I’ve noticed we’re increasingly hearing from the Left this past year how this country is split “50-50” , but unjustly and disproportionately controlled by vague and undefined “right-wing forces”. I’ve come to conclude this is a defensive reaction to the realization that not only are they not anything like the majority, but that the Left, outside of a few enclaves they are a dwindling minority. Like the name “Bolshevik”, saying the country is “50-50” is an attempt to hide reality with a lie. If they can pursuade people that the Left does matter, they think they can have some say in what happens next, but if people realize how irrelevant they truly are, then all that’s left for them is to throw temper tantrums and start breaking things.
But the Dean grassroots backfired on Dean in two additional ways. First, the 3,000 or 4,000 people that came to the state on Dean’s behalf may have alienated just as many Iowans as they pulled to the caucuses. There is undoubtedly a strong antiwar streak among Iowa Democrats, but they are not, for the most part, lifestyle liberals. When hordes of kids with dyed hair and multiple piercings descended upon the state to spread Dean’s message with Scientology-like evangelism, Kerry began to look real good. Second, the organizational potential of the Dean army was exaggerated. I was struck by a conversation I had the night before the caucuses with a Dean perfect-stormer named Larry. I asked him what he would be doing the next day. He had no idea. “It’s too damn cold to canvass,” he said. And Larry is from Minneapolis. Even apart from the apathy of some Deaniacs, one has to wonder if the Dean campaign didn’t waste enormous organizational resources figuring out how to move thousands of volunteers into and around Iowa at the expense of figuring out how to move thousands of Iowans to their caucuses.