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December 5, 2003

I finally got around to

Daniel Radosh

I finally got around to looking at the actual transcript of theHardball segment in which Howard Dean refers to four times to "The Soviet Union." Not that anyone really thought this was anything more than a slip of the tongue, but I had not seen anyone mention that just a few minutes before his gaffefest, Dean actually mentions "the former Soviet Union." So all he was doing was using shorthand on second reference, not at all an uncommon way of speaking.

Dean's bullshit with sealing his Vermont papers is less forgivable but also not a big deal to me, since I doubt there's anything in them worth reading. Still, it would be nice, in this day and age, to have a president who embraced openness by default.

A bigger concern, which has not gotten quite the same attention, is Dean's conspiracy-mongering on the Diane Rehm Show (real audio):

Caller: Once we get you in the White House, would you please make sure that there is a thorough investigation of 9/11, and not stonewall it?

Dean: Yes. There is a report, which the president is suppressing evidence for, which is a thorough investigation of 9/11.

Rehm: Why do you think he's suppressing that report?

Dean: I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far--which is nothing more than a theory, it can't be proved--is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is? But the trouble is, by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not. And eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the key information that should go to the Kean commission.

That's the kind of wacky shit I get from my friend Jake all the time, but Jake isn't running for president. As James Taranto points out, "If a Republican candidate had said of Bill Clinton, 'The Clintons may have murdered Vince Foster--but it's only a theory,' he would have been pilloried in the media, and rightly so."

I'm still supporting Dean because, despite what the punditocracy says, I think he has the best chance of beating Bush -- partly because he's willing to fight on the same level.

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