Remember when Howard Dean was a rabble-rousing progressive, the one who ran for president railing against special interests? Remember when he insisted health care reform include a public insurance option, at one point suggesting that a plan without a government-run plan was “worthless”? Ah, good times…
Republicans have been the first to assert, without shame, the parallels between their own “Swift-boating” of John Kerry in 2004 and the Obama campaign’s alleged “Swiss-boating” of Mitt Romney over Bain Capital’s business practices.
“Even the Costa Ricans have health insurance for all their people.” That was Howard Dean’s old line, when he was talking about all the countries that had universal health care.
Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.
There are so many unknowns to bedevil any poor pundit trying to call the 2012 Republican nomination. For starters, we still don’t know for sure who’s going to run.
When five likely Republican presidential candidates addressed the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in early March, observers may have noticed something odd about Tim Pawlenty: He appeared to have had a voice transplant. Pawlenty’s normal speaking style could be described as mild-mannered: He began his speech to the 2008 Republican convention by squeaking, “We’re really glad that you’re in Minnesota.
The bomber carried balloons. They were silver and purple, and when he stepped inside the parking garage, they flitted and danced around his head—obscuring his face, as well as his intentions. It was October 2008, just after 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and the workers in the office tower above the garage in suburban St. Louis were still at their desks. Only surveillance cameras saw the man with the balloons as he hurriedly walked to the parking space marked “654,” knelt down, and placed a wicker basket next to the driver’s side door of a late model Acura TL.
We’ve all heard that Democrats are in for a very difficult two years. The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives will wage a campaign to disable health reform, financial regulation, and the EPA; stonewall executive and judicial appointments; slash nondefense discretionary spending (thus undermining the economic recovery); gut Social Security and Medicare; and launch investigations into every possible White House indiscretion—potentially leading to a vote for impeachment.