Yesterday, Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean infuriated the left over his opposition to the so-called 'Ground Zero Mosque.' Last night, he ventured into the heart of the liberal lion's den appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Interestingly, as Mediaite's Frances Martel points out, the two made deliberate efforts to respect each other's opinion (there's an idea!):
While many (including Bill O’Reilly during the time the Dean/Olbermann discussion aired) were heralding the disagreement as a “civil war” on the left, it appears that Olbermann and Dean both intended to display the disagreement not as a war, but as an ongoing, enriching discussion.
Dean played the more moderate role to Olbermann’s more traditional left role (which culminated towards the end with Olbermann asking “How do you compromise with people who are absolutely irrational?”). Dean argued that, while he did not condone any sort of dialogue with “the Sarah Palins and Newt Gingriches of the world,” there were “legitimate” people, such as the families of 9/11 victims, who may feel uncomfortable and deserve to be listened to. Olbermann countered that, throughout history, Americans have needed an extra push towards tolerance, citing the civil rights struggles and various instances during which Americans were denied rights because of their religion. On that point, Dean was at his sternest, telling Olbermann that he found that “to compare the civil rights issue to the location of a building is inappropriate.”