January 12, 2004


The angry candidate meets an angry voter:

Dale Ungerer, a retiree from Hawkeye, Iowa, lectured Dean for nearly three minutes near the end of a forum aimed at winning voters for Iowa's Jan. 19 caucuses.

"Please tone down the garbage, the mean mouthing, the tearing down of your neighbor and being so pompous," Ungerer told the former Vermont governor and Democratic front-runner. "You should help your neighbor and not tear him down."

"George Bush is not my neighbor," Dean replied.

"Yes, he is," Ungerer said, to which Dean responded: "You sit down. You've had your say and now I'm going to have my say."

Lucky the old dude didn't criticise bike paths. Dean would've punched him.

UPDATE. What does this prove?

Under fire in a campaign debate, Howard Dean conceded grudgingly Sunday night that he never named a black or Latino to his cabinet during nearly 12 years as governor of Vermont.

Nothing at all, I suspect. Hiring minorities for the sake of hiring minorities doesn’t indicate sensitivity to racial issues; it indicates cynicism. Besides which, Vermont is about the whitest place in the US. When Vermonters say “Yo”, the second syllable is always “gurt”.

(Via Martian Sermon)

UPDATE II. Dean remains a clown on other issues, however. Here’s Joe Klein in Time:

In Indianola, Iowa, last week, Howard Dean said the most amazing thing. He was talking about free trade. He said that if his trade policy—a tax on products from countries that don't meet labor and environmental standards—was enacted there would be some bad news: "Prices will go up at your local Wal-Mart." But, he added, there would be good news too. American jobs would be protected. Immigrants would be less likely to come to America, since their wages at home would probably increase. A stable middle class would be created in developing countries.

Protectionism helps developing countries? Sure thing, sleeve boy.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 12, 2004 12:07 PM

Ah, so we can add "is rude to the elderly" to his list of social crimes.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 12, 2004 at 12:35 PM

... Although "is Howard Dean" should be enough to convict him.

Posted by: Marty at January 12, 2004 at 12:36 PM

At least he didn't call him a 'silly old bugger'.

Posted by: Scott Wickstein at January 12, 2004 at 01:11 PM

Bob Hawke was one of our best conservative PMs, well to the right of Mal 'Pants Down' Fraser.

... for those who just tuned: Way back in the Eighties Aussie PM Bob Hawke, during a 'meet-the-folks' photo-op, was followed around by an angry senior citizen shouting banal (socialist) pensioner rights slogans. After about ten minutes of silent restraint the PM lashed out with ... "Piss orf you silly old bugger".

The media myth since then is of the PM arrogantly abusing defenseless old pensioners.

Posted by: Robert Blair at January 12, 2004 at 01:25 PM

The one with the final word is the one who votes.

Posted by: Fred Boness at January 12, 2004 at 01:27 PM

And who is my neighbor? If Dean is a Christian, then Bush, a fellow Christian is his brother. However, Dean is too angry a man to regard Bush in that light. Dean is too intemperate to be president. If he reacts so badly to a simple remark, how will he react under great stress, such as that which GWB experienced on Sept. 11. Dean is not the man who should have his finger on the button. He may be loose cannon enough to press it.

Posted by: Hari at January 12, 2004 at 01:37 PM

Dean ain't goin' anywhere but home!

Posted by: lc at January 12, 2004 at 01:42 PM

I wouldn't worry about Dean nuking Russia, China, France, North Korea, Iran, or Pakistan.

I would be concerned about him nuking Atlanta if those Southern rednecks don't straighten up.

Posted by: Narniaman at January 12, 2004 at 02:26 PM

I wouldn't worry about Dean nuking Russia, China, France, North Korea, Iran, or Pakistan.

I would be concerned about him nuking Atlanta if those Southern rednecks don't straighten up.

Posted by: Narniaman at January 12, 2004 at 02:29 PM

I respectfully disagree. If I were a Democrat (and I'm not), I would have been thrilled to see my lead candidate willing to tell a vocal Bush supporter to sit down followed up by a stongly worded statement vowing to return this president to his neighbors in Crawford, Texas.

This is *why* Dean is the front-runner. He is a fighter. If the Republicans were in this situation, they would be just as thrilled to see one of their guys not playing nicey-nice and fighting for a damn change.

Posted by: KevinV at January 12, 2004 at 03:08 PM

Whoa, I guess Dean could have, like, the teen vote all sewn up after this...

Posted by: Marty at January 12, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Kevin: 'Cept, there's plenty of level headed Democrats trying to give Dean the same advice as this guy. Dean may win the figher vote, but he's going to lose without the sane, intelligent, non-irrational vote; which I hope is still a majority even in the Democratic Party. If we reverse the situation to a hypothetical Repulican fighter candidate, he'd be pitching to angry neanderthals and making normal people cringe.

Posted by: Sortelli at January 12, 2004 at 03:56 PM

kevin: the problem is, bush IS his neighbor. every american is his neighbor, and if he wants to be president, he needs to understand that and be willing to protect ALL his neighbors, not just the ones that he likes.

Posted by: samkit at January 12, 2004 at 04:16 PM

Dean is so obviously unelectable it's become almost painful to watch. I'll be amazed at this point if he actually manages to even capture the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: Hermit Dave at January 12, 2004 at 06:05 PM

Free Vanunu!

Posted by: Andjam at January 12, 2004 at 09:14 PM

Help help! I'm being imitated again!

Posted by: Andjam at January 12, 2004 at 10:53 PM

His courting of the sunburnt-neck-American vote when he was starting out and backtracking later when it suited his agenda gives the impression of someone who thinks voters are idiots. (By contrast, Bush thinks voters are just like him :P)

Posted by: Andjam at January 12, 2004 at 10:56 PM

I'm with Dean on the neighbor thing. A stopped clock is right twice a day. A clock that runs backwards is right four times a day! Be that as it may.

A lot of the news relies on making the oddest thing that happens anywhere in the world appear as a great risk in your own neighborhood. Can it happen here? Tune in at 11.

A neighborhood is the actual size a sane person (not under philosophical influences) uses to evaluate risk. That guy three streets over got killed in a car crash a few years ago. ``It happens sometimes.'' Now let's all go out for pizza. The mothers against drunk driving have another agenda: drunks will get you tonight!

So it's refreshing to hear somebody in public life claim that a Texan is not his neighbor in New Hampshire. He's a countryman or fellow citizen or something. You can't pick and choose your examples and claim they're local. If the Bible says love thy neighbor, it's either using metonymy or actually speaking of your neighbor. If metonymically, so is love. Dean hates the bastard in fact. It's too bad they didn't argue it out.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at January 12, 2004 at 10:57 PM

One question for people who refer to Ungerer as a "Bush supporter": When Dean blew up at him, was Ungerer wearing a "Bush 2004" t-shirt? If not, how did Dean know Ungerer was a Bush supporter?

Is the assumption that anyone who asks for civility in a campaign a Bush supporter?

Posted by: Robert Crawford at January 12, 2004 at 11:59 PM

Ah, the black community in Vermont - also known as 'Neal'.

Posted by: Parker at January 13, 2004 at 12:00 AM

If he wasn't a Bush supporter before, he certainly is now.

And Bush's largest constituency isn't the die-hard Republicans who would cheer and applaud these kinds of shenanigans... they are the swing voters who would switch to Democrat en masse if Bush did something like this.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at January 13, 2004 at 12:09 AM

Howard Dean conceded grudgingly Sunday night that he never named a black or Latino to his cabinet during nearly 12 years as governor of Vermont.

If Strom Thurmond were governor, Vermont wouldn't have as many problems as it does today. (He happily hired blacks - his motives may have been a little sus)

Posted by: Andjam at January 13, 2004 at 12:19 AM

Hate to have to defend Dean the Spleen on anything, but the "you never appointed minorities" attack is silly. Vermont is like 97, 98 percent white. In Vermont, a minority is anyone who pronounces all the r's in the phrase "Pepperidge Farm remembers."

Posted by: Bud Norton at January 13, 2004 at 01:40 AM

Dean made a cardinal mistake when, in talking about how he would have to learn how to deal with Southerners (whites as well as blacks!) being all religious and stuff, he used the word "milieu".

And this guy is supposed to be smart? Educated, yes, but smart?

Posted by: Steve in Houston at January 13, 2004 at 02:47 AM

The media (and opponents) attempts to inject race into everything is funny. The other day we saw a news story titled "Racial tensions erupt at Iowa Democratic caucus." My wife gave me a puzzled look and said, "They have more than one race in Iowa?"

Posted by: Arnold at January 13, 2004 at 02:56 AM

As a Republican who cringes every time a Republican congressman or senator stands there like a wax statute when a Democrat accuses the Republicans of lynching Blacks, starving school children, wanting to poison families' drinking water, and steal money from the Treasury, yes, you're damn right I would enjoy watching a Republican leader fight in a Dean-esque manner by tacking that shit head on.

I don't think Dean is going to come off as ill-tempered. I think people will be impressed by his passion and his clear point of view, wrong though it may be. There is a real hatred of "don't piss anyone off, don't say anything tangible" politics here and Dean is not playing that game. I think we underestimate him at our peril....

Posted by: KevinV at January 13, 2004 at 04:22 AM

I remember a story by an ex-reporter for a Gannett newspaper in (I think) Burlington, Vermont. Gannett requires its papers to meet a quota on photos and quotes of minority sources. The city had one black staffer in a low-to-mid-level job. He was quoted in every story, no matter what the subject. His photo ran about once a week. The guy probably moved or he'd be in Dean's Cabinet.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at January 13, 2004 at 05:30 AM

Having lived in Burlington--and having voted against Dean, I can say that finding black people--never mind qualified or interested black people--in Vermont is easier to say than do. It's a VERY white state.

Which is unfortunate for the black people who live there.

With such a high liberal to minority ratio, the liberals have few people to castigate themselves before--though they do try. The newspapers regularly report on the 'growing racism' in Vermant even as the minority population declines.

Oh, Parker, Neal moved to New Hampshire. He said he was tired of having to pull ass kissing progressives off his butt every time he wanted to sit down.

Posted by: jack at January 13, 2004 at 07:05 AM


I can see it now. A black woman goes to cross the street, and fifty limosine libs rampage over each other to get there first. "Oh please, let me help!" and "Can I carry your purse for you?" Sort of like the episode of Mad About You, when Paul Reiser decides to do a good deed by giving his bus seat to a pregnant lady, only it turns out to be an effeminate fat guy...

Posted by: Jerry at January 13, 2004 at 09:07 AM

I heard Tim's line about Vermont 'Yo!'...'gurt' quoted by James Lileks on the Hugh Hewitt show today. Everyone had a good laugh. Lileks also called Tim indefatigible. Mysteriously, no mention of lunch.

Posted by: Melissa at January 13, 2004 at 11:14 AM

i'm not very familiar w/ Howard Dean, but, at a superficial level, i like some of what he has to say about equalizing labor standards... labor is much to neglected in trade negotiations and capital flow is often times the only policy spoken about. I guess I like Dean because of his image as a liberal but am pretty unimformed about his actual policies and ideas. He keeps coming off as a limosine liberal, but he's got to be better than Bush, and most other democratic candidates, at least out of the "handpicked" main contenders.

Posted by: mike at January 13, 2004 at 12:11 PM

>>One question for people who refer to Ungerer as a "Bush supporter": When Dean blew up at him, was Ungerer wearing a "Bush 2004" t-shirt? If not, how did Dean know Ungerer was a Bush supporter?

Presumably the press swarmed over Mr. Ungerer afterwards for quotes, which I suspect he was only to happy to provide.

BTW, I looked it up this morning: VT is 99.5% white.

Posted by: Evan McElravy at January 13, 2004 at 12:22 PM

Corection to the neighbour tale.
Everyone is his neighbour.
Tp put the Good Samaritan tale in modern parlance it would be a Palestinian helping him after being shunned by the Jewish religious establishment.

I am unconcerned when people such as Dean or Previously Keating make such statements as they clearly aren't christians. I mean Dean thought Job was in the NT !

however I do worry when Bush and Howard who state they are christians do things even worse then their predecessors.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at January 13, 2004 at 09:24 PM

Dean missed his chance at the "sista soulja" moment. He could have truly impressed me, and, I suspect, most fair-minded folks, had he responded to Sharpton's question with some of his own.

"What are you trying to say, Al? That in a state whose African-American population is less than one percent, there is something suspect about an all-white cabinet? Should I have imported some person(s) of color from another state? Are African-Americans somehow unrepresented in my state because none serve in my cabinet? Your question implies that this absence is somehow wrong, even racist; if that's what you mean, say so, and we can discuss why I disagree. Otherwise, you're demogoguing a fact on the ground into a particularly nasty implication."

Somebody should be calling Sharpton out on his race-baiting; I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: Alene at January 14, 2004 at 01:53 AM

In urban parlance, Dean's a punk-ass. Thrill as it may some, it's not a ticket to winning the presidency.

Posted by: JB at January 14, 2004 at 02:03 AM