Republicans for Dean?

National Review, Rush Limbaugh, and a host of others have said it: if Howard Dean gets the Democratic presidential nomination, Bush will be unbeatable because Dean is so outrageously far away from the American center. I even heard today a caller to Rush Limbaugh saying that though she was a Republican, she had placed a Howard Dean sign in her yard to bolster the opposing candidate whom she felt would lose. William F. Buckley, Jr. cautions against such a pro-Dean stance:

The United States is doing pretty well. One mad cow can get the whole of America’s attention, diverted from quotidian concern over Michael Jackson’s pedophilia. Yes . . . Howard Dean has this appeal. It is owing not only to natural oratorical gifts. There is an edge in Dean that is saying: To hell with everything. To hell with all the accepted ornaments of 21st century life. I say it’s a lousy life we are leading. And the cheers rise. Not from people suffering from disease or starvation or low draft card numbers. There is abroad what Herbert Agar, writing in the late thirties, denoted as an anarchic passion to smash. The kind of satisfaction people get from smashing the icons. Someone told Dr. Dean that he had smashed one icon too many, so he discovered God last week. People will still forgive occasional bows in the direction of Our Maker, but the passion-to-smash itch is there. Probably there is no way for Mr. Bush to satisfy those special impulses. It would be out of character for him to streak across the plain late in the afternoon before meeting with his supporters in Texas. He will have to let Dr. Dean collect for his own political stand all the stridencies of dissent.

I must confess, I didn’t know what “quotidian” meant either, but Buckley has a valid point. We who are Republicans should concentrate more on getting Bush elected—we rarely in any form of reality get to choose our opponents. Voters in America have been known to change mindsets very rapidly—an obvious example being the 1992 election, where George H.W. Bush went from a huge popularity rating to falling into the wake of Clinton and Perot.

That said, I still do not think it unwise to fully examine the opposition. Dean’s comments on religion have drawn the ire of many. Russell Moore has a good roundup (in which he graciously includes my post), and if Howard Dean reads Albert Mohler’s piece today he will never again want to think about playing theologian.