Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Hail and Farewell
I said a couple of hours ago that I wouldn't be attending any more meetups. Then I learned that Howard Dean is speaking at the one and only Madison meetup tonight. So I guess I'll go after all.

Don't get me wrong--I still think Dean is the best of the candidates for president. His position on the war in Iraq is the only one among the major candidates that has been consistenly coherent--it was wrong before we went in and was a costly sideshow to the war on terror, but now that we're there, we have to make the best of things and we can't just bail. His position on tax cuts--that we can't afford any of the ones Bush pushed and they should be repealed--is correct, though politically suicidal. For my taste, he's wrong on the death penalty, and I wish he were tougher on guns and on Israel, but his positions seem realistic given the tenor of the times. Plus, he's honest--maybe too much so for his own good. He has a low tolerance for bullshit--also too much for his own good--and you can damn sure bet that come the debates, he would not let our deserter-in-chief weasel off the hook on anything. (I do not have the same confidence about Kerry, Edwards, or Clark.) I want to live in a country where such a man could be elected president, but I fear I do not. Nevertheless, I was on Dean's bandwagon when few others were, so I think I owe myself the opportunity to hear him speak. I also owe Howard Dean my applause for having the courage to do what he's done and say what he's said.

It was the great Whig senator Henry Clay who said he'd rather be right than be president . . . and he oughta know, as he lost three different presidential elections, in 1824, 1832, and 1844. (Before I googled the quote, I was betting on Adlai Stevenson, who lost in 1952 and 1956.) Dean is likely to go down in history as somebody who got Henry Clay's wish.

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