Tuesday, June 14, 2005

An op-ed piece in USA Today has it right about Howard:
Instead of muzzling Howard Dean, Democrats should give him a bullhorn. Rather than urging him to retreat from his attack on Republicans, party leaders ought to send him off to a political war college — preferably the one the late GOP strategist Lee Atwater attended.
As chairman of the Democratic Party, which is teetering between political renewal and functional extinction, Dean should be making war, not peace. But that's exactly what his critics within the party seemed to be suggesting last week when they admonished him for his tough talk about Republicans.

The writer, DeWayne Wickham, contrasts Democratic cowering over Dean's remarks with how Republicans embraced Lee Atwater after his Willie Horton ads deep-sixed Dukakis.
Ironically, Dean's negative talk is something Atwater, who managed the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, turned into an art form. When the story broke that Willie Horton, a black convicted murderer, raped a white woman and assaulted her fiancé while on a weekend furlough from a Massachusetts prison, Atwater went on the attack. He vowed to link Horton so closely to Bush's opponent, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, that people would think the career criminal was the Democratic candidate's running mate.
Republican leaders, eager to extend their party's control of the White House beyond the eight years of Ronald Reagan's presidency, didn't chastise Atwater for playing to racial fears and stereotypes in linking Horton to Dukakis. Instead, they made him party chairman. ...
The time has come for Democrats to give as good as they get.

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