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Give ’em hell, Howard

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 19 years ago, in 2005, on the World Wide Web.

It’s official: the Democratic Party has undergone the world’s first successful spine transplant operation. Howard Dean is now Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

I’m pretty much done with this whole shell game for the forseeable future, but this at least is an encouraging sign in some important respects. The Democratic Party will remain frustrating and limited and limiting. Party electoral politics will remain mostly dull, soul-killing and ultimately pretty futile, even if all you want out of it is to put speedbumps in the way of onrushing Caesarism. But Howard Dean’s ascension will mean

  • Dean is good, remarkably good for a Democrat, on two important things: (1) abortion, (2) the war. He’s kept a solid position, knows how to answer questions without weaseling, and, well, he’s been right all along. He defends his positions as a matter of principle and demands that the rest of the Democratic Party catch up to him, instead of wringing his hands over how much he respects the position of people who want to see everything he stands for destroyed. If Democrats intend to make any headway whatsoever against Bushism and its Know-Nothing blowhard brigade of pundits, they need to take a resolute stance on both abortion and the war, and to form a serious opposition both rhetorically and politically. Dean’s increased leverage as a spokesperson for the Democratic Party means some hope for an unapologetic opposition and for the introduction of some basic cognitive decency into the talking-head world.

  • Dean’s major goal in campaigning for the DNC Chair has always been primarily to shake the upper echelons of the Democratic Party out of the hands of the grubbing apparatchiks. As he put it in his acceptance speech, It won’t take us that long [to win] — not if we stand up for what we believe in, organize at the local level, and recognize that strength does not come from the consultants down. It comes from the grass roots up. Is a Democratic Party that is more attuned to its base and less to the Beltway Bizarro World echo chamber going to be perfect? No, not at all, but it is better than the useless crowd of me-too warmongers and police statists that we have today. An effective and responsive Democratic Party will come up with plenty of stuff that needs to be fought, but if that was the worst thing we had to fight today, we’d be much better off than we have been for many years.

  • Dean’s a funny guy and a great interview. The sooner that he completely replaces the soulless gaze and sibilant verbal slime of Terry McAuliffe on the Sunday morning talk circuit, the better. Besides, cop to it–that scream speech was really funny. Even when Dean blows it on national television, it’s great fun to watch.

He won’t redeem party politics for me, but at least Howard Dean’s ascension offers some hope that there will be a lot more slimy party hacks forced to find themselves a new job, some gauntlets thrown down where they need to be thrown down, and someone in the Democratic Party who, for all his many faults, I can earnestly cheer for. And in these dark times, every ray of light is a pleasant sight to catch.

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Anticopyright. This was written in 2005 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.