I am fascinated by the rebel flag issue and its potential earth-shattering impact on this race. I went over to blogforamerica to see how Dean supporters are playing it. I saw a lot of what I expected to see (basically, "Dean's right!!! How can anyone not see it??? Those other candidates are such meanies, I hate them!"), of course.
I also saw an unexpectedly high number of Southerners insisting that the Confederate flag is not racist, just a symbol of "Southern pride" or "states' rights". (Never mind that the Confederacy was established largely to preserve black slavery.) Those people are out of their minds. Anyone who would fly that flag is, at the very very least, profoundly insensitive to the feelings of black people. They not only must not have black friends, they don't really give a crap what black strangers on the street think. Some may argue that this is still not technically "racism"--but whatever it is, I find it repugnant.
However, there were a few Dean fans who sounded notes of caution--they saw more clearly than their fellows that this issue could be serious trouble for Dean. One poster in particular stood out:
Re: Pickup trucks, the flag, Howard's statements
I guess I disagree with many of the posts tonight since I think the Guv's statements tonight hurt him badly. I know what he meant to say, I know his values, but his recent remarks used a very unfortunate metaphor. While sticking to principles, a political truism is that one tries to avoid giving people a reason to oppose them. And he made that mistake tonight by not acknowledging that his metaphor was offensive to many people. And he had opportunities to put it behind him - in the questions and the CNN folks
It also takes away all his momentum on all the issues that have given him the lead.
Paula gave him a great opportunity to clarify and he didn't grab it.
I agreed with Lieberman for the first time when he said he didn't understand why Gov. Dean didn't straighten it out - and that the sign of great leadership is the capacity to admit mistakes.
Edwards, essentially, made a similar remark. The Guv's statement that Edwards was arrogant, didn't help. I didn't find it arrogant. Let's be honest with ourselves - Edwards DOES know the South better than Dean and maybe he needs some new staff support here. To me, the Governor sounded a bit arrogant and stubborn.
Both said if the Guv had, this would all go away (maybe not for Kerry)
To me there's only one way out of this mess since it will not go away. Eat a little humble pie and follow Lieberman's and Edward's advice - they were kind to suggest it. Admitting the need to say sorry and clarify IS a sign of leadership.
A lot of opponents are looking for our man to implode. I humbly suggest that this issue may be the campaigns Achilles Heel. Backing down here is will be a lot better than stubborness.
A friend of Dean, a strong supporter, contributor, and campaigner, - in faith
Don in VT
Posted by Don in VT at November 4, 2003 09:28 PM
If "HQ" is wise, they will listen to this man and try to straighten this out yesterday. But it's too late for yesterday, and it's probably too late for Dean to show contrition without it looking extremely grudging and insincere. Oh well...