January 27, 2004
Dean on policies, not temper
Kip Brown is
a senior religion major from Enid, Okla.
a liberal-minded person, many of my friends find it quite
odd that I often visit Matt Drudges ultra famous
news Web site drudge-report.com. I suppose
the tendency to visit the site is still a residual habit
from once believing that his Web site was simply an objective
compiling of news stories meant to make our furiously
busy American lives just a little bit easier. I soon realized
I was wrong when I first recognized Drudges distinctive
(and not-so-subtle) rhetorical technique.
Basically, if anyone Drudge disagrees with does or says
anything that clashes with neo-conservative ideology,
hell place an unflattering picture of them on the
top of his Web site and place an over-inflated, grossly
misleading caption below it. The most recent whopper was
an unflattering picture of Howard Dean with the caption,
Dean goes nuts! Anyone who follows politics
or watches the news has, of course, heard about Deans
infamous I have a scream speech in which he
delivered a speech akin to a high school football half-time
speech and belted out a rather benign yeah
at the end.
Of course, that yeah quickly became yeeaahh
and the speech is supposed to display Deans supposedly
rabid temper and mental instability.
In fact as writer Gregg Easterbrook points out, there
is no record in Deans past that suggests he is unstable
or has a bad temper. His term as a Vermont governor was
served in a quite reserved, almost excruciatingly responsible
manner. The bad photo is one of the dirty tricks of the
editorial room (hey, just look at my photo!), and because
I suspect the press has turned against Dean, dont
be surprised in the coming weeks if we see lots of photos
of John Edwards or John Kerry looking debonair and classy
while we get plenty of pictures of Dean looking as though
he is in the middle of a tree-trunk lift in the Worlds
Strongest Man Competition.
Moreover, even if Dean has a temper problem, such a quality
does not necessarily equal bad performance. One person
with a legendary temper is, of course, Bobby Knight, who
also happens to be one of the most winningest and effective
coaches in NCAA history. For the most part, I would argue
that Knights temper has not affected his leadership
abilities, excluding a few notable, creepy outbursts.
Knight is just one example among countless men and women
who tend to go nuts occasionally and still
manage to be quite successful.
I admit the I would not want Bobby Knight in charge of
the worlds largest stash of nuclear weapons, but
Dean has done nothing that would even remotely hint at
a lack of critical decision making skills. He is even
a successful doctor for goodness sake!
So, please, like or dislike Dean based on his policy ideas,
not because of the clever usage of a bad photo and an
unethically dishonest and misleading caption, or even
because he might, might, have a temper problem.