Assume the Position
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Rove and Mehlman Must Love Howard Dean
Howard Dean on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week. (Any errors in the transcription are mine, times are approximate mm:ss.)
Jon Stewart: Is that a tough role for you to be in, which is sort of more of a salesman role than—and a cheerleader role—than, than maybe a policy guy?
Howard Dean: You know why it's not tough? Sometimes it is 'cause I like policy a lot. It's not tough 'cause these people have taken our country away from us. Their…they talk about morals, but they don't do anything to help the poor. The last time I saw that, helping the poor was somethin' that was mentioned 300…3000 times in the Bible; I've yet to find a reference to gay marriage in the Bible. These people are obsessed with things that are not about basic core American values, and I'm sick of it and so is a lot of other people and I'm happy to stand up for 'em.
Sure, Howard. Since the founding of this country, gay marriage has been a basic core American value and one of the primary moral institutions that made America great. Then, all of a sudden, along came George Bush and the "evil" Republicans to outlaw gay marriage and take our country away from us.
Additionally, it's not like the Republicans came up with the idea of gay marriage as a strawman to attack (see the perennial House passage of a flag desecration amendment). Gay activists and Democrats handed that issue to the Republicans on a silver platter with side dishes of judicial activism and gross usurpation of state powers by local authorities.
But Dean has more to say about Democrats and moral values:
Howard Dean: Well, other than the specific issues, balancing the budget and all that stuff, yeah. What we're gonna do is restore real moral values to the American people.
That was Dr. Howard "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization" Dean, DNC Chairman, eliding the Democratic Party philosophy, which, with him as exemplar, would better be stated as, "Love thy neighbor unless they're a Republican." In explaining that the Democrats, if elected, will "restore real moral values to the American people," Dean insinuates the American people currently have unreal, faux, bogus, ersatz, phoney, fake moral values as evidenced by electing a Republican President, as well as a Republican majority to the House, Senate and state governorships.
The Republican Party could not have asked for a better Democratic National Committee Chairman.
* Via Megan McArdle, who used Dean's performance on The Daily Show as one example in an excellent post on the Democrats' misunderstanding the US political marketplace and misusing marketing metaphors in their attempt to rebuild the party. In her take on Dean, she accurately paraphrased, getting the gist of what he said:
I watched Howard Dean on The Daily Show last night, and rarely have I seen a major political figure so thoroughly, even painstakingly, inept at appealing to voters. His remarks elicited cheers from the true-blue supporters in the audience, but only at the expense of alienating every single other person in the country. If he wasn't making ham-fisted attempts to prove Democratic moralistic superiority* by selective and theologically shallow quotation from the bible--an activity that even bible-thumping Republican congressmen undertake with more caution (and erudition) than Mr Dean did--he was claiming that his was the party of real moral values. Cringe. When was the last time you heard an RNC chair say something like that? Answer: you don't, because the "Family values" guys know that you do not garner votes by saying "Everyone who voted for the other guy is immoral" . . . especially when the other guy got a majority. You get votes by talking about what your values are, which (other than gay marriage) Howard Dean had a hard time doing.
*Example: "There are hundreds of references in the bible to poverty, but I haven't seen one to gay marriage." Er . . . yes . . . well, I suppose that after the Hebrews had put homosexuals to death, they thought gay marriage wasn't going to be much of an issue.
Monday, June 27, 2005
The Facade Comes Down in Iran
Tom Veal considers why the mullahs decided they could drop the sham of having a reformist president:
The only interesting point is that the mullarchy decided that it no longer needs a "moderate" front man. The ineffectual faux-reformer Mohammed Khatami will be succeeded by the Islamofascist mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is, incidentally, wanted for murder in Germany and Austria. There will be no more pretense that the government is split between hard-liners and figures open to accommodation with the rest of the world.
This decision presumably stems from the mullarchs' evaluation of the willingness of the West to resist Iran's development of nuclear weapons and provision of aid and comfort to terrorists. The reform facade was a necessary evil so long as the regime feared for its safety. It now evidently feels secure and confident, convinced that its enemies are too demoralized to do anything more than talk.
…[W]e tend to forget that the rest of the world, especially that part of it that wishes us ill, keeps watch on what goes on here and takes the mood of American public opinion into account in reckoning what actions are dangerous or safe. That is the only rational basis for maneuver in the shadow of a hyperpower. Therefore, when President Bush dips in the polls and leading politicians compare Guantanamo Bay to Nazi death camps, it is natural for Tehran to suppose that it has wide latitude, that subventions to suicide bombers in Iraq have finally borne fruit, and that the Great Satan will soon submit to becoming the Great Dhimmi.
Could be. Alternatively, since the sham had essentially been exposed long ago, perhaps they decided no one would really buy the continued pretense.