June 7, 2005


In S.F., Dean calls GOP 'a white Christian party' (Carla Marinucci, June 7, 2005, SF Chronicle)

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, unapologetic in the face of recent criticism that he has been too tough on his political opposition, said in San Francisco this week that Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

If you start with white Christians you're the majority party. Fold in Latino, black, Asia and Arab Christians and you're the permanent majority.


"[I] had a great meeting with [RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman] today. I was on my way over to see Howard Dean. I had so much fun with Ken that I never even got to meet Howard today."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 7, 2005 10:42 PM

He's got to be a plant. What sort of idiot politician starts attacking Christians in the US? Next to announcing that the flag is a shameful emblam of our racist, imperialist past, I can't imagine rhetoric more likely to help the Republicans.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 7, 2005 11:18 PM

David: Shhhh! Don't tell them. Pass the pop-corn, this is real fun.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at June 7, 2005 11:28 PM

Karl Rove is getting a raise...

Posted by: at June 8, 2005 12:03 AM

Dr. Dean dissing Whitey. That ought to play well with...who?

Posted by: David Hill, The Bronx at June 8, 2005 12:58 AM

The way Hillary and Howard are talking these days, they must be really worried about raising money. It would seem the only people willing to fork out are the paranoid delusional.

When Black or Hispanic Christians hear this, I wonder what they associate with more -- religion or race?

Of course, he was probably speaking to an audience of gay environmentalist religio-phobes, so the word won't get out.

Posted by: Randall Voth at June 8, 2005 3:04 AM

gee, no party's EVER won an election by setting wedges in strategic fashion, have they?

Keep relaxing, I beg of you.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 3:23 AM

Setting wedges against the country's majority faction doesn't work.

Increasingly, Dean seems to be all of the things liberals accuse Bush of being: arrogant, unconcernced with facts, tone-deaf, and apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 8, 2005 4:30 AM


Self-loathing whiteys

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 7:14 AM

The point of wedge issues is that they force your opponent to choose between two constituencies. Gay marriage is a perfect example. Not only do Republicans really oppose gay marriage, but forcing the Dems to take a position is sure to alienate some Dem voters without attracting many Rep voters.

Now, how does Governor Dean's contempt for whites and Christians do anything but add to the exodus of whites and Christians from the Democratic Party?

Posted by: David Cohen at June 8, 2005 8:13 AM

I just keep thinking that Dean's reputation is solidifying around his penchant for firing off insults against Republicans, but not that he's an articulate advancer of the Democrats' agenda, principles, and ideas, nor that he's an able, or even adequate, fundraiser. In other words, the chairman of the DNC seems to offer nothing but bile.

Tell me again, which one is the stupid party?

Posted by: Roy Jacobsen at June 8, 2005 8:41 AM

when Howard was named, there were 2 bits of CW:
1) he'll raise a lot of money
2) he'll shoot off his mouth

I thought at the time that both were wrong --

on item #1, his fund-raising prowess was overrated ('Dean didn't find MoveOn, they found HIM') ..

on #2, I assumed that a somewhat moderate VT goevernor would tone down since he didn't need to play to the wacky fringe left all the time..

it looks like I was right on #1, but boy, was I wrong on #2..

related thought: one of the benefits to the right of the declining power of the MSM is that when a pol throws red meat to the fringe, it gets reported now -- I can see 5-10 (2?) years ago that WaPo / NYT would just ignore it ('ah, Howard's just blowin' off some steam') and the mod Dems wouldn't hear about this stuff at all..

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at June 8, 2005 9:43 AM

David is on to something. This is starting to look like Philadelphia politics. The minority party strokes its base, nominates turkeys with no real chance, and gets some patonage crumbs in return.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 8, 2005 10:17 AM

Thinking of the post below about union leaders talking about outreach to the Republicans--obviously this is Dean's attempt to counter such moves. Because we all know there are no white Christians among union members. Not one.

Posted by: b at June 8, 2005 10:29 AM

Well, somebody better tell Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, etc. They probably are not aware of this.

Posted by: KMan at June 8, 2005 10:41 AM

Ken Blackwell, Thomas Sowell, Judge Brown, Justice Thomas, Alberto Gonzales, Henry Bonilla, Herman Cain, ...

Man, I love Howard Dean, he's the best thing that's happened to the DNC in years.

Posted by: AML at June 8, 2005 11:02 AM

Note that I didn't say "wedge issues," I said strategic wedges. I meant a wedge between different groups--such as fundamentalist Christians and the rest of the country, or the idle rich and the rest of the country, etc. There is often a strange disconnect in perception, that causes people to mentally disassociate from their own status. It's said that policies to harm the rich don't sell well because--although very few people are truly rich--many people imagine themselves to have the chance at it. So even though people are not rich, they behave politically as if they are.

Similarly, "white Christian" as used in this sense is code for "fundamentalist, exclusive Christians." What I think many of you are missing is the growing unease with the Politics of Dobson, and the sense that Christian identity is being usurped by a small subset that wants to superordinate its own version of morality. When Dean says the GOP is a "white, Christian party," aside from being almost entirely true, it's a trigger not to make people think of white Christians in general, but a PARTICULAR GROUP of white Christians--a group whose increasing shrillness is turning the less strident Christians off.

In any case, as Charlie Cook notes this week, what party chairmen say is almost entirely "inside baseball," totally off the radar of the body politic. And if it's causing people to move towards the Republicans, I'm not seeing it--yesterday's Post poll shows an amazing 68% of INDEPENDENTS disagree with the President's priorities, and by 47-40 in an NBC/WSJ poll last month, more people would rather see a Democratic Congress in 2006. If Dean has caused any damage the last 3-4 months, it has only been to suppress greater mood shifts away from the GOP than are already apparent.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 12:07 PM

oh, and Jon of Atlanta--Dean is setting records for off-year fundraising, so don't be fooled there, either. Nobody's ever raised 18mil in the first quarter of a non-election year for the Dems before, not even close.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 12:09 PM

torridjoe: Note the headline on msn.com: 'Dean rips "Christian" GOP'. Perhaps it's 'inside baseball' in your terms (though the fact that this one is getting serious media play indicates that the powers that be are getting tired of Dean's act), but while Dean is regularly insulting Christians, Mehlman is regularly meeting with black ministers. Who do you think is advancing his party's interests more effectively?

Posted by: b at June 8, 2005 12:14 PM

"Nobody's ever raised 18mil in the first quarter of a non-election year for the Dems before..."

Back when I lived in Chicago in the '70s, we White Sox fans had a little joke: "You can tell when it's June in Chicago because that's when that northside team is in first place." (It's just too bad that the Sox themselves rarely even had that to boast about.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 8, 2005 12:21 PM

b--Dean. Mehlman is wasting his time.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 12:23 PM

and I didn't call it inside baseball, Charlie Cook did. He's pretty astute, with a long record of credibility.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 12:29 PM

dean's success must be why so many prominent democrats are publically distancing themselves from him. you must have purple lips by now, torrid, after all that move-on kool-aid you've been drinking.

Posted by: cjm at June 8, 2005 1:27 PM

Charlie Cook? The smiling, goofy, aw-shucks guy who loves to go on Hardball and drone on about how Chris Matthews is right about Republican weakness?

Accuracy / Credibility - not so good.

With respect to Mehlman, all the GOP has to do is get 20% of the black vote and 45% of the Hispanic vote. They don't need more than that. Right now, they're at about 11-12% (more in some states) and 40-42%.

Howard Dean is in a bad spot - the professionals (both Democratic officeholders and many media types) are embarrassed by him and feel the need to contradict him, but people like Ed Schultz (radio talking head) are urging him to confront the evil GOP everywhere. No need to comment on what MoveOn wants.

With respect to the fund-raising, why have the top DNC fund-raisers in NY, CA, and DC all quit?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 8, 2005 1:35 PM

The man is a walking billboard for liberal vanity. It's all about feeling superior.

Posted by: at June 8, 2005 1:39 PM


DNC 2005 Q1 : $13.8M (WaPost 4/19)

the most analagous year would be 2001, I couldn't find Q1 separate, but 2001 thru Q2 for DNC was: $23.7M

soooo, assuming a similar Q2 , Dean will have them to $27.6M -- a pretty good job of it, but you're statement about it being 'not even close' is, well, wrong.

and, of course, it's not how many TDs your team scores, it's can you keep up with the team you're playing against.

to wit:
RNC raised $32.3 million
DNC raised $13.8 million (2.3 times more for R)

RNC cash on hand:$26.2 million
DNC cash on hand: $7.2 million (3.6 times more for R)

if I were Mehlman , I would be smiling.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at June 8, 2005 1:42 PM

hamlen--they quit for 2 reasons: because they had planned to move on when the change was made, and because they disagree on strategy. The DLC old order of fundraising is dying on the vine.

I don't know anything about Cook's appearances on Hardball. I'm referring to his well-accepted knowledge of the Hill and the political game. And I'm not sure how your statement contradicts that.

cjm--"so many prominent Democrats?" Biden and...? Edwards released an aggresive defense of Dean the other day, essentially distancing himself from the media distancing attributed to him. In any case, distancing allows a politician to insulate himself from any negative, but benefit from any positive. It's not really much of a barometer of success, certainly not for a party chair.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 1:44 PM

JOn of Atlanta--I wouldn't be smiling if I were Mehlman; he's lost quite a bit of the traditional Republican advantage.

The Feb-Apr number is 14.8 million, not 13.8--approaching double the amount raised for the same period in 2003. Remember that Dean did not take office until February. The amount of cash on hand for 1Q 05 as opposed to 1Q 03, is also nearly double under Dean. Furthermore, the advantage in fundraising for the RNC shrank from more than 3 times the DNC, to just over 2 times the DNC.

By almost any comparative measure, Dean is well exceeding the efforts of any of his predecessors.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 2:04 PM

from FEC reports:

it would appear the full 1Q number is 16.7mil, again almost double the previous off-year.

Dean is employing a different paradigm, one that does not work from the top down. And so far it appears to be working.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 2:08 PM

biden, richardson, and edwards have all disowned him. and i haven't heard anyone prominent talking out in his favor (although it is possible i missed it if someone like teddy k. or babs rockhead did make some positive noises).

anyway we won't know until 11/06 just how much damage howlard is doing to the party.

so do you personally agree with the statements he's been making ?

Posted by: cjm at June 8, 2005 3:06 PM

edwards has NOT disowned him. Go to his blog.

How can you not agree with his statements? They're essentially true.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 3:14 PM

The Dean paradigm: shrink but stir the party.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 3:20 PM


Of course what he said is true, but why would you let voters know that it's your opponents who are Christians, not you?

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 3:24 PM

not sure what you mean, OJ. This morning he said he himself is a white Christian. What he means is that the GOP is the party OF the white Christian, as opposed to being a party inclusive of everyone. Until a couple of years ago, I would have said that was only true by virtue of the makeup of its adherenets--but now it is approaching the status of policy goal from the viewpoint of the GOP leadership. It's not that there are white Christians in the GOP, but that the party appears to want to create a nation ruled by the interests and beliefs of white Christians, to the exclusion of others. Which is, I believe, a legitimate topic for debate.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 3:36 PM

'I hate the Republicans and all they stand for'
(true, that's what Howard thinks)

Republicans are 'evil' (demonstrably false)

'..They all behave the same. They all look the same.' (demonstrably false)

'..we're not going to stoop to the kind of divisiveness that the Republicans, are doing..'

'I think Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston, where he can serve his jail sentence down there..;
(true, that's what Howard thinks)

yeah, Howard has really got that TRUTH thing going
for him.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at June 8, 2005 3:43 PM


Why would you use a wedge that separates your party from 80% of the country?

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 4:06 PM

I think you've got that backward. The wedge would separate the 80% of the country that is not fundamentalist Christian, from the latter. Schiavo-leave-alone vs Schiavo-intervene, as an example. Stem cells-yes vs stem cells-no, is another.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 4:12 PM

To all: my blogpartner, himself a self-described conservative Christian, has his own post up this afternoon generally echoing much of the sentiment here. Please visit if you like, and defintely comment if you feel so moved. I'm not here to troll or demagogue; I simply think some of you may be too easily swallowing the CW on this one.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 4:14 PM

oj - Dean party 2009: shaken, not stirred.

Posted by: pj at June 8, 2005 4:20 PM

why would i visit your website when i already know everything you think and say, just from what you have posted here ?

Posted by: cjm at June 8, 2005 4:25 PM


Maybe, but that's not what Dean said and it's not what the GOP is. Fundamentalists are obviously a strong component but its a white Christian party in general, where, again as Mr. Dean says, people behave pretty much like one another (because of shared Judeo-Christian morality).

Democrats are the party of amorality and anti-Christianity, but why would their leader advertise it?

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 4:30 PM

cjm--now who's overgeneralizing? :rolleyes: And you must not have read very closely, because I was directing you to something I did NOT write.

oj--Democrats are the party of amorality and anti-Christianity? Where did you read that? You're starting to veer away from reality, there. And I think that IS what Dean said. And currently, that is, from all appearances, what the GOP in fact is.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 4:39 PM

i read what you posted. just don't have any interest in your website :rollseyes and yawns:

Posted by: cjm at June 8, 2005 5:19 PM


Governor Dean says so.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 5:20 PM

i kind of miss tubino and lonbud, at least they were entertaining.

Posted by: cjm at June 8, 2005 5:22 PM

oj--go ahead and reprint where he says anything of the sort.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 5:26 PM

Republicans are "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 5:59 PM

where's the part about Democrats? :headscratch:

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 6:07 PM

The Democrats are the party in opposition, no?

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 6:11 PM

I'd wager the Democratic party is mostly white and Christian as well. And you make no mention of Dean's comments on morality.

You might want to admit that you made this up, and/or are extrapolating what YOU think about Democrats--not what Dean said about them.

Posted by: torridjoe at June 8, 2005 6:20 PM

They all behave the same.

Posted by: oj at June 8, 2005 6:24 PM

Ah, but oj, morality in the mind of a Democrat means accepting and approving anyone who behaves differently.

It is a matter of semantics. We're all "moral". Don't you know?

Posted by: Randall Voth at June 8, 2005 10:03 PM