Thursday, June 09, 2005

Howard Dean's winning strategy: Open mouth, insert foot

Howard Dean, who ran up an impressive losing streak in his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 but did manage to get himself elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is living proof that Democrats still don’t get it.

The party has lost seven of the last 10 presidential elections, but its leaders still think it’s a bad luck streak that will end soon. President Bush won 96 percent of the counties in the United States in 2004, but the Democrats still think they’re the party of the people.

The reality is that the Democratic Party is becoming snootier by the day — the party of eastern liberal elites, the media giants and Hollywood radicals. Take away the West Coast and the New England states and Democrats couldn’t find the real America if they had Lewis and Clark as guides. And the closest party bosses like Howard Dean come to the Average Joe is the waiter who fills their water glass at party gatherings.

After a 70-year run as the dominant political party in Washington, D.C., the Democrats should be starring in the ABC show "Lost." They lost control of Congress in 1994 and have lost ground to the GOP in every subsequent election. But they still think they’re an election away from regaining the majority. And I’m just a Powerball ticket away from retirement.

I watched Howard Dean’s speech last week to a gathering called "Campaign for America’s Future." It was billed as a political conference to get the Democrats energized for the 2006 mid-term elections, but the crowd (looking like extras from "The West Wing") wasn’t exactly mesmerized by Dean’s speech. Good thing Dean is a medical doctor. I thought Dr. Dean might have to perform CPR on some of the audience members as they passed out from boredom.

Dean kept throwing out lines like: "We need a president who understands working people in this country." I guess he was referring to someone like John Forbes Kerry, who is still getting an allowance from the Widow Heinz. Or maybe John Edwards, the smooth-talking Southern lawyer who got rich suing doctors and hospitals.

Did you know that more millionaires contributed to the Democratic Party in 2004 than to the Republican Party? This is not your granddad’s Democratic Party. The blue collar Detroit Democrats of the past have been replaced by caviar-eating blue bloods from Boston.

And all this talk about reaching out to moderates is just talk. Dean insulted about 50 million potential voters when he said he’s never met a Republican who has done an honest day’s work in his life. He wasn’t talking about politicians. He was referring to every single registered Republican in the country.

Dean tipped his hat on what the main theme of the Democratic Party will be in 2006. They’re going to blame George W. Bush and the Republicans for corporations reneging on pension plans for retired workers. "Pension plans ought not to be controlled by companies," Dean said. "They ought to be controlled by the people who those pension plans belong to. That’s the working people of America."

Wait a minute. Dean wants you and me to have more control of our retirement savings? Isn’t that what President Bush is trying to do with Social Security? Is Dean endorsing the Bush plan to allow Americans to have a say in their Social Security investments or is he just talking out of both sides of his mouth? Just like pension plans, Social Security withholdings don’t belong to the government. Why can’t I decide what to do with my money?

Another whopper from the mouth of Dr. Dean: "(The Bush) administration is beginning to erode the core of our Democracy." Is that so? Isn’t it the Democrats who threatened to shut down the Senate with filibusters if they didn’t get their way in blocking President Bush’s judicial appointments? A minority party obstructing the will of the voters who elected the majority from another party seems to me to be the real erosion of the core of Democracy.

Dean also said, "We need to be the party of campaign finance and election reform."
That’s an odd thing for Dean to be saying when just a few weeks ago, the Democratic National Committee and the Rev. Jesse Jackson (a mouthpiece for the Democrats) agreed to pay $200,000 in civil fines for campaign finance violations in the 2000 elections. Imagine that. The Democrats tried to cheat their way to victory in the 2000 election, but still couldn’t get Al Gore elected president.

I’d like to wish Howard Dean continued success in his effort to keep winning elections — for the Republican Party.

E-mail Tony Phyrillas at

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