Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Howard Dean is stirring up controversy with some of his recent rhetoric ("[Republicans are] a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party"). I want to compare Dean now and the public face of the "out" party in 1994:

Describing for a group of lobbyists the Republican strategy for the midterm elections, Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., said last week that Clinton Democrats should be portrayed as "the enemy of normal Americans."...

Do you remember anyone in his party denouncing that remark at the time?

Right-wing pundit Jeff Jacoby has said that "Gingrich deserved the drubbing he received" for the remark, but check the date on the Gingrich article, which appeared in The Washington Post: October 14, 1994. The "drubbing" Gingrich received a few weeks later was a gain for his party of more than 50 seats in the House, enough to give him the Speakership. The multi-million-dollar book deal followed shortly afterward. Yeah, harsh rhetoric made him a real pariah, didn't it?

But also notice another thing about Gingrich then and Dean now: They're saying more or less the same thing. They're essentially agreeing that the GOP considers certain people un-American freaks who aren't welcome in the Republican Party.

Admitting that they believe this didn't hurt Republicans in '94 -- if anything, it actually helped.

So is Howard Dean naive to think that pointing out this belief is going to hurt the GOP now?

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