Friday, July 21, 2006

Dean's Big Tent Talk

What I like about Howard Dean is his consistent message that goes like this:

"We cannot be a national party unless we have the courage to ask every single American for their vote," Dean said.

Right. It's the most patriotic thing an American partisan can say. He risked his nomination bid in 2004 on a statement to the effect that guys in pick-ups with gun racks and rebel flags also ought to be able to find a place in the Democracy.

Go ahead, write off every state of the old Confederacy. But try to win a presidential election without one. And yet after Dean's Confederate flag quip his peers pounced on him as though he had a Klansman in the woodpile. What he's saying is smart politics, but it's also good for the country.

As Michael Novak wrote after Zell Miller's 2004 convention speech:

Well, a lot of Democrats were from the families of poor whites, and whatever our education we did not want to abandon our families. In fact, we saw in them a lot more wisdom than we found on the campuses. Especially on the question of what is and is not a threat to the survival of this marvelous country of ours — its decency, its honor, its goodness — Zell Miller speaks for us.

If only the Democrats I know weren't so smug in their arrogant exclusionism and more proud of the votes they don't get than the votes they do, the party might get out of its rut once in a while.