June 15th, 2005


Howard Dean

I'm surprised more people haven't figured out what Howard Dean is doing.

First, people are actually talking about him. He's on Meet The Press, and being talked about everywhere. His remarks are not particularly brilliant, and not even particularly shocking that someone like him is saying things like that.

It seems like Fox News and the rest of the Republican Party are actually taking the bait. Instead of ignoring the Democrats which is what they usually do, they're talking about how crazy and out of control Dean is. You may notice that Dean's remarks, although strident, are nowhere near out of control. (Telling Patrick Leahy to fuck off on the Senate floor, well, that's my definition of out of control.)

Dean is taking his public image of a crazy man from the screaming incident (which in and of itself was blown out of proportion) and he's utlizing it to get additional publicity for the Dems by making some incredibly obvious remarks about Republicans that are getting them all defensive and uppity, forcing them to talk about that rather than their own agenda. It's exactly what the Republicans have been doing for over two decades. A few more months of Dean knocking the Republicans off balance, he'll have the floor, and he'l start making real comments about the issues and he'll have people listening.

You've also got some of the Dems in congress sort of disavowing Dean. I'm not sure if that's part of the strategy (let Dean be the person who can say all the things everyone else can't, while saying "he doesn't speak for us" when clearly, as party chairman, he does) or if they're just being wussies. If the former, brilliant; if the latter, they're fools but I guess I understand because it's been so long they've been living in the shadow of Republicans thanking them for whatever crumbs they can drop as they continue their rapacious dismantling of all that is good in this country that the congressional Dems might have lost a touch of backbone.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Dean's rebuilding the party infrastructure, giving money to states, getting small donors in line, and generally doing to the DNC the things he did to his own campaign, which despite its sudden end, was a model of things to come.

I think things are getting interesting.

Terri Schiavo and "the soul"

With the reports of the Schiavo autopsy, a perplexing dilemma comes to mind.

Most of the people who wanted to prolong her body's existence are the kind who believe in an immortal soul, right? Thus they believe Schiavo has one. If you believe the report (and I'm not convinced they will--for these people science is as mutable as faith) then Schiavo was unable to feed herself, was blind, and in the vegetative state her husband said she was in.

So where was her soul? Two options: one, since she was brain dead (because, boys and girls, that's what it means to be in a persitant vegetative state--everything but the brainstem is shut down), her soul had already departed her body and was in the afterlife. Thus, letting the body perish is no sin since the soul has already departed. The second option is that her soul was still with her body, but trapped in a body that was unable to think, sense, or feel anything. I'd call this "hell" or at least "limbo". Not allowing the soul to enter the afterlife seems a horrible thing to do in that case. In either case, terminating life support is the only reasonable option.

Do you think the people who wanted to keep her "alive" will think this one through?