I'm visiting family in NYC, and (did I mention that it's cold?) since they are arch-liberal Democrats and have TV, we're spending the night watching the post-election TV after going out to dinner (did I mention that it's damn cold?). I'm impressed that Dean could mount such a strong comeback...but then he gets up and makes his speech.
He harks back to the united country of the early 70's, and the hope brought by affirmative action, and the civil rights struggle...which suggests that in his rarified circles of Park Avenue and Aspen that he went through a different 70's than I did, in which those struggles led to deep divisions which are as yet unresolved. It's an interesting side note that he's spending so much time and focus appealing directly to what I called 'the fantasy ideology of the Democrats' - the last great pure victory, which was the Civil Rights movement. Sadly, it is a fantasy ideology, and it's certainly not a winning electoral strategy, particularly when tied to a tin tongue such as Dean displayed today. He defended quotas, and then shouted out to his peeps from San Francisco - I mean come on, guy, 75% of the country wants to saw San Francisco off and tow it out to sea. I mean c'mon, guy, weren't there any volunteers from Nebraska or Ohio you could point out? And I'm the guy who keep defending redistribution, and has some affection for affirmative action, and I was wincing when he stood up and defended - to huge cheers - quotas, abortion rights, and rights for gays. To some extent, I believe in all those things. But I'm also aware that those are serious issues on which people who ought to support the Democratic economic and other policies choke. Hey, Howard, remember your 'Confederate Flag' speech? Those guys just wrote you off. And, simply put, there aren't enough folks like my aunt and uncle to replace them. Kerry's speech was decently Presidential, and while he seemed less awkward than Dean, there's still something missing for me. But I think he's got the high ground, particularly given Edwards' poor showing, and the fact (as noted by CNN) that Kerry won among both voters angry at Bush and those opposed to the war - which should have been Dean's core constituents. Bummer about Edwards, though. And is it cold, or what?