As a follow up to yesterday’s story about Howard Dean telling reporters that his followers may not support a Washington Democrat and in fact may stay home, Dean also wants DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, a man he has criticized, to tell other Democrats to lay off criticizing him. Before a vote has been cast, but with him safely in the lead at this time, Dean wants the party to quiet down the tone of the rhetoric back and forth amongst the candidates. There is merit to what Dean is asking for here, since the White House has already admitted that they are using the attacks by Dean’s opponents for their own benefit. Dean is also saying rightly that none of the candidates is exciting the party’s base. But it is also true that some of the attacks by Dean’s opponents are to be expected given their status as desperate pursuers of the front runner, stemming in large part from some of Dean’s own ill-advised statements which reflect his lack of experience in dealing with the national Gore-hostile media or in foreign affairs. The attacks will continue. The sooner all of the candidates talk about the future and why they are better at providing a good one for the country than George W. Bush, the better for the party and the country. How to do that? Well, Dean is off to a good start with that, in announcing soon his plan for helping the cities and adding a million jobs in two years.
John Edwards laid out his own economic plans this morning, which he said would lead to the creation of five million new jobs. Even though most of these proposals by Edwards have been made before, today he pulled them all together under his effective “wealthy class versus working class” mantra. It’s a great program with a solid mantra that fits in well together, and should be adopted as the party’s alternate economic agenda.
While other campaigns slug it out in Iowa and New Hampshire, Wesley Clark is focusing on the next set of states and particularly the South. He is however running a decent-sized ad buy in New Hampshire that uses (surprise!) Bill Clinton’s image.
The Times has a good piece this morning on how the Rove-led GOP is targeting local radio talk shows and their less-inquisitive, friendlier, eager-to-please hosts for attention from campaign officials. This allows the campaign to dictate the positive, “we’re doing better because of W” line of thinking amongst local listeners and steer around the more skeptical national media in getting its unfiltered message out. Democrats can do the same, and with his lead and resources, Dean is the most likely to start this on a large scale soon.
The Los Angeles Times reports on something that we have known for awhile: the real unemployment rate is significantly higher than 5.9%, when you add the number of part-time workers who really want to work full-time who can’t find such jobs, and those who have given up looking for work, and those who the government can now call “disabled” rather than job-seekers. When you add those groups to the mix, the revised number of unemployed is closer to 10%. But you won’t hear any of that from the White House ever.
The Post reports today that the Pentagon is preventing the retirement or discharge of thousands of soldiers, reservists included, because W’s overseas commitments have overextended the nation’s ability to maintain its necessary troop levels. This will do even more wonders for morale.