Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Dean's Achille's Heel

Dean admitted today what some of us had already noticed-- his ability to be objective, suffers greatly when he is challenged. It is good to recognize this, but it is more than a minor flaw for the leader of the free world. Of course, the fact that Dean is at least capable of reaching this conclusion in a matter of days puts him light years ahead of the current President.

Throughout the day Dr. Dean, 54, appeared subdued and reflective, a sharp contrast to the defiant tone he struck at Tuesday night's debate.

He said that his main mistake had been not immediately condemning the flag during the debate, and that he had decided to change course as he came to understand that his comments had been personally offensive to two of his rivals, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is black, and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

"When people get in my face, I tend to get in theirs," Dr. Dean said in the interview at The Times. "Al Sharpton was in my face last night and I was not going to step one step, half a step, backwards, and I don't care who's in my face.

"I tend to be reflective rather later than sooner," he added. "Now, unfortunately, we all know that nobody's personality is perfect. So the things that make me a strong candidate are also my Achille's heel."

He said in several interviews that Mr. Edwards' suggestion at the debate that he was being patronizing to the South had played a "significant role" in his decision that he had to speak out further and clarify his views. "I came to the conclusion that he actually had been really wounded, that he felt the patronizing personally," he said at The New York Times....

"What concerned me was his staff up in Vermont reacted by saying, `Well, he said this before, these guys took him out of context,' " said Mr. Schmoke, the former mayor of Baltimore. "That was the wrong response. The right response was what he finally ended up with today — wait a minute folks, my heart is in the right place but I chose the wrong words."

This is one of the problems with the "Dean Movement." Any criticism is quickly dismissed and chalked up to unfair opponents. The spin many Deaniacs were giving the matter would have been comical if not so pathetic. Groupthink appears rampant among many in the movement and simply serves to enable Dean's greatest weaknesses. Take the average person with Dean's upbringing, send him to Med School and then make him a Governor for over a decade, perhaps particularly in a small state, and that person is likely to be off the hubris scale. Dean could use a daily dose of reality from someone he will listen to.

He would do well to put this quote on his blog:

"You can blame the media or blame my opponents, but the fact is, I've got to own my own words," Dr. Dean explained yesterday evening in Manchester. "And that's what I decided at about 3 o'clock this morning."own words," Dr. Dean explained yesterday evening in Manchester. "And that's what I decided at about 3 o'clock this morning."

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