Monday, July 14, 2003

Joe Klein - Are Voters in the Mood for an Angry Democrat?

TIME – Joe Klein – Are Voters in the Mood for an Angry Democrat?

And so Kerry vs. Dean has become the preliminary bout before the Democrats’ main event. It is a struggle that revolves around a single issue that mixes style and substance. The issue is Iraq. The style question is, How angry should Democrats be about what George W. Bush has done there?

Dean is winning on both counts. His opposition to the war is looking less radical every day. His style — his imprudence, his plain talk — just doesn’t sound like the other guys. At the Dems’ winter meeting in Washington, he arrived at the podium and, instead of lapsing into the usual thank-you blather, blasted off like a rocket-propelled grenade: “What I want to know is why so many Democrats in Washington aren’t standing up against Bush’s unilateral war in Iraq.” This was followed by several more withering “What I want to knows” and then the introduction: “My name is Howard Dean, and I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” The crowd went nuts.

My favorite piece from the article is perhaps the most cogent analysis of Dean’s rise. It’s not the Internet – it’s the message:

There is a misapprehension that the Dean phenomenon was created by the Internet. It was created by Dean’s mouth—and by the fury of many Democrats at what they perceive to be a radical Republican Administration. [It’s not] a leftward lurch by Democratic Party activists; it seems more a reaction to the rightward lurch of the Republicans.

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