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Dean: Cut the condescension

Howard Dean says Democrats need to stop talking down to voters if they are to be successful. This is the thing I like most about Dean. He speaks unpleasant truths when they need to be spoken.

I know exactly what he's talking about. Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are both extremely intelligent and articulate individuals, and yet I cannot tolerate listening to them deliver a speech that's targeted for consumption by the general public. They sound as if they're speaking to a class of bedwetting preschoolers, and that just drives me insane. It's not merely a matter of poor speaking skills either, because neither of them adopts this patronizing tone when they believe they're speaking for an erudite audience.

Moreover, I'm sick of hearing how Southerners (for example) "don't realize" they're being screwed by voting for Bush. I swear to God, one of the biggest reasons for my voting for Bush was that I was sick of hearing how half the country was "stupid" for foolishly supporting Bush against their own best interests.

The Democrats' core strength has always been their populist message. When they shed that image in exchange for an arrogant elitism, it's a recipe for continued electoral disaster. Howard Dean understands this, but it remains to be seen whether he can bring the party around to his way of thinking.

As regular readers know, I still have something of a soft spot for Howard Dean. I think he is unfairly maligned by most Republicans and even some Democrats as a dangerous fringe figure. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Dean is not some crazed, neo-McGovernite leftist. He's more pragmatic and more centrist than most people give him credit for.

But you know what his problem is? His base, the MoveOn crowd, is a bunch of crazed, neo-McGovernite leftists. They love the guy, but are they going to fall in behind him in his campaign to reach out to voters on the other side of the cultural divide?

It remains to be seen, but the future of the Democratic Party may very well depend on it.


How, then, do you square his "I hate Republicans and all they stand for" or "This is a battle between good and evil, and we're the good" (referring to the battle between Democrat and Republican, not West and Jihad)? That certainly sounds like an arrogantly elitist, raving leftist point of view, to me.

Our Senator is Debbie Stabenow. You can see her standing behind Kennedy every time he speechifies on TV. She talks like a kindergarten teacher.

RDO makes a good point with the "I hate Republicans and all they stand for" quote. Dean won the affection of the Moveon.org crowd by talking their talk. If they start to think he's serious about treating people from Jesusland as if they qualified as homo sapiens, they will pull the rug out from under him. If liberals talk like insufferable elitists, it's probably because they are insufferable elitists.

The Democrats have the MoveOn crowd and the GOP has the Religious Right. As long as elections remain close, both will continue to wield unreasonable sway over their respective political party.

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