But this is the final straw, the nail in the coffin, the end so final that it requires cliche. Dean would dare to appear in a forum named for a great champion of open-meetings laws and forbid the press even to "paraphrase" his statements? We are led by a man so afraid of the press that he'll go to absurd lengths to protect himself from them. How, exactly, is this different from Bush's own fear of the White House Briefing Room? Sure, I understand why Dean's afraid. He knows that if he slips up and says something monumentally stupid (and he's smart enough to know that he probably will) the press will run the hell out of it. He knows he's up against the articulate and intellectually staggering Richard Perle.
Understandable, I suppose, from a man whose two most famous quotes are "Sit down and shut up!" and "Yeeaaarrgh!".
It's not just that Dean doesn't have faith in his own ability to give a competent performance at a debate; he thinks it's the press's job to protect him when he embarrasses himself.
But, not only does his maneuver stink of the petty despot that lurks in his shrivelled grey heart, but it was also incompetent. He had to backpedal and let them cover it anyway. He must have realized, at some point, that the story was going to be about the blackout itself.
Except, of course, that it wasn't. The story of the Richard Perle / Howard Dean debate was the shoe-throwing idiot who kept howling that Perle was a "lying m*****f***er".
But perhaps the shoe-thrower was an aberration? Tim Graham at The Corner writes that this fellow is not without his supporters. Citing the DNC blog "Kicking Ass", he notes:
As participants chewed over the recent debate between Dean and Richard Perle in Oregon, which was interrupted by a screaming heckler throwing a shoe at Perle, one DNC blogger wished for an army of cussing shoe-tossers:
Rose, for a minute you would think I was there! Lying MF this, MF that…. Shoes are flying. They had to carry the guy out, and has he was going, he was still calling Perle a MF liar! Other people objected to his lies as well, but it would have beeen really neat if as soon as one person was dragged out, another would start up. Like Crickets.
So Joshua Gibson should take heart: Dean's request for a media blackout on the debate with Perle has been all but forgotten. But Gibson may still be right about Howard Dean when he writes:
Progressives should be ashamed to have supported this man. The party shold be ashamed to have promoted him. And our politicians should fear what horrific damage this man is about to do to our chances of electoral victory.
Go read Joshua's excellent post at the link.