January 07, 2004

Dean's New Fans

My newest for the American Spectator Online is a response to those on the right, like Bill Kristol and Andrew Sullivan, who are now rooting for Dean to win the nomination.

Posted by John Tabin at January 7, 2004 04:19 AM

How coincidental. I was considering registering as a Dem to vote in the primary. I personaly believe that Dean is very calculating and basically insincere in his beliefs. I think all the Democrats have awful domestic agendas. I honestly dont know what Dean thinks about foreign policy buti suspect he would set back the security efforts of the country. Every sinceMcGovern and Vietnam the dems have been horribly naive on foreign policy..they are more like European left. I do disagree with you in one way. I think Dean would be likely easier to beat for Bush because of his absurd gaffes which the Repubs will play again and again and again.


Posted by: lee tabin at January 7, 2004 07:12 AM

I find it very bizarre that in your article entitled 'Be careful what you plead for,' you state that your preferences for the Democratic nomination are Lieberman, followed by Gephardt?!! Would you care to explain the fantastic political train of thought that brought you to this conclusion. The two come from (close to) polar opposites of the Democratic party, with different ideological backgrounds, making them a rather unlikely combination of preferences.

Posted by: Sam Panda at January 8, 2004 06:25 AM

With the way the path of the democratic primary is currently taking - that of a circular firing squad - it's hard to imagine any democratic candidate defeating Bush in 2004. However, I strongly believe that Dean has the best shot out of the 9 candidates. He has hands down the greatest grassroots support network ever seen in presidential campaigning. And he's raised the most money, which, let's face it folks, also counts for a lot in presidential campaigns. I think a lot of people will latch on to the idea of Dean being the candidate of the people (his average donation is only $77 compared to Bush's average contribution of $1578). It's unfortunate that the mass media likes to paint straight-talking politicians like Dean as angry (remember, the media did the same thing to John McCain back in 2000 when his "Straight Talk Express" was on a role after the NH upset). And on the "gaffe" issue, it seems like the media has also latched on to this portrait of Dean that I don't think is accurate either. A lot of these so called "gaffes" are actually misquoted or misrepresented Dean statements that simply disappear when the real statement is presented. Another portion of it seems like the media has been mining for these gaffes while it hasn't been searching for any dirt on any of the other candidates. There's nothing wrong with them discussing previous Dean statements on face, but when they go out of their way only to look up Dean statements and nobody else's, then it becomes a problem. For example, the most recent "gaffe" charge from the AP was mined by NBC dirt diggers who:

"reviewed 90 of Dean's appearances on the show "the editors" since 1996 and first reported his comments about the caucuses Thursday night."

Normally this would be completely fair. But I just don't see the media doing this with any of the other candidates. It's not for a lack of "gaffes" from them either... every politician has a few slip ups, like Bush's calling a reporter an S.O.B. in front of an audience when he thought his microphone was turned off during the 2000 campaign.

To me, these "gaffes" seem like just another way for the mass media to redirect attention away from substantive campaign issues in order to get more viewership.

Posted by: UCLA Mike Bruins for Dean at January 8, 2004 10:10 PM


Only Lieberman and Gephardt voted to fund the occupation in Iraq. That alone sets them apart. I rank the candidates in order from least to most likely to turn U.S. foreign policy over to France; I'm surprised that wasn't obvious.

Posted by: John Tabin at January 9, 2004 08:21 AM


You're right that the media is on an anti-Dean kick. They're paying disproportionate attention to him simply because he's the frontrunner, but the hostile tenor of the coverage is notable. Reporters are overwhelmingly left of center, and I suspect they'd be significantly gentler if they agreed with your assessment of Dean's prospects. Remember that before Dean, the biggest grassroots volunteer base in presidential election history belonged to George McGovern.

Posted by: John Tabin at January 9, 2004 08:30 AM

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Posted by: Dave Weigel at January 19, 2004 02:38 AM