The cover story in this week's New York Times magazine described Howard Dean's hardcore support as consisting primarily of impotent nosepickers hoping to make some friends and unsuccessful auditioners for Gap commercials. That is to say, the followers (as opposed to leaders) of tomorrow.
Their passion for Dean was aptly summarized by 24-year-old Lauren Popper – the "official representative" at a Dean campaign office one particular night. Though she "broke into tears several times while trying to explain" the allure of the Dean campaign, Popper managed to convey that she was first attracted to Dean based on his policy of having a state social worker visit every new mother in Vermont (not to be confused with the Arkansas policy from the 1980s in which the governor would visit every woman who was hoping to become pregnant). Not that I'm trying to privatize anything here, but in my home state of Connecticut, a new mother is traditionally visited by her own mother.
Popper added that Dean's becoming president was "a side effect" of the Dean campaign. Cold comfort to the candidate, I imagine. Rather, she said: "This campaign is about allowing people to come together and tell their life stories."
With quotes like that, it's not going to be easy to tone down the Republicans' overconfidence in the coming presidential campaign. But lately I've noticed that a lot of Democrats are comparing inevitable nominee Howard Dean to George McGovern and wearily predicting a landslide for Bush. That's not the fighting spirit we expect from the party that will go to the smallest town in North Dakota to remove the Ten Commandments!
Whenever liberals all start singing from the same hymnal, they are up to no good. (Or since we're talking about American liberals here, maybe I should say, "when they all start reading from the same Quran.")
I believe the game plan is this: The Democrats will spend the next 11 months ruefully admitting that it's going to be a 50-state landslide for Bush. Republicans will engage in their normal partisan cheerleading, and everyone will seem to be agreed that Bush is going to win a 50-state landslide. Then, if the final tally is anything short of that – if it's a 40-state landslide for Bush – the New York Times will be able to crow about Bush's poor showing and run headlines like: "Americans Still Deeply Divided on War."