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Howard the Dunce
by Bruce Walker
5 December 2003Howard Dean

Howard Dean's advice for containing Iran -- bring the Soviet Union into the process -- sounds like something one would overhear at an IHOP.

Howard Dean, who will probably be the presidential nominee of the Democrat Party, was recently asked how he would handle the problem of Iran developing nuclear weapons. His rambling response four times mentioned our need to bring the “Soviet Union” into the process. 

Brit Hume on Fox News noted that the Soviet Union has not existed for over a decade, and when this was raised in the Fox All Stars roundtable discussion, the general consensus is that this mistake would not hurt Dean politically.

Dan Quayle made a handful of unimportant gaffes.  The media used these to make this bright, decent and principled man seem dumb.  They hammered Quayle relentlessly on trivialities. Is it more important that a president know how to properly spell the plural of potato?  No.

But it is vital that a president understand that the Soviet Union no longer exists, particularly when his policy toward one of the most dangerous threats to mankind today involves using a ghost empire that died years ago.  His answer also left unclear what Howard the Dunce’s policy is toward Iran. 

If he instinctively believes that the forced confederation of Marxist nations which was the Soviet Union is the key to this very important problem, then how will that position change when he looks at a map and discovers that what used to be the Soviet Union is now the Russian republic and a number of other independent nations? 

If Howard the Dunce meant to say “Russia” and not “Soviet Union,” then he has not yet grasped that importance of the six former Soviet Socialist republics within the former Soviet Union which are predominately Islamic or the fact that Russia does not even have a border with Iran. 

If Howard the Dunce’s  “Soviet Union” meant Russia and the other half of the former Soviet Union as a single political glob, then his is oblivious to the liberation of captive peoples within the empire of the Tsars and of the communists, a pivotal event of the 20th Century. 

Should we give Howard the Dunce a pass, when Gerald Ford lost the 1976 Presidential Election for saying that the peoples of Poland, Rumania and Yugoslavia did not consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union? 

Yugoslavia was not part of the Warsaw Pact. Rumania did not allow Russian soldiers to cross its borders. Poland, soon after that debate, began the process which would end Russian control of Poland.  President Ford saw that all communist nations of Eastern Europe were not the same, and he correctly noted the three least tightly controlled by the Soviet Union.

Should we give Howard the Dunce a pass, when the Left mocked President Reagan when he referred to Nikolai Lenin? The Leftist media chortled that Reagan could not even name the founder of the Soviet Union.  But Reagan showed his knowledge, not his ignorance. Lenin is most commonly called Vladimir Lenin, but he has also been called -- even by the Communist Party USA -- Nikolai Lenin.   

Should we give Howard the Dunce a pass, when Governor Bush in the 2000 could not answer every question a sneering cub reporter presented him in the pop quiz?  The names of nabobs in every nation is not important, but understanding the disintegration of the Soviet Union largely defines modern geopolitics. 

But there is a more important distinction between Bush then and Dean now.  Governor Bush honestly acknowledged that he did not know every single political leader on the planet. He was honest and he also recognized the limits of his knowledge.

Howard the Dunce plowed ahead with false assumptions about key facts when he was asked a question that did not demand detailed knowledge from him.  Howard the Dunce, not some sneaky journalist, introduced the term “Soviet Union” into the discussion, and Howard the Dunce made this nonexistent polity the key to how he would prevent Iran from drawing the world into nuclear Armageddon.

Once he reads a bit of history and skims a few atlases, Howard the Dunce might also understand that North Korea (the country just north of South Korea) lies at the juncture of three major powers -- Japan, China and Russia -- and that the Soviet Union has vanished from the map.

Should Howard the Dunce get a pass?  Like most angry Leftists, Howard the Dunce thinks that he knows much but actually knows little.  His ignorance was harmless when he was governor of a microscopic state with politics so weird that it sends a Socialist to Congress, but the world today desperately needs serious and sensible leaders -- and not dim bulbs like Howard the Dunce.

Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth

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