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The last refuge of the defeated
The Spectator ^ | 1/ 8/ 2004 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/08/2004 7:02:01 AM PST by Snake65

Mark Steyn says the Democrats are gearing up for their inevitable humiliation by calling Bush-supporters ‘stupid’. It’s the ‘S’ factor in the presidential election New Hampshire

The other morning I woke up, leapt out of bed, pulled the curtains and discovered what appeared to be a total eclipse outside. I leapt in my rig, drove a couple miles down the road and discovered the cause: the world’s biggest ‘John Kerry For President’ sign had mysteriously appeared in my neighbour Laura’s front yard, blocking out all sunlight for miles around. It’s also the only John Kerry sign for miles around. Every other Democratic household in my neck of the woods has the same dinky little Howard Dean placard in the yard.

Howlin’ Howard, the angry doctor and former governor of Vermont, is the Democratic presidential front-runner. You may have glimpsed him in the midst of a Democratic election debate as you’re flipping along the dial to get to the lesbian wrestling on channel 112. He’s the pugnacious little guy with his sleeves rolled up. He does this because his image consultant told him it communicates authenticity. He seems to roll ’em up another inch for every percentage point poll increase. He’s now so far ahead in New Hampshire that the sleeves are up past his armpits and coming down the other side. Granite State Democrats love him and long ago decided his was the sign they wanted plunked in their snowbanks.

Come to think of it, Laura had also had a little Howard sign in her snowbank until the construction crew moved in and poured the foundation for the ‘John Kerry For President’ skyscraper. What was going on? Well, Laura sits on one of the big Democratic party state committees here in New Hampshire. And, driving around that morning, I couldn’t help noticing a strange pattern: gazillions of Howard Dean mini-signs punctuated every 30 or 40 miles or so by a humungous John Kerry sign outside the home of some Democratic party functionary. It seems the state’s Democratic establishment has decided a Dean victory will spell disaster for the party and it’s time to stop the Mad Doctor and rally around the unDean.

The trouble is the unDean is different everywhere you look. In the Granite State, Laura and co. reckon the unDean is Kerry. In Iowa, it’s Dick Gephardt, the soporific 1970s union throwback. In Arizona, it’s General Wesley Clark, the pantomime stalking-horse entered by the Clintons. In South Carolina, it seems to be the Revd Al Sharpton, the distinguished race-baiter. And all these states are voting in the next month, which means, no matter how well he does, each unDean could be undone by some other unDean a couple of days later.

Even so, Laura’s unDean is by far the longest of the long shots. John Kerry is the tall, aloof Vietnam veteran who enjoys saying that George W. Bush went into Iraq ‘without a plan’. Au contraire, Kerry went into New Hampshire without a plan. He’s been here longer than the Third Infantry Division’s been in Iraq and he’s bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire without an exit strategy, surrounded by a local population that’s increasingly hostile. Well, okay, increasingly indifferent. His principal contribution to the campaign is that he’s the only candidate to use the f-word on the record, in reference to the President f-ing things up. He likes to draw attention to the fact that he has the same initials as another patrician Massachusetts Democrat: JFK. Few of us knew what Kerry’s F stood for, but it turns out it stands for J F**K and not, as I’d assumed, John Finishing-school Kerry (he went to one in Switzerland).

It’s hardly my place to recommend to my Democratic neighbours which loser they nosedive into the briny with, but I have to say Kerry is by far the worst of the unDeans. When the White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, hilariously demanded that Kerry apologise to the American people for his undeleted expletive, the senator’s spokesperson, Stephanie Cutter, responded, ‘John Kerry saw combat up close and he doesn’t mince words when it comes to politicians who put ideological recklessness ahead of American troops.’ In other words, f*** you. Kerry’s four-letter vocabulary works out in Oklahoma at two letters per polling point (he’s at 2 per cent). Why would he use such a word? Why would General Clark threaten to ‘beat the shit’ out of somebody? I forget who — though, if I were Clark, I’d beat the shit out of my tailor: he has the worst suit of any candidate; it hangs off him like it’s six sizes too large. Either that, or the supposed white knight of the Democratic party is shrinking before our eyes literally and not just metaphorically.

But what both Clark and Kerry are trying to do is tap into the most successful aspect of Dean’s campaign: its tonal quality. Either because he’s a doctor or the son of Park Avenue toffs, Dean was always arrogant as governor of Vermont. But he was never quite so steamed as he is these days. Whether consciously or not, he seemed to figure out that the shrewdest way to tap into the Democrats’ anti-Bush anger was by using anti-war anger as a cover. Let me expand on that: whether or not most Dems are genuinely anti-war is neither here nor there. What matters is that they’re genuinely anti-Bush, and an anti-war position is the least insane garb to dress it up in. It would be hard to do all that ‘Bush is Hitler!!!!’ stuff over his ‘No Child Left Behind’ Education Act or his prescription-drug plan for seniors: the Dems would come over as even loopier than they already do. Thus, an anti-war anger is necessary to license their anti-Bush anger. Dean understood that.

The trouble is the unDeans don’t. Dick Gephardt has been consistently pro-war. John Kerry has been consistently inconsistent in whether he’s pro-war or anti-war according to which way the wind’s blowing: if you point this out to him, he says something like, ‘I saw combat up close and I don’t mince words when it comes to having the courage not to have any courage’ (I quote from memory). General Clark’s general position is that, as a general, he’s above most positions. Ask him whether he’s pro-war or anti-war and he replies, as he did to the New York Times, ‘I think that’s too simple a question.’ But, if you can find a way to rephrase the question more complicatedly, broadly speaking he used to be pro-war but he’c getting more and more dementedly anti-war with each new setback (Saddam’s capture, the decline in insurgent activity, etc.). Or, as he puts it, ‘I’ve said it both ways because, when you get into this, what happens is you have to put yourself in a position.’ Exactly. But you can get some idea of what a Clark victory would look like in this war from his tremendous victory in the last one: at New Year, a few days after the General said he was the only candidate to have ‘faced down’ a dictator from the witness box in The Hague, Slobodan Milosevic got elected to the Serbian parliament.

And then there’s Joe Lieberman, who’s the only candidate who seemed to take any real pleasure in the arrest of Saddam. Alas, that makes Lieberman unelectable in a Democratic primary. Increasingly, he seems to be running less for president than for the advertising account for the Republican attack campaign on Dean this summer. When the churlish governor sneered that seizing Saddam hadn’t made America safer, Lieberman responded that Dean had climbed into his own ‘spider-hole of denial’. He said if Dean had been president, Saddam would still be in power. Americans will be seeing a lot of those clips.

Lieberman seems to be toying with the idea of doing a Scoop Jackson. Thirty years ago, Jackson, a Democrat but a doughty Cold Warrior, lost the nomination to George McGovern, and then turned on him in order to save his party’s credibility on national security. He certainly helped destroy McGovern, though the credibility-saving thing is more dubious. And in the early 21st century it’s not clear whether anyone in the party’s base wants it to have credibility on anything as beastly and macho as national security. Lieberman is, in effect, trying to decide whether to launch the party’s post-election civil war ten months early.

I think the people deserve a choice on the war: Bush vs Lieberman doesn’t give them one; Bush vs Kerry or Clark or some other pretzel gives them a sort of choice but it’s so nuanced up the wazoo no one has a clue what it is. Bush vs Dean makes it plain: a guy who wants to take the war to the terrorists and the states who sponsor, harbour and train them versus a guy who thinks it’s about, if anything, liaising with Interpol and serving injunctions. I think we know which candidate Saddam, Mullah Omar, Boy Assad and the Pyongyang nutjob would vote for.

Not that we’re talking wipe-out. It’s hard to do a Nixon ’72-size landslide or a Reagan ’84 whumperoo these days. Thirty years ago, the American electorate was in flux — one party was losing its grip on the south and the other was moving in. Nowadays, the genuinely floating voter is hard to find, and the genuinely floating geographically concentrated group of voters even harder. Nonetheless, in a year’s time George W. Bush will be celebrating the best presidential result of the last two decades. Furthermore, Election Day 2004 will confirm the Republicans’ overwhelming dominance of the male vote, and the Democrats’ weakness in the white male vote in particular. The President will win a majority of women, a significant majority of younger women, and a big chunk of the Hispanic vote. Bush will also have coat tails — or, more to the point, the Democratic candidate will have negative coat tails: he will be metaphorically campaigning in what I believe the British lads, apropos Frankie Laine’s jacket back in his Hit Parade days, used to call a ‘bum-freezer’. The Republicans will make important gains in the Senate, just a few in the House of Representatives, and give Bush enough of a legislative majority to spend the first half of his second term on some major domestic reforms.

True, things could go wrong for Bush in Iraq. But, even then, it’s hard to see how things going wrong for Bush would necessarily translate into things going right for Dean. The governor might do better to bet on enough stuff going Bush’s way in Iraq to make folks forget about wars and foreign policy and turn their attention back to the bike-path micropolitics the Dems would much rather be yakking about.

But I don’t think so. Just because of the shifts in population from the north and east to the south and west, if Bush won exactly the same states he won in 2000 his electoral-college majority would be significantly bigger. A couple of additional percentage points and Dean’s in huge trouble. If Bush pulls over 15 per cent of the black vote, you’re looking at meltdown.

In that sense, Dean is the perfect man to drive the party over the cliff. He says Vermont is the way America should be. You mean a land of broken-down farms for the natives and weekend homes for the wealthy? Where everyone in the eastern half drives out of state to shop, work and get medical treatment? Where the only kind of business is boutique mail-order specialities — the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Ben and Jerry’s Premium Ice Cream, Cold Hollow Apple Cider? Dean seems likely to complete the party’s transformation from a mass movement into an upscale niche business. Whenever he talks about the south, he sounds condescending. Likewise, the religious. Likewise, blacks. The Park Avenue populist is the perfect standard-bearer for an upper-middle-class college-town party.

Maybe that explains why the Democrats have begun looking for scapegoats early. In Monday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer Neal Starkman identified the real problem: ‘None of the so-called theories can explain President Bush’s popularity,’ he wrote. ‘Can that many people be enamoured of what he has accomplished in Iraq...? Of how he has bolstered our economy? Of how he has protected our environment...?

‘Is that likely?’

Are you kidding? Neal’s given the matter a lot of thought and decided the real answer is ‘the “Stupid factor”, the S factor. Some people — sometimes through no fault of their own — are just not very bright.... They’re perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides. They don’t have the wherewithal to expand the sources of their information. And above all — far above all — they don’t think.... Sad to say, they comprise a substantial minority — perhaps even a majority — of the populace.’

Why do Democrats lose elections? It’s the stupidity, stupid! That’s the trouble with the electorate: Not Our Kind Of People.


TOPICS: Editorial; Political Humor/Cartoons; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: dean; essword; fword; marksteyn; marksteynlist; steyn; sword
Only one word for Steyn: brilliant.
1 posted on 01/08/2004 7:02:02 AM PST by Snake65
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To: All
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2 posted on 01/08/2004 7:02:46 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pokey78
Ping list ping.
3 posted on 01/08/2004 7:03:19 AM PST by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Snake65
Good mornin" Snake!
4 posted on 01/08/2004 7:03:36 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Death before dhimmi.)
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To: Snake65
I'm the exception to the rule: I have a masters, I'm college educated and overly intellectual. I should be by every stretch of the imagination, a Deaniac. Why aren't I? I must be a stupid intellectual missing a few IQs somewhere, that's how come I'm here! :) In other words, I am just not Nikita Dean's TYPE OF PEOPLE.
5 posted on 01/08/2004 7:12:03 AM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Morning TS. A little Steyn always picks me up.

‘I’ve said it both ways because, when you get into this, what happens is you have to put yourself in a position.’

Clark really is a wordsmith, isn't he?

6 posted on 01/08/2004 7:14:01 AM PST by Snake65 (Osama Bin Decomposing)
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To: Snake65
"John Finishing-school Kerry (he went to one in Switzerland)."

Finishing school sounds like a place where you learn oral sex.

7 posted on 01/08/2004 7:14:56 AM PST by Enterprise
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To: goldstategop
My just-finished-his-master's twentyish son says that the college students backing Dean are demonstrating their pique at authority similar to a two-year-old's temper tantrum with mommy and daddy.
8 posted on 01/08/2004 7:15:09 AM PST by OpusatFR (Al Dean and Howard Gore, the Rainmen, definitely, definitely)
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To: goldstategop
I am just not Nikita Dean's TYPE OF PEOPLE.

Could be that, unlike Dean, you live in a world where the Soviet Union no longer exists, and where an attack that kills thousands of Americans requires a response of something other than an arrest warrant.

9 posted on 01/08/2004 7:16:43 AM PST by Snake65 (Osama Bin Decomposing)
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To: Snake65
Those Arkansas Rhode Scholars are silver tongued devils for sure.
10 posted on 01/08/2004 7:17:33 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Death before dhimmi.)
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To: Snake65
Howard Dean: The Park Avenue populist is the perfect standard-bearer for an upper-middle-class college-town party.

Nothing further need be said.

11 posted on 01/08/2004 7:20:20 AM PST by upchuck (This tag line will self-destruct in five seconds. 5.... 4.... 3.... 2.... 1.... DISOLVE!)
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To: upchuck
Have you ever seen any stuff about Dean ever being sued for malpractice?..aren't their databases which list doctors who are sued?
12 posted on 01/08/2004 7:29:09 AM PST by ken5050
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To: Tijeras_Slim
WAS-- given--- a Scholarship by Fulbright

Never completed...

Because criminal assault charges were filed

He fled England ..on to Russia
13 posted on 01/08/2004 7:34:48 AM PST by mj1234
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To: Snake65
"Only one word for Steyn: brilliant."

Made all the more so by the fact that Mark does not "write" his columns - he DICTATES them. In so doing, he cedes the luxury of being able to see his words in print - the way a reader will - in order to best massage and polish them for effect. No, he simply speaks the words as they occur to him, forming his thoughts on the fly. Given his facility with history and his fluidity of idea, he is exceedingly brilliant.

And - wonder of wonders - he's right just about every time. What a treasure.

Michael

14 posted on 01/08/2004 7:39:55 AM PST by Wright is right! (Never get excited about ANYTHING by the way it looks from behind.)
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To: Wright is right!
No, he simply speaks the words as they occur to him, forming his thoughts on the fly.

Wow! I'd say "he needs his own TV show" except that he'd probably produce fewer columns, and that would be a loss for all of us.

15 posted on 01/08/2004 7:46:56 AM PST by Snake65 (Osama Bin Decomposing)
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To: OpusatFR
the college students backing Dean are demonstrating their pique at authority similar to a two-year-old's temper tantrum with mommy and daddy.

No, it was the voters who elected a GOP congress in 1994 that threw a temper tantrum. I know because Peter Jennings told me.

16 posted on 01/08/2004 7:53:11 AM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: FreedomPoster; Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; ...
Thanks FP!


17 posted on 01/08/2004 12:46:40 PM PST by Pokey78 (Steyn: Leftists demonize Wolfowitz because his name begins with a big scary animal and ends Jewishly)
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To: Pokey78
Steyn just gets better and better.
18 posted on 01/08/2004 1:07:03 PM PST by metesky (My investment program is still holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear; yoda swings
Ping
19 posted on 01/08/2004 1:14:01 PM PST by knighthawk (Live today, there is no time to lose, because when tomorrow comes it's all just yesterday's blues)
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To: Pokey78
Thnx Poke---


Love Steyn, love Steyn, love Steyn.

I almost have the urge to kiss his brain....
20 posted on 01/08/2004 1:15:20 PM PST by stands2reason ("Dean is God's reward to Mr. Bush for doing the right thing in the war on terror." Dick Morris)
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To: Snake65
...but it turns out it stands for J F**K

*snort*

John Kerry was in Viet Nam?
21 posted on 01/08/2004 1:23:12 PM PST by lorrainer (Professional driver. Closed course.)
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To: Snake65
Thanks for this and the Peggy pings!

Lando

22 posted on 01/08/2004 1:34:57 PM PST by Lando Lincoln (The Vermin had vermin)
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To: Snake65; Cannoneer No. 4; Poohbah; kristinn; Registered
Au contraire, Kerry went into New Hampshire without a plan. He’s been here longer than the Third Infantry Division’s been in Iraq and he’s bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire without an exit strategy, surrounded by a local population that’s increasingly hostile.

ROFLMAO! Steyn is priceless.

23 posted on 01/08/2004 1:43:27 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: Snake65; Cannoneer No. 4; Poohbah; kristinn; Registered
Au contraire, Kerry went into New Hampshire without a plan. He’s been here longer than the Third Infantry Division’s been in Iraq and he’s bogged down in a Vietnam-style quagmire without an exit strategy, surrounded by a local population that’s increasingly hostile.

ROFLMAO! Steyn is priceless.

24 posted on 01/08/2004 1:43:29 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: metesky
exactly what I was thinking. Wow is this one brilliant.
25 posted on 01/08/2004 1:44:14 PM PST by lawgirl (God to womankind: "Here's Cary Grant. Now don't say I never gave you anything.")
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To: goldstategop
I have a masters, I'm college educated and overly intellectual. I should be by every stretch of the imagination, a Deaniac. Why aren't I?

I'm just guessing here, but I'd put my money (if I had any) on your master's being in something real - not in Sociology or Urban Studies or some such silliness.

26 posted on 01/08/2004 3:45:12 PM PST by irv
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To: Pokey78
And in the early 21st century it’s not clear whether anyone in the party’s base wants it to have credibility on anything as beastly and macho as national security.

Thanks for the ping, Pokey.

Manliness does seem to be a handicap for Democrats.

27 posted on 01/08/2004 4:07:25 PM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Pokey.
28 posted on 01/08/2004 5:16:29 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Enterprise
No, finishing school sounds like where they send you to complete your transition into an flaming queer.
29 posted on 01/08/2004 5:21:57 PM PST by Viking2002
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To: Wright is right!
...he simply speaks the words as they occur to him, forming his thoughts on the fly. Given his facility with history and his fluidity of idea, he is exceedingly brilliant

I've heard on the radio and you are correct.

30 posted on 01/08/2004 5:38:12 PM PST by Roscoe Karns
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To: Snake65
"Rally around the unDean"

I like it.

Steyn is always great.

31 posted on 01/08/2004 5:39:37 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tagline. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: lorrainer
John Kerry was in Viet Nam?

Come on, that's his one claim to fame besides marrying the Heinz ketchup widow.

The President will win a majority of women, a significant majority of younger women, and a big chunk of the Hispanic vote.

Let us close our eyes and click our ruby slippers together for that one....

32 posted on 01/08/2004 6:00:26 PM PST by xJones
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To: Wright is right!
Made all the more so by the fact that Mark does not "write" his columns - he DICTATES them.

Really? Interesting, I didn't know that. Does he ever appear on US news programs?
33 posted on 01/08/2004 7:29:10 PM PST by Akira (Blessed are the cheesemakers.)
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To: FreedomPoster
bttt
34 posted on 01/09/2004 12:33:14 AM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: Pokey78; xm177e2; mercy; Wait4Truth; hole_n_one; GretchenEE; Clinton's a rapist; buffyt; ...

Mark Steyn MEGA PING!!


35 posted on 01/09/2004 1:21:21 AM PST by JohnHuang2 ("GW is driving the Rat Lunatics into a deeper (QUAGMIRE OF) insanity every day," says Grampa Dave)
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To: JohnHuang2
Well, from where I'm sitting, stupid is as stupid does. That S (stupid) fits the Left.
36 posted on 01/09/2004 1:42:33 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Snake65; Notforprophet
As always, Steyn is just amazing.

I have come to the conclusion that Howie Dean, is one of those angry chipmunks in the cartoons of childhood (which were old when I was young), pointing and shaking fingers in the air, bitching a lot.
37 posted on 01/09/2004 7:04:37 AM PST by 24Karet (Dean is one angry little chipmunk)
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To: JohnHuang2
Mark Steyn ~ Bump!
38 posted on 01/09/2004 7:07:19 AM PST by blackie
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To: Akira
You may be able to listen to him on Unspun w/Anna Z and Diotima, freepmail Agitator. He could guide you to where you need to go. He's very elouquent.
39 posted on 01/09/2004 7:09:15 AM PST by 24Karet (Dean is one angry little chipmunk)
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To: Akira
You may be able to listen to him on Unspun w/Anna Z and Diotima, freepmail Agitator. He could guide you to where you need to go. He's very elouquent.
40 posted on 01/09/2004 7:09:19 AM PST by 24Karet (Dean is one angry little chipmunk)
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To: 24Karet
He’s the pugnacious little guy with his sleeves rolled up. He does this because his image consultant told him it communicates authenticity. He seems to roll ’em up another inch for every percentage point poll increase. He’s now so far ahead in New Hampshire that the sleeves are up past his armpits and coming down the other side.

Such a professional look, presidential actually. heh heh heh

41 posted on 01/09/2004 7:27:15 AM PST by petercooper (DEAN = Democrats Experiencing Another Nightmare)
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To: JohnHuang2
Thanks for the ping!
42 posted on 01/09/2004 10:31:18 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: lorrainer
John Kerry was in Viet Nam?

No, I don't think so. Haven't heard a word about it. You'd think if he had been somebody would have said so...

;-)

The "Un-Dean." I'm mad now, Steyn left out my own particular favorite, Dennis Kucinich. He's completely discounting the absentee ballots from the Outer Planets and the nearby Galactic clusters...

43 posted on 01/09/2004 11:35:32 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Enterprise
"John Finishing-school Kerry (he went to one in Switzerland)."

Finishing school sounds like a place where you learn oral sex.

For Democratic Presidential hopefuls, that would be 'Finishing Sink'.

44 posted on 01/09/2004 11:46:19 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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To: Snake65
Great read and another excellant article from the master Mark Steyn.
45 posted on 01/09/2004 2:41:12 PM PST by Mat_Helm
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To: Snake65
"....In Iowa, it’s Dick Gephardt, the soporific 1970s union throwback. In Arizona, it’s General Wesley Clark, the pantomime stalking-horse entered by the Clintons...."

LOL!! Mark Steyn is the Mark Twain of modern times...only maybe even better. (Talk about a Pen Warmed up in Hell.....)
46 posted on 01/09/2004 3:43:45 PM PST by Renfield
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To: Billthedrill
OOOOHHHH, you may be on to something here..we've completely neglected the dead (not to be confused with Dead Heads), a VERY important Democratic Constituency...intuitively, I think they would be inclined to vote for one of their own...Lieberman, perhaps? Or Kerry, judging by his poll numbers.....
47 posted on 01/09/2004 3:50:41 PM PST by Renfield
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