Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | April 28, 2003

Dems turn guns against each other

It may be early in the campaign season, but an unfortunate trend is appearing: the Democratic candidates are turning their fire against each other.

Kerry fired first, using campaign spokespeople to try and deflate Dean's rising stock early in the year. Dean struck back at the California Dem convention, criticizing Kerry and Edwards by name for supporting Bush's war. Dean then hit Gephardt last week, criticizing his (Gephardt's) health care proposal.

Now, Kerry is back, taking aim squarely at Dean:

Contact: Robert Gibbs or Kelley Benander
Phone: 202-548-6800
Date: April 28, 2003

Statement from Kerry Communications Director Chris Lehane on Howard Dean's Statement on American Military Supremacy

Washington, DC - Time.com today reported the following quote by Vermont Governor Howard Dean -

"We've gotten rid of him," Dean said of Saddam Hussein's ouster. "I suppose that's a good thing." Pressed again last week on CNN, Dean refused to concede that Iraq is better off without Saddam. And two weeks ago, while campaigning at a Stonyfield yogurt factory in New Hampshire, the would-be Commander-in-Chief suggested that America should be planning for a time when it is not the world's greatest superpower: "We have to take a different approach [to diplomacy]. We won't always have the strongest military."

Kerry campaign communications Director Chris Lehane reacted to those Dean statements by saying -

"Howard Dean's stated belief that the United States 'won't always have the strongest military,' raises serious questions about his capacity to serve as Commander-in-Chief. No serious candidate for the Presidency has ever before suggested that he would compromise or tolerate an erosion of America's military supremacy.

"A President Kerry, who will bring the perspective of having served on the frontlines to the job of Commander-In-Chief, will guarantee that America has the strongest, best trained, most well-equipped military in history."

I don't think Dean doubts the US will have the strongest military in the next four or eight years. Dean is taking a long-term historical view of the issue. And if history can serve as a guide, it's true that the US won't always have the strongest military. Empires rise and fall.

But aside from that, the Democrats need to stop sniping at each other. It's obvious that Kerry is feeling the heat from Dean, especially in New Hampshire, but they need to cool this shit. They need to clearly enunciate their positions on the issues, and when criticism is warranted, it needs to be directed straight at the enemy -- George Bush.

Kudos to Edwards, Gephardt and Lieberman for staying above the fray (thus far). Kerry and Dean need to cool it. We can't be weakened internally if we are to defeat Bush next November. Divided we will fall.

Posted April 28, 2003 07:20 AM | Comments (169)


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