The 2004 election cycle was the first presidential cycle after the highly controversial 2000 Gore vs. Bush battle and the Democratic Party was looking for a highly promising candidate to take on the incumbent. Several potential suitors stepped up to the plate ranging from General Wesley Clark, Senator John Edwards, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and eventual nominee Senator John Kerry. The early front runner through the process was Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who started out his campaign earliest of all candidates and proved to be a heavyweight in grassroots organizations and fundraising. Being a lesser known candidate than the other nationally recognizable faces Dean rode his momentum of a third place finish in the Iowa caucus into a second place finish in New Hampshire. Then shortly after he fell by the weigh side and all legitimacy of a candidate was squandered away. So you may ask, what went wrong? Did his campaign funds dry up? Was his policies just too far out for the liberal base? Was their an earth breaking scandal that emerged? Well sort of. Just take a look…….
Yup, that was it. That is what turned a promising primary bid into yesterday’s news. In 2004 this is what qualified as being too emotional and excitable. Someone who gets so worked up to fly off into a rambunctious yawp is not fit to have his finger on the nuclear button. So, well down went the “unhinged” Dean, and the more stoic Kerry eventually won the nomination.
Fast forward 12 years, years where in the interim the Vice Presidential candidate on the Kerry ticket proved to be a salacious adulterer (still not as “crazy” as a man who screams at his rally’s), now we have a Republican candidate who simply can not be discredited. Impervious to scandals ranging from alleged sexual harassment, bankruptcy, fraud, racist policy, and most egregious small hands. The political landscape, and to a certain degree the American cultural landscape, has evolved from a place where our politicians were held to such a high standard that a wayward scream would covey a too volatile personality; to where any red flag can be explained or rationalized away. The whole term of having a Presidential demeanor has really transitioned in twelve years, but hey atleast it makes for good “news” so lets keep pushing it out there.