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Friday, January 09, 2004

Democratic Case For Dean

Jonathon Cohn in the New Republic makes the Democratic case for Dean:

Part of Dean's unorthodox appeal is his willingness to take unpopular stands, which conveys an image of principle. If Dean has one clear strength over his rivals, it's that he grasps how taking occasional risks--saying something controversial or attempting to lead public opinion rather than follow it--can be a more viable political strategy than trying desperately never to stray far from majority views. But running as a "straight-talk" candidate carries its own hazards. More than most candidates, Dean can ill afford to seem transparently political. What's more, because of Dean's self-professed honesty, the media is growing obsessed with trivial rhetorical contradictions, which Dean makes almost daily. Plus, the whole argument rests on the assumption that voters will overlook modest differences in policy for a leader they like and trust. It has certainly worked that way for other candidates--most recently, Bush in 2000--but it remains to be seen whether Dean's bedside manner has the same appeal.