Really, I'm not a Deanblogger...I can stop any time...
Mark Yzaguirre sent me this article by Larry Kudlow on Howard Dean, and I have to say it's one of the funnier things I've read in awhile. Take a look at how Kudlow leads off:
A shocking Zogby poll this week had Vermont Gov. Howard Dean at a giant 21 point lead over former New Hampshire frontrunner Sen. John Kerry. That's more than two-to-one with a 38 percent to 17 percent margin. Dean is the clear frontrunner and may well lead the Democrats next year. So, this is a wake-up call for the Bushies. It's time for all the president's men to aggressively defend Bush's policies and attack Dean's extreme left-liberal positions.
So far, Dean has been relying on a relatively narrow base of voter support — largely Bush-hating, anti-war liberals who make up about half of the Democratic party and a third of the electorate. But Dean is well-funded and he has quickly become the darling of the liberal media.
Following his successful rally in New York's Bryant Park this week, the New York Times saw fit to run a huge frontpage story with a color picture of the candidate. Meanwhile, a story on Bush's excellent speech at the VFW convention — where he emphasized a stay-the-course commitment in Iraq — was placed below the Dean story with a much smaller headline.
In the long Times piece on Dean you had to go 23 paragraphs deep to find a statement on the candidate's basic policy positions: universal health insurance, opposition to the Iraq war, balanced budgets, tax-cut repeal, affirmative action, and gay rights. This is not a winning combination, as numerous moderate Democrats point out. Still, if Dean's the one, administration spokespeople should start underscoring the extremism that defines his campaign.
For example, Dean's universal health-care insurance is Hillarycare. It's the same government-paid health insurance that's been a disaster in Western Europe and Canada. And it's the same socialist proposal that was defeated handily in a Democratic Congress ten years ago.
Still, as Mark mentioned in the email he sent to me, it's interesting to watch righty pundits start to sit up and see Dean as a threat. One of the things that I've liked about Dean so far is that he really has run a good campaign. He's gained a competitive advantage through his use of the Internet, he's generated an awful lot of free (and favorable) publicity for himself with a few well-chosen media buys, and he's survived the few bad things that have happened to him (his son's arrest, spamming supporters) without any lasting effect so far.
The one thing Dean hasn't done yet is respond to a coordinated attack. Kudlow's right in that the press coverage of Dean has been generally positive if occasionally clueless. How will he do when the President turns his guns and his umpty-million dollar campaign war chest on him? Unfortunately, we won't know until primaries are in full swing, if not already over. I can't imagine Bush taking Kudlow's advice and attacking a specific Democratic candidate four months before an actual vote is taken - that just strikes me as projecting vulnerability. However, this may be a sign that the mighty Wurlitzer will start to make some noise. When that happens, the key question will be whether or not Dean can neutralize the falsehoods before they become conventional wisdom in the mainstream. If he does, whether through his own nimbleness or the media's continued love affair for him, then I don't think anyone can reasonably question his viability.
UPDATE: As hamletta points out in the comments, the Dean Defense Forces have responded as well.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 28, 2003 to The making of the President | TrackBack