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“George Bush is not my neighbor!”
– Howard Dean, January 2004 Five years ago, George W. Bush finished the last good year of his presidency.
Things were looking up. The Democratic front-runners seeking their party’s presidential nomination lauded the historic accomplishments in Iraq, particularly Saddam Hussein’s capture.
Well, not all Democrats.
Perpetually angry, Vermont Governor Howard Dean not only disagreed with George W. Bush but detested him. In fact, it was that palpable sentiment that on Jan. 11, 2004 prompted 66-year-old Iowan, Dale Ungerer, to rise at a Democratic debate and question Dean.
Appealing to the spirit of the season, Ungerer asked Dean why he acted “crass” and did not treat the president in a neighborly way. He urged Dean to “please tone down” the heated rhetoric, invoking Scripture: “You should help your neighbor and not tear him down.”
Dean was displeased. The physician-turned-governor leveled his finger at the senior citizen and ordered, “You sit down!” To raucous applause from a hall of screaming liberals, he shouted: “George Bush is not my neighbor! … It is time not to put up [with] any of this ‘love thy neighbor’ stuff!”
Ultimately, Dr. Dean’s presidential bid failed, torpedoed by too many outbursts, most notably an infamous episode where he looked into the camera, clenched his fist, and yelped a primal scream, sounding like a disturbed man.
But Dean wasn’t finished. Amazingly, Democrats had the audacity to tap him to run the Democratic National Committee, where Dean’s revulsion of George W. Bush and “white, Christian” Republicans – which was Howard Dean’s divisive description – could be channeled into a campaign to take the presidency and Congress by 2008.
Unthinkable as it seemed, it worked.
And now, his work finished, and Bush’s destruction sown, Dean leaves his post with a Democrat having just been inaugurated president.
Let me be clear: I am not blaming Dean and the Democrats for President Bush’s failures, which resulted in a stunning liberal takeover of the executive and legislative branches, with the judiciary to follow. A number of factors did Bush in: the body bags in Iraq in 2005-6, the drunken-sailor-like spending, a crashing economy, a maddening inability to respond to critics – including the most outrageous claims. The end result is a president with record disapproval.
That said, it is extremely difficult for any president – especially one who cannot communicate – to survive such a torrent of rage. It was reminiscent of the Left’s insatiable abhorrence of Richard Nixon – an abhorrence that now seems to have been transferred to Sarah Palin. And the poisoning of the well, in Bush’s case, began with Howard Dean.
Recall that this president was extremely popular after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, which began the longest sustained rally-round-the-flag approval of any president. Bush’s remarkable popularity held into 2003. Then came Howard Dean, who turned a corner for the hard left.
Dean hoisted the lightning rod for enraged war opponents long before the war soured. He said unthinkable things. A vivid example – a marker – came in Dec. 2003, with Saddam’s capture, which thrilled everyone but Howard Dean. “The capture of Saddam has not made America safer,” Dean growled.
Naturally, the public disagreed: A Gallup poll before Saddam’s capture showed Bush leading Dean 50 to 46 percent in a surprisingly tight presidential race, whereas the same poll after Saddam was placed in handcuffs had Bush ahead 60 to 37 percent.
Also disagreeing with Dean was Senator Joseph Lieberman, another Democratic presidential aspirant. “Praise the Lord!” cheered Lieberman. “This is a day of glory … and it’s a day of triumph and joy for anybody who cares about freedom and human rights and peace.”
Lieberman told the late Tim Russert: “If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power.”
It was a bad weekend for Dr. Dean: Newsweek reacted to Saddam’s capture by, logically, making it the cover story, bumping the previously scheduled cover – on Howard Dean.
Nevertheless, there was an odd anger that Dean continued to stoke and harness. And as Dean began erupting in January 2004, the harshest salvos at Bush were launched. That month, MoveOn.org ran ads of Hitler morphing into Bush. “What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003,” explained the tag line.
Also that month, Senator Ted Kennedy issued the most irresponsible, jaw-dropping allegation of the war period, claiming that Bush, who had 90 percent approval ratings before the war, had launched the war with a bunch of yahoos in Texas for political purposes. The Bush White House, charged Kennedy, was “mean-spirited.”
The rage now flowed. An unhinged Al Gore emerged to endorse Dean; the father of Nick Berg blamed Bush for his son’s beheading by Islamic terrorists; Ralph Nader denounced the “messianic militarist” in the White House.
Some people seriously argued that Bush fabricated claims of Iraqi WMD, after everyone in the world, from left to right, from Bill Clinton to Madeleine Albright, from the French to the Russians, had argued since the early 1990s that Saddam was hiding WMD.
I believe Howard Dean was the one who broke this mold.
Alas, the anger worked. Dean may not have taken down George W. Bush in 2004, but he played a major role in doing so four years later.
Now Howard Dean can return to Vermont where, if he can find a hill high enough, he will not see a single Republican congressman from Maine to Massachusetts. Thanks in large part to his hand, they’re all gone, annihilated along with George W. Bush, who is most assuredly not Howard Dean’s neighbor.
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Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.
Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.
Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves
The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.
Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.
Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.
Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians
Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists
In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site
Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”
The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps
Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.
In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else.
“In Bin Laden Announcement, Echoes of 2007 Obama Speech,” declared the headline in The New York Times.
It’s difficult to find a newspaper that has demonstrated a worse pro-Obama and anti-Bush bias than The New York Times, especially when dealing with the War on Terror.
Former president Jimmy Carter told NBC News last week that his work at home and abroad has been “superior” to other presidents.
“I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents,” Carter assessed. “Primarily because of [my] activism and the injection of working at the Carter Center and in international affairs, and, to some degree, domestic affairs.”
The huge “9/12” protest in Washington was the latest expression of discontent over President Obama’s leftward policy thrust. The discord is evident from the Tea Party movement to the chaotic town halls on health care reform.
What if an American president, on his own initiative, under no demands from staff or from supporters or opponents, set out to spend an unprecedented amount of money on AIDS in Africa, literally billions of dollars, at a time when the nation could not afford it, citing his faith as a primary motivation and, ultimately, saved more than a million lives?
Every American, obviously, has heard of Ronald Reagan, and Reagan historians have heard of Bill Clark. Clark was Reagan’s close aide, who, more than any other, laid the foundation for Cold War victory.
What’s the state of the republic one month into the Obama presidency? It’s a state of deep confusion. Here are some polls to ponder. Brace yourself.
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