Dean on What’s the Matter With Oklahoma, Post-Bush Truth and Reconciliation

dean1 Dean on Whats the Matter With Oklahoma, Post Bush Truth and Reconciliation“What are we going to do about Oklahoma?” an audience member asked Howard Dean last night at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side.

Actually, Dean explained, Oklahoma is a lot like New York. “But New Yorkers are quicker on their feet about cognitive dissonance.”

Everyone picks a candidate according to his or her instincts but coastal types rationalize it better than others. “We’re all values voters,” he said. Also, though, “I don’t know when we’re going to win Oklahoma.”

The former Vermont governor, who recently announced he would stepping down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after a second successful election cycle, gave a brief speech and then fielded audience questions read by a moderator.

Most of his remarks addressed strategy, for example advising Democrats to declare their anti-poverty, pro-fairness values proudly. On matters of policy, he did what chairmen do, relentlessly plugging President-elect Barack Obama’s plans.

Dean repeatedly praised “the great genius of this younger generation,” meaning voters under 35. He said that his generation–baby boomers– was “necessarily confrontational” in pushing for civil rights. But kids today, he said, “are more pragmatic” and able to find common ground. “We still have wisdom, we still have a role, but our children are onto something,” he said.

Dean said that as the younger group ages it will stay Democratic because Republicans “totally don’t get the unity message at all.”

Dean then suggested that Obama might deal with the Bush administration’s misbehavior (“particularly in disregarding constitutional provisions”) by setting up “something like what’s going on in South Africa, the truth and reconciliation.”

(South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a body formed to hear grievances and testimony from victims—and, in some cases, former practitioners—of apartheid.)

What about Dean’s own future in the post-Bush world?

“I have no idea what’s in my future and that won’t be determined by me,” he said, to cheers.

Dean is known for his hyperactive streak, and last night’s talk was sure to please his fans. “The last day of the campaign I spent in Arizona,” he said, to show how serious he was about Democrats campaigning in every state – even the home of John McCain.

“A long shot!” he said, laughing.

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President