06/14/2005: Hitting Them Where They Deserve It...
Now finally a columnist after my own heart on the issue of how to deal with those slimy, dirty-dog, below-the belt, lying SOB’s of the GOP strategists:Democrats, don't put muzzle on Dean by DeWayne Wickham (USA TODAY):
”Instead of muzzling Howard Dean, Democrats should give him a bullhorn. Rather than urging him to retreat from his attack on Republicans, party leaders ought to send him off to a political war college — preferably the one the late GOP strategist Lee Atwater attended.
As chairman of the Democratic Party, which is teetering between political renewal and functional extinction, Dean should be making war, not peace. But that's exactly what his critics within the party seemed to be suggesting last week when they admonished him for his tough talk about Republicans.
"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same, and they all look the same," he said days earlier. He also said the GOP is "pretty much a white, Christian party" and Republicans "never made an honest living in their lives."
Understandably, Dean's verbal barrage drew a return salvo from Republicans, who accused him of hitting below the belt. Surprisingly, it also sparked friendly fire from some Democrats, who worried aloud that he was unnecessarily alienating Republicans.
While, in fact, what he said about the GOP stretches the truth, it also rallies the Democratic troops, something the party has had difficulty doing since Bill Clinton left the White House.
Lesson from GOP
Ironically, Dean's negative talk is something Atwater, who managed the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, turned into an art form. When the story broke that Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer, raped a white woman and assaulted her fiancé while on a weekend furlough from a Massachusetts prison, Atwater went on the attack. He vowed to link Horton so closely to Bush's opponent, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, that people would think the career criminal was the Democratic candidate's running mate.
Republican leaders, eager to extend their party's control of the White House beyond the eight years of Ronald Reagan's presidency, didn't chastise Atwater for playing to racial fears and stereotypes in linking Horton to Dukakis. Instead, they made him party chairman.
Not long after he assumed that post, Atwater put his crosshairs on then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, a Democrat he correctly feared might keep Bush from winning re-election. Atwater plotted to use allegations of drug abuse and womanizing to derail Clinton's political career. "We may or may not win, but we'll bust him up so bad he won't be able to run again for years," Atwater said, according to The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, a 2000 book by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons.
Despite expressing his regret for these actions shortly before his untimely death in 1991, Atwater's go-for-the-jugular brand of politics has become a lethal weapon in the Republicans' arsenal. It is what motivates GOP operatives to quickly label Democrats as liberal — and to treat liberalism as a dirty word.
To his credit, Dean has broken ranks with those Democrats who think the best defense is to seek cover and then throw themselves on the mercy of voters on Election Day. The time has come for Democrats to fight back. They should explain what it means to be a liberal, not allow Republicans to define them. They should answer hyperbolic attacks with exaggerated speech of their own, if that's what it takes to stave off political annihilation.
For much of this decade, right-wing Republicans have dominated the public square, shouting down some on their political left and drowning out others who have tried to counter their bombast with civil responses. The time has come for Democrats to give as good as they get.
Americans, for the most part, love politicians who fight for what they believe — and they abhor political wimps. Dean is a fighter, albeit one who needs to learn that in an ideological spat, a well-placed jab often can do more damage than a barrage of roundhouse punches.
But he can't learn that lesson if Democrats won't let him take the fight to the GOP.”
And a POX on you Karl “The Turd Flower” Rove and Dick “Darth” Cheney. Take that GOP SCUM!!!
Karen on 06.14.05 @ 10:29 AM CST