by Scoobie Davis
Every Howard Dean Supporter Needs to Read This Letter
Sorry I haven't been posting regularly. If you knew my schedule...
I have to post this letter to the editor of Salon responding to a good story revealing the media's deferential treatment of George W. Bush. Here's Andrew Beck's letter:
Boehlert's piece provides some interesting examples of the "media echo chamber" and of the press's double standard in reporting on Bush and his Democratic opponents. However, I think Boehlert does Democrats a disservice to the extent that he seems to make light of Dean's gaffes.
Dean has not exactly run an airtight campaign thus far -- he does have troubling knowledge gaps, and his apparent need to be right at all times leads him to misspeak and box himself into awkward corners (such as on "Meet the Press," or in his off-putting 'innocent before proven guilty' take on Osama bin Laden).
I agree with Boehlert that the media's coverage of these shortcomings is unfair when compared to the "Get Out of Gaffe Free" card Bush seems to enjoy, but I don't think this means that Democrats should lower our own standards for our candidate. If anything, it means that the Democratic candidate must be all the more poised, knowledgeable, and prepared, and Dean's limitations -- though exaggerated by the RNC echo chamber -- are real.
I will, of course, support whichever alternative to Bush the Democrats nominate, but I hope that the candidate is better prepared and more composed than Dean currently appears to be. I'd prefer to see a candidate who is smart and charismatic enough to avoid these missteps altogether -- not one who can compete with Bush gaffe for gaffe.