DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s slips of the tongue in the past have been well documented here. A few examples before I proceed to the latest are:
“I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization,” the failed presidential hopeful told the crowd at the Roosevelt Hotel, where he and six other candidates spoke at the final DNC forum before the Feb. 12 vote for chairman. -January 30, 2005
“We’re going to use Terri Schiavo later on … This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it’s going to be an issue in 2008 because we’re going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, ‘Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?’ ” -April 15, 2005 at a gay rights group’s breakfast in West Hollywood.
But he did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh. “I’m not very dignified,” he said. “But I’m not running for president anymore.” In fact, as part of his commitment to lead the party for the next four years, he has sworn not to seek any office until after 2008. I’m not running for president anymore.” -April 20, 2005 (Star Tribune link no longer works, so I’m providing an alternate source) at a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
Dean’s 25-minute speech to the Campaign for America’s Future annual gathering was interrupted frequently by applause, but his line about Republican work habits also produced an undertow of ‘’oohs’’ and ‘’aahs.’’ Asserting that some Florida voters stood in line for eight hours in November, Dean said that was a hardship for people who ‘’work all day and then pick up their kids at child care.’’ But, he said, Republicans could stand in eight-hour lines ‘’because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.’’ -June 2, 2005, in a 25-minute speech to the Campaign for America’s Future in Washington, DC
Well, the Dean of Disology is at it again. This time, in comments about Bill Bennett:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ — Former Republican Secretary of Education William Bennett remarked yesterday on his radio show that, "I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement:
"Bill Bennett’s hateful, inflammatory remarks regarding African Americans are simply inexcusable. They are particularly unacceptable from a leader in the conservative movement and former Secretary of Education, once charged with the well being of every American school child. He should apologize immediately. This kind of statement is hardly compassionate conservatism; rather, Bennett’s comments demonstrate a reprehensible racial insensitivity and ignorance. Are these the values of the Republican Party and its conservative allies? If not, President Bush, Ken Mehlman and the Republican Leadership should denounce them immediately as hateful, divisive and worthy only of scorn.
"As Americans, we should focus on the virtues that bring us together, not hatred that tears us apart and unjustly scapegoats fellow Americans."
But what did Bennett actually SAY? Read on:
BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don’t know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don’t know. I mean, it cuts both — you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well –
CALLER: Well, I don’t think that statistic is accurate.
BENNETT: Well, I don’t think it is either, I don’t think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don’t know. But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
As John Cole – who has made clear in the past and in this post what he thinks of Bennett – points out (emphasis his):
There is nothing for him to apologize for regarding this statement. It is a statement of fact, he was not advocating it, and, in fact, he noted that it would be an “impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do.”
Howard Dean is being a demagogue. As usual. Will the media call him on this? I won’t hold my breath.
UPDATE: The WH has officially condemned Bennett’s remarks. Sigh. Jeff Goldstein writes:
And the White House, increasingly incapable of taking a principled stand, provides these disingenuous race baiters with cover—presumably still realing from the last round of disingenuous race baiting, which came in guise of Hurricane outrage.
I don’t disagree with that at all.
(Cross-posted at California Conservative)
UPDATE 2: The Washington Post has linked to ST. Heh! Welcome, WaPo readers