I'm doing yardwork today, and so I will have to write my promised Howard Dean post later tonight. However, before I do that, I wanted to address an ugly phenomenon that I've noticed in regards to Howard Dean's detractors.
It seems like any time one enters into a discussion here in the blogosphere about Dean, you get a lot of people who accuse Dean supporters of a fanaticism that turns people off and blinds them to "reality."
I want to settle this right now, before I get written off in some people's minds as a witless Dean supporter.
I am not blindly, passionately devoted to Howard Dean. I am not blindly devoted to any candidate, nor will I be.
What I am passionate about is removing George Bush from the White House. What I am passionate about is regaining a Democratic majority in Congress. What I am passionate about is preventing the Federal Judiciary from becoming a franchise of the Federalist Society. What I am passionate about is moving the Democratic Party, not to the far Left, but away from their current quasi-Republicanism. What I am passionate about is a politics that does not cater to the whims of "dumb brutes and rich people," in Hunter Thompson's words. And what I am passionate about is returning the word "liberal" to its roots as a label worn with pride, rather than the derogatory epithet it has become.
Therefore, I will support whichever candidate I think has the best chance of either achieving these goals, or making significant progress towards them. Right now, for various reasons, I think Howard Dean is that man. That might change, and it might not. If I thought Kerry could do that, I'd support him. If I thought Lieberman could do it, I'd support him. If I thought Sharpton could do it, I'd support him. Hell, if by some strange practical joke of the gods, Jesse Helms looked to be in a position to do it, I'd support that old son of a bitch.
So, by all means, let's all have a discussion about which candidates have the best chance to achieve our goals. That's the whole damned point of the Primaries. But the lashing out and the evil rhetoric against Dean supporters for displaying passion, an absolutely critical quality that has largely disappeared from the modern Democratic Party -- and one that the Republicans, for reasons fair and foul, have in spades -- is wrong-headed and needs to stop.
Update: With the news that Strom Thurmond has died, I changed an offhand reference to him in this post. Speaking ill of the dead and all.