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The Clark/Dean gap, as seen by a member of both movements

by DemocracyIsGood Tuesday, Dec. 02, 2003 at 7:51 AM

Dean is playing the tried and true tactic of a conservative democrat pretending to be liberal during primaries. Clark has skipped the primaries, and is already doing the election-winning work of making himself appear non-threatening to wavering republicans.

I've noticed a massive gulf between the Dean and Clark camps. This is what it is:

Deaners are working every day to win the primary.

Clark's army is working every day to win the election, forgetting about the primary.

Dean is playing the tried and true tactic of a conservative democrat pretending to be liberal during primaries. Clark has skipped the primaries, and is already doing the election-winning work of making himself appear non-threatening to wavering republicans.

(whisper)

But guess what? Meet him personally. He makes off-the-record comments, that people won't repeat for fear of losing his image of conservatism. I've come across some myself, but won't repeat them either. He's liberal! SSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHH! Don't tell ANYONE!

I have been a major supporter of Dean. I know what I'm talking about. Dean's movement is a reaction against Dachale's neutered, republican-appeasing, politically inept herd of cats Democratic party - which, ironically, Dean is a perfect example of, just look at his record from Vermont.

But Dachale isn't running against Dean, not in the primary, not in the election. You've all come back from a bad day at work, and now you're kicking the dog.

I know Dean's appeal firsthand. After wandering in the desert, tormented by mirages and thirst, someone gives us water and directions to follow. The result is a sense of massive empowerment, loyalty, and passion. This is how cults work. They mean a lot to their followers, but they can't win converts outside the desert, because everyone thinks they're freaks. Even if their guru really IS God, it's all the same. People just think they're freaks.

I was Saved by Dean. I thank him for that. But I'm not going to thank him by drinking his Kool-Ade.

Here is another difference:

All of Dean's strengths can be transferred to another candidate, but none of Clark's can. That means that you can have both candidates by voting for Clark.

Dean's strengths:

Has money. Can raise more.

Good at waking up sleeping people.

Has a good campaign machine.

Clark's strengths:

Republicans will switch sides for him, but not for Dean.

Knows how to win wars, instead of just wishing they'll go away.

6 electoral votes from Arkansas. He only needs to conquer 5 votes to win!

Is more liberal than Dean. SHHH!

Dean can give his machine and money to Clark. Dean can raise money and wake up people for Clark. But even Clark can't convince republicans to vote for Dean.

Just the facts.

Cults don't like facts. Do you like facts? Please read these:

Bush leads Dean by 4 points (46%-42%) in California, a state which Gore won by 12 points in 2000.

Another poll taken in early October, this one by Quinnipiac University, showed Bush ahead of Dean by 10 points (51%-41%) in Pennsylvania, a critical swing state which Gore won by 4 points in 2000.

Even in New York, which Gore won by 25 percentage points in 2000, Dean is barely ahead of Bush in another Quinnipiac University poll, this one from late September.

What's that about energizing the democratic base? He can't even win California and New York? These polls were taken BEFORE Karl Rove's million-dollar-a-day machine was operating, I should point out.

Here are some points made by Dean supporters that I want to clear up:

1. Dean's fundraising and organization

Point one: After the primary, we're all in this together.

Thank you, Howard Dean. I like the way you treated me as an activist rather than a consumer. You've influenced Clark, who now has great activist tools like the Clark Community Network, the Clark Recruiter, and best of all, actual talking points! I thank you for your positive influence, but no, I will not drink your Kool-Ade.

Dean can fundraise on behalf of Clark. Dean's money could work for Clark if Dean stepped down today. Dean's organization can work for Clark. Dean's volunteers can work for Clark and already are, I and a lot of the people who signed up for Dean's campaign and meetups are now working for Clark. Those big numbers on the side of Dean's page? Many of those are ex-supporters.

But Clark's personality and background can't do a thing for Dean.

Point two: Clark's momentum is by far superior to Dean's. We've done in two months what Dean took a year to do. I for one am more hyped for Clark than I ever was for Dean.

2. Voters above all want an authentic candidate. Not someone who seems packaged and blow-dried.

Clark is a 100% non-politician, while Dean's total shift from Tom Dachale's brand of wussy republican-collaborator democrat, to sudden firebrand, looks like pure political dishonesty, even though it probably isn't. The point is that it LOOKS political.

This is something important I want to say to Dean supporters: to voters, perception is reality. It doesn't matter how good or conservative Dean is if he is not perceived that way.

3. Bush had no foreign affairs experience either.

Bush's coup was before 9/11. All people thought about then was Clinton's hummers. Now he can pronounce the names of more countries, even if he can't pronounce "Nevada" yet. But we all know that Republicans don't have to worry about that sort of thing, because they and the media will support a bucket of regurgitated feces if it has a R after it's name. After all, they just did.

4. People hate Bush anyway! The polls, speculations don't mean anything at this stage anyway.

So you mean it doesn't matter who wins the primary? So why not support Clark? Are you certain your personal loyalty to the candidate who Saved you isn't interfering with your judgment?

5. Clark has never run for public office. A. He isn't ready to fight Karl Rove. And B. Doesn't have domestic issues.

See point #2. (These two points were actually made by the same person in one debate). People don't like politicians.

A. Clark is a MASTER strategist, that's what he DOES FOR A LIVING! He fought Milosovich and won without losing a single man. Milosovich tried to pull a rigged election, and now he's behind bars. Voters got to watch all this on TV! As for Dean, what kind of grand strategy is needed to win a tiny liberal state? His strategy once in power was to surrender to the republicans. Considering that there's a massive third-party problem in Vermont thanks to Dean, I wonder if he's ready to handle Nader, let alone Karl Rove.

And once again, Dean's strategists can all work for Clark. All of Dean's strengths can be transferred to another candidate, but none of Clark's can.

B. Rebuilding the army after Vietnam and running it in the stress of war is a lot harder to do than run a small liberal state. Clark's problem is that he made it look easy. Clark had to clean up racial issues, healthcare issues, housing issues, deal with jealous rivals, deal with national Media distortions...

And even if you won't listen to that, your strongest point is that Clark comes out neutral. Dean on the other side comes out worst for both liberals and republicans: liberals know he's conservative, republicans know he signed civil-unions and will be told by the media every day that Dean is liberaliberaliberaliberal. (The fact that Dean STILL has failed to beat off that outrageous lie is another point against him.)

6. The democratic leadership likes Clark, and they've got a history of defeat. Those guys are afraid of populism.

It's hard for a campaign to get cash and corporate media neutrality and talk populist at the same time. Clark hasn't done populism because he's skipped the primary strategy and gone straight for the presidency. But just because his campaign doesn't talk populist, doesn't mean we in his movement can't!

Dean comes from a rich family of investors. Clark has the same background of poverty and hard work that Clinton has. Dean went into the university, upper-middle class world of doctors. Clark went into the working-class world of the army. Clark defended the poor refugees in Kosovo against rapine and pillaging from the ruthless, rich cronies of Milosovich. Voters watched this on TV. We populists can harp on this endlessly, while Clark himself can't be accused of "class warfare".

Dean, as a doctor, has done a good job of healing the democratic party, which had once been sick and dying. Now we're ready for Clark to lead us into battle.

Even the DLC is learning from its mistakes. Their recent declaration and articles talk about "Bush's talk cuts for the rich" when even I'm afraid to say "the rich" - I prefer to say "Enron", "Bush's cronies", "Republican campaign contributors" "people who need the money least" and so on.

7. The Nader factor!

Nader knows that Dean is a conservative who talks liberal at election season - the kind he hates the most. Nader has called us "whiners" so it's obvious he's got an organizational alliance with Karl Rove, and Dean's rhetoric can't stop that.

8. What's the military vote? Never heard of `em.

It isn't just soldiers that vote for soldiers. Their families, communities, workers in defense industries, and people who admire them (also known as "the majority of Americans"). These are the people who know Clark best, and who like Clark most. They know that generals already have "domestic policy" experience, they know how hard it is to run an army as well as Clark has, but they hate, HATE people from Vermont who wish that the war would just magically go away.

That's why we have had generals like George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and Dwight D. Eisenhower....But not many doctors from Vermont.

9. The internet!

I know, when I first saw Clark's site on the day he announced his candidacy, I thought it was a joke. Now, look again: http://www.clark04.com and better yet: http://www.forclark.com

Isn't it amazing what can happen in two months? Clark has become a MOVEMENT.

10. Goldwater lost, but made a movement.

If we fail to landslide this election, democracy will be a footnote in a banned book hidden under somebody's floorboards. Think "movement" as in "The Tienamen Square movement".

Besides, Naderittes said the same thing: we'll have Bush, but Bush will create a movement. A movement of blood into gutters, it turned out.

11. America is so divided anyway, why not have a partisan slug-fest?

Even if we won such a scenario, we would just end up with a crippled presidency like Clinton....But that's beside the point, because overcoming the GOP culture war will be needed to win the landslide we'll need to beat the GOP's election rigging machinery.

Division always helps the right wing, and they know it. That's why they're always so divisive. They know that Americans are overwhelmingly liberal on the issues, and are waiting to be united, if we put forward someone they'll feel comfortable with.

There was no division during the era of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, before Nixon's culture war was put into action. Nixon took perfectly good democrats, then turned them against their own party by exploiting their bitterness at seeing their movement high-jacked by late-60's "yankee-peacenik-godless-campus-hippie-freak" types. Hm, who's an upper-middle class university-educated Yankee from a nonconventional, nonreligious state? And who's the complete opposite?

It's not Dean's fault, of course. He was just born into the wrong state and wrong family. But in the end, Clark is ready to welcome back the pre-Nixon era, and Dean simply reminds people of the root causes for Nixon's culture war in the first place.

Here is an article explaining in greater detail: http://www.ospolitics.org/usa/archives/2003/11/26/how_i_beca.php

And my article, inspired by it:

http://democracyisgood.forclark.com/story/2003/11/29/0267/5676

12. South, shmouth, who needs it?

Every democratic president since they shot Kennedy, for a start.

Since 2000, the South has gained a 14-seat electoral advantage over the North. And, if our candidate is hated by Southerners, Bush won't even have to spend a penny in the South, and he'll get to spend his quarter billion dollars invading Pennsylvania, New York, California - even Vermont.

This is something Clark, as a military strategist, understands. To win, you have to ATTACK. You can't conquer by staying at home. You don't win a game if everyone plays defense. If you use the strategy of a sitting duck, your opponent can use his best strategy to pick you apart piece by piece. If you move forward into his territory, he can be caught off guard, never knowing where you'll hit next.

Clark gets 6 electoral votes from Arkansas, and is popular among the military communities of the South, which is even better than that other guy from Arkansas, Bill Clinton. Look how many states he got - and the military communities HATED him!

And look at our vulnerable we if we focus on defending what we have: in 2000, Gore won New Mexico by just 366 votes, Iowa by a mere 4,100 votes, Wisconsin by 5,400 votes, Oregon by just over around 6,500 votes, and Minnesota by 58,000 votes out of nearly 2.5 million cast. Even Pennsylvania was relatively close, with Gore beating Bush by only 4 points, 51%-47%.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released on November 5 Vermont is ranked high in the categories: "most dovish," "least traditional," and "least religious." Are you ready for a quarter-billion-dollars of "Dean is a freakish pacifist atheist!" ads running 24/7? Are you sure?

The Republican party has raised the ability to defeat non-Southern democrats to an art: McGovern, 1972; Mondale, 1984; Dukakis, 1988...

Who was it who said, "To do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is the definition of insanity?"

13. I'll just sit out the primaries.

Howard Dean -- governor of a tiny, unrepresentative, 96% white, northeastern, highly liberal state, with no foreign policy or national security experience, is about to have the Last Chance for Civilization raped by a quarter BILLION (that's with a B) dollar machine, in conjunction with the corporate media, more aircraft carrier and turkey photo-ops, phoney terrorist alerts, and probably Ralph Nader as well.

No amount of Kool-Ade is worth that.

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