I never thought I'd say this, but: Howard Dean, shut up!
I admire his passion for his new post, but the big reason I supported him is that during the primaries he had the courage and conviction to say what many of us were thinking, while the rest of the Democrats covered up their cowardice with faux-bipartisan rhetoric. It was his blunt honesty and feather-ruffling that attracted so many of us to him. As the old Washington saying goes, "a gaffe is when someone tells the truth."
And so it used to be with Howard YEEEEEAAAAAARRRRRGGGH Dean, and I loved every minute of it. But now he, too, has descended into the ugly realm of divisive partisan name-calling.
In what possible context is describing the GOP as "pretty much a white, Christian party" a constructive tactic? Are there valid points to be made hidden within that smear? Yes. And there are far better ways to address them. His language was so clumsy and his brushstroke so broad that his Republican counterpart Ken Mehlman was able to snarkily respond, "a lot of folks who attended my Bar Mitzvah would be surprised" to hear that he heads a "Christian" party.
The Bush administration and the Republican Party are so corrupt, so vulgar, cruel, mendacious, arrogant...well, you get the idea...and there are so many facts we can use to point out their criminality, that we hardly need to resort to making ugly generalizations based on stereotypes.
Worried about the way the Christian Right is co-opting the political process? Fine. But don't accuse the GOP of being the Christian party; it's rhetoric that just plays right into the hands of Fundamentalist nutjobs and their sycophants like Bill Frist, and it perpetuates the dangerous myth that Christianity is a monolithic and conservative group.
What we should be talking about -- in measured, objective tones -- is the way the radical ideology of a narrow segment of the population is having an undue influence on national policy. There is something wrong with senators participating in the "Filibuster Against Faith" telethon; there is something wrong with legislation being signed in the gymnasium of an evangelical Christian school. There is something wrong with a President who favors ideology over science.
How do you accuse the party of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice of being "white"?
Howard Dean, who used to speak fluidly and eloquently on issues of race, has now lost his moorings. It's not that the Republican party only has white people; it's that the GOP pursues policies which adversely affect the lower economic strata of our society, which are disproportionately non-white. Talk to people in real terms about wages and the cost of living and the cost of healthcare and higher education, and ask if the Republicans have a plan to address these issues or if they're simply exacerbating the problems.
The issues on which we can legitimately attack Bush and Friends are endless: Social Security, healthcare, homeland security, tax cuts, North Korea, Iraq, etc., etc., etc. Dean would do far better to stick to real issues and tone down the empty rhetoric. I know he can do it.