The Attack On Dean

We’re seeing the Right’s attack on Dean starting to shape up. Here is an example:

“The old Dean was a free trader. The new Dean is not. The old Dean was open to Medicare reform. The new Dean says Medicare is off the table. The old Dean courted the N.R.A.; the new Dean has swung in favor of gun control. The old Dean was a pro-business fiscal moderate; the new Dean, sounding like Ralph Nader, declares, “We’ve allowed our lives to become slaves to the bottom line of multinational corporations all over the world.”


But the liberated Dean is beyond categories like liberal and centrist because he is beyond coherence. He’ll make a string of outspoken comments over a period of weeks — on “re-regulating” the economy or gay marriage — but none of them have any relation to the others. When you actually try to pin him down on a policy, you often find there is nothing there.

For example, asked how we should proceed in Iraq, he says hawkishly, “We can’t pull out responsibly.” Then on another occasion he says dovishly, “Our troops need to come home,” and explains, fantastically, that we need to recruit 110,000 foreign troops to take the place of our reserves. Then he says we should not be spending billions more dollars there. Then he says again that we have to stay and finish the job.

At each moment, he appears outspoken, blunt and honest. But over time he is incoherent and contradictory.

He is, in short, a man unrooted. This gives him an amazing freshness and an exhilarating freedom.”

I find this stunningly dishonest. Of course, it’s from The Party so what else should I expect?

Dean IS for free trade, as long as the rights of workers in all countries are protected. What’s wrong with that?

The “old” Dean did not “court” the NRA, and the new Dean is no more for gun control than the “old” Dean. He says keep the laws we have and leave the rest to individual states, just like he always said. Vermont does not HAVE gun murders.

There is nothing contradictory about being pro-business and fiscally moderate, and wanting to do something about multi-national corporations turning us all into serfs.

When Dean said we can’t pull out of Iraq responsibly, he meant that we have responsibilities to rebuild and establish order. When he says we need to bring the troops home he means after establishing order and bringing in an international force to keep the peace.

Well, I just got caught in old the trap of refuting each little lie – each tree – and letting this distract me fom seeing the forest. The forest is that they lie. They just lie. They’re like the con men who always have a fast response,a new lie, trying to get you to look the other way while they pocket your wallet.

Brooks pretends not to understand Dean’s positions, even to say Dean does not have positions. This is the Right’s attempt to transmit that because Dean’s well-thought-out positions aren’t sound bites, they should be dismissed as eggheaded liberal intellectual stuff. “Don’t listen to that man’s positions. Let’s all laugh at him instead. Hey, look over there.”

The attack is shaping up now. Because Dean’s positions have DEPTH they should be mocked, ridiculed, distorted, lied about. This is how they are going to attempt to campaign around their own unpopular positions — character assassination, distraction, ridicule and lies, mixed with a dose of give-the-public-something-to-hate-so-they-don’t-think. And, of course, lots and lots of fear. They count on Americans being stupid. Of course, this is what we knew they would do – it is what they always do. They lie. They just lie. It’s really all they have to offer. That’s the forest. Each lie is a tree. Let’s start pointing this out at every opportunity.