I like the way Gadflyer Paul Waldman put it concerning the teapot tempest swirling around Howard Dean’s recent remarks:
Let’s go over this again: You’re a Democratic office-holder, or maybe a political consultant. A reporter comes to you and says, “Can I bring a camera into your office and get you to say some bad things about Howard Dean?” If you say yes, and go ahead with it, then there will be a story about how Democrats can’t stand that terrible Howard Dean, who keeps saying mean things about Republicans. If you say no, there will be no story. The reporter will have do a story about how Bush’s Social Security plan is failing, or about how his approval ratings are in the toilet, or about something, anything, else
In another post on the same topic, Waldman puts Dean’s comments in context for his critics, including some Democratic leaders who should know better, and offers them a smarter alternative:
They should have said this: “If the Republican leadership doesn’t want us to call them elitist, they should consider doing something for working families for a change. But until they do, we’re going to keep talking about how they’re hurting regular Americans.” That keeps the focus where it should be.
There’s nothing wrong with constructive internal criticism. But they call it internal criticism for a reason. If any real Democrat has a problem with our chairman’s, or any other Democratic leader’s remarks, then call his/her office and complain, rather than being duped into doing the GOP’s negative spin for the media.
Addressing a similar concern in the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. said it well: “Our enemies will adequately deflate our accomplishments; we need not serve them as eager volunteers.”