Howard Dean: The Como variation

Mark Steyn’s Chicago Sun-Times column today is “Mad Dr. Dean jolts Kerry campaign to life.” Steyn is having too much fun kicking Howard Dean around to let him go yet. Today the humor is derived from the transformation of Howard Dean’s persona since losing the Iowa caucus. But buried in the humor is an unfunny insight: “Dean has been so subdued and demoralized that some of his wackier support has leached away to Clark. If Kerry is the sane alternative to Dean, Clark is the crazy alternative to Kerry.”
Steyn continues on Clark: “He’s very touchy about status: As he pointed out on CNN, he’s a four-star general while Kerry was a mere lieutenant. In the ranks of the deranged, he’s Field Marshal Flakey while Dean would be lucky to make corporal.”
And then Steyn takes off after Kerry. Comparing Dean to Kerry as potential targets of President Bush, Steyn makes a good case that Kerry might be the fatter target: ” [T]ake away the war from Kerry and what’s left? An old-school Massachusetts liberal. Not a mere lieutenant, but a mere lieutenant-governor. To Michael Dukakis. Kerry’s record on domestic issues is well to the left of Dean’s, and a much fatter target for Republicans. He’s soft on drug pushers and murderers, big on tax hikes and partial-birth abortion. If I were Bush and I had to choose between running against Howard Dean’s Vermont or John Kerry’s Massachusetts, I know which guy I’d be rooting for.” But can you take away the war from Kerry?
HINDROCKET adds: Can you take the war away from Kerry? I think so. If I get time today I want to expand on this. But I think Kerry has sunk into the public consciousness to the point that most people know he was a war hero, but do not know that he was a radical anti-war leader thereafter. When the latter fact sinks in–not so much with Democrats, but with the broader electorate–I think it will more than neutralize Kerry’s war service, which, in effect, he has been repudiating for many years.


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