Is Dean the un-Clinton, Part II

A different Klein than the one whose piece about Howard Dean appears below takes his measure of the doctor. Joe Klein, who had some of the goods on Clinton very early, doesn’t explicity compare Dean to Slick Willie. However, it is obvious that Klein sees the two as dissimilar, to Dean’s detriment. In Klein’s estimation, Dean’s campaign is mostly about process, not ideas. He asks, “Apart from his early stand against the war in Iraq, what has distinguished Dean’s candidacy from that of the other Democrats?” Good question.
Klein faults Dean for not laying out “a vision that shows some deeper understanding of the cultural and substantive differences confronting the nation.” It was Clinton’s ability to chatter about this, of course, that made him attractive to Klein in the first place. Klein has apparently pressed Dean about his proposal for a national dialogue about race. Dean has spoken of the need for whites to better understand the impact of racism on blacks, but, un-Clinton like, has shied away from talking to blacks about what (Klein thinks) they need to understand.
Ultimately, Klein’s article tells me that Dean is smart enough to understand that he can’t hit some of the notes in Clinton’s campaign song-book. Thankfully, few can. But whether or not that makes Dean the un-Clinton is another question.


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