September 22, 2003
Playing To Win
Howard Dean wants to raise $5 million in the next 10 days.
For just a little perspective, consider this: Dean raised a total of $7 million for the entire 2nd quarter of 2003.
Now, I could rattle off a bunch of statistics on how many online supporters Dean has in his rolodex (412,000 at last count), or in how many states he's leading in the polls (such as Iowa & New Hampshire), or how many other candidates are so scared of Dean that he's the only one who's taken significant fire in the debates (Dick Gephardt has an entire website, Dean Facts, devoted to cutting on Dean. Doesn't he have better ways to spend his time, like explaining how he lead congressional Democrats to vote for the Iraq war resolution that he now calls a miserable failure? But I digress...).
Instead, I'm going to tell you why I'M supporting Howard Dean.
I hate sacred cows.
But I hate their worshippers even more.
One of my all time favorite basketball players was John Starks when he played for the New York Knicks. During their heyday in the early to mid '90's, the rough & tumble Knicks of Charles Oakley, Patrick Ewing, Anthony Mason and the like had legendary battles with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. What I loved about the Knicks, and Starks in particular, was that they had absolutely no respect for Jordan. Yes, MJ is probably the greatest player in the history of the NBA. But, everybody in the league just rolled over for him. Bowed down to him. Couldn't wait to be in a poster where he dunked on them.
And I always used to say to myself, "Are the other guys in this league trying to win the F'n championship or not?!?!?" Why not just hand the goddamn trophy to Jordan at the beginning of the season? Players, coaches, commentators. They all treated Jordan like he was about to turn water into wine.
All except The Knicks. The Knicks wanted the championship and were absolutely not going to play dead for the Bulls. And every playoff series, Starks drew the awful task of guarding against Jordan. Did Starks make excuses? Did he play back on his heels and give Jordan respect?
No. He dunked on Jordan's neck and said "Fuck you! I want to be the champion, motherfucker!"
Starks wanted to win. And he played like it.
Now if only Charles Smith had that same attitude. But that's a different discussion.
George W. Bush has pulled the Democratic Party's punk card for almost 3 years. He's made people ashamed of wanting things like support for the working poor, respect for the bill of rights, international sovereignty & cooperation, fiscal responsibility, and the like. The whole party has been cowering the corner, afraid to face the electorate with what they really believe. Afraid to even face their own constituents on what they're even fighting for.
Case in point: Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and John Edwards all voted for the Iraq war resolution. And, except for possibly Lieberman, they all did it because they were scared. And these people actually expect me to vote for them as my leader?
And Wesley Clark? Let's just say that asking for your mommy in the middle of a press briefing doesn't exactly give me confidence either, Mr. Supreme Commander.
And let's be honest: the other folks in the race are NOT running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
Bob Graham is running for Vice-President.
Carol Mosley-Braun is running for Governor of Illinois.
Al Sharpton is running for Jesse Jackson's job (whatever that is).
Dennis Kucinich running for the Green Party or Reform Party nomination (watch what I tell you. This guy is not going away...)
Dean is the ONLY candidate who has stood up to Bush from the very beginning. In an article in the Boston Globe, he told a close friend that he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he didn't run. Dean is the ONLY candidate who's taken a stand on principles, taken the slings & arrows, and still managed to avoid personal attacks on his opponents. Dean is the ONLY candidate who's not only asking to restore the sense of community in this country, he's actively recruited his supporters to engage directly in the country's problems without even being in office.
Dean wants the America we dream about. And he's not afraid to say so.
And that means, when it comes to George W. Bush, you call a spade "a spade".
Personally, I'm relishing the idea of a Dean/Bush debate. Because there is eventually going to be a point where they will say two things that are mutually exclusive. Bush's version of what's happened in America since 2000 simply cannot co-exist with Dean's version.
At some point in that debate, it will be undeniable that ONE of them is lying.
And then the real fun begins.
Now, if you like what's happened since the 2000 election, go ahead and support the President. You may also want to cash in all your saving & treasury bonds while you're at it, because, if the government finances continue on the same path, those things won't be worth the paper their printed on.
But if you want a better country, the country we all THOUGHT we were living in, can I suggest giving a few dollars to Dean for America?