World Wide Dean
Howard Dean, the Blog for America, and the candidacy of the self.
11:00 PM, Jan 8, 2004 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
One of Grapski's recent posts went like this:
Well--welcome to MY world. Because I am ANGRIER, ANGRIER, ANGRIER Charlie.
George Bush had damn well get out of my way--because I am taking MY country back from that thieving, immoral, moronic usurper.
Grapski is not an anonymous, random poster. He is "an instructor of Political Science at the University of Florida" who's finishing his doctorate ("My area of work is DEMOCRACY: What it is, why it's important, why what we have isn't it, and how we can get it."). And he has his very own page on the Dean for America site.
ALL POLITICIANS have their scary, wild-eyed supporters--think Jack Black in "Bob Roberts"--and the Bushies are no exception. For instance, in one widely circulated email from a few months back, a mid-level Bush appointee leaving her job sent a farewell missive including the following passage to a mass email list:
On President George H.W. Bush's first day in office he found a hand-written note in the Oval Office desk from President Reagan which said "don't let the turkeys get you down." After living in and out of DC over the last 10 years I've learned that this is not as easy as it sounds. Nonetheless, it's a very true statement and clearly one that President George W. Bush lives by. I pray that each of you will do the same. After all, God is a lot bigger than turkeys :-)
It's been an honor and a privilege to serve the President of the United States (not to mention a childhood dream of mine). I leave knowing that America is not only in very capable hands but courageous, God-fearing ones. May God continue to bless this great President and this great country!
Even Lincoln would blush at this sort of treatment; it's bizarre and disconcerting.
Yet Bush's blog (yes, he has one too) is surprisingly normal. It's written in the style of the third-person press release. It is reliably--and after the Blog for America, comfortably--boring.
Unlike the Blog for America, which rarely mentions any news or current events, preferring to talk only about the microcosm of the Dean campaign, the Bush blog frequently posts items about stories in the news. (For example, the adopting of Afghanistan's new constitution or local schools receiving federal money.)
These entries are posted by the eponymous "GeorgeWBush.com" and have as much personality as a paperweight. But at least you get the sense that no one at Bush HQ is going to ask you to move to a politically expedient state or have your 8-year-old write chain letters.
Perhaps most telling, however, is the Bush blog's lack of a comment section. There's no place for readers to jabber and connect. More importantly, there's no place for Bushies to cultivate a mob mentality (there are plenty of other right-wing sites where this goes on). The Bush blog says what the Bush blog says, and that's that. Take it or leave it. You're a citizen, make up your own mind, and cast your vote.
The world wide Dean community probably sneers at this quaint, atomic notion. They seem much more interested in the particle theory of politics, where voters bump up against one another and create an excited state.
At the end of the day, the Blog for America is really all about you, which is good, because it changes the terms of voting for Howard Dean. As Grapski puts it, "WE are DEAN." Instead of voting for national security or health care or policies or ideologies, a vote for Howard Dean is a vote for your community, your friends, your message-board buddies, your Meet-Up group--for yourself.
Jonathan V. Last is online editor of The Weekly Standard.