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ISSUE 117 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/5/2004

Dean fizzles out

By Noah Mehlan
Contributing Writer


Friday, March 5, 2004

The Democratic primaries have, thus far, yielded a series of interesting developments: the two remaining main contenders include an ambulance chaser and a -heiress chaser. With the recently held Super Tuesday , one Democrat will more than likely end up alongside Al Gore in the dustbin of historical obsolescence, while the other will go on to face Bush in November.

With consumer advocate Ralph Naders recent decision to run on the Independent platform, the plot has quickly thickened. Numerous comedy websites including, but not limited to, kucinich.com, deanpeoplesuck.com, and republicansforsharpton.com, have sprung up. All in all, its looking like its going to be one wild ride this fall. I just cant wait for the slew of insufferably trivial political attack ads.

But who can forget this races most memorable candidate? Its very rare when conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats agree on politics, even rarer when they share a sense of mutual disappointment. But such is the case with the abrupt end of the failed Howard Dean campaign.

While some people lost their beloved presidential candidate, a firebrand vehemently opposed to everything Bush stands for, others lost a source of endless amusement. Comedian Jay Leno recently remarked, "Political experts are calling Howard Deans campaign the biggest political collapse since Bob Dole ran out of Viagra.

The question remains: why would Howard Dean, a candidate who enjoyed such an enormous lead over his Democratic opponents, crash and burn so quickly? Why is it that someone who, not too long ago, appeared to be unstoppable is now well on his way to becoming the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question?

In attempting to decipher this enigma, I looked to none other than conservative radio talk show host and author Larry Elder. In a recent article entitled "When Did The Howard Dean Meltdown Really Begin?" he attempted to shed light on Deans political demise. For brevitys sake, Ill just paraphrase a few choice pieces of top quality Dean sirloin:

Among some of Deans achievements was his mention on National Public Radio of the conspiracy theory that Bush had prior knowledge of Sept. 11 yet did nothing to prevent it. He later added that he thought the theory was crazy and didnt believe it. Dean referred to the Democratic Leadership Council as the Republican wing of the Democratic party, as well as the members of Congress as cockroaches. He was quoted as saying that the capture of Saddam Hussein hasnt made America any safer, while omitting the fact that his capture has led to a sharp decline in the amount of violence in Iraq, as well as a capitulation on the part of Libyas Colonel Muammar Khaddafi to renounce his countrys weapons programs.

In addition to these blunders, Dean went on Canadian television and lambasted the Iowa caucuses as irrelevant and run by special interests. The self-described "fiscal conservative" was for the repeal of all of the Bush tax cuts, and he called Bushs $400 billion senior prescription drug overhaul too stingy.

Elder also points out that "[T]his fiscal conservative called for universal health care, amounting to a seizure of one-seventh of the nations economy." Dean, of course, simultaneously criticizes Bush for his irresponsible deficit spending.

Elder omits Deans multiple references to wanting to be the candidate for southern white guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks, as well as his backpedaling regarding Osama bin Laden. At first, Dean advocated a fair trial for bin Laden, now he claims bin Laden is the poster child for the death penalty.

In light of the numerous gaffes on Deans campaign resumé and the indisputable fact that he is crazier than a March hare, his spontaneous combustion after the Iowa primary doesnt seem so unwarranted. While he provided a convenient outlet for the I-hate-George-W.-Bush crowd, under closer surveillance he smacks of a flagrant lack of electability (as if the shrieking noise he made after the Iowa caucuses wasnt an indicator in and of itself). Come back, George McGovern, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale, all is forgiven!

The two remaining electable Democratic contenders (my apologies to Al and Dennis), Senator John Kerry and Senator John Edwards, are left to fight for the coveted position of the Democrat who will lose to Bush in November. Still, given the lackluster quality of the Democratic contenders, Bushs tendency to mispronounce the word "nuclear" or his offensive macho posturing of the now-infamous "Bring it on " remark dont seem so embarrassing anymore.


Contributing writer Noah Mehlan is a senior from Minneapolis, Minn. He majors in Spanish and linguistic studies.


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