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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, July 02, 2003


audio: Dean on NPR's Morning Edition

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 02, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
NPR had an interview with Dean on the Morning Edition program today. The broadcast version was an abridged interview, though the longer version is also available. Dean handled himself superbly in the wake of relatively predictable questions from Bob Edwards that addressed different stereotypes about his positions - Dean clarified where he stood, and made a strong principled case in each one.

Dean on NPR Morning Edition, 7/2/03

I thought that his response on the Health Care question was particularly comprehensive and effective:

EDWARDS: Why would your plan to provide near-universal health care coverage fare any better than Hillary Clinton's plan of several years ago?

DEAN: Because we have a plan that actually works. I tried a comprehensive heath care plan the year before Bill Clinton became president. One of the advantages I have is that I was governor for so long in Vermont that I actually served through both Bush recessions, not one of them. And during that first recession we had a comprehensive health care plan before our legislature which failed. But I was very persistent. What we got out of it was health care for everybody under 18. In our state, everyone under 18 has health insurance and everybody who makes less than about $17,000 a year is guaranteed health insurance whether they qualify for Medicaid or not. On that building block, I build my national plan. We use something called the Family Insurance Plan, which is modeled after what we did in Vermont to cover everybody under 25 and everybody under about $30,000, $33,000 a year income. Above that, if you have no insurance you can buy into this same plan your congressman has for about 7 and a half percent of your adjusted gross income. If you don't want to have the health insurance you don't have to, but we sign everybody up, and you can opt out. So it covers everybody, it costs less than half of the Bush tax cuts, and it brings America into the same civilized category as every other industrial country in the world

However, I thought he fell somewhat short on details when asked, what he would do different in Iraq. Dean is absolutely on-target that the biggest obstacle to winning the peace is the lack of manpower, and that lack is the direct result of the schoolyard-petulance foreign policy of the Bush Administration:

EDWARDS: What would you be doing differently in post-war Iraq?

DEAN: Now that we're there, we can't leave. We cannot allow chaos or a fundamentalist regime in Iraq because it could be fertile ground for al Qaeda. First thing I would do is bring in 40,000 to 50,000 other troops. I'd look to Arab countries, Islamic allies, countries, Islamic countries who are our allies, NATO, the United Nations. Gen. Shinseki, before we went in, said that we did not have enough troops. The administration ignored that advice. It turned out to be true. It was a good thing that Shinseki made us give us that advice. It was a bad thing the administration ignored their own military expertise. We need those troops, we're not keeping order in Iraq. And it seems to me that what we need is some expertise from people who know how to police countries that are in some chaos and who understand how to administer and build the institutions of democracy. We're gonna be there for a long time in Iraq. We can't leave, because if we do before there's established democracy, many worse things will happen to both the Iraqi people and to America if the terrorists move in.

Given the perception of the Democrats as weak on defense, the response to this question needs to be more detailed than "get more troops" - for example, does Dean support the canceling of all local elections? There needs to be a more in-depth discussion about how we reconstruct Iraq, given how essential the outcome is to our own security.

(full transcript also available)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.