December 30, 2003


After Complaint, Dean Explains Himself to Party Chairman (DIANE CARDWELL and JODI WILGOREN, 12/30/03, NY Times)

Howard Dean reached out to the Democratic national chairman on Monday, a day after rebuking him as failing to stop attacks by Mr. Dean's rivals for the Democratic nomination, even as those candidates seized on the episode as grist for new criticism.

The call to Mr. McAuliffe came less than two weeks after Dr. Dean, a former Vermont governor, called former President Bill Clinton to clear the air a day after seeming to repudiate Mr. Clinton's statement that the "era of big government is over." [...]

In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Lieberman said that he was stunned that Dr. Dean wanted Mr. McAuliffe to "protect him from criticisms from other Democratic candidates" and that he had threatened "to take his supporters and go home if he doesn't get the nomination."

"What does Howard do now that he is being substantively challenged about his policies and his judgments and various misstatements and retractions?" Mr. Lieberman asked. "He goes to the Democratic Party leadership and complains we're being mean to him."

Let us pause for a moment and consider what Mr. Dean has achieved here: he actually put himself in a position where Joe Lieberman can plausibly imply he's a wimp.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 30, 2003 10:46 AM

See the current batch of top 10 letters to the Weekly Standard for one Vermonter's succinct take.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at December 30, 2003 11:14 AM

Yeah, but isn't this what Bill Clinton when he was suddenly surrounded by hostile Republicans? "Be nice, my fellow Republicans". Of course, in the background, the attack dogs (Carville, Begala, Ann Lewis, et. al.) were braying 24 hours a day.

Clinton was a smart politician, but he had the advantage of having very clumsy opponents (Newt and Dole). Bush was very smart, because he never mentioned Clinton by name while campaigning, and yet the contrast was clear.

Dean is a fool - and this will hurt him.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 30, 2003 12:14 PM

Bill Clinton got 43% of the vote.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2003 12:31 PM

Which was about 5% more than the next candidate.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 30, 2003 3:26 PM
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