Sunday, September 7, 2003

Hot corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

The Candyman can

Would somebody send Howard Dean a few Hershey bars, please?

The Democratic presidential hopeful sounds like he needs some chocolate to brighten his mood.

During a routine press conference Tuesday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was asked to comment on a four-nation proposal for the creation of a European Union military headquarters in Brussels independent of NATO.

Let's cut to the transcript:

Reporter: "That's exactly it - and Belgium insisting to this..."

Boucher (interrupting): "Yeah, the chocolate makers."

Chocolate makers? Quel fromage!

The comment was preceded by a series of light-hearted exchanges between Boucher and the press, including some silly apple puns. "Core," "corps" - get it?

Dean & Co. evidently didn't. The campaign fired off a statement with Dean blasting Boucher's "chocolate makers" slur. But rather than showcasing Dean's foreign-policy gravitas, it revealed a penchant for humorless non-sequiturs:

"Rather than reaching out to our long-standing allies in NATO - the force best situated to help us stabilize Iraq - this Administration continues to practice a foreign policy based on petulance..."

Hey, Howard, it was a joke, OK? Besides, Boucher followed up with an answer expressing support for NATO and the European Union.

But Dean knows all about petulance. As the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto observed, if Hubert Humphrey was the "Happy Warrior," then Howard Dean is the "Peevish Peacenik."

Momma wasn't quite right: Life is like a box of ex-Vermont governors. Maybe the Dems should nominate Willie Wonka.

Hot corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers
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