With an intense hilarity factor going for it, the buzz surrounding Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean's post-Iowa caucus concession speech is a story that, to quote one pollster, "has legs." Even people who couldn't care less about the Democratic primaries have flocked to the Internet to watch and listen to various replays of the oration a florid-faced Dean delivered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
On such clips, Dean is heard stridently reciting, with steadily increasing volume, a litany of the names of states he intends to go on to conquer. He then shouts hoarsely, "And then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!" He tops off with a wildly enthusiastic "Yeeeaaah!" that has firmly captured the public's fancy.
The wide range of pundits weighing in on the political fallout from what is now popularly characterized as Dean's "I Have a Scream" speech have included James Carville ("It hurt him") and Pat Buchanan ("I don't think it's survivable"). Journalists have produced headlines like "A Scream Too Far" and "U.S. Alarm over Mad How Disease."
Even toy manufacturer Hero-builders.com Corp. jumped on the bandwagon, announcing the February roll-out of a talking, Confederate-flag-T-shirt-sporting "Mean Dean" action figure, one version of which will elicit a recording of Dean's high-decibel affirmation.
On Jan. 22, Dean, engaging in a bit of damage control, told ABC news' Diane Sawyer, "I was... speaking to 3,500 kids that had worked for me for three weeks in Iowa, all waiving American flags, all disappointed, and it was my job to make them go away from Iowa and feel like they'd done their work.... I am not a perfect person.... I say things that I probably ought not to say, but I lead with my heart."
Online, Dean's scream came on like an explosion-filling blogs and message boards with extensive commentary on, as well as audio and video remixes of, the infamous speech.
"It should be a political maxim that the sound bite is more important than the speech itself," reads a sample post on poliblogger.com. "[T]here is no doubt that the sound bites that I have now heard on NPR, Rick and Bubba and Michael Medved... all make [Dean] sound, well, insane."
MTV.com listed some of the more notable musical remixes circulating online, including two that combine Dean's speech with Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" and Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle," respectively
On his website DeanGoesNuts.com, Caner Ozdemir, who described himself as a 21-year-old university junior, has been adding remix links on daily basis since Jan. 21. A self-avowed independent and Dean supporter, Ozdemir proclaims on the site that he would still vote for Dean "when, and if, the time comes." The site also features a message board and link to "a video of the entire speech from the crowd's prospective"-albeit a version that lacks Dean's fascinating final holler.
Via e-mail, Ozdemir told CityBeat that he'd been following Dean's campaign since the former Vermont governor first entered the presidential race. However, he claimed that in registering the domain DeanGoesNuts.com, he initially sought to create not a support site for Dean, but a place to gather mixes discovered during Internet searches for a clip of Dean's original speech.
The speech "made my friends and I laugh so hard, I just wanted to hear it again," Ozdemir said. "I thought [the mixes] were hilarious, but was having trouble downloading a few because the websites hosting them couldn't handle the traffic, so I decided to use the webspace I had to host them."
Among his favorite remixes, Ozdemir mentioned Lil Jon's "Throw It Up" remix and the Hellraiser mix.
"But the ones I am posting from now on should be considered to be my new favorites," he advised, noting that the "We have the Power (Stand up for America)" mix (not based on the scream speech) "really made me think, and many [site] visitors have told me it changed them to Dean supporters."
Ozdemir said he became troubled "watching the media go to town, and watching people lose hope" over the Dean incident. As DeanGoesNuts.com's audience burgeoned, Ozdemir said interviews with a number of news sources followed. While not all his interactions with the media have been negative, Ozdemir said he felt some interviewers had twisted his words "to hurt Dean, which really bothered me."
Ozdemir asserted that such experiences have rendered him "absolutely tired of being told what is going to happen before it happens (not just with Dean, but everything)" and with pundits "who are completely out of touch with normal people."
Ozdemir also reported that he has dedicated DeanGoesNuts.com to a goal of raising $5,000 for the Dean campaign, giving as his reason, "I'm taking something that started off as a negative, and trying to make it a positive."