Dean “Fedayeen”…

…get a whole new meaning as loathsome columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall endorses Dean, and the official Dean blog is thrilled (as are his commenters).

If Dean takes this as a Sistah Souljah moment and bitch-slaps him tomorrow, it could be very good for his campaign. If not, buh-bye; if not in July 04, then in November.

(a tip of the Shoei to Instapundit)JK: Just got an email from reader Jake Ewing, with an update…

Anyone else find it curious that the Dean blog has…

1) Shut down comments on the Ted Rall post without explanation (I have *never* seen this happen on the Dean blog without it being announced)

2) Substantially changes the meaning of the intro statement, changing the word “explains” to “considers”: Ted Rall, in his Universal Press Syndicate column today, considers why so many third party voters are coming to Dean:

3) Deleted a key paragraph from Rall’s endorsement: “Maybe it’s premature to endorse Gov. Dean. But right now, given the information we have available, he’s the preferred candidate of us Anybody But Bushies.”

4) Summarily removed Rall’s name from the title.

The definitive original posts is archived by Prof. Volokh. In addition, here’s the Feedster capture of the post:

Rall: Howard Dean for President
From: Blog for America – hide – show: all images links rss

Ted Rall, in his Universal Press Syndicate column today, explains why so many third party voters are coming to Dean: Howard Dean has the best chance to beat Bush.Brilliant, aggressive and moneyed… Dr. Dean has a corner on the single… – 41 words
similar posts – cached – translate – published 10 hours, 41 minutes ago

39 thoughts on “Dean “Fedayeen”…”

  1. p –

    Actually, I read the same thread, and virtually none of the posts were about Rall at all. Of your 250, I’d say there were 15 about Rall, 10 of which were actively pro- and then a flurry of anti- and Glenn’s and other links sent anti-Rall people there.

    Gonna be an interesting day with the Doctor tomorrow; political mechanics at their finest (and I don’t mean that sarcastically; I think he has a good team and they just got tossed a high inside fastball…)


  2. First of all, I think that very few voters know who the hell Ted Rall is. Secondly, this is one of those little things that nobody remembers a few weeks later, like the Gephardt staffer who allegedly called a Dean staffer a “faggot.”

    Based on your comment above, I’m confused–why did you say his commenters are thrilled? Seems like 10 commenters are thrilled, whereas the overwhelming majority are cheerfully indifferent. As someone said on a Tacitus thread about this, what you’re witnessing is democracy at work. These are people who aren’t thinking in strategic terms every time they write on the blog; for them, bashing Bush is a form of group therapy. (You may have seen my post advising the 10 or so folks against being so excited, by the way)

    I wouldn’t expect Dean to do any bitch-slapping until after the primaries, by the way. I’m hoping Clark’s the guy, but if it’s Dean, I hope Dean makes a major speech outlining a hawkish multilateral position on terrorism and other threats. So far, I’ve heard nothing but sound bites from him, and I cringe fairly regularly. So I hope he’s assembling his own team of Vulcans, in the event that he becomes the nominee.

  3. So is this some sort of PC reaction to Ted Rall’s comments? Like there are not widows of 9/11 who are not like that? I found the article to be an especially good piece of sarcasm; almost Pythonesque.

  4. Joe Katzman,

    Yes, Frenchmen can’t work in the US; there must be some law against it. *LOL* I can’t say whether that is a “good explanation,” though why I would have to explain to you why I work in the US (and other countries besides France) is a bit strange.

  5. Yep, and it was probably arranged as a “Sistah Souljah” moment, too. I’ve lived in the South all my life; professional wrestling is in the drinking water, and I’ve seen too many scripted fights where the best bud of one week turns into the blood enemy until the ratings fade. I’m sorry, but “Hollywood fights” like that just don’t impress me. If Howie had a real plan to fight WWIV, that didn’t involve leting Americans get killed until the French say it’s OK to defend ourselves, I’d be more impressed.

  6. Jean,

    I’m beggin’ ya, pal. Quit while you’re behind. Giving Rall a pat on the back for that heartless 9-11 cartoon, one that satirized Daniel Pearl’s wife in the wake of her husband’s beheading, is akin to inviting Himmler to a bris.

    Nice to see the Dean kids getting in touch with their inner mujahed, by the way. Anything to beat Bush, of course!

  7. section9,

    I gave him a pat on the back for the article; it was a well written piece of satire. That it offends you only drives home that point. As to the cartoon, well, I would say the same thing. If you want to cater to PCism, that’s alright I suppose.

  8. Jeez… Jean looks more clueless every time he misuses the term “PC.” By now he’s looking stupider than even the most bizarre Le Monde cartoon charicature of Bush.

    It’s not PC to stick up for someone who’s actually getting abused, you know. PC is when someone who’s never experienced any “discrimination” worse than their paperboy throwing their paper on the roof three days in a row starts howling about the use of the term “master/slave” in their CD-ROM instruction manual. Standing up for a woman whose husband was murdered by ululating religious fanatics, against some prick who tries to convince people that “she’s just pretending to be sad so people give her money” isn’t any kind of PC.

  9. Tatterdemalian,

    I read Le Figaro mostly; and to be frank (since you are trying to smear me as some sort of leftist), given the discussion on economics I saw below, the real socialists and leftists here are the rest of the bloggers at this site. I on the other hand am a capitalist and support free trade.

    This is definately PCism; its just PCism from the pro-war crowd. Widows and the pro-war movement can’t be criticized without offending people’s “sensitivities.” Just as Christians were terribly upset by the “Life of Brian,” so the pro-war crowd is upset here.

  10. praktike,

    To have a discussion; of course that can’t seem to occur without me being called everything from a coward to an agent of Al Qaeda because of my nationality. The essential problem is that you can’t handle a little disagreement in your echo chamber here.

  11. JB –

    I warned you – your next comment can be an apology to lewy14 for the ‘insane asylum’ comment or you’re gone.

    And please look up the distinction between ‘disagreement’ and ‘argument’ some time; I love to argue with people who disagree with me – I often learn things, and somethimes they do as well. But that implies that they are looking or arguments, and making arguments, not just disagreeing with everything everyone says.

    I’d love to argue with you – but that implies that you’d construct actual arguments. Given your obvious intelligence and sophistication, I can’t believe that would be a problem for you.

    But if you’re all about being disagreeable – as I’ve noted, you’re wasting our time, and that’s the scarcest thing I’ve got.


  12. That might be true, Jean. This is not to say, however, that gadflys are not desired or that dissent won’t be tolerated in this “echo chamber”. Gadflies, sir, perform a valuable service, by forcing a majority to ponder the reasons for their positions.

    I’m sure that both you and Mr. Rall are both beholden to the conceit that you are, in fact, noble gadflies, posing necessary questions to a delusional and ignorant populace.

    Unfortunately, unlike say … Socrates, any sarcastic “unPC” attack that you (and Mr. Rall) make are not grounded in appeals to a higher good, or a better morality, but instead, seem to devalue human life, trivialize the suffering of victims of terrorism, and ultimately serve to legitimize a desperate collection of totalitarian murderers, nihilists, and fanatics.

    You see, Jean, that is the problem with dissent for dissent’s sake — often that means wallowing in a moral equivalency and excremental relativism, which, I might add, are the leading reasons for the decline of your home country and its newfound status as a backbencher in the community of nations.

    Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that both you and Mr. Rall are, essentially, assholes of the highest order.

    It does mean, first and foremost, that you are an asshole.

  13. I have trouble believing that Dean himself would approve of this. On the other hand, it is disturbing that he doesn’t have a better handle of the people running the Web side of his campaign for him. I have trouble believing that they, who I assume are blog-aware, are not fully aware of the association they are condoning.

    I give Dean 24 hours.

  14. 1. Could someone explain slowly why Ted Rall’s quasi-endorsement of Dean is worse than Ann Coulter’s presumed support for Bush? Honestly, Coulter can match Rall for outrageousness, wins on mendacity, and often leaves me with the impression that she performs more for sadistic pleasure than mistaken but sincere conviction. Is there a group calling on Bush to renounce Coulter?

    2. I think you guys are missing the big issue here, perhaps because you don’t like its implications. The big issue is that a far-leftist ex-Naderite sees the Bush Administration as so bad that he’s going to grow up, at least temporarily, show some of the discipline the right and far-right have, and vote for the Democrat. In one column, he puts paid to the idea that Dean’s allegedly leftist supporters will abandon him if he moves to the center. Rall’s column shows he is well aware Dean isn’t very “left” to begin with.

    3. As I undestand democracy, voters are responsible for whom they choose to vote for, but why are candidates responsible for who chooses to vote for them, especially when it’s clearly a lesser-of-two-evils choice? Something tells me there’s an implicit assumption that liberals are supposed to play by cleaner, more honorable rules, even if it helps us lose. (Scheverdnadze would still have a job if the opposition were let by Goreashvili and Liebermanadze.)

    4. To tell you the truth, I think Rall’s 9/11 stuff is generally wrong-headed and also in unbelievably poor taste, but his columns on Iraq seem at least as well grounded as the established pundits’ pablum. His “recruiting letter” column, for example, is probably a good explanation why our soldiers are getting picked off in kirkuk, Mosul, and other formerly safe cities. I don’t think it was meant to endorse terrorism, any more than William Safire’s bizarre columns as Hillary’s interlocutor or conscience represent an endorsement of her beliefs.

  15. Andrew:

    1. If/when Ann Coulter publishes an endorsement of Dubya, then you’ll have something closer to a strawman. But Coulter, at her worst, only pretty much equals Rall. Rall opposed our going into Afghanistan, and proclaimed it part and parcel of an oil-grab. And he’s loudly declaimed the idea, before the Veteran’s Day column, that killing Americans is necessary.

    2. Riiiiiiight. Rall’s column shows that DEAN isn’t very left-wing. Why? Because Rall, who IS very left-wing, supports him. I’d buy it if he came out for Lieberman. But he didn’t.

    3. I’ve seen this meme a lot. The Left is held to higher standards b/c, well, we’re just more moral. You just go on believing that.

    But let’s never hear from the Left complaints, then, if David Duke decides to run as a Republican, or endorses one. That, or recognize that there are some people who are loathsome, whose support is not desirable, NO MATTER WHOSE SIDE OF THE AISLE YOU’RE ON. Like the Illinois Nazis. (“I hate Nazis.”)

    4. See “1” above. If this were the only column that Rall had written, sure, it’d be a tempest. But the 9-11 widows cartoon? Or his one about the FDNY people cashing in on their “big bucks”? His regular portrayal of the US military as the Wehrmacht? Puh-leeze.

  16. Andrew –

    The issue isn’t that Rall endorsed Dean, which was predictable.

    It’s that Dean’s semi-offical website is _thrilled_ that Rall endorsed him, and that the feyadeen are pumped about it.

    If David Duke endorses Bush, or, as you suggested, Coulter endorsed Bush, it’s not material.

    But if Bush’s website tru,mpeted one of those endorsements as a significant thing – big deal indeed.

    Does that make my reaction clearer?


  17. Hmmm. We could go partisan on this one, but let’s try a sidearm pitch from your side of the aisle instead.

    Ted Rall is the living, breathing embodiment of everything Coulter claims about America’s left-liberals. Watching him in action will make many people believe Coulter. Having him endorse Dean, the almost-certain Democratic nominee… wonder how many thousands of Treason books sold and fast TV soundbites that will make for?

    Dude, Ted Rall makes Coulter’s argument for her. From the Democrat side of the aisle, that seems like a bad thing.

    But what do I know? I’m a non-American conservative.

    RE: performing for sadistic pleasure… if that were true and Coulter confirmed it, it would probably raise her ratings. Especially if she then started wearing more leather.

  18. Dean, or any other presidential candidate, can’t be held responsible for the views of every nut who endorses him, UNLESS he promotes that endorsement. That is essentially what Dean is doing on his blog.

    Now Dean, obviously, didn’t write the blog entry himself but he still has to be held responsible for what appears on his official blog. He should disassociate himself from Ted Rall’s crackpot beliefs or risk having the Republicans use them against him somewhere down the road.

  19. performing for sadistic pleasure… if that were true and Coulter confirmed it, it would probably raise her ratings. Especially if she then started wearing more leather.

    Now that you mention it, Googling for “Coulter dominatrix” gets hundreds of pages.

    I’ve decided that you’re right as a tactical measure: Dean should have let Rall do his own publicity, to maintain more distance. Not, frankly, as if this would really stop the right wing from bringing it up. But I expect you’ll hear Dean talking about the broad spectrum of his support (as I wrote before, I think he’s the Democrat likely to have the largest number of defections from/to Republicans in both directions) using Rall and whoever is the first relative conservative (Lowell Weicker is on board already) to support him.

  20. Lowell Weicker? He was the guy they literally invented the term RINO for (Republican In Name Only), for being to the left of many Democrats. Got to the point where National Review embarked on a sustained crusade in the 1980s to make him an ex-Senator.

    Guess some things don’t change. And yes, trying to wave a broad banner is the most probable tactical approach from the Dean camp given its vulnerabilities beyond the primaries. Will it succeed? We’ll see.

    BTW, hadn’t thought to do that Google search. Google will tell you the oddest thing about the culture, if only you ask it the right questions….

  21. praktike –

    The enthusiastic commenters are a sidenote (as is the fact that all the anti- comments didn’nt appear to come from Dean supporters but from people who’d been linked there from here or one of the other sites).

    The enthusiastic support on the post itself what what was at issue…


  22. AL, every Dean thread is enthusiastic. I don’t think it had anything to do with Ted Rall for the 240 people who said nothing about Ted Rall whatsoever. Very few people have actually heard of the guy.

  23. praktike –

    So what’s your take on the post itself? (Note that “the official campaign blog” doesn’t mean it’s campaign policy, even _I’m_ smart enough to figure that out…)


  24. My take on the post is that the blog is run by a bunch of young, enthusiastic campaign workers operating without draconian oversight. I’m guessing they were genuinely excited to see a Green party member supporting someone clearly to his right. They probably didn’t know about Rall’s excesses, and when they found about them, they shut off the thread and tried to mitigate the negativity.

    In short, a tempest in a teapot.

    I will say this, however: that “re-regulation” comment has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.

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