Everyone tends to think that the capture of Saddam Hussein is bad news for Howard Dean. I think, in the general election, it will be. But, I don’t think it is going to hurt him now.
Dean has an unusal campaign. The more he is attacked, the more his hypocrisy is pointed out, the more money his donors give and the more his supporters love him. Howard gives hell and that’s what his folks want.
The majority of Dean backers opposed the war to begin with. They admit that Saddam was evil, but they don’t think he was a threat to us. So we caught him — one more bad guy gone. That doesn’t make the war right. The war was an unjustified waste. It distracted us from more important matters. The diplomacy was bungled. This is the thinking of a lunatic fringe.
Howard is an idealogue and facts no longer matter. His campaign is like a black church on Sunday. The Preacher has whipped the crowd into a frenzy and Sister Suzie is passing out on the ground. Howard has that electricity. It is tough to put a stop to it. The people are clapping their hands and stomping their feet. So when the preacher misquotes a bible verse, they either don’t hear it or overlook it because the general message is an accurate depiction of their knowledge of their gospel.
It’s like Bill Clinton. The thought of the married President getting jiggy in the Oval Office with an intern is enough to revolt most people. But his supporters didn’t care. It was a private matter. No big deal. A lot of people were scratching their heads thinking, “Huh? Adultery with an intern in the oval office. No big deal?!”
If you can overlook the President sticking cigars where the sun don’t shine with an intern in the Oval Office of JFK and FDR on the grounds that “he’s one of us and he cares about our issues,” you can pretty much overlook anything.
Dean’s supporters won’t care about Saddam’s capture. They believe he is right in the ideal, so to hell with the facts.
If nothing else, this will probably help him rake in more money.
Further, with Iowa a month away, it’s too late for much momentum from other candidates. Dean has grasped front runner status and there are no more debates. The market is already getting saturated with ads from seven other candidates. The field is too diluted for a few more drops of Dean’s political blood to make a difference.
CAVEAT: The only way this is going to seriously hurt Dean is if the media keeps saying it is and assists in building a perception that Dean is sunk. If the media posits that Dean is devasted by the damage, the undecides will start breaking against him — and he isn’t over 51% yet in New Hampshire. But, I don’t think this can happen because Dean’s supporters are a loyal fanatical bunch.