In a radio interview posted on YouTube, former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential primary contender Howard Dean says that the Ground Zero mosque is "a real affront to people who lost their lives, including Muslims" on 9/11. Dean says, "I think another site would be a better idea."
"Islam is really back in the 12th century in some of these countries like Iran and Afghanistan where they're stoning people to death," Dean says, adding that the problem of radicals can be fixed by promoting moderate Islam in the U.S. Dean cites the group pushing for the Ground Zero mosque as one such moderate Islamic group.
WE DIDN'T ARRIVE here overnight, all at once--here at the tail end of this hallucinatory primary season, when politics slipped down the rabbit hole of postmodernism and became an activity that is only about itself. Scanning back through the last few years and my own meager experience, I can find three landmarks that, had I been paying attention, might have offered a hint of what we, the people, were getting ourselves into.
ON THE EVE of the 1996 election, I had a long conversation with a friend on the Dole campaign who was traveling with the candidate as he made his last-minute hopscotch across the country. I had just offered him condolences on the race when he corrected me. Speaking from an airport pay phone in the wee hours of the morning, he explained that Bob Dole didn't just have a chance to win, but was assured of it.
THE WORST THING about the collapse of the Howard Dean phenomenon is that it cuts short our acquaintance with the most appealing figure to emerge from the Democratic primaries--Dr. Judith Steinberg, as they know her at the office, and after hours, Judy Dean.
THE RESIDENTS of Deanworld, once merrily engaged in permanent offense, have gone into the bunker. After a pre-debate rally tonight, busloads of Deaniacs converged on Jillian's, a hip bar/pool hall/arcade on the west side of town. With Klieg lights carving up the night sky, the Deaniacs are excited for tonight's showdown, hoping that Howard Dean will stop the bleeding and perhaps even start the turnaround.
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES are often downright boring. They frequently disappoint journalists because the candidates don't fight among themselves. More often than not, debates are marked by the relentless avoidance of candid answers. But presidential debates always have two things: winners and losers.
Here's how the seven Democratic presidential candidates fared in last night's debate, the final one before the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday:
THE BIG-NAME ENDORSEMENTS for Howard Dean began as the Iowa caucuses drew near. In December, Al Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2000, lauded the ex-Vermont governor as "the only major candidate" who was right about Iraq. Gore urged Democratic voters to halt their infighting and rally behind Dean's antiwar crusade. He added this grave note: "I don't think the stakes have ever been as high in our lifetime."
HOWARD DEAN'S BELLOWING the roll call of the states on Monday night may capture the weird sweepstakes this election season, but Wesley Clark can't be counted out just yet. Most of the cameras were in Iowa while the general tromped around the Granite State, but the record he left is promising when it comes to snap potential.
Rick Lowry had a tape recorder on when Clark delivered some choice words on faith and the president's patriotism, and was kind enough to send the tape along to me for broadcast. Here are the money quotes:
LET US BEGIN by acknowledging the many and various respects in which Howard Dean's presidential campaign isn't weird. I visited New Hampshire on January 2, the traditional stretch-run kickoff date for that state's primary, intending to see four of the candidates, Dean among them, all in a single 12-hour span, more or less back to back, for purposes of comparison. And I managed to pull off this plan. But just barely; Dean almost messed me up. By the time his 1 P.M.