Dean doesn't have a "prayer" of being elected.

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ARogueTrader, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Dean Says Faith Swayed Decision on Gay Unions

    By Jim VandeHei
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, January 8, 2004; Page A01


    MUSCATINE, Iowa, Jan. 7 -- Democratic front-runner Howard Dean said Wednesday that his decision as governor to sign the bill legalizing civil unions for gays in Vermont was influenced by his Christian views, as he waded deeper into the growing political, religious and cultural debate over homosexuality and the Bible's view of it.

    "The overwhelming evidence is that there is very significant, substantial genetic component to it," Dean said in an interview Wednesday. "From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

    Dean's comments come as gay marriage is emerging as a defining social issue of the 2004 elections, and one that is dividing the Episcopal Church in the United States and many other Christians and non-Christians. Driving the debate is a theological dispute over the Bible's view on homosexuality and a political one over the secular and spiritual wisdom of allowing gays to marry.

    Dean said he does not often turn to his faith when making policy decisions but cited the civil union bill as a time he did. "My view of Christianity . . . is that the hallmark of being a Christian is to reach out to people who have been left behind," he told reporters Tuesday. "So I think there was a religious aspect to my decision to support civil unions."

    Earlier Tuesday, when he and the other candidates were asked at a debate whether religion has influenced any of their policy decisions, Dean was the only one not to respond.

    In the interview Wednesday, Dean said, "I don't go through an inventory like that when making public policy decisions."

    Dean has been expanding on his religious views in a series of conversations with reporters, but his remarks Tuesday and Wednesday were the first time he has talked about how faith has influenced his policy making.

    Dean said he does not consider homosexuality a sin but nonetheless opposes gay marriage. The civil unions bill he signed as Vermont governor in 2000 granted homosexual couples the same rights and protections as if they were married. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio), former senator Carol Moseley Braun (Ill.) and Al Sharpton are alone among the nine Democratic presidential contenders in supporting gay marriage.

    Republicans are pushing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and President Bush has said he would support it if necessary. Religious groups and social conservatives in Congress are planning to push the issue aggressively before the November election, in part, to motivate Christian voters and paint Democrats as out of touch with most Americans. Polls show that a majority of Americans oppose gay marriage.

    Dean, who leads in many polls, is increasingly trying to broaden his appeal by talking about faith and centrist policies such as a balanced budget and tax reform for the middle class. One week ago he said he planned to discuss his faith more openly in the South, but Tuesday he said he would take this message everywhere. "I think we have got to stop thinking about the South as some peculiar region," he said. "I am going to talk about the same things everywhere."

    Some Democrats have said Dean, with roots in liberal Vermont and close identification with the nation's first civil unions law, might appear too secular to win over an increasingly religious electorate.

    Dean, who is a member of the Congregationalist Church, which preaches a liberal brand of Christianity, falls on the side of Episcopal leaders in the United States who recently stirred international controversy by ordaining a gay bishop, and the millions of Americans who do not consider homosexuality a sin. This theological debate predates the questions of civil unions and gay marriage and has divided biblical scholars for a long time.

    In broad terms, it pits Christians who look at the Bible less literally and argue that the Gospels never quote Jesus talking specifically about homosexuality against more conservative Christians who take a more literal approach and point to scripture in the New and Old Testaments that they believe forbids homosexuality. For instance, Leviticus 18:22, according to the King James version of the Bible, says, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

    Polls show voters want a religious president and one who talks about faith. Some Republicans, including a few in the Bush administration, worry that the GOP could overplay its hand by appearing to divide people with hostility toward gays. But if Dean wins the Democratic presidential nomination, strategists from both parties predict it will become a major issue in the campaign.

    At several campaign stops this week, Dean said that if Republicans push gay issues, he will talk "issues that unite us," such as health insurance for every American.
     
  2. The Dean Disappointment
    I want to like him. I really do.

    Thursday, January 8, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

    I want to like Howard Dean. I don't mean I want to support him; I mean I want to like him, or find him admirable even if I don't agree with him. I want the Democratic Party to have a strong nominee this year, for several reasons. One is that it is one of our two great parties, and it is dispiriting to think it is not able to summon up a deeply impressive contender. Another is that democracy is best served by excellent presidential nominees duking it out region to region in a hard-fought campaign that seriously raises the pressing issues of the day. A third is that the Republican Party is never at its best when faced with a lame challenger. When faced with a tough and scrappy competitor like Bill Clinton, they came up with the Contract with America. When faced with Michael Dukakis they came up with flag-burning amendments. They need to be in a serious fight before they fight seriously.

    I do not know how Howard Dean will do in Iowa, but I am one of those who think the Democrats will nominate Mr. Dean, and so I would like to like him and be able to imagine that many others will. I also would like to like him because now and then he says something that shows promise. Yesterday when asked if he ever wonders what would Jesus do, he replied: "No." This was so candid, I loved it. In the same interview, when asked if his wife would join him on the campaign trail, he said, "I do not intend to drag her around because I think I need her as a prop on the campaign trail." Political spouses often are dragged around as props. It's not terrible to say so. It's refreshing.

    But it is hard to like Howard Dean. He seems as big a trimmer as Bill Clinton, and as bold and talented in that area as Mr. Clinton. He says America is no safer for the capture of Saddam Hussein, and then he says he didn't say it. He floats a rumor that the Saudis tipped off President Bush before 9/11, and then he says he never believed it. When he is caught and has to elaborate, explain or disavow, he dissembles with Clintonian bravado. This is not a good sign.
    He is not a happy warrior but an angry one. In the past I have thought of him as an angry little teapot, but that is perhaps too merry an image. His eyes are cold marbles, in repose his face falls into lines of mere calculation, and he holds himself with a kind of no-neck pugnacity that is fine in a wrestling coach or a tax lawyer but not in a president. We like our presidents sunny, easygoing and optimistic. They have access to the nuclear launch code, and we don't want them losing their tempers easily. Mr. Dean's supporters no doubt see him as optimistic, but optimists aren't angry.

    There is a disjunction between Dean's ethnic background and his personal style. His background is eastern WASP--Park Avenue, the Hamptons, boarding school, Yale. But he doesn't seem like a WASP. I know it's not nice to deal in stereotypes, but there seems very little Thurston Howell III, or George Bush the elder for that matter, in Mr. Dean. He seems unpolished, doesn't hide his aggression, is proudly pugnacious. He doesn't look or act the part of the WASP. This may be partly because of his generation. Boomer WASPs didn't really learn How It's Done the way their forebears did. (Boomers of every ethnicity are less ethnic than their forebears.) George W. Bush is a little like this too--less polished, more awkward, than one might expect. At any rate there is some political meaning to this. It will be harder for Republicans to tag Mr. Dean as Son of the Maidstone Club than it was for Democrats to tag Bush One as Heir to Greenwich Country Day. He just doesn't act the part.

    On the other hand, Mr. Dean's angry look and angry demeanor will not serve him well as he tries to carry the women's vote.

    Howard Dean is as much like George McGovern as 2004 is like 1972, which is to say not much. But Mr. Dean is not Mr. McGovern in a more important way. Mr. McGovern was guided and inspired by his own sense of a particular ideology. He reflected it, and his young supporters, who that year took over the party, shared it. They stood for something. Mr. Dean's people--and Mr. Dean--don't seem to have anything as coherent as an ideology. Instead they have attitude.

    Howard Dean's rise is about two things. The first is the war. Most of the other serious Democratic candidates were reasonable about it, if you will. Dean didn't bother to be reasonable, or to appear reasonable: Bush is a bum and his war is a fraud. This was pitch-perfect for a disaffected base made lastingly furious by the 2000 election. Having gained the advantage, Mr. Dean never let go. His imprint was set. He left his competitors stuttering, "But at the time the president's data did seem compelling, and so . . ." He forged on. His was the shrewdest, quickest read of the Democratic voter of 2004.

    The second reason for his rise is that he is not an insider but an insurgent. He has an insurgent's attitudes and subtle disrespect (or sometimes unsubtle, as when he referred to members of Congress as cockroaches). The young and Internet-savvy found this approach attractive. (An essay should be written by a Democrat on what it was about the Democratic establishment--the men and women of the Clinton era, the party members in Congress--that elicited such contempt.) Mr. Dean's forces used the Internet with great and impressive creativity, and not only in fund-raising. Have you seen Flat Howard? It's a life-size Howard printout you can get off your computer. You tape the pieces together and have a life-size Howard Dean. They're ingenious and spirited in Dean-land.

    Because Mr. Dean is operating as an insurgent, his supporters hold him to different standards. Is he inconsistent? No, he's nimble. Is he dishonest in his statements? No, he's just tying those establishment types in knots. Mr. Dean's supporters seem to like him not in spite of his drawbacks, but because of them.

    Mr. Dean's problem in the future will not be so much credibly pivoting right on major issues as attempting to pivot into something like the normal range in terms of temperament, personality and the interpretation of things he's already said when he's popping off--and he pops off a lot. Some of the things he has said or suggested--Osama bin Laden shouldn't be presumed guilty, for instance--are the rhetorical equivalent of Michael Dukakis in the tank. He looked silly. He looked unserious. Mr. Dean is going to look that way, too.

    I hope something surprising happens in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and in the South. I hope it becomes a real fight on the Democratic side, and I hope that fight yields up someone who is serious, substantive, and thoughtful. But that's not what I see coming. What I see coming is a Dean nomination followed by a rancorous campaign followed by a Dean defeat.

    Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.
     
  3. Gephardt Aide Accuses Dean of Caucus Fraud Plan


    Jan 8, 5:28 PM (ET)

    By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
    DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Democrat Richard Gephardt's manager accused Howard Dean's presidential campaign on Thursday of planning to slip non-Iowans into the Jan. 19 caucuses to pose as state residents and support Dean.

    Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi denied the allegation and told Gephardt manager Steve Murphy "sleazy tactics like yours are exactly the reason that people have stopped participating in the political process."

    In a letter to Trippi and later in a conference call with reporters, Murphy said a Dean field organizer in Iowa told a Gephardt staff member some of the expected 3,500 out-of-state Dean supporters coming to Iowa to help turn out the caucus vote would try to participate.

    "It has come to our attention that your campaign in Iowa is engaged in an effort to violate caucus rules and send out-of-state supporters to pose as Iowa residents and caucus in cities and towns across the state," Murphy said in the letter.

    He told reporters the effort was "a direct challenge to the integrity of the caucuses" and called on Trippi to identify and fire the individuals responsible for it.

    Murphy said the Gephardt campaign, in a must-win battle with front-runner Dean in Iowa, planned to step up its monitoring of caucus participants and had asked the state party to be particularly vigilant.

    Participants in the caucuses, sponsored by the state Democratic Party, must be registered Democrats who will be old enough to vote in November, but they can register on the spot and identification or proof of residence is not required.

    As a party event, Murphy said, there is no legal penalty attached to the fraud and he said he would not challenge the results if Gephardt lost.

    The possibility of such an effort surfaced in November, when state party officials sent an advisory to the campaigns warning against the tactic after a Dean staff member in Vermont called and asked if a hotel address was sufficient grounds to participate. At the time, Dean officials dismissed the significance of the call and attributed it to a teen-age intern.

    'RIDICULOUS' CHARGE

    Trippi, who worked for Gephardt in 1988 as a deputy campaign manager, said the latest charge was "ridiculous" and that "people are tired of this type of campaigning."

    Sneaking out-of-staters into a caucus in some towns could be difficult, as all participants meet publicly to declare their preferences, leaving strangers vulnerable to exposure. Murphy said some precincts have hundreds of participants and a fraudulent voter could blend in.

    The allegations came as some of the nine Democrats vying for the right to challenge President Bush touted their proposals for middle-class tax relief, drawing a contrast with plans by Dean and Gephardt to repeal all of Bush's tax cuts, including those on middle and lower-income families.

    Gephardt defended his plan, saying the savings would go to pay for his health care proposal that would ultimately save middle-class families more.

    "Some in this race are promising to preserve some large part of the Bush tax cut. I think retaining a large part of a failure is still a failure," said Gephardt, who campaigned across eastern and central Iowa.

    During a campaign stop where he met with three families who would benefit from his tax proposals, Democrat John Edwards said he was surprised that Dean was preparing a new plan that would give tax relief to the middle class.

    "It's amazing what politicians will do when the election's approaching," the North Carolina senator told reporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, when asked about Dean.

    Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry brought his crusade against corporate greed to a college students' convention in Manchester, winning loud applause by repeating his vow to close corporate tax loopholes.

    "We're going to scour the tax code of our country and we're not going to leave one loophole, one reward, one incentive for any Benedict Arnold company or CEO that take their money and jobs overseas," Kerry said.
     
  4. Pabst

    Pabst

    Dean will be the nominee and lose the election badly. Clearly the strength of Bush in the polls deterred Gore and Hillary, leaving the Democrats with a 1988 like field.

    My theory on the electability of Governors as President: GWB in 2000 was anachronistic. usually (Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, Clinton) a governor's best bet is running when the economy is the primary issue. Governors preach how they can magnify their statewide fiscal success nationally. However in times of war or national peril being a governor is perceived as too parochial by the electorate. In dangerous times voters go global. Guys like Ike or Nixon (even Trumans victory over Gov. Dewey, the A-Bomb trumped the post war economic malaise). Dominance in the Statehouse doesn't reassure voters who are most concerned about Reds or Muslims. The times make the man and this just isn't Dean's time.
     
  5. Gore may have finally acknowledged (although not sure I'm prepared to give him that much credit) that he'll never be elected to the Presidency. He may have created the internet (he's a legend in his own mind), but his shot at it is gone.

    Hillary would most likely want to see a weak Democrat go against Bush - then she can give it a try in 2008 against a non-entrenched Republican (can't believe Cheney will get to run for Prez in 2008 on the Rep ticket). She wouldn't want to risk a run against Bush herself and fail (hell, she can't even say she goofed with her lame attempt at a joke about Gandhi - she sure couldn't deal with losing) and she wouldn't want a strong Dem to run against Bush and by a fluke win (that would screw her for a 2008 run). Dean is Hillary's guy :)
     
  6. Pabst

    Pabst

    Gore gets a head start on next go-round

    December 13, 2003

    BY THOMAS ROESER

    Why did the former vice president do it? Regarded as a centrist by his party but far from charismatic, he served two terms with a president who broke a long string of defeats by embracing what in that party was known as a ''middle way.'' Then the vice president ran for the presidency himself and lost narrowly. Four years later, regarded as a national leader, all he needed to do was steer a neutral course between aspiring presidential candidates and bide his time for a future run. By holding off an endorsement, he would retain the good will of all -- and he was young enough to run for president once again if the party's nominee lost.

    But no -- he sided with the one candidate who many in his party feared was too extreme. Result: Many moderates were angry at him; a powerful New Yorker was miffed. But the former vice president had guessed right. His party was changing, moving away from the center and he -- the former vice president -- would be joining them because, shrewd analyst that he was, he knew a realignment when he saw it.

    Thus, when Richard Nixon, no charmer, came out in support of Sen. Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention, the crowd went wild. Goldwater lost heavily, but his campaign was a watershed. Besides winning his home state of Arizona, for the first time in a generation the GOP carried five Deep South states: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina. Realignment was under way which, despite two exceptions, stays with us yet.

    And Nixon, who campaigned as hard as he could for Goldwater -- and for Republicans of all stripes in the 1966 off-year elections -- was remembered by ideologically committed Goldwaterites in 1968 when they fought for him in the primaries. The powerful miffed New Yorker, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, decided not to run. A measure of Nixon's support from the conservative grass roots came at the Miami convention when the newly elected governor of California, Ronald Reagan -- a man with greater conservative credentials and personal appeal than Nixon --failed.

    Nixon's decision in 1964 carried him through the 1968 convention; the conservatives grumbled but were not disenchanted when the former vice president sounded a tad ''moderate'' in the general campaign. They stayed with him to the end -- beyond 1972 -- and were the last to jump ship before his resignation.

    Thus, it was no surprise that analyst, former Goldwaterite, former Nixonite, former two-time presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said quietly a few days ago he understood well what former Vice President Al Gore had in mind by endorsing so-called extremist Howard Dean. The Democratic liberal faithful will remember Gore, Buchanan said. If Dean loses, the party's base will be resolutely for Gore in 2008; they will remember that the miffed New Yorker, a hawk for all her carping at President Bush, Hillary Clinton, had hung back -- and in five years the senator may be defeated by Rudy Giuliani, and even if not, she will be a very faded leaf on the tree.

    Buchanan didn't say it, but it would be surprising if in his private moments he didn't ruminate that much of Dean's program reflects his own beliefs on foreign policy and economics: beliefs that ultimately caused Buchanan to leave the GOP for the bereft Solidarity Party. While he and Dean are poles apart on social policy, and pro-life is a central thesis of Buchanan's philosophy, he didn't leave the Republican Party because of that issue: The party's platform was solidly pro-life. He left it for two reasons: First, because he quarreled bitterly with the GOP's espousal of internationalism. Buchanan and his followers are nationalists, committed to wars only when proven to be in support of the peace and liberty of the United States. (Iraq, to Buchanan, didn't qualify, although as a patriot he dearly hopes we can find other nations to take up the defensive burden.) Second, because Buchanan is a protectionist, believing that giant multinational firms are transferring jobs to poor nations, which has undermined U.S. manufacturing, leaving it helpless to its enemies when a future confrontation may arise.

    These are Dean tenets. Gore's decision to endorse Dean (far earlier than Nixon's decision to back Goldwater) serves notice that no matter what happens to Dean in the general election, Gore will be a player and will be regarded by the crucially important liberal Democratic base in better stead than Hillary Clinton or any future prospect.

    Will Dean win the nomination? I think he will; if not, Gore will be a dead dodo, his gamble for naught. As nominee, will Dean campaign in a way that not only keeps the base but beckons other disenchanted voters to his side? My bet is that he will not, that he will fall far short, as did Goldwater in 1964. But in 2008, there will be another hungry ex-veep like the one of 40 years earlier -- and the poker game could pay off in high stakes for Al Gore.
     
  7. Dean is just Carter no. 2. You don't believe it, but he can beat Bush.