Now in the caucus homestretch -- the Democratic election is being held on Jan. 19 -- Dean is using the same issue that his biggest backer, former Vice President Al Gore, used with devastating effect against Bill Bradley in the 2000 campaign -- flood relief.
At one debate in 1999, Gore introduced Iowa farmer Chris Peterson. Floods had destroyed 400 acres of Peterson's crops in 1993. At the time, Gore was a senator, and he supported a bill that offered flood relief.
"Why did you vote against the disaster relief for Chris Peterson, when he and thousands of other farmers here in Iowa needed it after those '93 floods?" Gore asked Bradley, a former N.J. senator, who was in office at the time the bill was being debated.
"You know, Al, I think that the premise of your question is wrong," Bradley responded. "This is not about the past. This is about the future."
Now Peterson, a Dean supporter, is accusing Kerry, also a senator at the time the bill was debated, of the very same flood relief sin.
"Bill Bradley opposed important flood relief that would have made a world of difference to farmers like me. Now, four years later, we again have a Democrat U.S. senator from an industrial state running for president in Iowa who voted against the very same flood relief legislation that would have benefited rural Iowans," Peterson said in a written statement.
But Kerry's camp is fighting back, and accusing Dean of smear tactics. Kerry, in fact, did vote for the flood relief that Bradley opposed. The proof is on the Web site of recorded votes that Congress operates.
So first Dean runs an ad accusing Kerry of voting against something that Kerry unarguably supported and voted for...
And then he makes this moronic statement, speaking of his fellow Democratic nominees:
"Nobody else comes from a farm state."
Now setting aside that every state in the union is a farm state, if you rank the states where the candidates are from based on number of farms, Vermont comes in seventh out of nine.
Dean has made dozens of statements like this that are foolish, untrue, or wildly out of the mainstream. His Democratic opponents are lambasting him daily, doing nothing but creating sound-bites for Bush campaign commercials.
Why is he the front-runner? Do the Democrats have Sylvia Plath syndrome?