I can't put my finger on why I dislike the tone of this article so much. It's like . . . gonzo snark. It doesn't do the reader any good. The one insight I get from it (if the reporter is to be trusted) is that Trippi's campaign strategy was more about hating Kerry than hating Bush, and that may have been the beginning of the end.
Trippi comes across as a madman teetering on the brink of a complete physical and mental breakdown. There are annoyingly hush-hush references to his "illness." And what the &^% is this story about a chief aide to a congressman committing suicide in 1987 because he (the aide) was outed? By the Washington Post? Good God.
The reporter, writer, whatever you want to call her, has a palpable dislike for Trippi, Dean, and their methods.
Back when Dean was riding high, Trippi would sit in his office at five in the morning plotting new ways to "freak everybody out." Like running ads in Texas. Texas! The cojones. Or flying 500 evangelical Deaniacs from Texas to Iowa to knock on doors and say, "I'm from Texas! I know George Bush! He sucks!"—which, at the time, seemed like a brilliant idea. Or getting all those people who were showing up at Dean Meetups to write letters to strangers in Iowa. He supplied 40,000 people with two stamps, stationery and instructions to "say what you feel." So many of the Dean faithful participated in the letter-writing drive—"Dear [Person in Iowa], I live in Seattle, and I think Howard Dean is great"—that there were people in Iowa who were getting three a day. "You go to the mailbox, and there's this handwritten letter, and it's from some schmo in Seattle!" says Trippi, presuming that people would think this was a good thing.
On the trail, the reporter asked Trippi a question about Dean:
But does he like him?
"To tell you the truth," says Joe, "I respect him more than I like him, and I'm not sure he likes me very much. But I think he respects me."