In a speech Wednesday night at the George Washington University, Howard Dean told College Democrats that “the Tea Party is about a generation who grew up in an America where everyone looked like them” and implied that the movement is hostile to President Obama because of his race.
Dean, a former governor of Vermont and chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009, is not the first Democrat to make such a claim. Former President Jimmy Carter told students at Emory University last year: “I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.” Actress and activist Janeane Garofalo put it more bluntly: “The functionally retarded adults, the racists — with their cries of, ‘I want my country back’ … you know what they’re really saying is, ‘I want my white guy back.’”
Dean went on to say that the views of older conservatives in the Tea Party movement were “diametrically opposed” to the views of the student generation on key social issues, including abortion and gay rights.
He also said that the Republican Party holds “untenable positions based on emotion and anger,” and that the GOP won’t be effective until they “stop pushing the hate button.”
“Republicans are great at opposing, but not leading … because they believe their own nonsense,” Dean said.
Democrats are different, according to the former DNC chair, because Democrats “respect the process” and “think other people have good ideas.” The comment comes amidst criticism from Republicans that the Democrats want to use the reconciliation process in the Senate to pass a health-care reform bill. Republicans have also criticized the president and congressional Democrats for not listening to proposed GOP ideas for health-care reform.
But Democrats weren’t safe from criticism during Dean’s remarks either. He called former President Bill Clinton “an aberration” and later said he wished Democrats would be tougher in passing legislation. When asked whether the Democratic Party could be more
unified in its voting, remarked: “We can’t and we never will.”
Dean also slammed former Vice President Dick Cheney, calling him “a horrible person who ran Halliburton” and admonished the New York Times for having an inherent bias in its reporting, saying that “most of the time, Jon Stewart is probably more accurate than the New York Times.”
After one particularly embarrassing moment, when Dean referred to the audience as Georgetown University students despite speaking at The George Washington University, he even mocked himself and the infamous scream which some credit with ending his run for president in 2004. To a chorus of cheers and laughter, Dean shouted “I’ll tell you what — we’re gonna go to Georgetown, we’re gonna go to GW, we’re gonna go to American!” But this time, no “BYAAAAHHHHHHH!”