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The Non-Responsible Alternative

November 14, 2005

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the war and who is responsible for it.

Tim Russert interviews Howard Dean:

DR. DEAN:  (The President) withheld–he knew, he knew that there was no connection
between Saddam and 9/11 and he insisted on trying to make that case to
the American people.

MR. RUSSERT:  But he never said Saddam was involved in September 11.

DEAN:  He never actually came out and said just that.  But in every
speech he gave during the campaign and afterwards, he left the
impression.  He left the impression with 65 percent of the American
people, who agreed that Saddam had something to do with 9/11.  It made
that–it was dishonest, what he did.

President Bush is being held accountable for something he never said; accused of being dishonest for something he did not do. But what are the Democrats responsible for:

MR. RUSSERT:  … Do you believe the intellectually
honest position for the Democrats is to say, now, "Based on what we
know now, we should not have gone to war with Iraq"?

DEAN:  All I can tell you is what my position in the campaign was.  I
believed that what we–that Saddam Hussein was a problem, that he had
used in the past weapons of mass destruction.  That’s indisputable.  I
also did not believe the White House was telling the truth, and my
position was, of course we need to deal with Saddam Hussein, but we
don’t need to cost ourselves the lives of 2,056 brave American soldiers
in order to do it.

First of all, I think Dean has just made up a convenient history for himself- I do not recall him ever stating that he "did not believe the White House was telling the truth" – a vauge statement, but if he meant he questioned the truth regarding WMD, I’d like to see proof of it. (He did idly speculate on NPR that Bush may have known about 9/11 before hand, calling it "an interesting theory".)

Second, there seems to be some rhetorical sleight of hand going on.  Dean wants to deflect an answer to the question about what the Democrats should do by talking about what Bush shouldn’t have done. But he’s essentially agreeing- that based on what we know now, our casualties have been a waste and a tradgedy. Not that he’s unpatriotic! That question was reserved for Ken Mehlman earlier in the show.

Here’s the reason why he’s avoiding the answer -t here is no answer:

DR. DEAN: We have an alternative agenda.  We made it very clear.  We
want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our
people at home, our soldiers and our allies.  We want jobs in America
that’ll stay in America, and we believe that renewable energy is one of
the areas where we can do that.  We want a health-care system that
covers everybody, just like 36 other countries in the world.  We want a
strong public education system.  And most of all, we want honesty back
in government.  I think that’s a pretty good agenda.

RUSSERT:  But those are words that will appeal to people.  But when you
go behind them, for example, what is the Democratic position on Iraq?
Should we withdraw troops now?  What do the Democrats stand for?

DEAN:  Tim, first of all, we don’t control the House, the Senate or the
White House.  We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda
is and we will long before the ’06 elections.

Dean is avoiding responsibility for taking any kind of pro-active stand on Iraqand proclaiming that the Democrats have no agenda they want to make public. That’s because the agenda primarily consists of opposing and defaming the President and 2) re-writing their own history.

Dean continues:

DEAN:  Right now it’s not our job to give out specifics.  We have no
control in the House.  We have no control in the Senate.  It’s our job
is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent
administration, from doing more damage to America.

Again, Dean has no problem handing out specifics regarding the evils of the Republicans:

…I saw a show last night
which showed a young African-American man in California at the UC of
Davis who hoped to go to law school.  The Republicans want to cut $14
billion out of higher education so this kid can’t go to law school.
We’re going to do better than that, and together, America can do better
than that.

So Republicans under Bush are specifically opposing higher education for African-Americans! Must be one of those Karl Rove moves that’s so secret I never heard of it.

RUSSERT:  But is it enough for you to say to the country, "Trust us,
the other guy’s no good.  We’ll do better, but we’re not going to tell
you specifically how we’re going to deal with Iraq."

DR. DEAN:  We will.  When the time comes, we will do that.

MR. RUSSERT:  When’s the time going to come?

DEAN:  The time is fast-approaching.  And I outlined the broad outlines
of our agenda.  We’re going to have specific plans in all of these

MR. RUSSERT:  This year?

DR. DEAN:  In 2006.

Is this not staggering? Dean has just accused the President of being incompetent and witholding information – and he cannot even outline the barest plan. Indeed he says "we’re going to have specific plans". Going to! After all this time, criticizing the administration for no plans, bad plans, mis-leading plans, Dean has nothing to offer. I guess he needs more time to see how the present stategy is polling before he invents another one.

Jay Rockefeller also evades.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    November 16, 2005 12:29 pm

    I don’t really like Howard Dean. I find him embarassing. Please try not to quote him too much.

  2. Count Grecula permalink
    November 16, 2005 1:51 pm

    Ken- I’m curious. Why do you find him embarassing, and why should that keep me from quoting him? He’s an influential Democrat who can speak authoritatively on behalf of his party’s views. Just because he speaks like an oaf doesn’t mean he’s wrong (see: GWB).

    Moreover, he’s not saying anything in this interview that isn’t being aggressively advanced by the rest of his party (except Joe Lieberman)

    Given the pre-war intelligence consensus, this war should be receiving wide bi-partisan support. Howard Dean’s canidacy and leadership of the DNC has trashed that support in favor of partisan politics. It’s shameful, dishonest, and will affect our political discourse for years.

    I know, I know, some others might think “You say that like it’s a bad thing!” But if more Democrats were like Joe Lieberman I wouldn’t be blogging. Oops, you thought it again!

  3. FecesFlinger (TimmyC) permalink
    January 8, 2006 11:03 pm


    (Last post of the night, and a quickie)

    You wrote:

    “First of all, I think Dean has just made up a convenient history for himself – I do not recall him ever stating that he ‘did not believe the White House was telling the truth’ – a vauge statement, but if he meant he questioned the truth regarding WMD, I’d like to see proof of it.”

    This is from the Sept. 4th 2003 Democratic Primary Debates:

    I supported the first war in Iraq because one of our allies was invaded, and we had a responsibility to defend them. I supported the war in Afghanistan; 3,000 of our people were murdered. I thought we had a right to defend the US.

    But in the case of Iraq, the president told us that Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein were about to make a deal. The president told us that Iraq was buying uranium from Africa. That wasn’t true. They told us that the Iraqis were about to get atomic weapons. That turned out not to be true. They told us they knew exactly where the weapons of mass destruction were, right around Tikrit and Baghdad. That turned out to be false as well.

    As commander in chief of the US military, I will never hesitate to send troops anywhere in the world to defend the US. But I will never send our sons and daughters to a foreign country in harm’s way without telling the truth to the American people about why they’re going there. And that judgment needs to be made first, not afterwards.”


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