Readers defend the die-hard Deaniacs, while others implore them to get real before the U.S. "hits rock bottom."

By Salon Staff
Published February 7, 2004 2:00PM (UTC)
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[Read "Will Deaniacs Pull a Nader on the Democratic Party?" by Michelle Goldberg.]

The unfair trashing of Howard Dean has reminded me once again what I knew in 2000. I have no political home in this country. The corporate media and the DLC types who run the Democratic Party make sure that grassroots movements fail, and antiwar people will continue to have no power against the military establishment. I will refuse to vote for anyone who supported this war, including Kerry or Edwards. Another four years of George W. Bush? The U.S.A. deserves everything it's going to get.


-- David Giardina

A disappointed Dean supporter said, "I have decided that perhaps America must lose everything to value something. That may be what it takes to actually get our country back if Dean goes down."

Nader supporters talked like that in 2000: "There's no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans." "Better that George Bush should win the election and things get really bad; then people will know that we were right." But can anyone say now that there is no difference between the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush?


Four years later, here come the same whiners. Maybe it's easy for them to sit back and wish for things to get really bad, when that's usually happening to people other than themselves. For those of us who do not have the immunity of youth, higher education, wealth, or whiteness, it has been a very rough four years and we have already come close enough to losing everything.

Regardless of who I vote for in the primaries, I for one will vote for whomever the Democrats run against Bush in November. First things first -- there IS a difference.

-- Jill Grundberg


To the Deaniacs considering "pulling a Nader": Stop being so goddamned selfish. Sydney Platt, I don't know you from Adam, but I'm going to guess that you are white, well educated, and economically comfortable (my apologies if I'm wrong). If we take "another four years ... to hit rock bottom before [Americans] will wake up and smell the coffee," are you the one who is going to pay that price? Or will it be the poor, minorities, immigrants, and others at the bottom rungs of society?

Then again, maybe you will pay: I notice you're a woman from Houston. Are you ready to lose your reproductive freedom? Do you realize that Bush's so-called Clear Skies plan will allow the already horrible Houston-area refinery pollution to get even worse?


I swear, I'm gonna lose it if one more "progressive" tells me that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. That is a lie. To pick just one issue, go to LCV.org and compare the environmental records of Democratic versus Republican congressmen. The average Dem votes pro-environment more than 80 percent of the time. The average Republican votes that way less than 15 percent of the time. This is true across a range of issues.

Look, I supported both Nader and Dean, but I have already "smelled the coffee," and I don't want to hit rock bottom. A less-than-perfect Democrat is better than four more years of this near fascism.

-- Lee Nichols


As I told my two senators and one representative, who are all Democrats, "It's Dean or Green."

John Kerry voted for the PATRIOT Act, voted to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Skull and Bones Society. 'Nuff said. Dean or Green.

-- David Bonas


The fanaticism and sore loserism expressed by the "Deaniacs" in Michelle Goldberg's article are why I can't support the Dean campaign.

The people of the seven of nine states who voted for John Kerry expressed their choice democratically. They were not duped by the Democratic National Committee into voting for Kerry. So smug and paranoid are the Deaniacs that they believe that the rest of us really want Dean, too; we just don't know it. And so self-absorbed and short-sighted are the Deaniacs that, as some of them admit in Goldberg's article, they are perfectly OK with another four years of George W. Bush if THEIR candidate doesn't win the Democratic nomination.

John Kerry has such a broad-based appeal that he will beat Bush with the undecided and swing votes. The Deaniacs can stay home on Nov. 2 and stew in their anger while the rest of us move on and move ahead.

-- Robert Crook


[Read "Losing My Religion," by Katy Butler.]

I thought Katy Butler's piece on Dean's campaign was very well written; however, what she said she "discovered" was not a revelation to me at all.

Last night, at a Dean meetup, my first, I told everyone I'd like to "walk" my Northern California precinct and talk to my neighbors in person, instead of phoning. I could tell they thought I was crazy. I also told them not to call anyone in Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan or Wisconsin -- just stick to Washington and California. Why? Because I grew up in Kentucky and have lived in seven states in all, and one thing I know for sure is that the rest of the country thinks Californians are nutty. So it's not a good campaign strategy to have us "nuts and flakes" phoning the heartland or the South, much less descending thereon.

Like Katy, I will not give up on Dean until he throws in the towel. I'm sticking with him because he's a straight shooter, and I trust him more than any other politician I've heard speak since my first presidential election in 1976.


Lastly, I think Katy had unrealistic expectations about campaigns. They are messy and unpredictable -- but you can't win if you don't run, right? So go, Howard, go!

-- Lori Fuller

[Read "Dean's Dizzying Descent," by Thomas F. Schaller.]

Thomas Schaller's political analysis describing why he thinks Howard Dean sank so fast, so quickly, was informative and interesting. I especially liked his commentary analyzing how Dean failed to properly transition from the rhetoric of an insurgent to that of a front-runner ready to take on Bush. However, I found some of his other observations less compelling. Particularly misplaced is his belief that hiring an Al Gore has-been and Washington insider, a certain Mr. Neel, was a good thing to do.


Anyone who had a major role in Al Gore's disastrous 2000 campaign for president will be politically radioactive for the next 1,000,000 years. That was easily the worst-run presidential campaign of the last 100 years and is widely regarded as an embarrassment to political professionals everywhere.

The truth is that despite the human desire to place blame on a particular person or persons, when things go wrong, as in the case of Howard Dean, it was no one's fault. As anyone who has spoken to any of the Iowa or New Hampshire voters knows, Dean went down the drain because voters decided to be brutally practical and coldly rational. They voted for John Kerry, the war hero, who in this post-9/11 world stands the best chance of defeating Bush in the general election. Unfortunately for Howard Dean, he has no military experience. Nothing Dean did or didn't do can change that dynamic, and so he lost.

Think about it. John Kerry is a dull, long-time senator who hasn't accomplished anything in his 15 years in Washington that anyone remembers. And, as several press accounts attest, he wasn't exactly exciting the masses with his speeches. Contrast that with Dean, who was generating excitement and enthusiasm all over the place. But in the end, it didn't matter. Iowans voted their heads, not their hearts -- because George W. Bush is simply too dangerous to risk a Democratic challenger with great ideas, but who is potentially less electable in the post-9/11 world.

The forces that converged on Howard Dean and overpowered him have a lot less to do with superficial styles, smiles or shouts, and everything to do with the changed political terrain of the United States in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon back in 2001.

-- Tom Wright

Salon Staff

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