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The contrarian view on Dean 

I’m catching up on some of my reading. I suspect the British Politics weblog may have to find a new name, because its latest offering is a convincing, contrarian view of Howard Dean.

“To say that Dean is unelectable is only meaningful if you believe that someone else is electable. Now, look at Kerrey, Edwards, Graham, Gephart and Lieberman. Do you see those guys really tanking Bush in 2004? The best this handicapper can say is that they are less likely to lose by a landslide. The polling says the same. Bush beats every Democrat by wide margins.

“Looking at the history of US elections, any candidate who beats an incumbent who hasn’t inherited from a sitting President is trying to do something special. The only one to do it in the twentieth century is Reagan beating Carter (all the other one term presidents inherited). Beating Bush is going to need some kind of earthquake.

“So here’s my take. The only way any Democrat can beat Bush in 2004 is if Iraq turns into an unwholly mess in the minds of the American public and if the economy is still a mess. If Iraq looks good and the economy booms the Democrats could run FDR and would still get hammered.

“But, hold on, I hear you cry, if the election is Bush’s to lose, why not go for the candidate with the least controversial policy positions, the safest bet? At least then, if things go wrong for Bush, the waverers will feel comfortable.

“Because if it become posible to beat Bush in ’04, Dean’s positions and positioning suddenly become huge General Election assets, not liabilities.”

Lies, damn lies and presidential statements 

Because he doesn’t have a news feed, I don’t read Joshua Marshall as much as I should. Fortunately, Brad DeLong‘s insatiable magpie tendencies keep me in touch.

Here’s one of Marshall’s latest: “With each passing day it seems [president Bush’s] public statements show not so much a pattern of lies as evidence that when he’s not doing press availabilities he’s living on some other planet. Misstatements are becoming so par for the course that his public pronouncements now seem more and more like a verbal equivalent of what the immortal David St. Hubbins once called a ‘a free-form jazz exploration‘ in which the individual words aren’t supposed to distract us from the larger truth the president is trying to convey.”

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