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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Howard Dean And The Four Pillars Of Fire

Howard Dean has found the magic, so we will try a bit of a Harry Potter thing today. First, a big sloppy kiss on the front page of the Times - he's the front runner, he's energetic, he gets rock-star crowds - Go, Howard!

The Times also mentions this Zogby poll, which is a bit of a breath-taker:

Zogby International, an independent firm, is scheduled to release Wednesday a poll showing Dr. Dean leading in New Hampshire with 38 percent of the vote to 17 percent for Senator John Kerry; in early July Senator Kerry had 25 percent to Dr. Dean's 22 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points.


OK, the bad news:

...the presidential-style trip could increase the risk of Dr. Dean peaking too early — and revealed other potential pitfalls. Holding oceans of blue Dean placards at every stop were nearly all white hands, a homogeneity the campaign tried to counter with a rainbow of supporters on stage, which only drew more attention to the lack of diversity in the audience. The feisty crowds were filled with Birkenstock liberals whose loudest ovations always followed Dr. Dean's antiwar riff — there were few union members, African-Americans, or immigrants.

Now, last week TAPPED noted an absence of women amongst Dean's supporters. This puts Dean in the odd position of completing a Democratic Quadrefecta, since he is not supported by any of Donna Brazile's famous Four Pillars.

And, since we love his wordplay, we will pitch in some commentray by Al Sharptongue:

"No one has even asked about the fact that [Dean's] surge of support has been really one-dimensional," Mr. Sharpton said.

In addition, Mr. Sharpton said he is often asked about how he can hope to lure white voters in key early states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, while Mr. Dean is never pressed on how he will appeal to minorities.

"When I come to Iowa, they ask 'How can Sharpton get the white vote?' " the minister said. "I've run [for governor] in New York and gotten more white votes in my races than he's gotten black votes in Vermont. Why aren't we talking about that?"

The Dean response is described, mercifully briefly, in the Times article:

...while the people introducing him included Hispanic teachers and black preachers, the people buying the "Doctor is in" buttons were mostly aging flower children and the tongue-studded next generation.

"We're working really hard to change that," Dr. Dean said. At the union convention yesterday in Chicago — where the undecided audience offered mainly polite claps for the zingers that had delighted the devoted — he tried one of his newer lines: "When white people and brown people and black people vote together, that's when we make social progress in this country."

Oh, hold the front page, that line ranks up with "I have a dream". Just extend the list to include "and women, and union folks, and gays, and lesbians..." and you have a Saturday Night Live skit right there. [Jane Galt has more.]

Now, the sports metaphor of choice in this story is the marathon. However, I suggest folks think of a prize-fight - it can go twelve rounds, or it can end in ninety seconds. Dean is going to put some of his opponents out of their (and our) misery very soon.

Dean also is doing a nice job of shifting to a defensible position on Iraq and Afghanistan - the President is an idiot, but we have to finish the job.

Last tidbit - the reporter for this story is Jodi Wilgoren. Who? I don't know either, but if she is the Girl on the Bus with the Dean campaign, her reporting may suffer from a bit of the Helsinki syndrome.

UPDATE: Yes, it was a big sloppy kiss. Compare it to this story, where they can't shovel dirt on John Kerry's grave fast enough. If Wesley Clark's entrance into the race will force Kerry to speak about something else, go Wesley!

MORE: The Tough Democrat is, well, tough on Ms. Wilgoren of the Times. (BTW, my ears, and hit counter, are burning)

David Adesnik thinks the Times is marginalizing Dean's supporters, and has a follow-up.

If the Dean crowd is unhappy with the story, their criticism is pretty subtle.

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