Check the last two day's worth of Diaries and a few pages of the SCLM, and you'll see the convulsions of the DLC. Dean has hit on something that is resonationg throught the Dem party, affecting the bottom-feeders who troll through DLC detritus for quotes and talking points (otherwise known as the chattering class of reporters too lazy to work for their stories anymore).
It isn't just David Brooks. It's Brownstein and Myerson and virtually all the talking heads on TV, who think Dean's comments suggesting the center of the party might be too far right is far more important than Ashcroft recusing himself, or the USDA scrambling to coorect years of criminal neglect of public safety. Capitol Report last night had a foresome who couldn't stop talking about the demise and self-destruction of Dean.
Off course, my only problem with that is that it hasn't exactly happened.
Wanna know why people don't vote?
Noq if all this is, is a plea for Dean to move to the center, okay. But Walter Shapiro's quote (paraphrased as the Dems aren't worried Dean will lose 47 states, they're worried he won't answer their phone calls) seems absolutely clairvoyant. In the musical Fiorello, there was a song called "The Bum Won", about the local party leader's forlorn chagrin when his candidate LaGuardia upset the incumbent everyone figured he'd lose to. Happy? "What good is that to us? Not if he doesn't feel grateful for our support," goes the lyric.
Check out all the stories (I like Meyerson's the best in today's WaPo), and Dionne's from yesterday.
I've got this Howard Dean problem, and it's not that I think he's George McGovern. Actually, I think he's John Wayne.
And not just any John Wayne, but the Duke in his greatest performances, in some of John Ford's later movies. I know -- it's bad enough to tell my fellow liberals that I still have reservations about Dean, but to say that John Wayne was capable of great performances immediately subjects all my judgment and, perhaps, eyesight, to pitiless scrutiny. Nevertheless.
I have in mind the Wayne characters in "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." In these movies, Wayne plays historically transitional figures -- the ultimate tough guy who defeats the forces of darkness and disorder, in no small part by becoming, or just being, very like them himself, but for whom the forces of light then have no further use. In "The Searchers," he spends five years hunting down a Comanche tribe, and when he finds it, he scalps the chief. The conclusion of "The Searchers" sees Wayne heading off to wander in the desert as the door to his family's home closes behind him. In "Liberty Valance," he guns down bad guy Lee Marvin -- and renders himself obsolete as soon as the smoke clears. With their safety secured, the townsfolk don't need the Wayne character anymore; they go off and anoint the distinctly less rambunctious Jimmy Stewart as their hero.