Smackdown in the Rose City

So last night, the FAN Founders attended the foreign policy debate between Howard Dean and Richard Perle at the Schnitz. We'd gotten our tickets a couple of weeks ago as a kind of a pre-celebratory thing in anticipation of Dean's win of the Chairmanship.

Anyway, as you've no doubt seen/heard, it was quite the barn burner. And not just because of the shoe-throwing thing. (A few minutes into Perle's opening speech, some guy came down the to the stage and threw his shoes at Perle's head. The first one hit the curtain behind panel, the second hit podium and bounced off, then a couple of people/security guards wrestled the guy to the ground before he could try a third attempt.) Honestly, the shoe-throwing thing startled and disappointed me -- very not cool -- though I have to say I sympathized with the guy being so angry that he just wanted to throw things at Perle. I mean, this is one of the chief architects of the entire Iraq debacle, for the love Eru. Until I saw him in person, I'd scream at my television whenever he came on the screen so I can understand the urge. And I wouldn't be surprised if that guy's got a friend or loved one in Iraq, that's the kind of vibe I got from it. He was vocal, too -- shouted "motherfucking liar" so loud that we could still hear him long after they'd moved him out to the foyer and beyond.

Still, it doesn't help our cause when stuff like this happens. I don't think there's a lot of handwringing needed -- what's done is done -- but it certainly plays into "liberal wacko" stereotype the VRWC has built for us. Not that I give two shits about what the freepers think, but when you're playing to win, this kind of thing doesn't help.

Anyway, the debate moved apace. Howard was in fine form and didn't concede an inch to Perle. I have to give Perle his due -- he must've known the kind of hostile territory he was headed into (George the Elder once famously dubbed Portland "Little Beirut" because of the demonstrations that always happened during his visits...you can imagine what happens when anyone even remotely related to Junior shows their face in town). Doesn't make him any less of a nut-flavored whackjob, but still.

One of his various "points" that really got to me: that going into Iraq was like buying fire insurance for your house and that complaining about there being no WMD a year later is like complaining that your house didn't catch fire. I know. I know. This is the kind of insane clown logic we're dealing with here, people.

I've been thinking this over since last night. The thing is, this guy has totally drunk the Kool-Aid. He completely believes this shit, he's totally earnest and sincere about it. And he's a smart guy. Evil, but smart. So the work we've got ahead of us, the changes we have to make and the thinking we have to reverse...it's a really big job, folks. Not telling you anything you don't already know, of course, but there it is.

Which can be really disheartening at times. But the other part of last night is one of Dean's responses to something else Perle said last night. Perle had tried to slip in a little reframing by burning down a strawman argument about the Democrats that he'd constructed. And Dean totally called him out and busted his chops about it. He even said, this is the kind of thing we can't let the Republicans get away with and then he proceeded to kick his ass. I would've kissed that man if I'd had the opportunity.

Anyway, the night was great. Invigorating and enlightening, made us all ready to get back in the trenches and get back to work. There's a lot of work to be done, but we've got the right guy leading us. So be glad -- we'll persevere.


carla said...

My blog partner and I attended the Dean/Perle event too. It was indeed a GREAT event.

I blogged on it here:


I concur with your analysis. It's important as well to know and understand what we're up against. Perle gave us that in spades.

Miss Bitty said...

great run-down on your site of the night's events...thanks for the pointer to it