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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

'I have a scream' redeemed: Hugh Hewitt has written the best speech Howard Dean will never give

Hugh Hewitt is clever, and sly, and a fine writer to boot when he sets his mind to it.

I take the liberty of copying so liberally from this post of his simply because I think it deserves repetition and preservation.  "Fair use" at its outer edges — and hopefully he'll forgive if it's beyond that point, for my motives are sympathetic (and certainly nonprofit).

Howard Dean almost certainly won't ever make this speech.  But he would if he knew what was good, and good for him.  He'd make it with his sleeves rolled down, his coat on, and his hands folded together atop the lectern in front of him.  He'd actually smile, rather than (as a perceptive reader emailed me) baring his teeth:

Now, about Howard Dean.  Almost everyone has him dead and buried, but as Fred Barnes pointed out last night, there's a debate Thursday night, and that's Dean's big chance to pull a return of the vampire.  He has to use his time to resurrect himself, and at least rehab himself so that a place on the Dem ticket isn't out of the question.  All Dems should hope for this, because the prospect of a column of bitter and heading-Green Dean Dongs isn't pretty when it comes to the fall math.  Dean as Veep is in fact about as good as it gets for Dems, and an Edwards-Dean, Clark-Dean ticket plays most of the notes that need playing (though Hillary can't be happy with that thought.) 

So how does Dean pull it off?  Simply put: Combine self-deprecating humor with anger at the media, which will play on the good humor and fair-mindedness of the non-Dean Dongs while firing up the loyalists.  Here's my draft, but my guess is that every Democratic scribbler not employed by other candidates is working on the same material as we speak:

No matter how the first opportunity to talk Thursday night is presented to Dean, he's got to kidnap that moment to his central purpose of dealing with the Monday-night meltdown:

"Before I get to that, Brit, I'd like to finish the roll call of the states I began on Monday night, and I don't want to forget Guam, so I may need a little more time. (pause for laughter).   I will, however, omit my imitation of a muppet being strangled since I have already given Howard Stern and every right wing kook radio host all the material they ever need. (Pause for laughter).  Seriously though, I have to put your question aside for a moment, and I am going to have to insist on three minutes here, because there's a problem in this country, and it is the political media, and it takes three minutes to outline.  I am sure my colleagues will not begrudge me the time, and I'll give it back later."

"On Monday night I spent 15 seconds trying to fire up my volunteers who had a disappointing night — congratulations John and John, but overconfidence is a dangerous thing, as I've learned — I spent 15 seconds pointing at signs and recognizing people from faraway states who'd driven thousands of miles in some cases to stand on corners in sub-zero temps, and I fire them up and try to show that I am not down for the count because they're not down for the count, and television, radio, Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh and your network, Brit, try to turn me into a deranged psycho. Fred Barnes called me cracked, for goodness sake.  I've been a medical doctor treating crisis cases in emergency rooms for twenty years, and a governor making life and death decisions for ten years, and the American media, threatened by my message that big corporate interests are out of control — and there is no bigger corporate interest than Fox — decides to marginalize me using a quarter minute of tape."

"Now this process of Karl Rove orchestrated, media-led destruction of the loyal opposition has been going on for months now, but it is going to end here in New Hampshire.  The voters of New Hampshire have been around the block a few times, and they know what's going on, and crucially, they know what's at stake. If the media knocks me off, then it will be John Kerry's turn and we will hear endlessly about his protests of the Vietnam War and his quote "French tastes" close quotes, but we won't hear about John's genuine and moving heroism in the face of brutal fire.  We'll hear about John Edwards being a plaintiff's attorney fueled by plaintiff's attorneys all over the country as though serving the severely injured is a bad thing.  We'll hear about General Clark's anonymous enemies in the Pentagon and we'll overlook his leadership in halting genocide.  All of this and more, because all of us threaten the money, Brit, we all threaten the money.  This president has made it very lucrative to be Republican, Brit, and those of us who get wind in our sails come under fire, and its not fair."

"So right at the start, let me say, I am not the most experienced candidate on the stage tonight, but like most doctors, I'm learning fast.  The media had its fun with me, but now its the voters of New Hampshire's turn.  And then it will be the turn of the voters in South Carolina, Arizona, Delaware, oops, there I go again.  But if I may close this way.  I was always an admirer of Maggie Thatcher: She once lectured this president's father that it wasn't a time to go all wobbly. Well, to my supporters and all democrats out there, it isn't a time to go all wobbly.  It is a time to focus on winning this election and that means focus on the passion we need to get the job done."

Yeah, its good stuff.  I did the ghosting thing for a lot of people for a lot of years, and it is easy to rise to a  set-up.  The hardest part for Dean will be handling the emotion well, and forcefully but carefully demanding his time, as Reagan demanded his microphone.  Dean has been taking a beating, and Americans love it when Rocky gets up off the floor and won't stay down just because he looks like hell.  Wait and see.  Wait and see.  It is a real test for Dean, like the real tests of a presidency, so it might be a golden moment.

Comments are open for a few days on this one, if you'd like to ponder in public why Hewitt wrote this.  I definitely have an idea of my own on that score.

Posted by Beldar at 10:47 PM in Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink

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