Brilliantly Cranky.

Salon magazine’s cover story, The media vs. Howard Dean, reports on the media’s war against Dean Howard. The article suggests that newspapers and NBC’s Tim Russert are in cahoots with the Republicans to take out the Vermont Governor in his attempt to become the Democratic candidate for the upcoming Presidential election.

By some measures, Dean’s media troubles began with his June 22 appearance on “Meet the Press.” During the hour-long sit-down, Dean faced off against a clearly combative host, Tim Russert, who prepared for the interview, in part, by asking the Bush Treasury Department to produce what the Washington Post called a “highly selective” analysis of the Democratic tax program… Later in the program came a pop-quiz question about how many men and women currently serve in the military. When Dean said he didn’t know the exact number and complained it was like asking him “who the ambassador to Rwanda is,” Russert shot back: “As commander in chief, you should know that.”

In the wake of “Meet the Press,” the Washington Post … managed to use the following words to describe Dean: “abrasive,” “flinty,” “cranky,” “arrogant,” “disrespectful,” “yelling,” “hollering,” “fiery,” “red-faced,” “hothead,” “testy,” “short-fused,” “angry,” “worked up,” and “fired up.” And none of those adjectives were used in a complimentary way. In fact the Post, in an Aug. 4 Is-Dean-mean story, took pains to distinguish him from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whom the paper termed “brilliantly cranky.”

For Republicans the anger angle fit perfectly with the party’s plan to attack Dean personally rather than politically. As was true with Gore in 2000, the GOP spin machine is paying less attention to Dean’s policy agenda than to his alleged personality defects: “Arrogance” and “anger” are high on that list.

Two things come to mind after reading this.

First, the argument that today’s media are hell-bent on liberalism and against the red-neck-conservative establishment is completely misplaced in today’s journalism. The media (most of them anyway) are more likely to hop on the story selling bandwagon and ride it for ever nickel and dime they can get.

Look no further than last April when the media was in a constant ecstatic flurry over their live invasion coverage. Never mind covering both sides of the story, we’re going to war LIVE, 24/7, from the top of an Army tank. Ye-haw!

The media are not liberal, they are prostitutes at best.

Secondly, I like that Dean speaks his mind. The man is educated, he is a leader with a lot of experience, and he is an American. Those things entitle him to speak his mind, in front of cameras or where ever he may choose. Would you rather have a watered down hand puppet who doesn’t have the kahones to speak openly with candor and confidence? Whether or not you believe Howard is right or wrong, at least he has some blood pumping through his veins which is more than could be said for most political candidates (both Republican and Democrat).

It’s also important to keep in mind that he is a candidate. He is not President of the United States. While the Office of the President must carefully consider what he or she says in public, a candidate is free to express what they believe.

Who cares how many men and women serve in the military. I want passion, ideas, sparks, not vegetable soup.