Jonathan Chait over at TNR has started his Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe
, which he prefaces:
There has been a lot of talk about how Dean's critics represent the Washington Democratic establishment. But in fact this establishment has been pretty tame in its opposition. By turning Washington Democrats into a bÍte noire, Dean has forced many of them underground. And others, seeing that Dean has the inside track, don't want to risk alienating him. So I think there's a need for someone to articulate the reasons Democrats would be insane to nominate Dean. For this job I nominate myself.
It's pretty funny. A reminder that Dean says stupid crap on a fairly regular basis. Like this exchange with George Stephanopoulos over NAFTA:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) You have changed on various issues. On NAFTA, you used to be a very strong supporter of NAFTA.
HOWARD DEAN: George, you're doing it again. I supported NAFTA and wrote a letter to President Clinton in 1992 supporting NAFTA. That's different than "you used to be a very strong supporter of NAFTA."
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) You were a strong supporter of NAFTA.
DEAN: I supported NAFTA. Where do you get this "I'm a strong supporter of NAFTA"? I did anything about it. I didn't vote on it. I didn't march down the street demanding NAFTA. I simply wrote a letter supporting NAFTA.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) Well, are you ashamed of that now?
DEAN: No, I'm not. And I tell the labor unions I did and I tell them why I did it. Because NAFTA did a lot of positive things for Vermont because it's right up against the Canadian border.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) But now you've renegotiated.
DEAN: What I see you doing is painting me into a corner that I was never in, and that's what a lot, that in some ways it's a funny ...
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) But I don't get this. I mean, you were a supporter of it. You wrote a letter supporting it, you talked about it.
DEAN: Sure, yeah, right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) And now you have a different position?
STEPHANOPOULOS: (Off Camera) Why isn't it right to ask about that and explain what you mean by it?
DEAN: It is. It is fine. I have no problem with you asking about it but don't put me in a position, which most journalists do, including you, of "you were a strong supporter of NAFTA and now it's not true."
Is there anyone who can deny that Dean comes off looking like a bonehead weasel in such exchanges?