Howard Dean is still generating controversy, even after a month since he has more or less officially conceded the Democratic Race to John Kerry.
Proving that he still has some bite left, an article in Salon quotes Dean as blaming President Bush for the terrorist attacks in Madrid, Spain.
“The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend,” he said referring to the attack.
I certainly won’t defend this. While it would be safe to assume that al-Queda did this in retribution for Spain’s paltry role in the war, saying that the President somehow coerced outgoing Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar’s hand into supporting the invasion of Iraq, if anything, grossly overstates the President’s own power and influence in other nation’s affairs. After all, if France and Germany could stand up to the US, why would it be such a big problem for the Spanish government to just say no as well? Like most of Europe, an overwhelming majority of the people in Spain were against the war as it was.
Dean did try to clarify this by saying:
“Let me be clear, there is no justification for terrorism. Today I was simply repeating what those who have claimed responsibility for the bombings in Spain said was the reason they carried out that despicable act.”
Again, he could’ve clarified that he was speaking for terrorists by prefacing his statement with, “The people responsible for this despicable act claim that:” but I digress.
At the same time, Dean claims he is an unabashed Pro-Kerry Democrat.
As I have previously said, I will work closely with John Kerry to make sure we beat George Bush in November and turn our country around.
Which ties me into my headline. As weird as it sounds, some of Dean’s very controvesial statements, while requiring “clarification” to take the heat off, are pure raw meat for many people on the far left in this country. The same Salon article mentioned above suggested that the Good Doctor’s prescription involves taking on Ralph Nader, in the hopes of causing enough defections from the Nader camp to swing the vote for Kerry.
While Ralph Nader has basically fallen off the face of the Earth since announcing his candidacy, he still polls high enough in the single digits to certify a win for Bush in the event of a tight race.
But with the Democrats in effect taking on two opponents running for President, Kerry couldn’t ask for a better hatchet man than Howard Dean.
I can see Dean as a missionary for the Democratic party, winning over the far-left protectionist wing of the American public, simply by being himself. As a political maverick, generally unafraid to be honest and speak his mind, Dean has already energized leftist activists into supporting an actual Democrat (himself). In that sense, he already stole Nader’s thunder before Nader even announced his candidacy.
If Dean can somehow channel that thunder into support for Kerry, that would be something else.