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Other views: Dean's zeal, spirit, ideals exactly what nation needs

Kiss of death?! Kiss of death?!" I hollered in dismay while listening to a news story describing Howard Dean's reportedly fatal hoo-ha stump speech leading up to the Iowa caucuses about taking back the White House "from Oregon to North Dakota!" D...

Kiss of death?! Kiss of death?!" I hollered in dismay while listening to a news story describing Howard Dean's reportedly fatal hoo-ha stump speech leading up to the Iowa caucuses about taking back the White House "from Oregon to North Dakota!" Dean's words and his shriek moved me to tears of relief and of rage while preparing breakfast. Allow me to explain.

I have read a lot about Dean to date and I really like him. I have also had my concerns about his electibility next to President Bush. Does his quirky brand of integrity and boyish enthusiasm appeal to the masses or is he only attractive to strange breeds like me: a disillusioned grad student trying desperately to hold on to her ideals, an NPR junkie who hasn't had a television in over a decade, a doctor's wife who disdains excess? I sincerely hope it does, but what I'm seeing and hearing in the news suggests otherwise and that disturbs me.

My tears began as tears of relief -- relief that Dean is the kind of man who can woop and holler with abandon. I love that he got swept up in that Iowa moment in his words, in his message, and the supportive cheers from the crowd. His delivery conjured up the image of a superhero for me, a real live superhero who will represent my values in Washington if given the opportunity unlike our current president.

Dean is opposed to the war in Iraq, he wants to balance the budget, and he thinks the health care system needs a serious overhaul. That "kiss of death" speech strengthened my support of his candidacy and inspired me to sign up for the Dean for President team and send e-mails inviting several of my friends to do the same. It's a rare person who can move me to tears and inspire political action all in one fell swoop!

My tears of relief quickly turned to tears of anger, much to the surprise of my husband, as we sat down to breakfast. How could he have seen it coming as I surely didn't! I composed myself and described to him the news story and Sen. John Kerry's "kiss of death" description of Dean's speech in Iowa and the voting public's apparent agreement based on the Iowa primary results and the candidates' standing in the New Hampshire primary, Kerry with a substantial lead over Dean.

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I also explained to him the irony I found in the news story being placed right after another story about Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's company, agreeing to pay the U.S. government multiple billions of dollars they owe us for overcharging for their services in Iraq. Billion of dollars? The media reported it as if it were a simple accounting error that is now corrected.

There is so much that is difficult to make sense of in the world of politics at home and abroad as we enter a presidential election year. And I guess I am just having trouble making sense of how one heartfelt woop and holler in a stump speech is the potential "kiss of death" for a refreshing and spirited presidential hopeful, yet the Halliburton story seems but a slight blemish to squeeze, apply cover-up to and be done with for the Bush campaign.

Come on, America, give me a break! Don't let Dean fall from the top of the heap of presidential hopefuls because he allowed his zeal for the job to surface. Vote Dean in the North Dakota caucuses on Feb. 3!

Butcher Mack, Fargo, works for an export/import organization. She is a member of of the Saving North Dakota Roundtable.

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