Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dated Dean, Married Kerry

I remember this sticker around the 2004 Democratic primary and it seems to me an apt comparison to the current Republic primary.  I was an early Dean supporter, after I saw him give a gravely, fierce speech on CSPAN with his "from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" line (originally from the bow-tied Paul Simon, but no matter).  I loved his pugnacious style and his willingness to go right after Bush.  As the campaign moved on, he caught a wind and seemed to be out in front.  Unfortunately, the candidacy basically ran aground after Kerry's Iowa victory and the famous Dean Scream. There seemed to be an annoying anointment at play then, as if Kerry's two quick wins meant the contest was over.

I, among too many other Democrats, were willing to put aside our passion for Dean and go with the "smart choice" of Kerry.  For years after the election, I still have held a what-if question about if Dean had been the nominee and how he would have gone for Bush's jugular rather than the waifey campaign that Kerry ran.  A loss in fiery glory still seems somehow more appealing than a loss borne out of boringness.

All of this reminds me of the present Republican race because the GOP is equally bent on forcing out the president and is looking for the right person to do it.  This is a question of head vs. heart.  In their heads, Republicans know Romney is a better candidate, but he is sooo Kerry-esque.  A rich guy who is square, out-of-touch and inspires no one.  In their hearts, Republicans love the snarling Gingrich who they think will bring it full force at Obama, even if they run the risk of pulling down the entire edifice.  While Gingrich scares me, because I ultimately think he is a dangerous demagogue, I can at least appreciate why the Republicans might be considering him.  His fiery appeal is at least interesting and as a political junkie I would probably prefer an election battle between him and Obama for the sheer force of it.  Choose a side, and let's turn it into a political street fight.  I think Gingrich would probably bring out Obama's A-game more than a battle against the technocratic Romney.  


Jenna said...

I know a psychiatrist who thinks Dean was having a hypo-manic episode during the infamous scream speech.

Paul Rockower said...

I have a friend who was there in Iowa, and she said in the context of the loud, raucous rally with young supporters, it didn't seem "off." But when seen from a more removed tv, with focus on the scream, it seems a lil nuttier.