Uncivil Discourse

Because civility is overrated.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Howard Dean Just Doesn't Give A Shit

It doesn't matter if you think he's a fuckup, a poor fundraiser (a claim which is, incidentally, completely false), someone who can't keep his mouth shut, or anything else. Howard Dean just does not give a shit about what you have to say. Following the lead of Al Gore as a failed presidential candidate who's no longer in public office, Dean is breathing fire and fucking shit up, but without having been shunted off into the corner.

Dean's learned how the game is played, you see. He understands the 24-hour news cycle. He understands the election cycle is never ending. He understands that Republicans don't give a shit what they say about us. They'll say we kill babies gleefully. They'll say we have treason ingrained in our bones. That we're really a bunch of racists who can't stand to see minorities in positions of power. That we are either welfare queens or have inherited our money. And they'll do it with a smile on their face, while Wolf Blitzer stands there and asks how much further he has to deep throat Ken Mehlman before he gets a cookie.

Dean also knows that, in the end, it doesn't matter how nice he plays. We're not in power. The media likes power. We're not going to be treated the same way. We make inflammatory comments, and the faux outrage comes a-pouring. It's not a level playing field. So fuck it, Dean says. We're going to be treated like we hate America anyway -- let's kick the Republicans in the balls a few times. And it gets better, because he's not exaggerating or lying. No, Dean's telling the truth. He's pointing at motherfuckers and saying, "Look, these douchebags fuck their mothers." And he's getting the media to play those tapes of him calling the Republicans exclusive, monolithic, and out of touch over and over again while they talk about how out of control he, as an individual, is. But his quotes don't overshadow the party's agenda. He's talking about inclusion, about real, not just show, diversity. He's talking about looking out for the working person, about not wanting to be a theocracy. This isn't a "gulag" comment, letting everyone ignore the rest of the game. It's forcing the game in your face.

Case in point: on the Today show, Dean said "They have used words like quota to try to separate black from white Americans. They did scapegoat gay Americans by putting an anti-gay amendment on it--in 11 states where gay marriage is already against the law. And they are attacking immigrants. Two--two Republican congressmen, Jim Sensenbrenner and Tom Tancredo, have incredible anti-immigrant legislation. This is not the way America needs to be." And all of this is true. But there's no weasel words here. Dean, avoiding the exile given to Al Gore, is unloading both barrels, causing him and his words to be the story. Which is exactly what it's going to have to be.

Oh, and for anyone who thinks this is causing some sort of a schism (or, as The Man Who Should Be Sodomized With Whatever's Available said, "making some Democrats nervous"), see John Edwards' reaction, which, if we as a party have any sense, will become standard:

Howard and I have been saying the same thing about this for years. Hear that? The same thing. For years. Have I ever put it some way that Howard wouldn't agree with? Probably. And he put it in a way, once, just the other day, that I can’t agree with, since I come from a place where hard-working people, who are better served by the agenda and passion of the Democrats, somehow still vote Republican.

Dean's doing his job. He's stirring up the base. He's raising money. And best of all, he's being entertaining. It's satisfying to see someone stand up there and call shit as it is. The others can dance around. Dean won't have any part of it. We knew what we were getting with him. And he's being everything we'd hoped he'd be.

While I didn't want him running for president, by God, I wish we could've seen him debate Bush. That would've been a site to behold, Dean bending Dubya over the podium, making him squeal like a pig.

You might feel he's not the best choice for chair. That's fine. You might wish he'd dial it down just a little bit. That's fine too. And you might think his strategy isn't the best one. But don't question his ability to work. Because Dean has one thing to say to anyone who thinks he's not doing his job or that he doesn't know what he's getting into, and it's "Fuck you, I don't give a shit what you have to say." Amen, brother, amen.