In February, Howard Dean said "White folks in the South who drive pick-up trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us because their kids don't have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too." Over the weekend, some of Dean's opponents took exception to this:
"It is simply unconscionable for Howard Dean to embrace the most racially divisive symbol in America," said John Kerry.Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and the Wall Street Journal agreed in their response to this wave of criticism. The WSJ's take:
One reason those and so many other voters have left [the Democratic Party] is precisely because of the kind of litmus-test, interest-group gotcha! politics that this racial pandering represents.If he really spoke his heart, not thinking of political capital to be gained or lost in this reference to what he thought was right, then the natural fallout of this is a chance for Kerry and other Dean opponents to say to the South, "We consider you all to be dumb hick racists." If he planned for this response, then he's an incredibly shrewd political strategist. I can't wait to see what this does to their South Carolina numbers, among other southern states.