The only thing we have to fear
I just caught radio host Nancy Skinner on the MSNBC show 'Connected Coast to Coast' (the one with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley), so there's probably no transcript up yet, but she made a good point about the establishment Dems' hostility to Howard Dean--basically, that it is based on fear, and that this kind of fear has done incalculable damage to the Democratic Party.
This has been especially true since 9/11. Ever since that day, the motivating principle behind the actions of establishment Democrats has been fear of what Republicans and the media will say about them if they step out of line. On October 25, 2001, the now widely reviled USA PATRIOT ACT was passed by a tally of 98 to 1. (Russ Feingold was the lone 'nay'.) Little thought was given to the merits of the act; all that mattered was that Democrats didn't want to be seen as being against an anti-terrorism bill. This, of course, created an opening for the Bush administration to do whatever it wanted to do, so long as it was cloaked in the rhetoric of fighting terrorism, since they could simply accuse their opponents of being 'soft on terror'.
Being controlled by fear was not excusable then, but it was at least understandable. What I do not understand is why so many Democrats are so fearful even now. We have lost two consecutive elections, basically, running on the strategy of trying not to offend the GOP; why do so many still cling to this failed tactic?
Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and most other establishment Democrats represent more of the same: more fear--fear of what the Republicans will say, fear of what the media say, fear of being called 'unhinged' by Michelle Malkin. Howard Dean, on the other hand, is fearless; he doesn't give a whit what Republicans think about him. Does this mean he will occasionally say something inopportune? Probably. But I'll take that any day over the tail-between-their-legs strategy favored by Biden and the other scaredy-'crats.