Sometimes I Get a Little Misty
So I just watched Howard Dean on the George Stephanopolous show from over at Crooks and Liars and I went back to the summer of 2003, when Amy and I were here in Florida, I having just finished my MFA at Arkansas and about to embark on a trip across the country to San Francisco to begin my Stegner time. We were frustrated with the world of politics, and my blog life extended basically to reading Eric Alterman when I thought about it. (Man, if you knew the hours I spend these days, and I've actually cut back!)
We were sitting in her parents' tv room, talking about presidential candidates, but we didn't really know anything, so we just googled and found out who was running, and Dean's name came up. I remembered his civil unions bill and we liked that so we looked farther (even then we knew we weren't Lieberman types), and we discovered a whole lot more, particularly his bluntness, so much so that we donated money to his campaign--a first for either of us. We eventually bought yard signs and put them in the windows of our vehicles for the cross country trip. I have film photos, but nothing digital, alas.
So why am I reminiscing? Dean was in full effect on Stephanapolous today--blunt, straightforward, and unapologetically Democratic. When asked about William Jefferson's situation--if he's indicted for bribery, should he step down--Dean said "Yes," and nothing else.
Now growing up outside of New Orleans, it was hard not to hear of William Jefferson. He's had questions of impropriety dog him since I was a teenager, so it's no surprise that he's in trouble now. He reminds me of your basic machine politician, frankly--nothing more than basic greed at play here. But hearing Dean say that he needs to go if he's dirty--no equivocation, no hemming or hawing--was beautiful.
I'm no naif--I know that most politicians are only as honest as their opportunities, so while Dean may make the requisite claims that Democrats will clean up Washington (and may even believe them, for all I know), nothing will really change--but it's still really nice to hear a politician say that a dirty member of his own party ought to go. And since all we're really left with, politically speaking, is style rather than substance, I'll take what little style I can get.