There he goes again. You may have noticed that Democratic Party Chairman Howard "God, gays and guns" Dean has shown up again on the Godbeat.
I swear, this man's press aide must have the patience of Job (cue: rim shot).
This time around, Dean made headlines with his statement that Republicans have become "a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party." There were more fireworks where that came from.
"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people," Dean said . . . responding to a question about diversity during a forum with minority leaders and journalists. "We're more welcoming to different folks, because that's the type of people we are. But that's not enough. We do have to deliver on things: jobs and housing and business opportunities."
This statement -- no surprise -- ticked off some conservative religious and political leaders. They wondered how mainstream journalists and politicians would have reacted to similar brash statements involving other social and religious groups.
Dean, meanwhile, bravely marched on and defended his turf. Here is a sample, drawn from an Associated Press report carried by The Washington Post. I find it interesting that the Beltway Bible did not assign one of its own reporters to this story.
Dean noted that he, too, is a white Christian. But he said the GOP is too narrow in its scope and the Democratic Party is far more diverse.
While even prominent Democrats in recent days have distanced themselves from some of his comments, the outspoken Dean, appearing on NBC"s "Today" show, said criticism of him is meant by Republicans to divert attention from the country's problems and make him the issue instead.
The AP quoted Dean, when challenged, as saying that "unfortunately, by and large it is. And they have the agenda of the conservative Christians." In response, GOP Party Chairman Ken Mehlman quipped that "a lot of folks who attended my Bar Mitzvah would be surprised" that he leads an all-Christian party.
According to Peggy "friend of this blog" Noonan, this whole episode raises darker questions about political discourse.
In a Wall Street Journal column called "Seeing Red," the superstar speechwriter asked what would happen if President Bush delivered a speech in the heartland that included this language:
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I want to speak this evening about how I see the political landscape. Let me jump right in. The struggle between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is a struggle between good and evil -- and we're the good. I hate Democrats. Let's face it, they have never made an honest living in their lives. Who are they, really, but people who are intent on abusing power, destroying the United States Senate and undermining our Constitution? They have no shame.
But why would they? They have never been acquainted with the truth. You ever been to a Democratic fundraiser? They all look the same. They all behave the same. They have a dictatorship, and suffer from zeal so extreme they think they have a direct line to heaven. But what would you expect when you have a far left extremist base? We cannot afford more of their leadership. I call on you to help me defeat them!"
Imagine the explosion of negative MSM coverage -- all of it deserved -- that would follow this address.
The problem is that those two paragraphs consist of phrases from remarks by Dean and by Sen. Hillary Clinton. You need to see Noonan's color-coded version of the column to know which Democrat spoke which words. Again, you will find it here.
One of her main questions is this: Where is the MSM outrage at these Dean and Clinton sermons which, in part, single out a certain brand of religious believer for such harsh criticism?
Now, I know some wackos on the Religious Right can sling some similar acid around. But we are talking about the top leaders of the Democratic Party. I don't think this is going to help them in the blue zip codes across the Bible Belt.