Friday, December 26, 2003

No More Uncle Fluffy

Dr. Dean* has decided that enough is enough. Since the Gore endorsement and the capture of Saddam Hussein, he’s been taking it in the shorts mainly from his Democratic rivals John Kerry and Joe Liebermann, and he’s been trying his best to stay above it all, smiling and waving and ignoring most of their attacks. But apparently now the Department of Homeland Security agrees with him that America isn’t safer with Saddam Hussein in the Rebar Hotel, and Dr. Dean is fed up with the sniping from within his own party, which he sees as doing little to advance the debate and only helps supply soundbites for Karl Rove. “It certainly isn’t helping me in the long run, because Bush will eventually use their criticisms in his ads. But in the short run, I think it makes them look smaller.” So he’s back to the feisty style that got him where he is in the race, even to the point where his attacks have become personal. “The gloves have really come off” he told the Times.

I think he’s shown remarkable restraint the last couple of weeks, especially when the ad from the mystery group of anti-Dean Democrats came out saying Dean was unprepared to lead the country against somone like Osama bin Laden. (Excuse me, that’s “Dead Or Alive Osama bin Laden,” right, Mr. Preznit?) So this reversion from Uncle Fluffy to his former style is no big surprise, and I look forward to some tasty sound bites. Most importantly, though, we need to keep everyone focused on the issue – sending Bush back to Crawford on January 20, 2005 – and let the attacks come from the other side, not so-called “friendly fire.”

*I’ve bounced back and forth between using the term “Gov. Dean” and “Dr. Dean” to describe the former governor of Vermont. But he’s still an M.D., and he was before he was governor, so I’m going to follow the style lead of the New York Times. That is, until it becomes “President Dean.”