Rarely will you see an American politician speak in such a vapid and meaningless manner than does Howard Dean in this brief clip from last April, speaking to a small group in Paris. It’s hard to know where to start with this nonsense, so let’s go in reverse order of idiocy:
Barack Obama speaks for his generation … the first to do so since JFK? Actually, Democrats argued that Bill Clinton spoke for Baby Boomers, which was his generation — and with more substance. The two Bushes spoke to the political establishment, but the Clintons supposedly represented the apex of the Boomers, of which Obama is certainly a member as well. Sharp and charismatic, Bill Clinton also proved more politically adept and flexible than Obama has thus far. The Democrats may try to continue their JFK fetish, but it makes them look even sillier than the incessant Reagan references on the Right. Conservatives have more or less followed Reagan’s policy lead for the past 30 years, even while Republicans have veered away from them, while Democrats like Howard Dean and Barack Obama have run away from JFK’s muscular approach to foreign policy and his free-market bent on economics.
The same applies to Dean’s credit-grabbing for “the permanent campaign.” James Carville started the permanent campaign in 1992. Dean’s contention that Democrats always lost elections because they took three years off is laughable on its face, as they held the White House for most of the 1990s. Democrats also managed to hang onto control of the House for almost the entirety of the Cold War before either Carville or Dean came along.
But the silliest notion of Dean’s patter is that somehow we’ve just come to the conclusion that the US is going to have both capitalism and socialism. That has been true in the US at least since 1933 and FDR’s New Deal. It became even more true during LBJ’s “Great Society” efforts. We have had a mix of socialism funded by capitalism for several decades, and not coincidentally, we have the national debt to show for it. The debate now is whether we want corporatism in the finance, energy, and health-care fields, which will be an entree to complete government control of those industries in the long term, or whether we want to pursue the free-market solutions that actually create and expand prosperity. Dean may want to say that the science argument is settled, but as the polls show, it’s not only far from over, but the Democrats and statists finally seem to be losing it.