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Fox and Republicans advise against Howard Dean

Reported by Chrish - February 14, 2005

Jim Angle filled in for Brit Hume's regular Friday off on Feb.11. Democrats were warned by Major Garrett, Matthew Dowd , and the "Fox All-stars" panel du jour, Charles Krauthammer, Ceci Connolly, and Bill Sammons that Howard Dean would move the party too far to the left and consign them to losing elections indefinitely. Shucks, I didn't know they cared...

Garrett reported that Dean's chairmanship "elates party activists hungry for confrontation with the GOP" and "elected Democrats and party consultants, however, worry that Dean's rise could symbolize a further lurch to the left." Garrett wondered if Dems would go for a "full strategic and ideological makeover" or more of the same. Dean's statement that the Democrats need to choose their own language on the issues of abortion and gay marriage (for example), maintaining their principles and not using the Republican phraseology, was construed by Garrett as "a makeover".
Garrett eventually ended the segment with a non sequitur : "while most prominent Democrats have been here to celebrate Dean's rise to the top of the party, one prominent Democrat is not in Washington to do so; as a matter of fact, she's not even in the country ...Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jim, is in Ukraine. What that means, not quite sure. Just thought I'd make note of it."
Comment: Coming after his comment to the effect that Democrats are "apparently taking Dr. Dean at his word" that he will not leave his position for another presidential run in 2008, I think it was meant to further the myth Fox is trying to perpetuate that HRC is trying to distance herself from the "lefty" Dean.

Later on the show Matthew Dowd (introduced by Angle as "former Chief Strategist for the Bush/Cheney campaign, and now a Fox News Contributor") got six minutes with Jim to opine why Dean is bad for the Democratic party. (A Democrat strategist was given time yesterday, so that's their idea of fair and balanced.) In answer to Angle's question of what Dean needs to do, Dowd says the Democrats need to define what are the principles to be used to address 21st century problems (terror, deficits, terror, war, terror) and stop talking about "old ideas" (healthcare, reproductive rights, safety nets, the environment).

Howard Dean's statement that Dems need to change the language they use in discussing issues was welcomed by Dowd, who said as a Republican he hopes that Dems continue to believe that that is a solution as it will give more success to Republicans. He likens it to a restaurant where the wording on the menu is changed but people aren't going there because they don't like the food, saying it's not a "marketing" problem so changing the language is not a solution.
Comment: Karl Rove and co are evil marketing geniuses, and it's about time the Democrats stopped being so earnest and started selling their ideas. Honesty may be the best policy, but it's not the best politics.

They brought Bill Clinton's presidency into the conversation and Dowd asserted that Clinton did best when he was cooperating with Republicans and when he acted in a more moderate or even conservative mode, insinuating that the only good Democrat is a Republican-lite moderate/conservative Democrat. He went on to say that Dems want to be more confrontational, and they need to be more compromising to get things done, (comment: He means to do more Republican-style damage to the country.)

Later, the "all-stars" segment pitted 3 conservatives with a moderate to discuss , surprise, Howard Dean and what the Democrat Party needs to do to win elections.

Sammons: The Democrats think they "don't need to change their policies. I think that's exactly what's wrong with them. They are perceived as being pro-tax, soft on defense, and on the wrong side of the cultural divide on issues like gay marriage, partial-birth abortion, their closeness to Hollywood." These are the issues that Bush won on in 2004 and if they stay with them in 2008 it's going to be a problem.

Connolly: Dean is anti-war and "colorful" and that may do him well in these times. What she sees the party as needing is a strong CEO-type organizer/manager. That's where she has always seen the Republicans excel and the Democrats lag.

Krauthammer: Doesn't know if Dean can be humble; says he does not have inherited humility. Dems are party of reactionary liberalism, all they do is oppose, against the war, against Social Security reform, against any initiative, they have no ideas. Changing the language is not going to help them.

Sammons: Republicans shouldn't dismiss Howard Dean as a loose cannon. He might be effective.

Ceci: As governor of VT he was not lefty liberal.

Krauthammer: Dean, Pelosi, and Reid are not a good face for the Dems. Hillary is going to the center, going easy on abortion, hawkish on the war - she has the right idea. Going to the left is a loser idea.

Comment: If your opposition reiterates three times in three different ways that you should NOT do something, wouldn't it make you think that maybe they're nervous that you WILL do just that? Going to the center isn't even the center any more, it's right of center. Any further to the right and we will be a one-party country. Their idea of "compromise" is giving in and doing everything their way - there is no compromise.

How about Republicans compromising? Against abortion? Don't have one. Against gay marriage? Don't do it. Against embryonic stem cell research? Refuse the treatment. Nobody, not even the dreaded Democrats, will force you. It seems that Republicans are the ones who need to compromise, to let each side have what they want. When they say stop opposing, they mean lie down, I want to walk all over you and your freedoms.

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