American Proscenium

The Dean Delusion

What is wrong with Howard Dean?  Not much, if you listen to many Republicans and some conservatives.  Republicans are salivating over the prospect of a Dean nomination because it seems to be the best way to ensure that President Bush stays where he is.  Some conservatives, however, are saying that they may vote for the ex-governor of Vermont simply because they dislike George W. Bush so much and because Mr. Dean seems to be the man most likely to rid the federal government and the world of the present resident of the White House.

Both reactions are understandable but flawed.  The first reveals the naked partisanship that now masquerades as “conservatism.”  “Please nominate this man,” pleaded the title of a recent article about Mr. Dean by Rich Lowry in National Review, the semi-official journal of the Republican Party and the Bush White House.  The second reaction is also flawed, because it narrowly obsesses on a single issue, a bad habit that has plagued the American right for decades.

The single issue in this case is the war with Iraq.  President Bush dragged this country into it for no good reason.  The reasons he and his administration offered for the war have turned out to be without foundation and may well have been outright lies.  Several in the Bush foreign-policy team may be reasonably suspected of manipulating U.S. policy on...

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