howard Dean has figured that out, and he figured it out early on. If he were running things, Zell Miller would no longer be welcome in the Democratic Party. If he were in charge, we wouldn’t be alone in Iraq, dying for no good reason. If he were making foreign policy, the Taliban wouldn’t be regrouping in Afghanistan, Halliburton wouldn’t be war profiteering, AIDS would be getting their funding now, not in 2005 or later, he would not be dancing to Ariel Sharon’s tune, and the world might actually be working on addressing some of our shared concerns, constructively, like global warming and AIDS and terrorism and Palestine and overpopulation.
And not because Howard Dean is some god given saint of rectitude, humility, and service to the greater good. But because he is not some punch drunk greedy little faux cowboy born with a silver spoon and no shred of self-respect and humility, unfamiliar with the true concept of responsibility. But because he is not controlled by a bunch of greedy power mad crony corporatists determined to preserve and control their overlarge portion of the pie from the pitiful peasants more concerned with their kids college fund, their two weeks a year vacation, their healthcare, their mortgage or rent payments, then with sharpening their pitchforks and fueling their torches. Howard Dean may not be perfect. He may not be a Saint. He may be an arrogant prick for all I know. So what. He is a fighter, an opponent, not an ass kissing sanctimonious twit. He’s a sober and experienced executive not afraid to call George W Bush on his lies and his disastrous policies. And that, my friends, is why Al Gore is backing him.