Friday, October 1, 2010
Howard Dean: Just Ahead of His Time
The year was 2003. A man named Howard Dean was rocking the Democratic world. For a while, it looked like this new voice was going to sweep past all the old guard and take the nomination away. Then, 2004 came, and the voting started. Dean finished third in Iowa behind a pair of Johns: Edwards and Kerry. Then, Howard Dean screamed, and it was all over from there. He became marginalized. The Dems nominated John Kerry, and flip flop became part of the political lexicon as George W. Bush got four more years to destroy this country.
I remember reading the articles about Dean's demise. They said he was too angry. He squandered his money. His brand of politics just didn't jive with the mainstream. People didn't like that red in the face rhetoric. America wasn't ready for it in 2004.
In 2006, Democrats rolled the GOP in the midterm elections and went into power. The message was Howard Dean's message from 2004, "Take our Country Back."
Howard Dean went on to become the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He advocated for the 50-state strategy. He managed to keep the party together after a contentious primary season in 2008 that saw a political dynasty take on an upstart from Illinois. In the end, he helped deliver the White House for the Democrats.
Now, it's 2010. There are a lot of mad and angry people out there again, but it's now the Republicans and the Tea Partiers that want to "Take the Country Back!" and are yelling and screaming from the podiums. Instead of being lampooned, marginalized, and lambasted like Dean was, it's becoming the norm now to show anger, and if you don't you're just not into it enough. The voters are driving this change.
Think about shortly after the BP Oil Spill. People were saying that President Obama just wasn't mad enough. He got mad, and then he was too mad. It seems like Republicans and Tea Partiers just can't be mad enough these days. NBC Nightly News did a piece on it just last night.
As I was watching, I couldn't help but think about how Howard Dean took the fall in 2004. He was angry, and he was trying to take the country back. Things just didn't happen for him in the end. The Dean Campaign, however, in my view, become one of the most looked at and copied campaigns as this new politic emerges. Obama did it to a degree in 2008, and he took it to new heights.
Howard Dean got too much grief in retrospect for the "Dean Scream" because like so many things, he was just ahead of his time. It also shows that.