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Bombastic is as bombastic does



Published: Wed, June 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Mr. Bombastic just can't shut up. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean remains unapologetic for bad-mouthing all Republicans. Make that his latest little hate speech.

During a recent California sweep Dean proclaimed that Republicans "never made an honest living in their lives." Then Bombastic Man decided to rewrite 2004 election history: "You know, the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. Pretty much, they all behave the same, and they all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."

Really? What an odd thing for the former governor of white-as-snow Vermont to say.

In 2004 George W. Bush almost doubled the GOP's share of the black vote to 16 percent in Ohio, which handed him victory, and the president captured 40 percent of the Latino vote nationally.

Bush also happened to make inroads in South Florida's mammoth Jewish community last year. Granted, Bush's increasing share of the black vote nationally was 11 percent, but progress is progress. Bombastic Man can't whitewash this.

Remember, presidents don't win elections with a national majority -- they win state by state, and Bush delivered.

Dean's apologists insist he meant to say Republican leaders, not Republicans in general, when referring to dishonest GOP livings and unfriendly white Christians. Uh-huh. Such talk may well play to the Democratic Party's disgruntled, disaffected and angry liberal base, but it's not a winning strategy that will sweep up moderates of any ilk. I warned as much in February when Florida Democratic Party activists unanimously embraced Dean as the party's national chief.

Incredibly, even as he spouts venom about Republicans, he maintains that he will "resurrect" his party "going to places like Mississippi and Kansas and Idaho" -- (let's not forget to yelp a Yeee-haw! here) -- and GOP counties in California, too.

Criticism

Veteran Democratic leaders, such as Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, have criticized Dean's shrillness for good reason. His big mouth is hurting the party's image and its fundraising, particularly among large donors -- the business elite, for instance, in Silicon Valley.

Dean foams at the mouth, while vowing to grab Republican votes in red states. Guess he believes that vilifying potential voters and donors is a way to show them tough love.

Dean maintains that he's raising just what the party needs to win seats in Congress next year and the presidency in 2008. We'll soon know when reports are filed, but one thing's for sure: Dean's Republican counterpart, Ken Mehlman, isn't wasting time bad-mouthing the opposition. He's aggressively courting minority voters and raising big money.

Mehlman's busy talking to Hispanic business leaders from Orlando to Los Angeles. He's raising money for a black Republican who's running for a City Council seat in Harrisburg, Pa. He's dashing to receptions honoring women and holding town-hall meetings with Catholic groups that used to vote solidly Democratic.

That was back in the day when the Democratic Party had a message and vision that went beyond clueless name-calling.

X Myriam Marquez is an editorial page columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.




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