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Nutcase or scumbag?

Matt Bramanti | Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The results from New Hampshire are in and former Vermont Gov. Howard “Mad Howe” Dean got drilled. But why? I don’t think the voters are looking at policy. They’re looking at the candidates’ personalities. So, what’s wrong with Howard Dean?Is he a genuinely evil person, or does he just suffer from serious psychiatric disorders? There are some pretty strong arguments either way. That’s why I’m happy to present the Scumbag or Nutcase Scorecard.First, let’s look at the good doctor’s reaction after the Iowa caucuses. You might have heard Dr. Dean’s audio clips on the Internet the next day. “We’re going to California and Texas and New York, and we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan!” Dean exclaimed. “And then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House!”Okay, sounds like a standard rally-the-troops speech. Until the primal scream. That’s right, after “take back the White House,” Dean let out a guttural holler that The New York Times dubbed simply “The Scream.” Verdict: nutcase.Which brings us to the Dean deli caper. The NBC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa reported that the Dean campaign bought 200 lunches from the Brown Bag Deli, and then walked on the check. The deli’s owner, Scott Hoffman, said the Dean workers stiffed him for $963.01. Let me repeat this: the man stole hundreds of sandwiches. This event brought to you by the man who wants to preside over a $10 trillion economy. Verdict: scumbag.And now on to the war. Dr. Dean said the standard of living of the Iraqi people “is a whole lot worse now than it was before.” I guess rape rooms, torturing soccer players for losing games, and executing political opponents are the hallmarks of a high standard of living. Verdict: nutcase.Let’s analyze the deeply seated religious beliefs of the man who would lead the free world. About 25 years ago, he left the Episcopal Church. Was it a complicated theological issue? Ordaining women, perhaps? Nope. He changed religions over a bike path. The city of Burlington wanted to build a municipal bike path on the church’s property. Church leaders said no. So Dean became a Congregationalist. The man renounced his religion over a strip of government concrete. Verdict: scumbag.In an interview with People magazine, Dean revealed a history of anxiety and panic attacks, including one when he was elected governor of Vermont. Now, for the ordinary person, I guess that’s not so bad. But we’re talking about the guy who can push the nuclear button whenever he feels like it, and I don’t want the jumpy type. Verdict: nutcase. Ok, there you have it; the Scorecard never lies. Howard Dean appears to be completely off his gubernatorial rocker.Sorry, Howe, but it’s not my fault you’re stark raving mad. Please don’t go on a multi-state killing rampage.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Matt Bramanti at mbramant@nd.edu