Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Outsider

I've mentioned this before I think, but there's nothing that's annoyed me more than Carville&Begala's mock horror about the fact that Dean is running as an "outsider" and running "against his own party." Don't they remember the 1992 campaign which they were intimately a part of?

Some reminders:

Copyright 1992 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

March 17, 1992, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
Mr. Clinton has taken a cue, for instance, from Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, who dropped out of the Presidential race two weeks ago, and increased the number of times he now refers to himself as the candidate who can bring the most change to Washington. At a Texas debate last week, Mr. Clinton even borrowed Mr. Kerrey's most-used phrase to say he is for "fundamental change."

Mr. Clinton's portrayal of himself as an outsider owes a debt as well to former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California, who has won the Colorado primary and who could manage a strong finish in Michigan with an outsider's message that rails against the monied and the powerful. Speaking to an audience in Macomb County, Mich., on Thursday, Mr. Clinton picked up that theme.


The Washington Post
March 23, 1992, Monday, Final Edition

Policy and spin marry so happily in the Clinton camp that the campaign can retool its themes as quickly as an Indy pit crew changes tires. When the race began, insiders say, the Clinton staff geared up to run as The New against The Old, figuring their chief opponent might be a familiar figure like New York Gov. Mario Cuomo or House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt. They were also ready to run as The Outsider against The Insider if the opposition banner was carried by, say, Kerrey or Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin.

Tsongas was unforeseen, and surged to prominence waving many of the themes the Clinton people had prepared for themselves: the candidate from beyond Washington, offering new ideas for hard times. Snap! Clinton's staff reformulated its campaign as one of The People versus The Fat Cats, Main Street vs. Wall Street. Tso long, Tsongas.


Copyright 1992 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
March 5, 1992, Thursday, Late Edition - Final
Tsongas, he's for the upper class," said Bernie Skall, a retired accountant who heard Mr. Clinton yesterday at the Century Village retirement community in Deerfield Beach, Fla. "I think Mr. Clinton's down to earth. He's for the little guy."

The strategy also borrows from other campaigns. Although Mr. Clinton has long tried to cast himself as a Washington outsider, he was embraced early by most of the Washington Democratic establishment.

Now the outsider rhetoric has returned. And this time it owes more than a little of its edge to former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California, who has found some success with his populist outsider's message.

"I'm not the favorite candidate of the Beltway," Mr. Clinton said as he explained away his loss in the Maryland primary on Tuesday, "because I support real change."

Copyright 1992 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.

March 13, 1992, FRIDAY, FIVE STAR Edition

The various charges are helping Clinton paint himself as an outsider. In Carbondale, he talked of the debates unrelated to issues that are ''paralyzing Washington'' and of a need to have less bureaucracy in Washington. Clinton has withstood so much adversity already that some of his supporters think he is becoming invincible. ''His resiliency has impressed people,'' said Kenneth Buzbee, a former senator from Carbondale who is running again for that position. ''Every time a new charge comes up, he bounces with it and buries it.'' Meanwhile, Clinton's advisers are doing their best to convince reporters that Clinton's baggage becomes lighter with every primary victory. People who worry about the general election are ''divorced from reality,'' said consultant Paul Begala, referring to Clinton's successes in Missouri and other states on Tuesday. ''Just because they say he's unelectable doesn't make it so.

Copyright 1992 Globe Newspaper Company
The Boston Globe

April 6, 1992, Monday, City Edition
Through the long weeks of competition in New Hampshire, both Clinton and Tsongas billed themselves as "outsider" candidates who shared a desire to change the Democratic Party's attitudes toward economic growth. But a sequence of primaries in states responsive to a working-class message converged this month with the disappearance of Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa from the race, leaving Tsongas as the most formidable obstacle to Clinton.

Tsongas has been proud of his claim to be the "probusiness" candidate in the race. But he set himself up for destruction in this month's primaries nearly a year ago when, in Denver on May 1 - the day after he announced his candidacy - he attacked the Democratic Party for encouraging "corporation-bashing, class warfare and populism." Those are the very tools that are now being used against him.

Clinton's aggressive tactics have smacked of class warfare. He now regularly depicts Tsongas as the representative of what James Carville, one of Clinton's strategists, calls "the elite, Volvo wing of the party." Clinton has also become an exponent of populism, saying that his "people-based economics" are composed of more flesh and blood than Tsongas' proposals for tax incentives for corporations to stimulate jobs.