Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Unimpressed by Dean

I flipped to C-SPAN today and saw Howard Dean speaking to and taking questions from a Democratic audience. The subject was the future of the Democratic party and how it can win back the government. A couple of observations:

1. Republicans who cast Dean as a fringe ideologue are incorrect. If anything, he seems to be attempting to use his credibility with the leftist fringe to coax it into more mainstream thinking.
2. "We can do X better" was a recurring phrase throughout his speech and answers. His attitude was not "we have different ideas to bring to the table," but, "Republicans want X, we can do X better" (examples: national security, "values"). Not what I'd call leadership.
3. Almost exclusive focus on tactics, in terms of winning future elections. The attitude was "We did X last time, obviously it wasn't enough, let's do more of X," not "We did X last time, let's try Y next time." The exception was, of course, mouthing that so-nebulous-as-to-be-meaningless word: "values."
4. Dean sounded very scripted. These things are always scripted to some extent, but sometimes he tends to speed up his speech temporarily, a perfunctory soundbite emission. It's as grating as Bush's incessant repetitiveness in the debates ("it's hard work," etc.).

I don't blame Dean too much, though. He's in a difficult situation - he has to define the electoral strategy for a party that is having a major identity crisis. But right now, it just looks like trying to play catch-up and co-opt the (perceived) Rovian electoral strategy. What about playing off frictions in the Republican coalition and trying to bring libertarians in? It's not even under discussion. The current Democratic party just isn't serious competition for the Republicans.