Some not-so-flattering feedback from a left-leaning blogger about last night’s debate:
Dean’s unfitness for office is slowly revealing itself over time. Little things, like the bad attitude, the way he comes of sounding like an elementary school child in an “I know you are but what am I” argument, the way he read his entire closing statement off of the paper in front of him, the way he couldn’t look at Bob Graham when he was addressing him, all these little things just keep him from looking presidential. Presumably they’ll keep him from being presidential, too. — Matthew Langer, 06:58 AM
Ouch. At this point, it seems Gov. Dean’s approach – of expressing his frustration with the current administration, lashing out at what he perceives to be waffling statements of his competition – is rubbing some the wrong way.
I said yesterday that I thought this was largely for the benefit of the donors. That he would garner more press coverage by being the squeaky wheel. What do you think?
16 responses to “Less than flattering commentary re: Gov. Dean”
They sort of all jumped on Dean about the military stuff and its clear thats not what the base wants. The others just can not leave the stand they have taken. I hope your remarks were meant to be helpful because your post did not leave me with that impression.You did have some bad vibes that it was not working there ..in that setting and I agree.
Ron – not trying to be positive or negative. I'm genuinely interested in seeing Governor Dean succeed through the primaries and into the general election; that said, the tone of many commentators recently (mostly in the blogosphere) has been decidedly negative. Not sure if that's just a pendulum swinging (which certainly explains part of it), but it's in marked contrast to the glowing praise he was receiving just a month or so ago.
“Inside basenall” commentary like this bores me.If I want that, I'll listen to NPR.What counts is the issues and Dean's platform — what's not to like about universal health care?As for “lashing out at what he perceives to be waffling statements of his competition” — sounds like we're listening to different debates. Hey — if they Democrats think they can win by saying “I'm with Bush 50% of the time” they are sadly deluded. Even Kerry — not a bad guy, but you can't vote for the war, and then say you're against it.As for Leiberman — wussed out in Florida 2000 on the military vote on national TV.All this reminds me of the commentators who call Krugman “shrill” — if this be shrillness let us make the most of it
Rick,(long; sorry) First of all, you are fantastic and I'm sure, in hindsight, the pundits will have underestimated the contribution of people like you to Dean's eventual victory. By the way, I hope to make it out to the Naperville Meetup before too long.That said, I agree with the post about the need to “accentuate the positive” as the song says. On the other hand, sometimes the only way to do that is in contrast to others.Perhaps the next time Kerry tries to come after Howard on “strength” or “fitness to be the commander in chief,” perhaps Howard can say (a nicer version of): “Well, if what you're asking about is leadership, I'd remind everyone that in 1991, when George Bush was running the Texas Rangers into the ground, I was Governor of Vermont, and on September 11th, when the junior senator from Massachusetts was singing 'God Bless America' on the Capitol steps, I was in charge of securing 200 miles of international border as well as both the Vermont National Guard and the State Police.” Sen. Kerry's service 35 years ago is truly admirable, but I submit that my own mettle in defense of our citizens has also been well tested.”
This just felt like a a warm up, spring training. All were a bit stiff and all articulate. Not many saw this debate, not much talk about it on tv where it really counts.I expect the campaign to get very interesting in the coming months as Bush and Co. start really screwing up and no war to fall back on.By the end of the summer look for Dean, Lieberman, Kerry and maybe Edwards to still be around.
Still be around? Come on, the only people who could possibly not make it as far as Iowa at this point are Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton. None of the other candidates are going to bail before the first primaries.
I wonder, why the focus on Dean's “style and approach” when the content of his closing statement is more “presidential” than any words spoken by a public official in years? Dean chose to read his notes. This is not “feel-good” entertainment. It is not an exaggeration that the fate of the world rests upon the outcome of the 2004 election. We should be welcoming Howard Dean BECAUSE he chooses to run his own campaign and not be driven by the Karl Rove types. This will be key to connecting to real voters. Stay focused, kids!
Is that last comment astroturf? I could swear I've seen it somewhere before…http://www.untelevised.org/archives/2003_05_04_quick_thoughts_on_the_debate.php
Dean's grassroots support is 100% organic, Matthew. And the debate started with Kerry going after Dean, not the other way around, as anyone who reads the transcript can see. It's pretty clear you have a serious mad-on for the Doctor, but Kerry supporters are going to have to do a lot better than that.
And in answer to Rich's original question “what do you think?”, I think Matthew is full of crap. He's not a credible source, he's an axe-grinder.
As I already clarified in response to your comments over at my own blog, you misread my assessment if you think I stated that Dean was the first to attack Kerry.You also misinterpret my position by assuming I am a Kerry supporter, which I am not. I was an early Dean supporter (for most of the second half of 2002) who was turned off by the tactics he decided to employ in his campaign. I've now held off from aligning with a candidate to try as best I can to be able to call them as I see them. If that seems like axe-grinding to you then I apologize.
Matthew,As a form of market research, just what tactics that Howard has decided to employ in his campaign set you off? (In the interest of full disclosure I freely admit to applying the sharpening wheel to my own large, hatchet-like implement; it has “Howard Dean for President” etched on the side in gold letters.)Whom do you find more credible on the defense front, Dean or Edwards? Who do you think has more executive leadership experience, Dean or Kerry? Who do you think has more credibility on health care, Dean or Gephardt? Who do you think can speak more directly to voters who are suspicious of Washington politicians, especially lawyers, Dean or Lieberman?I hope you will retain an open mind, and don't rule Dr. Dean out, as the silly season gets in full swing.
“The only part of the event that had the feeling of a real debate the first 45 minutes of open floor discussion was largely dominated by Deans Kerry-sniping.”This is backwards. Dean turned down the invitation to attack Kerry, but Kerry took every opportunity to attack Dean (and not very successfully – he misquoted Dean, cited phony statistics, and suggested that Presidents should never consider worst case scenarios). Apparently if Dean doesn't reply he's dodging the issue, if he does he's engaging in unacceptable tactics. I'm not sure what response would have met your approval.”But his style, his approach, it all just made him look like an asshole. Like a snide, cocky, self-righteous, misinformed, instigative, disrespectful asshole. He didnt even look at Bob Graham when he asked him his question, staring off into the crowd instead with this crooked look on his face suggestive of a deep valium-induced haze.”Nothing personal about that attack on his positions and record.
Chase, Steph threw him a meatball looking for a clear answer on it. Dean dodged it fair and square. Twice, to boot. But it's good practice for him, since if he wants to be President he's going to have to be able to answer to Tim Russert and the likes who love tossing those meatballs out and making guys squirm.As far as who attacked who first, I referred to it as being “Dean's Kerry-sniping” (still might I point out that you haven't found anywhere I state that Dean attacks first) because they were all issues that were raised by Dean's attacks of Kerry in the past several weeks. The war, gays (truthful or not), courage, Kerry's question of Dean's fitness, etc, they were all either raised by Dean or raised in response to attacks by Dean. So in the context of a campaign that is larger than one debate, that's why I referred to it as Dean's sniping, not because of any order in which anyone attacked first.
Well I started these comments so maybe I will finish it. I have learned a lot from these posts and thats what I like about this blog. Someone has to start it going so I did and got quite a education! Thanks all. Ron
Channel surfing, I stumbled across 'The Debate'.. yes, the 'Nine Lilliputians of The Left'.. too bad not a single one of them can be taken seriously if you care about this country — yes, they all seem united in their visceral hatred of George Bush, but had little-to-no substantive solutions for any of the ills that our country faces. Or if they do, they must be holding it back. Howard Dean — the more I see this guy in action, the more it seems that he's some kind of a nut. I'm not quite sure if he's just an arrogant sociopath, or suffers from full blow narcissistic personality disorder as well, but I swear at times I'm watching Michael Moore. Telling — not one of the candidates could handle the LaRouche crowd. Do I think GW is the best this country can do? Hell no — but am I about to vote for one of these idiots and creeps? This 'anyone but Bush' mentality might be an effective rallying cry, but for christ's sake, how about supporting a candidate(s) with some character and substance, instead of some the most charismatic blowhard who goes 'negative' the loudest? Do you guys have such a candidate? Be honest with yourselves.. its sure ain't Dean! He's telling you what you want to hear, pouring gasoline on your hatred for GW, and feeding off of the heat. He's the worst kind of populist — nothing more than a political opportunist. Get real, all you Dean Bandwagon jumpers, you're pathetic. You'd fawn over the resurrected corps of Joseph Stalin.. so long as he trashed Bush. Howard Dean is an ASSHOLE!