Dean and Franken prove that liberals can have a spine
The only thing Americans love more than a good fight is watching an underdog bring a bully to his knees. That will to fight back, writes Salon.com editor David Talbot, is why Al Franken and Howard Dean are such hot political commodities right now.
'For years,' Talbot notes, 'we [liberals] have suffered while right-wing bullies hijacked American politics and media -- persecuting a president for a consensual sex act; stealing the 2000 election; trashing the country's economy, environment and constitutional safeguards; handing the government over to the highest corporate bidders; deceiving the public into a bloody quagmire; and then brazenly smearing anyone who dared to criticize this orgy of dreadful leadership as un-American.'
Unlike Democratic Party leaders, who barely lifted a finger to fight Bush's march to war and have taken pains to appear like Republicans-Lite on the economy, the environment, and a host of other issues, Howard Dean has stuck steadfastly to his rhetorical guns, aiming them not at his Democratic rivals, but at Bush himself.
Meanwhile, comedian Al Franken, whose new book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right has topped bestseller lists since its August release, pulls no punches as he dissects the passel of right-wing commentators who rule the airwaves and op-ed pages. From Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter on down to National Review editor Rich Lowry, Franken proved 'that the bullies of the right quickly fold when confronted, or are unable to back up their big talk about liberal perfidy and treason when challenged on their facts,' Talbot writes.
These fighters have tapped a wellspring of liberal resentment
for the scorched-earth tactics of the Bush administration and its
cheerleaders in the media. Their sudden popularity proves they are
exactly what the Left sorely needs right now.
-- Leif Utne
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