Hey, Democrats- you've let the Republican party do your thinking for you once again. Guess what? Howard Dean is actually not a problem.
Democrats have spent the better part of the past few weeks distancing themselves from Crazy Ol' Howie, and they may have missed a golden opportunity to begin to do something they haven't done in nearly a decade: build a coherent, relatable message.
Now, we've all heard the loathing comments Mr. Dean sprinkles about, and you may think I'm a lunatic for suggesting that his rhetoric can be beneficial to the Democratic Party's cause. One must understand, though: Dean, as DNC chairman, is essentially a cheerleader. He is supposed to be a bit fanatical and over-the-top.
In the absence of a coherent plan to translate Dean's vitriol into a simple cause-and-effect agenda that people can funnel their problems through, non-fringe Democrats have allowed their cheerleader to take the proverbial ball and run with it. It's a classic syndrome of the left- they let the Michael Moore's of the world talk for them- with their negative vision of wild conspiracies and schemes-and never follow up with positive action they can get behind.
If Democrats want a good example of a coherent plan, they need to look no farther than the Republicans. The GOP certainly has their maniacal fringe- Gingrich, Hannity, and Limbaugh are rarely mistaken for reserved, middle-of-the-road gentlemen. However, where the Republicans differ- and the reason they win a lot more often lately- is how the message is related to the people.
Republican politicians and pundits don't just spew random insults- they make it mean something to people. Every GOP agenda is eventually filtered- rationally or irrationally- through the fears and problems of the lowest common denominator American. Sometimes these fears and problems are real, sometimes imaginary- it doesn't matter. People like simple right-and-wrong answers, and are willing to allow the minutiae of these issues- often which work against their best interests- to be hashed out behind closed doors.
Its ugly, but that's the kind of politics people respond to.
Democrats seem to forget that real, live voters are actually involved. And these real, live voters just want their simple, everyday problems solved. Dean makes the statement that the GOP is a party of white Christians. Ok, fine. It probably is. However, no one on the left has had the guts to explain why that may be the cause of some of the problems for much of our diverse American population.
If Democrats are to have any hopes of winning more elections than they lose in the near future, they may want to consider spending less time explaining away their loud, brash cheerleader, and more time using his energy as part of a coherent, simple worldview that Americans can actually relate to.
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Lunacy Without a Plan: Today's Democratic Party