Thursday, January 22, 2004


We all have things that are "guilty pleasures". One of mine is my addiction to watching Survivor. I like it a lot because I love people and love to observe the interaction and style of communication used by anyone trying to reach a stated goal (in the case of Survivor, to be the last person left "on the island").

I see the current presidential race as a more sophisticated version of this show. It's the ultimate "reality" show because the stakes are much higher than winning $1 million and achieving more than 15 minutes of fame.

Many apologists for Howard Dean have tried to paint his "shrieking" concession speech in Iowa as being fairly normal. When I saw it the first time, I was pleased that I have a TiVo box -- I immediately stopped it, rewound and replayed it again because I was dumbstruck. I wanted to make sure that what I thought I saw was what I saw. Unfortunately, it was.

It became obvious to me that Dean was ready to do an Ozzy Osbourne. If a pigeon was in the house, he would've chomped its head off. If he was in his hotel room, he would've tossed a TV through the window into the swimming pool. He had the look in his eye of a guy who wanted to kill something. I'm sure his advisors who had pushed him to speak in a more "centrist" way got a face-full of Howard, telling them they were frickin' idiots. They'd tried to keep Bruce from turning into The Hulk, but failed.

Emotion isn't a bad thing. And in a leader, you want to see some emotion. A good leader should be able to laugh, cry, and occasionally scream and yell. But when you see Dr. Jekyll turn into Mr. Hyde on national TV, your immediate reaction is that he's going to be toast at the next "tribal council".

Maybe not. But with Kerry now being viewed a "front runner", Dean's momentum has taken an enormous hit. His hope has to be that folks in Michigan, Florida, New York and California see him differently from the way Iowans saw him. We'll see.

One thing for sure, in this survivor show, no one wins immunity.


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