In a statement released Sunday, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, current chairman of the Democratic National Committee, responded to Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pointed comments of March 3d. In the statement, Dean not only answered Bloomberg's scathing remarks, some of which referred to the Democrats as the "party of slavery and treason" and a party full of "redneck ignoramuses", but also went on the attack, accusing the Republicans of "moral degeneracy" and saying that they have "tariffs on the brain".
This response from Dean, which even impartial observers have been labeling "vicious" and "vitriolic", was the long-awaited counterattack to Bloomberg's "Union and Protection" speech, given on March 3d at a dinner with the heads of New York City's major businesses.
In that speech, Bloomberg cited the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, and called upon his fellow Republicans to condemn the Democratic Party over its support for "the institution of Negro Slavery" as well as "that most pernicious doctrine which they have taken to calling free trade'". Bloomberg also attacked the Democrats over the issues of secession and nullification, claiming that "nullification is the surest road to treason, and treason the surest road to despotism". He reminded the New York crowd that "the expansion of Negro slavery would be most injurious to our industry, and its destruction most advantageous", and called for blacks to be deported to the nation of Liberia.
In his response, Dean lit into the Republicans with equal vitriol, calling them "thieves and jackals, lying hounds who seek to rob us and bind us". Although himself a Northern Democrat opposed to slavery "on principle", Dean defended secession and nullification, claiming that to abandon them would be to "forfeit the legacy which we have received from our venerable forefathers, surrendering to the tyrannical whim of a government which seeks to violate our God-given liberties".
Dean, who once said that he wanted to be a candidate for the people "with confederate flags on their trucks", was adamant in defending the Democratic Party's legacy, both in the south and elsewhere.
Dean also attacked the Republicans over tariffs. "This most foul and pernicious form of legalized banditry," Dean began, "is a stone in America's throat, choking the very flow of goods and wealth that is the air upon which this nation survives".
The former Vermont governor also attacked Republicans over their "moral degeneracy", claiming that the Republican Party draws support from "free love advocates, degenerate hip-hop stars, drug dealers, lesbians, and other perverts".
Dean was more moderate in his approach to slavery, noting his own personal opposition, and affirming that Democrats could hold good-faith opinions on both sides, while assuring his audience that any attempt by the federal government to violate state sovereignty on the matter would be illegal and tyrannical.
Some of Dean's language was not merely vitriolic, but threatening. In an address to New York's Democrats, he subtly suggested that they attempt to defeat Mayor Bloomberg and secede from the U.S. to form a "Free City of Tri-Insula", perhaps basing his suggestion on an earlier proposal from former New York Mayor Fernando Wood, who was first elected mayor in 1854.
Dean also suggested that, if the federal government remained firmly in the hands of Republicans, some states might find it wisest to secede from the Union.
It is unclear at this time whether either speaker is aware that slavery has been outlawed by the 13th amendment, or that there has already been a war between the American States, but their resolute language suggests that they are not. It has also been suggested that the two men have been looking at party platforms from the mid-19th century, but this has not been confirmed.