December 30, 2003
If the Label Don't Fit...
… apply it to Howard Dean anyway.
A few days ago, I dismissed this New Republic article as an evidence-lacking, context-destroying, Pickler-esque, and pretty-much-instantly-debunked attempt at creating a new DeanMeme™. Jonathan Chait, however, is not ready to let Foer’s article go, even in the wake of Dean’s rebuttal. In fact, he’s revised his earlier assessment of the article up from “blockbuster” to “masterful” in his latest blog item.
Foer disparaged Dean by asserting he was not “openly religious” enough to be President, selectively quoting comments such as “[I] don’t go to church very often” and “My religion doesn’t inform my public policy” to advance the argument that Dean is areligious. (More of what Dean actually said: “I’m a nice, New England Congregationalist, I pray every night, and don’t go to church very often… My religion does not inform my public policy, but it does inform my values.”)
So Dean went to the Boston Globe two days after the article was published to be more “openly religious.”
Now, Chait declares it’s “too little, too late,” for two reasons. First, because of all those hostile comments that Dean’s made against religion, of which Franklin Foer managed to cite exactly none. Second, because “it’s pretty obvious that religiosity is not natural” for Dean.
To this I say, first of all, obvious to whom? Second of all, this is a clear example of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, damned if you’re Dean. Third, if this is what passes for “masterful” in The New New Republic, they maybe oughtta give some thought to putting that Glass fellow back on the payroll.