Slate’s Bill Saletan has a brilliant exegesis (is that like saying “milieu” in regular conversation?) of why I believe Dean’s candidacy is doomed in Son of a Milieu Worker:
8. Religion and the South. Having grown up in east Texas, I cringe for Dean every time he fumbles for a friendly word about the South. Here’s what he said Sunday: “I have a lot of friends from the South. In the South, people do integrate religion openly, easily into their lives, both black Southerners and white Southerners. I understand that if I’m going to campaign for the presidency of the United States, I have to be comfortable in the milieu that other Americans are comfortable. … I plan to learn how to do that.”
I hardly know where to begin laughing at this comment. Maybe it’s the part where Dean says some of his best friends are Southerners. Or maybe it’s the way he speaks of them as foreigners. Or maybe, as my colleague Chris Suellentrop suggests, it’s the way Dean talks about Southern habits in the third person, like an adult speaking to another adult about children who are in the room. Or maybe it’s the way Dean blurts out that this is all political, just as Bush’s dad used to say things like “Message: I care,” and “When Barbara holds an AIDS baby, she’s showing a certain compassion for family.” Or maybe it’s the very Bush-41 way Dean inserts and impeccably pronounces the word “milieu.” Perhaps Dean intends to run as the son of a milieu work.
I believe if nominated that Dean will lose the general election worse than Mondale (who at least won Minnesota). Fortunately, there is still a small glimmer of hope, in that a new poll shows Clark within the margin of error of Dean’s support.
2004 01 08