Friday, July 22, 2005

Howard Dean, liability for Democrats

A few more major mistakes by Howard Dean this week again show why he was the big mistake in being made DNC chair. The first is the latest news about his ideas for pro-life Democrats:
"We do have to have a big tent. I do think we need to welcome pro-life Democrats into this party," said Dean.

Still, he added, "I think that we must be absolutely firm in being the party of individual freedom and personal freedom, which means that in the end the government doesn't get to decide, we do."
As politically astute as this position is (Senator Clinton pioneered the approach, if you recall), the timing to announce it is awful. Remember, the big talking point for the Democrats right now is that President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court John G. Roberts, Jr. is a threat to Roe v. Wade. Suggesting that being pro-life is okay for a Democrat might give political cover to moderate Senate Democrats who are thinking about voting to confirm Roberts. At the very least, suggesting that someone who is pro-life is a human being instead of the evil spawn of Satan will undercut the propaganda efforts of groups like NARAL and MoveOn.Org. Why isn't Howard Dean paying someone to tell him these things?

Then there are Dean's statements about the Roberts nomination being a distraction for Plamegate:
"Faced with a growing scandal surrounding the involvement of Deputy White House chief of Staff Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby in leaking the identity of a covert CIA operative, President Bush announced his nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court late this evening," Dean's statement began.
As Republicans everywhere know from their experiences during the Clinton years, nothing conveys the impression of "loser" quite as well as begging the media to please, please turn back the clock to that exciting scandal in the previous news cycle. It is therefore completely obvious that this is another politically boneheaded move for Dean. The Roberts nomination should be his top priority right-now. The Plamegate story is still under investigation, will still pop up in the news again once new details are released, and will almost certainly give Democrats another shot at getting Rove out of the White House at some later date. Plamegate is not going away so why should Democrats be whining about some wacko Bush news-management conspiracy?

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