Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I asked a few weeks ago what our strategy is on gay rights.  Apparently, the strategy is to sell out our core constituency groups for no particular reason.

A CBN News segment on the 700 Club from Wednesday, May 10, 2006 looked at how Democrats are reaching out to evangelicals. The Segment took the form of interview with DNC chairman Howard Dean. Mr. Dean stated: "The truth is we have an enormous amount in common with the Christian community and particularly with the evangelical Christian community, and one of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture, what's on television that our kids our seeing, and the lack of spirituality and that's something we have in common." Mr. Dean continued by saying that Democrats share the concern of evangelicals over issues such as abortion, He stated: "We ought to have far fewer abortions. We need to make sure that we have not just abstinence but family planning is used to get rid of abortion and that's something that we share. Now the difference is that we don't think that making criminals out of doctors and women is a good idea." Mr. Dean also added that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and woman but states that equal rights under the law are important. Mr. Dean concluded by saying Democrats need to court evangelicals and values voters because no party should govern if they ignore a segment of the population.

Rev. Robertson did not subscribe to what Mr. Dean stated Democrats are trying to accomplish and said of Democrats that "they want to leave the Supreme Court on a more or less liberal bent to take prayer out of the public schools, abortion on demand etcetera and gay marriage is a constitutional right. Homosexuality is a constitutional right I should say, and if they took that stand they're going to have a hard time winning those values voters." Despite this criticism Rev. Robertson did praise Democrats for reaching out to evangelicals."

I'm going to enjoy the spin here that this is smart and principled.  At best, this is selling out human rights for no particular reason.  I mean, given a choice between a radical ideologue Republican and a Democrat who feels a bit queasy about equal rights, is the radical ideologue voter really going to vote for a Democrat?  

I'm sure that there will be lots of people out there willing to tolerate this level of stupid pandering because they assume that this is both politically wise (it isn't) and that Howard Dean has his fingers crossed.  I'm sorry but I don't play that game.  I expect leaders to be strong and principled, not craven.  Evangelicals may vote for Democrats this year, or they may stay home.  But it will have nothing to do with outreach like this.  They are simply embarrassed at what they voted for in George Bush.  No one likes being on team failure, and that includes the Christian right.  You beat failure by projecting strength, not by pandering.

I'm anticipating a lot of whining about this post from both Dean supporters and Democrats uncomfortable with gay rights.  Listen, if you really want Democrats to be 'on message', or to 'stand for something', or to promote our 'real values', or any other cliche out there about what ails the party this is the moment when you call bullshit.  It's easy to stand for lower gas prices.  It's easy to stand against selling national security assets to Dubai.  But that's not when your brand is created.  Strong leadership happens when you do something hard, when you make choices, and when your values matter sufficiently that you are willing to stand up for them.

I guarantee you that Dean's appearance on the 700 Club isn't going to help Democrats in, say, North Carolina.  No one believes his message that the Democrats think that marriage is between a man and a woman.  It's just not credible coming from him.  I don't believe it.  And neither do viewers of the 700 Club.  They just think it's weak.  Because it is.  And that's the message Dean got across to the 700 Club audience.

Tags: Evangelicals, gay rights, Howard Dean (all tags)



Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

What's to whine about, or what's to say at all with those quotes?  Are you saying Dean was wrong just for showing up there?

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-05-10 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

For starters, a person's spirituality or lack thereof is none of the government's goddamn business.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Dean is speaking from the heart. That's all thats going on.  I agree with Howard Dean, I like what he said -

Separation of Church and State is a given. Now, here's the twist: what about that part of Government, which is also a part of Society - that becomes part of your own home or social existence.  That part of society that is now completely communal, in which ideas fly with more speed than the founding fathers ever though possible.

So where do we separate, the need to identify with our social groups and friends - be they gay or straight - and the groups of people in whom policy, like the living law - is important and a day to day concern.

Dean is looking out over a vast sea of culture and agreeing with those who would call themselves christian.

Those who would disagree with that same group, those that say he's selling out -

Are only upset because once again he is speaking truth to power. The gays waged a culture war, they attempted to use politics to create a mass acceptance of their sterile lifestyle.

They lost.

I do not debate that we should separate church and state, I only point out that here, it is irrelevant. Dean is not saying that prayer guides policy.

He is only saying that we are all Americans. And I Agree with him wholeheartedly. But then, agreeing with Dean should be getting old to you by now, shouldn't it..

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 11:41AM | 0 recs
How fucking dare you....

The gays waged a culture war???  When the fuck was fighting for your rights a culture war?  

I hope every gay person you know slap you across the face for that comment.  although, oops, you probably don't know any, otherwise you'd have some damn compassion.  

You are just as bad at those slimy homophobic bigots that Dean was addressing.

by JAmbro 2006-05-10 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: How fucking dare you....

Oh, I'm not referring to just the election of 2004. Thats small fish. The gays knew they were going to lose that thing to begin with.

That was all Karl Rove, 2004. Had nothing to do with the war.

The war we are referring to here is a mostly successful 10 year campaign to turn about the view of homosexuality in the court of public opinion. It started out in the sixties, but really accelerated in the 90's.  Homosexuals took beachhead, after beachhead. Eventually homosexuality was displayed on nearly every TV screen in the united states, in a positive light. Thats a far cry from being something that was the "love that dare not speak its name" and in whom Americans really didn't understand at all until Kinsey wrote about it.

That said, to speak of gay marriage as a civil right is part of their 2004 product. Not their war.

Just a battle that they got their ass firmly kicked. Nearly blown off the ballot in every state, including Oregon and San Francisco.

Lets talk politics, Jambro. It was a stupid move then. Its a stupid move now. Thats why you're thinking about bitch slapping, and I'm thinking about the wonderful, calm voters that Dean was addressing. They're not voting for you.

They're following DEAN. A voice against the war, a voice for America. And a voice that happens not to be in opposition to you. Again, look at his record: he said the best place to decide it is in the legislature, and I agree. But I'm not comfortable with it.

Still to this day, Gay marriage is to me one of the worst conceived campaigns on behalf of either Karl Rove (who tried to use it to galvanise his base, and just ended up alienating millions of republicans and destroying his chances with the powerful republican independents - kao tao to the effing crazies NOT being his best idea either foreign policy or domestic - wise ) -  or the GLBT  who spend so much time these days trying to convince everyone how cool all of this is, that they are becoming shrill and pointless in their own right.

Socrates said:

"Courage is Intelligent Endurance".

Think about that.
Oh yeah. Think about this too. I'm an activist.
And this is for you.


There. now get up and get back to work. BEE YATCH

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:03PM | 0 recs
Completely illucid

I hardly ever understand what you're saying.  I can hardly even parse it.  You might as well be talking about nature's harmonic simultaneous 4-day time cube.  I'm sure I'd disagree with whatever it is you're saying if I could ever figure out what it was.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Completely illucid

he's a homophobe- he shows up every diary on the subject spewing the same shit. When asked the defend it with actual arguments - he either a)ignores or b) spews the same shit.

by bruh21 2006-05-10 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Completely illucid

I don't think turner sees the gay and lesbian issues in the same way most others here do. 90% of the time, he's very much in tune with other people here. He's just a person, and people tend not to be perfect.

by blues 2006-05-12 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

by the way, dean settled this issue out in the vermont legislature instead of the supreme court.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 11:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Separation of Church and State is a given.

No, it's really not.  There are a lot of people who insist there is no such thing, and are working to make it true.  Democrats should say that they disagree with those people, because they agree with the constitution.  If they don't, they're selling me out for votes from bigots.

Are only upset because once again he is speaking truth to power.

What?  He's pandering to hateful ideas.  How is that "speaking truth to power"?  I swear, if I hear that insipid idiom one more time, I'm gonna go postal.

The gays waged a culture war, they attempted to use politics to create a mass acceptance of their sterile lifestyle.  They lost.

Did they?  Opposition to gay marriage has been steadily dropping since the 2004 election.  10-15 years ago it would have been silly to even suggest that it would be part of the public debate.  It looks to me like they're winning.

He is only saying that we are all Americans.

No, he's saying I'm a problem because I'm not spiritual.  His language is exclusive.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 11:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I have had some experience with these arguments, and your defense here is astonishingly weak and ill conceived.

Lets be clear: first, you have to establish what you stand for.

My position is gay marriage is not a right, nor was it anything other than an ill conceived political gimmick. Constitutional Amendments against gay marriage serve no real purpose other than preventing  frivolous litigation. Gays who seek to solemnize their union can do so with contract law, and in the light of several churches who recognize them. I think the Unitarians, for example, see it. Society should not be coerced by politics, whether by Karl Rove and his attempt to mobilize homophobic america, or the GLBT , who is still caught up in a very expensive push to legitimize their lifestyle despite a consistent non-acceptance of it, using politics to change the status quo. In essence, I am consistent. I don't get upset. I just power on through this thing. Its something of a waste of time, in short.

Now, that said. Lets look at your position. You're non spiritual. You believe that the great Howard Dean is a demagogue, and that he has such low standards that he is pandering. And you are so sophisticated that you've somehow translated the continual and persistent majority of America voters who oppose gay marriage, plus the nearly 70% - please reflect upon that figure - that voted  FOR amendments banning gay marriage in more than a dozen states in the union -

Let me again repeat: your sophisticated statistical interpretation of steady support for a law that is now constitutionally banned in scores of states in the union as a result of an overwhelming majority of Americans voting against it -  is in fact, a position that Americans are winning.

So let me reiterate, and I apologize if we get into an intelligent conversation - if you're not ready for it.  Winning is winning. Losing is losing.

But when you're spinning statistics like that, you're being anti-spiritual. Just turn on fox news if you don't believe me.

Americans don't trade one idiot for another. Once things get broken badly enough, we always rally to fix it. Don't think that because you're non spiritual you're a target. In fact, spirituality is irrelevant. Dean is speaking to identity groups, not spiritual truths.

Remember too, this is the guy who decided to let the legislature battle it out. Since you have now invented a new form of mathematics to justify your  position - why not instead call it spirituality. After all, if you put it to vote now, and America passed it. It would be a miracle. Wouldn't it.


by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:14PM | 0 recs
I'm sorry you clearly haven't thought this through

Gays who seek to solemnize their union can do so with contract law, and in the light of several churches who recognize them

Just off the top of my head

  1. Contracts do not give the protection of ownership of real estate as tenants by the entirities. (Joint Tenancy is not the same). T by E is a status only granted to married couples.
  2. Hospital visitation can be an issue.
  3. Terri Schaivo- imagine a gay couple
  4. Probate (theres more involved than just wills, btw. e.g. in Georgia they have something called years suppport which spouses are entitled to, regardless of the will. Florida has homestead. I haven't researched this exhaustively, but I suspect more than a few states have little probate twists).

You probably would respond that a contract which spells out the issues, rights and liabilities for items 2, 3 and 4 is the answer. My response would be Hetero couples don't have to write special contracts to achieve these goals, why should homosexual couples be 2nd class?

by molly bloom 2006-05-10 01:57PM | 0 recs
What Hetero Couples have that Gay Couples do not

Access to SSDI survivor benefits

Access to insurance through spouse's workplace

Ability to file wrongful death claims

Ability to file joint home and auto insurance policies

Automatic inheritance of shared assets after spouse's death

Automatic inheritance of retirement savings tax-free after spouse's death

Ability to file joint tax returns

Access to tax breaks for married couples

Veterans discounts based on spouse's armed forces status

Automatic exemption of property tax increases on shared assets gained after spouse's death

Assumption of spouse's pension after death

Ability to file joint bankruptcy

Ability to transfer property from one spouse to another without transfer tax consequences

Automatic next-of-kin status for emergency medical decisions and hospital visitation status

Ability to invoke spousal privilege in a court of law

by molly bloom 2006-05-10 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

"The gays waged a culture war, they attempted to use politics to create a mass acceptance of their sterile lifestyle.

They lost. "


by davej 2006-05-10 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

The first thing that needs to happen here is a rebranding from "values voters" to "hate voters".  If your guiding principle as a voter is your irrational fear of homosexuals, you are a hate voter.

by jwb 2006-05-10 11:07AM | 0 recs

Do you have a link to the source article? I'd like to read the whole thing.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-05-10 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Link

Here's the link: asp

I feel the need to wash my eyes....

by KimPossible 2006-05-10 11:43AM | 0 recs
Thanks n/t

by LiberalFromPA 2006-05-10 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Mr. Dean also added that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and woman but states that equal rights under the law are important. Mr. Dean concluded by saying Democrats need to court evangelicals and values voters because no party should govern if they ignore a segment of the population.

Now I can see why the GLBT activists are concerned.

That is capitulation to homophobia.

My values apparently don't count then, Governor Dean?  Because Buddhists know nothing about values.


I would like a link to the full article, if you have it.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

"Mr. Dean also added that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and woman."

One fact, plus ...

"... states that equal rights under the law are important."

... one non-controversial opinion, plus ...

"... no party should govern if they ignore a segment of the population."

... one inclusive explanation, equals one anti-Semitic screed!

by BingoL 2006-05-10 11:43AM | 0 recs
If this is a response to my comment.

I didn't follow its relationship to what I said.

Could you elaborate?

by boadicea 2006-05-10 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: If this is a response to my comment.

I'm sorry. Unclear.

I just don't see how this is a capitulation to anything, or a claim that anyone's values don't count. It's not homophobic, it's not anti-Buddhist (or anti-Semitic, which I just added because I have a genius for miscommunication). It's, as I say, a statement of fact, an opinion I support (expressed weakly), and an explanation of what he's doing there.

(And see the comment, below, from Tracy Joan(?) about what was said. Makes a difference, I think.)

by BingoL 2006-05-10 11:59AM | 0 recs
It's giving ascendance to a particular religious

view over others. And one that seeks to strip the rights of a particular group of citizens. Capitulation.

I'm sensitive about the tendency to equate "faith values" with "Christian values", so understand that's where I'm coming from.

Particularly when the Christianists so clearly wish to promote their sharia law over me. Don't expect me to acquiesce in being made a second class citizen.

It is possible to have perfectly solid values without needing to have Biblical support, though I know the 700 Club would not think so.

I haven't seen Tracy Joan's comment yet, and no I'm not jumping from the party.

I'm fighting for my values as vigorously as any 700 Clubber.

This is my Democratic Party, and my America, too.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: It's giving ascendance to

Well, I'm not sure it's giving ascendance to anything. If he only speaks at 700 Club meetings, then yes. But if he speaks at such places with no greater frequency, proportionately, than he does at meeting of other religions, or other non-religious groups, then I simply don't see the problem.

And I agree the conflation of 'faith' with 'Christianity' can be problematic--again, if it's exclusive. I'm just not sure that's the case.

by BingoL 2006-05-10 12:33PM | 0 recs
I'm willing for the question to be open

but not to sit silently by while someone else decides it.

I hope the distinction is clear.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:38PM | 0 recs
To be fair its not all Christians

who seek to invoke Sharia. It is SOME Christians.

by molly bloom 2006-05-10 06:57PM | 0 recs
Christianists are not Christians.

We know the difference.

Real Christians are taking back their religion from the politically ambitious. But like Democrats, they're going to have to fight for it.

by boadicea 2006-05-11 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Christianists are not Christians.

Some days its hard to remember the difference. But thanks for pointing me to the post.

Didn't mean to sound as though I was selling you short.

by molly bloom 2006-05-11 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Christianists are not Christians.

No problem. I appreciate the chance to clarify.

by boadicea 2006-05-12 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

You are executing a loathsome display of sophistry in your argument.

The vast majority of American voters, consistently agree and vote against homosexual union. They are in effect stating that gay marriage will have to evolve organically - that it cannot be forced upon us by lawsuit. This is any good voter should vote for constitutional amendments against gay marriage - gay activists were launching expensive, high profile lawsuits trying to game the system to bring it all into sharp view.

Your values, as a voter, are not defined by a carefully organized lobby (such as the GLBT) that attempted to launch high profile lawsuits and bring to bear the legalization of gay marriage in their overt support for HOWARD DEAN and their continuing support for anything that pushes them into the media.

Instead, if you are buddhist, you must feel compassion for all things.

Do you only feel compassion for the worm, and not the bird? The mouse, and not the cat? Lord Buddha saw in all things the great mystery of life. His smile brings the radiance of pure consciousness to all things, he is the bodhi satva - the living embodiment of compassion. He simply loves all things.

So, a pig, who is born naturally homosexual. Spends his sperm up the arse of another male pig, and dies removed from the chain of life. Did he escape the wheel. Does he deserve to show other pigs the right way to do everything. Should he get his own TV show. Does he have 15 minutes of fame.  Are all pigs therefore removed from the compassion of the buddha because they are pigs, in whom, homosexuality occurs naturally.

No. They are just pigs. Like you.

I am just a worm.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 11:50AM | 0 recs
The day I need you to lecture me about

Buddhist values...

Well, that day's never gonna come.

At one time a majority of Americans thought blacks were not able to cultivate sophisticated thought.  

At one time a majority of Americans thought women were too emotionally and intellectually fragile to be trusted with the vote, much less to take part in the rough and tumble of everyday political life.

They were wrong, and this is wrong. It is capitulation to bigotry.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The day I need you to lecture me about

It's frickin' hilarious that people are bringing up Buddhist values in talking about homosexuality.

From this article:

Although he is known for his tolerant, humane views, he is a surprisingly harsh critic of homosexuality. If you are a Buddhist, he says, it is wrong. "Full stop.

No way round it.

"A gay couple came to see me, seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife - astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices. Using the other two holes is wrong."

At this point, he looks across at his interpreter - who seems mainly redundant - to check that he has been using the right English words to discuss this delicate matter. The interpreter gives a barely perceptible nod.

"A Western friend asked me what harm could there be between consenting adults having oral sex, if they enjoyed it," the Dalai Lama continues, warming to his theme. "But the purpose of sex is reproduction, according to Buddhism. The other holes don't create life. I don't mind - but I can't condone this way of life."

by Anthony de Jesus 2006-05-10 12:01PM | 0 recs
Dalai Lama doesn't speak for me.

So quotes from him make no damn difference.

It's like quoting the Pope to a Baptist.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Dalai Lama doesn't speak for me.

I agree that people like Bill Clinton (who is a christian), the Dalai Lama (who fights against a communist tyranny), Manmohan Singh (the first non-corrupt PM of India in nearly 20 years, and a sikh towelhead) are people that might have ideas that bring to bear on unity and strength.

Buddhism is part of a world view, a way of seeing and understanding and being.  It is embraced by billions of people in the world.

Confucius say:

"Better not have forks and knives at the table, lets use chopsticks instead."

Think about that.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:25PM | 0 recs
Ideas yes.

You, however, can keep your platitudes, prejudices, and fortune cookie speak.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Actually, Dean didn't really say anything Earth shattering here. Most of what he said is the Democratic platform, and one I agree with, just in a way that won't freak out the 700 Club audience. So he emphasizes decreasing abortions -- he still said we are against criminalizing women and doctors.

So most of this is just smart phrasing of where we stand. The one issue you can take is with marriage between a man and a woman. This still leaves open civil unions, which opens the door to shift the American public in the direction of gay marriage, while taking out some steam. I still would prefer a strong stance on this issue, but it's hardly selling out. The Democratic platform has opposed gay marriage for the last two elections, and we still get beat up like we're pushing for it. So if we're going to get slammed regardless, maybe we should take the principled stand.

by Memekiller 2006-05-10 11:17AM | 0 recs
Not what, who

I don't think the issue is so much what he said (which is nothing new), but to whom he's saying it to.

He's courting bigots -- that's the problem.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-05-10 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Not what, who

He's courting Bigot-Americans, and he explains why: no party should ignore any segment of the population.

It's fine to think Democrats should ignore evangelicals, or people with Confederate flags, or any other group of Americans: I'm just not sure that the failure to do so means they endorse the bigotry of the group in question.

by BingoL 2006-05-10 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Not what, who

The 700 club is attracting big time interest here because Dean is here... people tune into these dippy shows just because guys like Uncle Howard are showing up.

This is the same show that announced America should kill some guy in South America, isn't that right?

So when do we grow up? The people here are a wide swatch  of America - anyone who has a remote control. Anyone who appreciates the irony - who would get a thrill in seeing Dean out there battling for a party reborn, a chance for America to unify.

You guys are talking about it as if you have cable. Wait a minute... you DO have cable.

So they're talking about YOU.


by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Obviously I didn't see Dean speak - since he was on the 700 Club - but I honestly am not sure what he said that is so surprising or disturbing.  As far as the gay rights piece of things goes, he reiterated the exact stance that Kerry (and Gore and Clinton before him)expressed.  In favor of civil unions (code words - equal rights) and against gay marriage.  

Personally, I'm all for Gay Marriage rather than civil unions.  But if Dems really do show full support for civil unions at this point, then I'm willing to settle for that right now.  I understand others may feel differently, but that's largely a disagreement about what the best strategy is for truly achieving equal rights.  Eventually, I think demographic changes are going to move the Country towards gay marriage regardless.  

On a macro level, I also disagree that this is stupid politically.  There's a grate discussion in "Bush's Brain" that describes a conversation between Rove and GWB when he was Governor regarding whether or not to give teachers a raise during a teachers strike.  Rove is in favor of a small raise and Bush asks why, given that teachers and their union will never support him.  Answer -- you're not trying to win over the teachers, who were a lost cause to Bush, but rather the Republican leaning suburban moms who were sympathetic to the teachers.

An analogy can certainly be made to Dean appearing on the 700 Club.  Will hard core, I love the religious right evangelicals vote for a Dem b/c of this appearance?  Of course not.  Can Dems win over a different segment of the evangelical community that - in addition to being against gay marriage and abortion - is also in favor of environmentalism and social justice?  I think the answer could be yes.

After all, if we're going to have a 50 state strategy we really do have to find a way to have a dialogue with members of what used to be the religious left.    

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I agree. The way to start a dialogue, is to talk to them. So many people here that are two fries short -of-a happy meal in their lunchbox - are all into labelling and all that stuff.

The real thing thats going on , is here's a show that was calling for all these outrageous maneuevers against people -

Is now asking a man who fought for truth to speak on their show.

That is insanely great in my view. Still, I don't miss cable in this instance. Dean's appearance on Chris MAthew's "HArdBall" was the one I actually went over to a friends house to see.

I'm not really into this dialogue anymore, its kind of shallow. The people who really dig the 700  club are probably the ones who will talk more about this than I will.

I think you have the best position here in the thread. Mazeltov.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Let me tell a story from long ago.

My ex-wife's grandmother lived in the Olympic Peninsula, in a small logging town.  Her best friend and the three of us once went to the local spot for lunch after church.  The friend began to rail about changes at the local public school, calling the teachers Marxists, lesbians, etc...

I listened to this venting for a while, and then  started to cofront her, but not in a nasty way.  After about ten minutes of conversation, what it really came down to was that virtually none of the teachers lived in town, and virtually none of the teachers bought things like groceries in town.  We also found out that she had a problem with one of the teachers because she was a member of the Quinnault indian tribe (who actually lived closer to the town than other teachers because she lived on tribal land), which actually was a surprise for her, as she had never thought of herself as bigoted.  

When we started figuring out the real issues that bothered her, without making apologies for what she was buying into at the time, then we could get down to brass tacks, such as why it was that there was virtually, if not literally, no housing for teachers to buy into in the area, necessitating that the teachers would have to live about a half hour's drive south of the town.

I wouldn't have said things quite the way Howard Dean said them, but I don't hear pandering - I hear an attempt at dialogue.  If people don't want to hear, they just won't.  But it's foolish not to realize that some folks get so caught up in their emotional mindset that they lose touch with "facts on the ground" and what they believe at heart, versus where their tempers send them.

An example is gays and marriage.  I think the biggest problem is that some folks are literally convinced that the Feds or the state governments are somehow going to force the local Disciples of Christ church down the road to marry two gay men or two lesbians if gays have the right to form civil unions.  We know that's unrealistic and not desired - in the heat of the moment, though, people can get caught up in a lot of sound and fury.

And to that end, I see Howard as trying to cut through that sound and fury to applying common sense to explaining why the Democrats are more likely to look after the long-term interests of most Evangelicals.  Are some just nothing but hate made flesh?  Yup - I've met that type, believe you  me.  But some aren't.

My two bits...

by palamedes 2006-05-10 12:42PM | 0 recs
That's worth at least 4 bits.

Give  yourself a raise.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 01:20PM | 0 recs
He was half good

His stance on abortion - "we're both against it, but Democrats don't murder doctors or demonize women" was perfect.  It embraces their ideals while smacking down their hate.

Now, he can't do exactly the same thing with homophobia, because there's no ideal there, just pure hate.  But he could have done something as principled and honest as he did with abortion.  Like saying, say, the Democrats support the institution of marriage, and see no reason why gays should be restrained from participating if it means more stable, two-parent, productive-member-of-society families.  Or something along those lines.

Dean has consistently kept whatever pro-gay leanings he has at arm's length, and I've been consistently disappointed.

by schroeder 2006-05-10 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: He was fully bad

His stance on abortion - "we're both against it, but Democrats don't murder doctors or demonize women" was perfect.  It embraces their ideals while smacking down their hate.

Respectfully disagree.

First of all, he doesn't speak for me when he moralizes about abortion. He's essentially slut-shaming, while saying the Democrats are going to be nice enough not to prosecute. This does not smack down their hate -- it enables it.

Had he said that the Democrats support family planning programs to assist women who would prefer to carry to term instead of opting for abortion as a necessity, that's fine. But this tendency for Democrats to preface any statement on abortion rights with "we all agree it's bad" is simply incorrect and encourages increasing the decibel level regarding women who exercise their constitutional right to an abortion.

Similarly, a separate but equal status on rights of union just strengthens the wedge. He comes across as terribly patronizing once again -- yeah, we agree that marriage is normal but we gotta do something about these people. That's how it comes across to me. It's pandering, and it's disgusting.

What is it about America -- do we really need to moralize incessantly about others to feel better about ourselves?  

by dblhelix 2006-05-10 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: He was fully bad

You can say that abortion is never the preferred outcome without shaming anyone who has had an abortion.  And in that sense, there is overwhelming agreement that abortion is "bad."  

If you don't even agree that preventing an unwanted pregnancy is preferable to aborting an unwanted pregnancy, then I have to say you really are part of a very small minority.    

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: He was fully bad

You can say that abortion is never the preferred outcome without shaming anyone who has had an abortion.

If you don't even agree that preventing an unwanted pregnancy is preferable to aborting an unwanted pregnancy, then I have to say you really are part of a very small minority.    

Here you're putting words in my mouth. Of course I agree that prevention should be a consensus view. Prevention First is good legislation.

Realistically, there will be failures. And an abortion may very well be the preferred outcome for the woman involved -- who are we to say otherwise?

by dblhelix 2006-05-10 02:17PM | 0 recs
Re: He was fully bad

But isn't what you just said exactly what Dean said?  That's my point.

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 02:55PM | 0 recs
okay, my bad

When I said "we're both against it," I was oversimplifying to save time, and I shouldn't have done that.  We're both against it in the sense that liberals want to prevent abortions from being neccesary by making sex ed and contraception a widely available part of everyday life, whereas conservatives want to treat any form of human sexuality (other than a married couple conceiving a child) as criminal activity.  So, both "against", but in two very different ways.  

But I think you, I, and Dr. Dean are in basic agreement here - it just didn't sound that way the way I phrased it.  Dean's abortion stance has always been, "between a woman and her doctor," which is about as close as you can come to saying "get your laws off my body" without it actually being your body.

by schroeder 2006-05-18 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

From the transcript of the broadcast:

Gay marriage the platform said marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is we believe in inclusion. That everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect and equal rights under the law are important. I'm not saying we'll agree with everything between the more conservative evangelicals and Democrats but I think there's more common ground and we're willing to work with the evangelical community.

by Tracy Joan 2006-05-10 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Hmm, if that's what he really said then I think what Matt posted is more than a little misleading.

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 11:36AM | 0 recs
Work with the evangelical community.

But do not abandon those outside of it.

Finding common ground is something I can get behind, and that quote from the transcript does calm my frazzled nerves somewhat.

But there is a solid and growing unrest that needs to be dealt with, and not by putting civil rights for the GLBT community in a closet.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Work with the evangelical community.

I agree with you completely.  Politically, however, we are talking about a delicate dance.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 12:20PM | 0 recs
A delicate dance, yes.

Don't expect not to hear about it when you tromp on a partner's foot, however.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: A delicate dance, yes.

Of course not - that would be appropriate.  Just don't KILL the partner when they do screw up.  That's my point.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: A delicate dance, yes.

Heh, I agree.

As I said, I wasn't going to take my Democracy Bond and go home or anything.

But I'm going to speak up when something bothers me about the direction the Dems are taking-not a particular Dem except as they serve as a bellwether.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Work with the evangelical community.

Not really. Gay marriage is not a civil rights issue. Instead, its a DEAD issue.

In fact, the thing is more than a little bit funny. Matt is usually skewed into believing whatever hollywood does is part of the culture.

In fact, this thing Dean did will be forgotten in less than a few days. Glad he's out there. Wish he'd get on teh Lehrer Report where he belongs.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Thank you Matt...

by JAmbro 2006-05-10 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

You won't get any whining from this Dean supporter.  Great post.  

by fred 2006-05-10 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

When you combine this with the recent firing at the DNC and the squabble over whether to have gay and lesbian affirmative action goals in national convention delegate selection, you have got to wonder what is going on at the DNC on GLBT issues.

by nascardem 2006-05-10 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I don't see anything in Howard Dean's comments that represents a break with anything the Democratic Party has said anytime recently. This appearance is just an attempt to skim off a few votes from tottering evangelicals upset with the Bush Administration (or at least to encourage a few people to stay home).

I'm more surprised that the 700 Club would invite Dr. Dean knowing full well he was trying to shave a few wavering voters or keep them home.

I am a gay voter. Do I think the Democratic Party has ever been some kind of great guardian of human rights of gays and lesbians? Not in my lifetime. I'm sure the Democratic Party would gladly jettison gays and lesbians if it could make up our votes someplace else.

As for marriage, well, I'm not one who particularly cares. I am much more concerned with civil rights legislation, which the Democratic Party had so precious little about.

by srsjones 2006-05-10 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Yeah well North Carolina isnt a good example of your idea of the "radical right" when their governor and entire state legislature is and has always been controlled by Democrats. They dont have a Jesse Helms as poster boy for the right anymore either.

Also, we can thank Bill Clinton for what the Dem party platform states. Remember DOMA? I dont forsee Howard Dean or any other national level Democrat trying to change that until they have power again.

LGBT, like you and I, fighting for "nothing short of marriage" right now is a losing battle. We're doing nothing but festering the hate mongers ourselves and driving them to the polls by allowing the mob to set public policy(here in TX we lost the anti amendment initiative 75-25).

You can call bullshit to high heaven everytime someone isnt pandering to every little activist group right now. Im sorry, but Im still going to subscribe to the "Crashing the Gates" theory of staying away from pet projects until we have control again. I've learned my lesson.

by John McTexas 2006-05-10 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

...Democrats worry about ... the lack of spirituality and that's something we have in common.

Why do politicians constantly go out of their way to poke the non-religous in the eye?  The value of spirtuality is obviously a personal thing.  Why the fuck should government care that I don't believe in ghosts?

Seriously, why the hell should an atheist vote for somebody who says something like that instead of, say, a libertarian candidate?  I keep telling myself that "no, that's wrong, you've gotta be a pragmatist and vote for the lesser of two evils", but every time I do it sounds sillier and sillier.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

In this case I think you need to remember who he was talking to.

They don't give a rat's ass about the non-religious, or the other major world religions that don't follow their Biblical world view.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is we believe in inclusion. That everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect and equal rights under the law are important.

And how is this not a principled stand?  

by KimPossible 2006-05-10 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Amen.  That bolded part really does change the entire meaning of his statements.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Mr. Dean also added that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and woman but states that equal rights under the law are important.

These two points are mutually exclusive.  So which is it?

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 11:40AM | 0 recs
They absolutely are not

The first is a statement of fact, the second a statement of principle.  

Statement of fact:  "the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between a man and woman."

Statement of principle:  "equal rights under the law are important."

They are in no way mutually exclusive.  In the 80s, one could also have said "South African law discriminates against blacks, but elimination of color barriers in employment is essential."

The transcript quote, posted above, is even stronger:  "we believe in inclusion. That everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect and equal rights under the law are important."

Advocating inclusion, dignity, respect, and equal rights for gays and lesbians, is not pandering to the religious right.  That's the kind of talk that, said about blacks in the Deep South of the 60s, could get you killed.

There's not a single Christian Coalition leader that would ever sign on to any of the principles Dean set out, and we all know it.

by Califlander 2006-05-10 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: They absolutely are not

So what is he saying? That the Democratic party platform is in conflict with the Democratic party's principles, or that there can be equal rights under the law with unequal marriage rights?  The former is unprincipled, the latter is nonsense.  Which is it?

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: They absolutely are not

I think what he is saying is that supporting civil unions, which legally do give all the same rights to same sex couples as "marriage", constitutes support for equal rights.

Now, as I stated before I think that denying a segment of the population the right to even the title of "marriage" does matter.  So I'm not going to argue otherwise here.  However, I will say that such a position is not "nonsense" and that vilifying politicians who are willing to come that far is probably not the best way to move forward.  That's how a lot of people - who are otherwise decent folks - feel about this issue right now.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: They absolutely are not

Platforms usually represent compromise positions, rarely consensus.  Compromise, more or less by definition, conflicts with principle.  

You haven't addressed my main point: that Dean's telling the religious right that gays and lesbians are entitled to inclusion, dignity, respect, and equal rights under the law is pretty impressive.  It's not a pander.  Nor do I think that it's a sign of weakness.

Naturally, I'd have preferred it if he'd knee'd them in the groin after throwing down his markers -- I don't particularly like a lot of the folks who tune in to the 700 Club.  I sense that I'm not alone in that.  But as a former boss used to remind me, sometimes you must suffer the fools, even if you don't do it gladly.  Dean's job includes outreach.  Even if the people who watch the show will never vote Democrat, there are lots of other religious folks, not in the Dobson-Robertson-Falwell orbit, who have bought into the idea that Dems are disdainful of people of faith and afraid of saying what they believe in.  Going on the 700 Club -- walking into the lion's den -- and talking about the importance of inclusion and equal rights for gays shows otherwise.

by Califlander 2006-05-10 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

The one thing that I will disagree with you on, Matt, is the idea that it's not worth it because he won't convince 700 Club viewers of anything, i.e., when you say his appearance "isn't going to help Democrats in, say, North Carolina."  I think his appearance just might do exactly that.

Isn't this what the 50 state strategy is all about?  Yeah, he could have chosen different things to say, but the idea that it isn't worth trying to reach out to 700 Club viewers is ridiculous.  If we just run to our already existing constituency, we don't expand the party's base.  Dean on the 700 Club won't help in 2006.  But it might help in 2008 or 2010 or 2012.

Selling out is bad; reaching out is good.  Of course it's a fine line there, but it wasn't his attempt to appeal to these voters that crossed a line.  Did he say things I wish he hadn't?  Yeah.  But by and large, I think his presence was good.

Quick story: I grew up in a Republican house.  We didn't have cable.  I woke up really early on weekends even when I was six because I kind of liked the house nobody else around.  Well, with no cable, what do you think was on at 6am on a Sunday?  Infomercials and The 700 Club; I split my viewing pretty evenly.

My point?  These ridiculous shows do reach a few people who aren't typical viewers.  Moreover, they reach a few persuadable viewers and some who may not yet realize they are persuadable.  Democrats are presently at a huge structural disadvantage.  Taking every opportunity to reach out to new people is good.

by jhupp 2006-05-10 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

This post betrays a lack of knowledge about the distinction between evanglicals and the radical religious right. Many folks who watch tv evangelists or who attend evangelical churches are not of the radical right political stripe. Evangelicals are Christians who rely on the bible as their sole source of inspiration. That does not mean necessarily they are literalist, or fundamentalist, or social conservatives. The Democratic party needs to reach out to evanglicals who are concerned about values, including the values of peace, social justice, and the environment. Not to forget just a decent wage and having health care for your children. Howard Dean is doing the right thing.

by cmpnwtr 2006-05-10 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

"You beat failure by projecting strength, not by pandering."

Yup, that strategery is working out well for Bush in Iraq and foreign policy.

I supported Howard Dean in 2004 for being exactly this kind of principled pragmatist, and yes he is a man with principles, just not yours.  You expect whining, then fine, I'll give it to you.  

In you're own way, you're becoming almost as bad as Joe Liebermann with your attempts to distract from the Democratic message.  The core Democratic issues have nothing to do with abortion or homosexuals.  The core Democratic issues are primarily about economic and distributive justice.  

Quit being such a damn fool.

by Anthony de Jesus 2006-05-10 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Gov Dean is being consistent.  He has been saying the same thing  even before he was a  presidential candidate.

I dont see anything wrong with what he said.

He is correcting the misimpressions of evangelicals about Democrats.

Kudos to Gov Dean for reaching out to Evangelicals.  

Because the Democratic Party is more about loving your neighbor and that we are our brother's keeper,  in contrast to the Republicans.  For Jesus said, whatever you do to the least of my bretheren you do to me.

by jasmine 2006-05-10 12:13PM | 0 recs
Dean did great

I don't see the problem here.  How is a civil union different then a gay marriage in any way accept for the word?

And why shouldn't we engage the right-wingers?  It's positive for us to fill their world with our message, to challenge their view, and to show that there are lots of people in the world who see things differently.  We ignore them at our own peril.

by pacified 2006-05-10 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Chapeau to Dr Dean for going into hostile terrain and speaking clearly.

I'm not sure I get what some are vilifying him for. The man has a record on gay rights that we should all be proud of; this is the US, after all, and he seems to me to simply be employing very diplomatic language to respectfully express his disagreements with his hosts at the 700 Club on both gay rights and abortion.

One thing he also does in going on a show like this and speaking calmly and respectfully is that, in the eyes of what is likely a fifth of the electorate, Protestant evangelicals, he undermines the street cred of one of the standard GOoPer screed about us - that we are angry, screaming Xtian haters.

Another thing he does is gets them thinking about what values we share, and despite the many bigotted stances many evangelicals hold, Xtian values are much more in line with ours when it comes to topics of economic justice than they are with those of the money changers in the temple of the GOP. So even if they still go out and vote GOP, they may start pressuring for an economic fair deal from the GOP congress critters. Many evangelicals are also suffering from the past couple of decade's economic policies. And in the weak Dem majority we're likely to see in the next Congress, setting up limited alliances of this sort ain't necessarily a bad tactic.

We'll get to gender pay equity, and we'll get to full and absolute equal civil rights for all people regardless of race, creed, gender and sexual orientation. One brick at a time. I would argue that the strongest foundation for these goals is economic equity and inclusion, and this is one arena we can definitely work with evangelicals. After all, it's not for nothing that Eugene Debs had a picture of Christ up in the cell that famous Democratic bigot, Woodrow Wilson, had confined him to.

by redstar67 2006-05-10 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Very nicely put.  I think a lot of people forget that historically religious advocates have often (though certainly not always) been on the side of progressive reform in the US.  Oh, and I love the reference to Debs and Wilson - classic.    

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

First, I think we all know by now that Howard Dean is not the policy setter.  He doesn't get to declare by fiat that the Democrats support gay marriage, thereby excommunicating every Democratic candidate who isn't there yet.  There are mechanisms by which the party platform can be changed and I have no problem with anyone who makes a priority out of pursuing that option.

Second, people who think the "homosexual agenda" is the greatest evil facing America today are not going to vote Democratic, and that's a given.  But not everyone who is evangelical or watches the 700 Club fits into that category.  In fact, the following two statements are true: (1) most Americans oppose "gay marriage" per se; and (2) most Americans care very little about gay marriage as an issue.  Dean's political strategy is to assure people we're not advocating anything radical and to move on to the next topic.  It's good strategy.

Some people have commented that you can't be for both "defining marriage as between a man and a woman" and "equal rights under the law."  This is literally true, of course (unless you're fine with "separate but equal").  What these people are overlooking, however, is that even though you can't logically believe both those things, a majority of Americans do, in fact, believe both those things!  Dean is simply engaging in framing; instead of saying "we're for gay marriage" (warning lights start flashing) he says "we're for equal rights under the law" (perfectly acceptable statement, everyone is fine with it).  Then over time, as Democrats repeat this point, more and more people come to realize what we already know; gay marriage is, in fact, an expression of equal rights under the law.  This is not so much an argument for incrementalism as it is for persuading people on terms they can relate to.

by Steve M 2006-05-10 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

You're wrong. People who think the gay homosexual agenda is evil, already won. The effing crazies are in charge.

You seem to believe that people won't change their stripes, just to follow power.

Watch how fast you find loyal democrats turning to the tide as the midterms approach and bush pushes down into the worst presidency ever -

seriously. people change. Some of them for the better. But the people who really tink gays are all evil, well, they're just assholes. Thats the christian term for them.

And as you know, that type of person normally gets to do whatever they can to be right next to the action.

Seriously.  Take a look at Karl Rove, for example. The guy is a complete heat seeker. He bashes gays even though his boss masturbated in a coffin with other guys all around.

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-05-10 12:36PM | 0 recs
Sounds good to me

I don't see anything wrong with anything Dean said, but I'm a big fan and can mentally spin the good doctor's words until they fit comfortably with my perceptions.

First, on the abortion issue, do we not want abortions to be rare?!  Of course we do.  We want contraception and family planning and some of us are even OK with abstinence education.  Abstinence IS the only failproof way to remain free of STDs and fetuses.  Abstinence-only education is dumb and dangerous, but including discussion of abstinence makes sense.

And he didn't lie when he said that the Democratic platform does not condone gay marriage.  I have a feeling that might change in 2008, but it currently does not.  As governor of Vermont, he advanced civil unions as a remedy for unfair treatment of gay couples.  In my gay opinion, civil unions can be a perfectably acceptable alternative.  I support gay marriage, but civil unions can provide all the legal protections that are needed.  I know there's the impression that CUs are second-class treatment, but if the same protections are provided, who cares what they call it?

by ChgoSteve 2006-05-10 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

For those who don't get why some of us are so hot about this, pretend for an instant that he said the following:

One of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the lack of racial purity in our culture.

Mr. Dean also added that the Democratic Party platform defines marriage as between two people of the same race but states that equal rights under the law are important.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Exactly.  It's disappointing to see the cult of personality thing rear its head in this thread, but it does whenever Dean is criticized.

by Matt Stoller 2006-05-10 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I dunno, Matt, I'm not a big Deaniac, never was, he's a lot more conservative than many of his fans are willing to admit. But he did get civil unions done in VT, and that's not nothing.

I say on this particular subject, he's walked the walk far better than most pols in America, so we'd be wise to give him the benefit of the doubt when he's out talking the talk.

Even Lionel Jospin, a very good Socialist, could not bring himself to support gay marriage. Paul Wellstone voted for that Defence of Marriage act. Bigotry? Sure. But there's more to both men than their mistaken stances on this issue.

When they're wrong on over half the issues, which many Dems are, then start hurling mud. You know I'm right there with you. But bigotry is a mountain, moved one rock at a time.  Throwing stones doesn't necessarily help move that mountain.

by redstar67 2006-05-10 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I agree with your underlying premise, if not so much on tactics on this particular subject.

However, I do have one question: How do you get from what Doctor Dean said:

"one of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture"

To the theoretical words you put in his mouth:

"One of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the lack of racial purity in our culture."

You make a monster, and quite uncalled for, step here. He's saying nothing of the kind, not even remotely close.

And he's spot-on when talking about materialism, this is clearly one area where lefties and many religious people converge in values.

by redstar67 2006-05-10 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I should have used an ellipsis.  To clarify, this is the whole section that I objected to: of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture, what's on television that our kids our seeing, and the lack of spirituality and that's something we have in common.

"Racial purity" was intended to substitute spirituality, not materialism.  So, my modified quote should have been: of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture, what's on television that our kids our seeing, and the lack of racial purity and that's something we have in common.

My point is that discrimination based on religion (or lack thereof, in this case) is just as henious as discrimination based on race.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I'm still not following.

Spirituality and racial purity? Still a helluva stretch IMHO.

Belief and race are two different things; for one thing, I can be born French-Canadian and Catholic and stop being a Catholic. But I sure can't stop being French-Canadian. Sammy Davis and Rod Carew can be Black and Xtian, but when they converted to Judaism, they were still Black.

And so on for whatever ethnic group you may find yourself to be.

And I'm not sure being gay means you are not spiritual (for one thing, most gays in my circle are spiritual, some overly so, which I find annoying since I'm not). Course, folks can choose to be religious or not, but I don't know anyone who can choose to be hetero or homo-sexual.

I'm also not sure that folks persecute gays do so because gays are not spiritual. They do so because they are bigots who cannot tolerate the thought of men with other men and women with other women, simple as that.

You can't change 'em, 'cuz after 40 years or so (whetever the average age of an evangelical is) they're hard-wired. But you can change their perceptions and, more importantly, you can change their children's perceptions. This happens in steps, some small, some big, but one real big step to making people tolerant is to give them access to education and especially, an economic future and a stake in a global society where all folks, gay or straight, black or white, men and women are in it together as stakeholder. That's huge. And it's one thing where you get may get limited initial cooperation from fundies, and that cooperation

There's a reason why Europe, far more economically equal and socially secure, is the place where advances in human rights are happening, and not the US. Get the US on the path to that same economic justice and social cohesion, and pathways to social justice will open up on their own. It's not like gay rights are making headway in the economically unequal backwaters of the world y'know; there's a connexion.

Anti-black bigotry was a vile thing, a stain, as yet not fully washed out, on America's reputation, one which rightfully undermines America's claim to be a universal voice for human rights and values. Anti-gay bigotry is an equally vile thing. In both cases, we're talking a generation to begin to wipe out the stain, two to three to eliminate it.  

You have to start somewhere. Seems to me Dean has gone further than most to start that process. I'm all for laying into him for some things, but this isn't one.

by redstar67 2006-05-10 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I'm not equating lack of spirituality with being gay, I honestly don't know that many gays personally, so I don't think I can make a generalization on them being more or less spiritual.

The reason I object to that particular statement is that I'm worried about my rights as an atheist.  Now it's true that people can change their religion and they can't change their race, but that doesn't mean religious bigotry is not just as repugnant.

When Howard Dean says that Democrats are worried about the lack of spirituality, that's saying that they, as a party, think something ought to be done about it.  They're saying that my lack of spirituality is a problem.

Can you see why I have a very serious problem with that?  Imagine if I said "One big thing Democrats are worried about is the amount of religious belief in our culture."  It's one thing to have a personal opinion about the value of religious belief, it's quite another for it to be the position of a political party.

The government must be denied the power to interfere with people's religious lives.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 02:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

You have a point here, definitely you do. A

s a non-religious person (wouldn't call myself atheist, having more or less grown up in France, I don't even really give a thought as to what to call myself, not even on my intellectual radar screen) I cringe when I hear politicians talk about fatih as an important part of what it takes to be trusted, I note with bemusement that majorities of Americans believe in heaven, hell and the devil and I worry too when Joe Lieberman or George HW Bush say you need to have religion to be a good person.

But this is America, so I recognize that I am in the minority on this one (a growing minority but a minority nonetheless). Consequently, I figure it's best to let folks who are trying to speak for me make compromises on this topic, as long as they speak in ways that respect my pov.

I hear Dean talking in code here. He says spiritual, not religious, and he talks about inclusion. Here I think he's tipping the hat to us. Spiritual can mean a lot of things, many of them not religious at all.

Ditto gay rights. When he says "equal rights under the law" he's talking code. 700 Club viewers aren't going to be receptive to someone talking about gay marriage, but they will be receptive to "equal rights under the law" since this is what many of them cite when looking to have their religious practises accepted in the public domain.

As progressives, this is going to be as good as we're going to get at this time. We may be able to really move the needle quickly on economic and social justice issues in the next ten years. But changing attitudes on social issues is a tough slog, one where respect is most effective and where economic equality really accelerates progress.

In view of this, I'd make limited alliances with even Pat Buchanan if it meant an economic fair deal for all. Because the rest will follow. That's the way it worked in France, that's the way it worked in most of Europe (check out the shift in social attitudes in Ireland in the past generation - a veritable sea change, made possible entirely by economic equality made possible by growth and shared prosperity), that's the template we need to follow.

by redstar67 2006-05-11 08:30AM | 0 recs
Off-base analogy

From where are you getting your first "pretend" statement.

Dean didn't say anything about Democrats worrying about homosexuals. The analogy about racial purity makes no sense.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-05-10 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Off-base analogy

I was unclear.  See my post above.

by fwiffo 2006-05-10 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

The 700 Club attracts less than 1 million viewers on average. w-irrelevant-is-pat-robertson.html  is a blog that did some analysis last year after the Chavez quote from Robertson.  Dean would have a greater impact if he were to guest star in a Dr. Who episode on SciFi (averaging 1.4 million... sitemEEuyyAkpAlNmTKtkfP)

by phaet2112 2006-05-10 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

We're talking about his appearance.  Those Million folks are talking to their neighbors about how they saw a DEMOCRAT on the 700 Club.  60 Minutes (I think) was reporting on his experience.  I guarantee it will be in a whole host of newspapers.  

When you think about it that way, what he said and where he said it do matter.  Regardless of the 700 Club's viewership.

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 12:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I doubt it- I think you are overestimating the influence of one show over another without any facts to back it up.  If Dean wants to target moderate, christian voters with some messages about values, why doesn't he go onto a spanish language station?  BET to talk to black values voters?  There are other, greater marketshare avenues that the party can target which are more focused and likely to reach a more moderate crowd which has less history invested in voting against the guy on the channel.  Dean on Univision or Telemundo probably would garner just as much airplay on the MSM news outlets, if not more, than him on 700 club.

What's next for Dean, going to speak at Bob Jones?  I can see the logic behind the appeal (if I don't agree to it)...I just can't see the logic in the (diminishing) market he is appealing to as compared to other (fast growing) markets.

by phaet2112 2006-05-10 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I think Dean SHOULD be speaking on a Spanish language station, BET, and in any number of other venues as well.  That doesn't mean the 700 Club appearance isn't worthwhile too.  

As far as Bob Jones goes, respectfully I think your analogy is off.  

by HSTruman 2006-05-10 01:26PM | 0 recs

My initial reaction to Howard Dean going on the 700 Club was negative. But the more I've thought about, the more I think Dean is again proving his merit.

The basic problem for Democrats is that our views are largely absent to evangelicals. So evangelicals believe about Democrats what they hear about Democrats...from Republicans.

But when Democrats speak directly to evangelicals, it becomes a lot harder for Republicans to demonize us.

That doesn't mean we'll win them over. But what it does mean is that maybe Democrats don't look so repugnant anymore, and that means we become a viable alternative when evangelicals become disenfranchised with the Republican elites.

Some evangelicals may then vote for us -- but a bigger segment will probably stay home, deciding that the world won't end if their next Senator or President has a "D" next to his or her name.

And I think that's what Howard Dean is doing here -- trying to show evangelicals that even though we may not be on the exact same page, we're not the twisted caricature Republicans present to them.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-05-10 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Engagement

I agree about Dean engaging. This is the sort of appearance that he needs to be doing.

My concern about the way he talked about civil rights for same-sex couples doesn't mean I don't think he should be talking to them at all.

by boadicea 2006-05-10 01:30PM | 0 recs
Remember This

"We think guys who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flags worry about healthcare and ought to vote for us too".

Key is that Dean started out by talking about "materialism" which is far more resonant in evangelical circles than gay marriage or abortion. Robertson realized that Dean had called his bluff, and immediately starts to shift the debate back to token issues.

It's already too late. That sound bite about "materialism" is going to be great to use in close races in the fall. When the RNC tries to play the "Christ card", that clip is short enough to package in various media and shut 'em down.

by risenmessiah 2006-05-10 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I'm sorry Matt.  I'm getting really sick of this crap.  You've taken on the role of Joe Lieberman's foil.  How many times over the past few weeks have you taken swipes at Democrats for some supposed straying from progressive orthodoxy?  Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but what Dean did at the 700 club is NOT pandering.  It's exactly what he said Democrats should do in every part of America:  Show up!

The type of attitude portrayed in your post is the same type of nonsense that we heard when Dean, during the 2004 primaries, said that he wanted to woo white voters with Confederate flag decals to the Democratic party.

Somebody mentions "Confederate flag" and the world went nuts, but missed the underlying critical point:  You can't get the guy with the Confederate flag to change his views without bringing him into the fold on pocketbook issues.  Get Bubba to vote Democrat because he can't live on his crappy wages and lack of healthcare and you might have some credibility telling him that the Confederate legacy of racism is not worth celebrating.

Same thing with Dean going to the Evangelicals.  When religious values voters realize that Democrats embody the most important parts of the Bible (love thy neighbor as thyself, etc..) with our long record of helping the poor and sick, we might be able to start having a credible conversation about gay marriage and abortion.

by sfyoungdem 2006-05-10 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I mostly agree with Matt. This is typical Dean on messaging--take a half-though great idea (talking about materialism and spiritual deficit stuff) and then piss all over it with what Matt rightly calls "weak" half-truths. Democrats don't agree with the religious right on abortion, don't agree with them on inserting government into personal relationships, and neither do 55-65% of the country. Playing some finger-crossing game is lame-wad in the extreme.

Democrats need to understand they gain points for being upfront with people when they disagree with them--Republicans have been playing that game for years. This stuff, it's just aping a bad right-wing caricature of Bill Clinton.

by KevStar 2006-05-10 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

I agree with Matt, the Dean Cult of Personality is getting silly.  By the way, kids, the Democratic platform does not say that marriage is between a man and a woman.  Howard Dean was - gasp - wrong. Again.

by nascardem 2006-05-10 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

You're right, the platform says "marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there."

But he wasn't wrong. He LIED! How do I know? Because Matt Stoller, The Man Who Never Erred, says so.

by BingoL 2006-05-11 07:40AM | 0 recs
yes and no

i think dean would do more good in the long run to defend gay marriage straight-up, without apologies, as the right thing to do, to the 700 club. we didn't change the nation on jim crow and miscegenatuon laws by mealymoputhing it, we did it by making it a moral issue, and challenging the validity of the whole moral framework that conservatives used to justidy those bigotries.

that being said, the gay thing aside, i think dean handled himself well, and that we ought to be willing to speak our minds to every audience, unafraid that they'll disagree with us. we shouldn't hide who we are, or be ashamed of our positions, but should use opportunities like that to offer up another way of doing things.

peoples' views are not static. a confident party is willing to take their message to a tough crowd, like al gore taking his global warmiong presentation to conservative groups.

by wu ming 2006-05-10 03:24PM | 0 recs
Its electoral strategy.

We all know that mid-terms are about getting the base out. If the Republicans hold out in November it will be because a whole bunch of Chirstian value-voters went and voted Republican. One of the ways Republicans get these people to the polls is by demonizing Democrats so Fundamentalists and so scared and angry that they're definitely show up and vote. Dean KNOWS he isn't going to get the vote of anyone who watches the 700 club. But if he can make the Democratic Party seem less evil to these people that there is a definite chance that some won't bother voting since they already feel betrayed by President Bush.

Now when Republicans try to demonize Dean and the Democratic party to get value-voters to the polls some of the people who watched the 700 club performance will probably stop and think "Hey, I saw that Dean guy. He wasn't so bad. I'm not going to trot to my polling place in the rain just to vote for some corrupt Republican."

by js noble 2006-05-10 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Some relatives and friends act surprise to learn we are democrats--their reaction is:

Why do you want the democrats--they are for abortion and gay marriage?

It is very real.  And it is not true.  Because if that was true I wouldnt like the Democrats.

The reason I am a Democrat is the reason exactly Gov Dean gave.  

by jasmine 2006-05-10 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club
Check it out! Google it! This is the same position on gay rights that Dean has ALWAYS held, and said so during his Presidential campaign. In 2004, Dean and Kerry shared the same position on this issue: They supported civil unions (as specified by the bill Dean signed as Gov. of Vermont). They opposed "gay marriage" because they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. "Marriage" and Civil Unions are not the same thing.  Civil Unions relate to legal rights,
but marriage adds on considerations of religion, morality, custom and tradition. They opposed a Constitutional ammendment which restricts "marriage" to one man and one woman.
Take it or leave it! Whether you agree with it or not, Dean is not pandering, calculating,  triangulating with this statement. It's the position which he believes is right.
by Sweet Sue 2006-05-10 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Wow... I gotta say, I love Dean and I've always defended him, but this is the first time (assuming he's being represented accurately by Matt) that I've felt blindsided by Dean.  Like, what is he thinking?

I was always signed up for Dean when his rhetoric was to reassure the folks in the middle by combating the GOP's divisive language.  That's where it can have an effect, on the people that are feeling torn.  

But I seriously don't understand his cost/benefit analysis here.

In addition I'm pretty pissed right now for indulging in the man/woman language.  The correct play is to take the "extreme" (and correct) position of demanding gay marriage, and then attacking anyone's counterpoint until the bigotry is exposed.

by tunesmith 2006-05-10 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Sorry if I'm off the mark, but gay rights really isn't the issue of Dean's appearance on the 700 club, although that was brought up.   The bigger isssue is Dean pandering to the wacko right followers of Pat Robertson, ie nuke the State Dept, assassinate Chavez, God told be Bush will win, ect.  Many people are indignate at McCain speaking at Falwell U, what does this make us look like.  Much worse IMO.  The wingnuts will have a field day.  There are plenty of progressive Christian events for Dean to appeal too.  Write an op-ed for Sojourners.

by OhioDem 2006-05-10 05:48PM | 0 recs
Dean 700 Club Appearance

It wasn't a smash mouth appearance by Howard Dean but he certainly spoke some unwelcome truths to Pat Robertson. Dean told it straight to the 700 Club viewers on a fundamental difference with the rightmost, hardcore portion of their audience. He told them Democrats don't want abortions and want to reduce abortions but we want birth control to be right there with abstinence as a way to help prevent unintended pregnancies and the abortions that sometimes follow.

"We ought to have far fewer abortions. We need to make sure that we have not just abstinence but family planning is used to get rid of abortion and that's something that we share. Now the difference is that we don't think that making criminals out of doctors and women is a good idea."

We don't want to make criminals out of doctors and we don't want to make criminals out of women.

That's a strong statement aimed right at an important Republican Party constituency. Namely, women and others who don't believe putting doctors and pregnant women in jail is justified or the moral, right thing to do as a way to minimize the number of abortions.

In fact, it's punitive and wrong and Dr. Dean put that pretty plainly to the 700 Club.

There is understandably some resentment among atheists about the wording of the spirituality comment:

... one of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture, what's on television that our kids our seeing, and the lack of spirituality and that's something we have in common.

Alot of Democrats do share all of those concerns but of course many who do not consider themselves spiritual have expressed their outrage here. Personally, I do not believe it was a repudiation of atheists and Chairman Dean's history of resisting theocrats should have earned him some latitude.

Of course, we can let a wedge form over this but I prefer the viewpoint of many above who see his appearance on the 700 Club as a positive for the party and a positive for our prospects of defeating the Republicans in November.

by Curt Matlock 2006-05-10 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

First, the disclaimers:

  • I'm a big ol' homo.
  • I'm a big ol' atheist who thinks that a lot of what Christians believe is totally loony.
  • I was a big ol' Dean supporter during the primaries.
  • I have a tendency to agree with everything Matt Stoller writes, often enthusiastically.

Now, the comments:

First: Nice job, Matt, with pre-empting the criticism and marginalizing those that disagree with you!  It's good to see that we've been able to take away some practical lessons from all this discussion of Richard Cohen over the last few days.  (Oops, I meant to start this comment with "I'll probably get banned for saying this, but...")

Second: I completely don't get what everybody's so excited about.  The brief discription of Dean's comments in the post give me close to no sense of what the context of the remarks were, and certainly didn't give me the feeling that I've been sold out.  How could any homo who's been awake during the last 10 years be all SURPRISED and AFFRONTED by hearing straight people talk about our basic civil rights as if it's an abstract discussion?  I mean, I can't have children in my home state and actually have to defend to people in a calm, grown-up kind of way my little notion that that's fucked up.  You want me to get all angry about this?  I've got better things to spend my anger on.   Now I'm supposed to wipe my ass with the only politician I've ever seen display any courage on a gay rights issue when it could actually cost him something because now he's trying to win votes from the loony demographic.  I can't quite work up the outrage.

Third: If there's anything disturbing about Dean's comments, it's that he's apparently misrepresented the Democratic platform.  It that's the case, it's dumb, and it's counterproductive, and I wish he'd cut it out.  Yet, again, with all the targets for outrage available these days, this one isn't making my top five.

Next: If I'm supposed to be mad that he's talking to the 700 Club, uh, he's been talking about doing this sort of thing for years.  He's been talking about courting Christian votes and finding common values with these people since the primaries.  I'm not surprised at all that he's talking to the 700 Club since it's exactly what he said he'd do.  I remember when a lot of people in these here online discussions thought that seemed like a good idea.

Finally... oh, y'know what?  Never mind, I'm just a Dean personality cultist.  Since I've got an outgroup label, you can comfortably disregard what I have to say.

by cerebrocrat 2006-05-10 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

Same sex marriage is not a core Democratic value.  Equal treatment under the law is.  Dean is right.

And I couldn't agree more that the real abortion issues are 1) doing what works to actually reduce the numbers of abortions in this country, and 2) respecting the civil rights of women by not criminalizing women and doctors.  I am thankful Dean is working to shift the conversation.

I don't think there's anything wrong with reaching out to evangelicals, or Catholics, or Muslims, or humanists.  Religious faith forms the core of many peoples' lives; we don't need to be afraid of that, and we certainly don't need to leave it to the Republican Party to explain who we are to them.

one of the biggest things that Democrats worry about is the materialism of our culture, what's on television that our kids our seeing, and the lack of spirituality and that's something we have in common

This is important, and I'm heartened he said it; it's the core of "nurturant parent" morality, and is absolutely something we have in common with those who watch the 700 Club.  Good for Dean.

I have been a long time participant in the "natural family living" movement, and have written and spoken about this overlap.  This gets right to the heart of things: Republicans fail families who want to turn off their televisions, who want to "opt out" of hyper-consumerist culture, because Republicanism is corporatism - corporations and consumerism are the core of Republicanism.  They can pretend to be about "family values" all they want, but we see the truth of the matter is absolutely everything they do is about serving the needs of corporations and shifting costs away from them and onto individuals and their families.  The one thing Lakoff left out of his analysis was that the "strong father" in the Republican view is actually not a person at all - it's the corporation.

This is where the Republican ideal is most at odds with the views of Christians and other people of faith who believe we have a higher purpose.  And it's where the Democratic ideal (that we're all in it together and must share and sacrifice, rather than consume, for the common good) most speaks to these people.

Thank you Howard Dean.  I didn't vote for you, but I sure would today.

by citizenKane 2006-05-11 03:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Talks to the 700 Club

First I want to thank whoever had the stomach to watch the CBC channel in the first place. My stomach just won't handle it.

I recall the night I happened, (mistakenly) to surf onto that channel and discovered them trying to argue that the planet is only a couple a thousand years old, just like it says in the bible, and that the dinosaur bones are not millions of years old like science says they are. OMG could that bible be wrong?

That is what I have come to expect from that channel and that is why I turn it off.

That said, I suppose it is important to know what blather they are pandering these days and whose rights they are currently considering usurping. In that regard I thank whoever took the time to monitor them.  Maybe we all should all be forced to take turns monitoring them so that no one individual is more burdened than the rest of us.

Whenever someone starts to argue the separation of church and state or prayer in schools I always wonder, which religion should be the national religion on which our government should be based if no separation should exist?  Who should decide what prayers should be recited on a given day?  
Christian?  OK, which Christian?  Christians have been waging battles amongst each other, arguing over who is right and who is wrong, for many hundreds of years...perhaps as long as those few thousand years that we have been around according to the bible...maybe even before Jonah was swallowed by the whale. Who is going to decide which one to follow?

And if not the Christians then who?  Buddhists?  Jews? Islam? Other?  Perhaps the Scientologist should decide what prayers to say or laws to pass.  

In my humble opinion no moral authority spoke on gay marriage during the 2004 election. Cash, money, and lies are what spoke.  People voted their fears.  There was no war won or lost unless the deception of good people could be considered a win of some kind.

In Oregon where I am from those who propagated the one man one woman initiative said that unless the initiative passed the public schools, including kindergartens, would be forced to teach homosexuality and homosexual practices to children. My, my, my the wicked webs we weave...

That was not the end of their lies and chicanery.   The God fearing Christian right in this state throughout the campaign stated without equivocation that if the constitution was amended to prohibit same sex marriage they would get behind an initiative to establish domestic partnerships. Taking them at their word the Oregon Legislature passed such legislation and the governor offered to sign it...except one Republican darling, a good Christian solder, Karen Minnis, speaker of the house, refused to let the house vote on the measure. The votes where there to pass it and that was the only way that she could stop it.

So much for honesty among good Christians. For myself I choose Barabbas.  At least I know from what color his cloaked is dyed.

Basic Rights Oregon has made her defeat in 2006 a priority. We will vote and she will go.  But there is also very good reason to believe that the measure passed will not stand the test of the Oregon Supreme Court that it's working its way up to at this time.  I predict that same result for many of the "evil 11," that passed in 2004.  Most state constitutions are based on the same basic premise and that is that a right or a privilege cannot be granted to one group but denied another.  

Who here can argue that marriage and the rights that marriage conveys is anything but a right or a privilege?  As I understand it we all have the right to hate whom we choose.  And if you will, we all have the right to believe as we would.  But none of us has the right to deprive anyone else of his or her basic civil rights.  That is why in time all of those initiatives will be defeated.  

The bottom line is I don't have a right to stand in front of your church doors and tell you that you cannot enter and say your prayers or perform your religious acts whatever those acts might involve.  And you don't have the right to tell me that I cannot gain immigration rights for my same sex spouse.  To whoever said that same sex relationships can be established through partnership agreements, solve that riddle for us please.  Your laws are keeping me and my spouse separated.  And there are about 900 other rights and privileges that need your attention when you finish that one.  I agree the other few hundred rights that marriage conveys can be accomplished via a partnership agreement.

700 Club be damned!  Go back to studying your dinosaur bones Pat.  

Thanks again to whomever watched Dean speak those inaccuracies. There was a time I liked that man, I don't like him so much anymore and I never did like his stand on gay marriage.

by UncleTeedy 2006-05-11 06:32PM | 0 recs


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