Rich Lowry

He occasionally has the right, if futile, idea. Dean said Democrats must not be portrayed as the pro-abortion party: ?I don?t know anybody who thinks abortion is a good thing.? He apparently hasn?t talked to many NARAL activists lately. Dean floated the idea that state medical boards should set guidelines for abortion, apparently not realizing that that would likely require overturning Roe v. Wade and make him an ?extremist? fit to be filibustered were he nominated to the federal bench.

Then there were Dean?s typical flubs. He said that the cap on payroll taxes for Social Security kicks in at $85,000. It?s $90,000. In a slip of the tongue, he attacked the insinuation ?that Osama bin Laden had something to do with supporting terrorists.? He said ?that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was president.? According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, abortions declined in 2001 and 2002, the latest years for which statistics are available.

Democrats used to be the party that took governing and politics seriously. For a chunk of the 20th century, they ran rings around Republicans in Congress, thanks to their superior knowledge and determination. But for the left-wing activists that Dean so faithfully represents, politics is primarily a way to vent their spleen and frustration.

As party chairman, Dean may be a disaster, but he is their disaster, and that?s all that matters.

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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