Thursday, February 27, 2003
Dean says he wants to link human rights and trade policy http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20030225&Category=APN&ArtNo=302251006&Ref=AR
This is another example of a principled stand by Dean on an issue. Excerpt follows:
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said Tuesday he would work to "link human rights and trade policy" as he cultivated support from labor leaders to his outsider campaign for president.
"The WTO is going to have to care about more than just economic transactions. They're going to have to care about human rights," Dean said during an impromptu gathering with reporters.
Dean was among the last of the presidential candidates to make their way to the labor group's winter meetings. Union leaders heard from Sens. John Edwards of North Carolina, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois on Monday.
As the story noted, Dean was at the AFL-CIO meeting this Tuesday, but we haven't yet gotten any transcripts or reports. Send us email if you spot one so we can put it up for all to peruse...
video: PBS News Hour interview 2/25/03 http://pbs-newshour.virage.com/cgi-bin/visearch?user=pbs-newshour&template=playprefs.html&query=%2A&squery=%2BClipID%3A5+%2BVideoAsset%3Apbsnh022503&inputField=%20&ccstart=2704871&ccend=3311278&videoI
transcript: PBS News Hour interview 2/25/03 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june03/dean_2-25.html
GWEN IFILL: Last night we heard from Congressman Richard Gephardt. Tonight we talk with former Vermont governor Howard dean. He is 54 years old, a New York City native, and a graduate of Yale University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After his medical residency, he and his wife, who is also a physician, set up an internal medicine practice in Vermont. He was first elected to the state legislature in 1983. Four years later, he was elected lieutenant governor, rising to governor in 1991, when Republican Richard Snelling died of a heart attack in office. Dean was easily reelected three times. He left office this year to run full time for the Democratic nomination. Howard Dean joins us from the campaign trail in Miami, Florida. Welcome, Governor.
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Thanks, Gwen.
GWEN IFILL: You have said that the president has not made his case for leading an attack or starting an attack in Iraq. Why don't you make your case against that for us?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Sure. I think there's a high threshold for a unilateral attack, and the United States has traditionally set the moral tone for foreign policy in the world. My view of this is since Iraq is not an imminent danger to the United States, the United States should not unilaterally attack Iraq. Iraq does not have nuclear weapons. They do not have much of a nuclear program, if they have one at all left. And they have not... there is not any particular evidence that is convincing that they have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. All those three things would constitute, in my view, a reason to defend our country by unilaterally attacking. But those are not the cases. Sec. Powell and the president have not made those cases well.
We believe... I believe that Iraq does have chemical and biological weapons, and they are a threat to many nations in the region, but not to the United States. Therefore in my view, the United States ought not to attack unilaterally. The United Nations should disarm Saddam, and we should be a part of that effort. The risk for us to unilaterally attack Iraq is that other nations will adopt our policy, and I can very easily see perhaps the Chinese saying one day, "well, Taiwan presents an imminent threat, and therefore we have the right to attack Taiwan." What we do matters, and morals matter in foreign policy.
GWEN IFILL: Governor, by my count, you just used some version of the word "unilateral" six times in that response. If... the president would argue he is not favoring a unilateral attack, that he has support from Britain and other nations and is now going to the United Nations for a second resolution. Under what circumstances could you imagine a multilateral attack?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Well, I think that the United Nations makes it clear that Saddam has to disarm, and if he doesn't, then they will disarm him militarily. I have no problem with supporting a United Nations attack on Iraq, but I want it to be supported by the United Nations. That's a well-constituted body. The problem with the so-called multilateral attack that the president is talking about is an awful lot of countries, for example, like Turkey-- we gave them $20 billion in loan guarantees and outright grants in order to secure their permission to attack. I don't think that's the right way to put together a coalition. I think this really has to be a world matter. Saddam must be disarmed. He is as evil as everybody says he is. But we need to respect the legal rights that are involved here. Unless they are an imminent threat, we do not have a legal right, in my view, to attack them.
GWEN IFILL: Governor, you have criticized other Democrats in the race for seeming to support the president by voting for the use-of-force resolution last October in Congress, yet you say that you support... you would support... you'd be willing to support a United Nations-backed effort to disarm Saddam Hussein. How is that different from what the people in Congress voted for?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: What they voted for was to allow the president of the United States to attack Iraq unilaterally without going back to Congress. So the four folks that I'm running against who are from Congress all voted to give the president that power. The objection that I have... the greatest objection is for the folks that voted for it and then went to Iowa and California and pretended they are against the war. That doesn't wash. We're not going to elect a president of the United States but nominating somebody who says one thing and does something else, and appears to be willing to say whatever it takes to become president. That's a guarantee that we won't beat George Bush that way. We have got to stick to our guns. We've got to defend our positions, and we've got to be proud of our positions.
GWEN IFILL: Are you supportive of the second resolution, which is now apparently making its way to the United Nations Security Council?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Sure. Look, I don't have a problem with the second resolution because the United Nations will ultimately make the decision about how Saddam is to be disarmed. My own preference is that we give the inspectors some more time-- we're making some progress there-- but that if Saddam refuses, for example, to destroy the missiles as the United Nations has demanded, then I think the United Nations is going to have an obligation to disarm him. I think our role in this has been pretty awful. We really have made it more difficult for the United States to carry out its policies by alienating practically everyone, including our friends, in regard to this matter of Iraq, and I think that's a mistake. I think it would have been a lot easier for us had the president not last July essentially declared that we were going to go in, and if people didn't like it, that was too bad for them. That was the wrong way to handle it.
GWEN IFILL: It sounds more like you disagree with our approach to this war than to the idea of waging war.
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: We need... well, I disagree with unilateral war. At this point, I don't think it's justified and I don't think the case has been made. I don't disagree with disarming Saddam. I support that. I think the proper folks to do that are the United Nations, and we should be part of that.
GWEN IFILL: Is Saddam Hussein, in your opinion, an immediate threat now?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: No. If he were, I would advocate unilateral action. That's... the whole point I'm trying to make is unless he possesses a way of attacking the United States, either by giving weapons of mass destruction to terrorists, which the president has not made the case for, or by having a nuclear program, then he's not an imminent threat.
Here is my biggest concern: North Korea is about to go nuclear on this president's watch, because he refuses to discuss the matter with them. That is a far greater danger to the United States, and frankly, far more likely to lead us into war sooner than any danger posed by Iraq. And of course, the greatest danger remains al-Qaida, which this president is not committing the resources to, is not dealing with the Saudis' funding of terror and the Saudis' funding of schools which teach small children in Islamic countries to hate Americans, Christians and Jews, which is the next, second generation of terrorists and suicide bombers. The important problems, the real important threats to the United States-al-Qaida and North Korea-- are not being dealt with. They are being put on the back burner because of this president's obsession with unilateral disarmament of Iraq, which is not a threat to the United States.
GWEN IFILL: Pardon me. So if you say that if you were president, you would back-burner Iraq and put North Korea on the front burner?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: My strategy for dealing with Iraq, as president, would be to contain them, to continue to push the United Nations to disarm them, and then to open talks with North Korea with the impetus... I have a four-point plan which I outlined last weekend at Drake University, and it essentially includes beginning bilateral talks, having an interim solution where both parties agree that, "A," the United States will not attack North Korea, and "B," that the North Koreans will not develop nuclear weapons during the talks; and then beginning the process of the five-power talks including South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States to deal with this threat. That is a very serious threat. Under no circumstances can North Korea be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, and they are about to do it because this president isn't paying enough attention.
GWEN IFILL: You are a physician. You were governor of a very small state for some years. What in your background prepares you to be president of the United States?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: I can balance the budget. No person in this race, including Pres. Bush, has balanced a budget. When he was governor of Texas, the system in Texas makes it so that the lieutenant governor actually runs the budget. So I'm actually the only person in this race that has balanced a budget. That's a critical issue. We have... we have pursued what I call the argentine fiscal plan: Borrow and spend, borrow and spend, and borrow and spend. Our children are going to pay for that, and we need to do better than that. Health insurance is a big issue. I'm the only one that has ever delivered a health insurance plan -- investing in small children, creation of jobs-- governors get to do those kinds of things, and I have an advantage there.
GWEN IFILL: I guess what I'm asking specifically is your foreign policy background.
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Well, first, I have more foreign policy background than Pres. Bush, Pres. Clinton, Pres. Reagan, or Pres. Carter did when they got there. I have been in over 50 countries, lived abroad, and fortunately have an extraordinarily strong team of advisors which have been working with me for a year to develop my views on foreign policy.
GWEN IFILL: You have gained a reputation now as the antiwar candidate. How do you... if that gets... stirs some hearts, gets blood running among democratic activists, and you were to be elected president, how would you govern a nation that appears to support action?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: I don't think... I think the nation is actually exactly where I am. There was apparently a poll in the New York Times today, which I haven't seen, which said that most Americans believe that we should disarm Iraq with the United Nations. That's what I've been saying since last July. I think the president's mistaken. I think the four folks I'm running against from Congress are mistaken.
GWEN IFILL: Is Iraq a litmus test issue in this year's election?
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: I don't know. I think we will have dealt with Iraq one way or the other before we get to the primaries. I believe either the president, as determined as he is to make war, will do so shortly, or the United Nations will in fact disarm Saddam, probably through peaceful means. And I think that will be a settled issue before the first caucus in Iowa.
GWEN IFILL: Gov. Dean, thank you very much for joining us.
FMR. GOV. HOWARD DEAN: Thanks very much, Gwen.
Kucinich should withdraw http://talkingpointsmemo.com/feb0304.html#022603107pm
Basically, in the early days -- before he was running citywide, let alone nationwide -- Kucinich's political schtick was posing as the champion of the 'forgotten' white ethnic voters over against the rising force of black political power. Sort of a great white hope type, or great Slavic hope, if you will.
There was plenty of acrimony between blacks and white ethnic voters in Northern cities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So it was fertile political ground. And playing on that divide for political gain was not at all uncommon. That fissure, after all, was one of the things that broke apart the Democrats' coalition in the North. Kucinich didn't create it. But at the time some pols chose to play to it while others didn't.
Now, what does it mean? This was a long time ago. And at the time Kucinich was, almost literally, a kid. When he was elected Mayor later in the decade I think he was still only 31. Plenty of folks from the South who are still active in politics today -- many of whom now get lots of black votes -- were still segregationists in the early 1960s. So people do change their stripes. And bygones often get considered bygones.
I think Daily Kos has it right when he says that Kucinich should immediately withdraw from the running. Whatever his motivations, it's too much baggage for a realistic candidate to carry.
Dean Defense Forces: Tom Delay = appeasement hypocrite http://slate.msn.com/id/2079324/
That was bad enough, but Dean wasn't finished. He suggested that the United States should curb its warlike impulses to avoid offending other countries. "The White House has bombed its way around the globe," he sneered. "International respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly." As for the current war plan, Dean complained that "no one wants us to be there" and that the president's crusade "has made the Russians jittery and has harmed [our] standing in the world."
Then there was the creepy way Dean kept referring to the president. He called the showdown "Bush's undeclared war" and "Bush's bombing campaign." He described it as something "the president has put us into" and warned his audience, "We should think very, very seriously whether we are going to take ownership of the bombing"—as though the president weren't the nation's commander in chief. He urged Congress to de-fund the war and "pull out the forces we now have in the region."
Dean essentially called the United States the war's villain. Once a U.S.-led coalition "starts meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, where does it stop?" he asked. He charged that we were "starting to resemble a power-hungry imperialist army" and portrayed our mission as an "occupation by foreigners."
Dean even defended the enemy's defiance of the international community. It was unfair and unrealistic of the United States, he suggested, to demand that a dictator "agree to allow foreign troops … to have free rein over the entire country." This was like asking him to "slit his throat with his own people," said Dean. "No wonder" the dictator refused.
OOPS. Actually, replace "Dean" with "DeLay" and replace "Bush" with "Clinton" and replace "Iraq" with "Kosovo" ... heh heh. Delay made these remarks four years ago and now accuses Dean of being unfit for office on the basis of the same arguments.
This piece in the Houston Press from 1999 (a wonderful liberal weekly, I read it religiously) also provides further documentation about DeLay's penchant for reality distortion:
[DeLay] had graduated from the University of Houston at the height of the Vietnam conflict in 1970, but chose to enlist in the war on cockroaches, fleas and termites as the owner of an exterminator business, rather than going off to battle against the Vietcong.
He and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.
"Who was that idiot?" asked a TV reporter who arrived at the end of the media show. When he was told the name, it drew a blank. DeLay at that time was a national nobody, and his claim that blacks and browns crowded him and other good conservatives out of Vietnam seemed so outlandish and self-serving that no one bothered to file a news report on the congressman's remarks."
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
What the media doesn't get about Howard Dean http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/02/tomasky-m-02-26.html
He astutely notes that Beltway media types tend to focus on ideology first. They see a candidate’s position on one or two things and label that person “liberal” or “conservative” based on those positions. Sometimes, that works, but with a candidate like Dean, it fails utterly. Such an approach also fails to capture a candidate’s ability to project a personality and to relate to voters—a factor that frequently trumps ideology. This is especially true of Dean:
But to see Dean's appeal to hard-shell Democrats as chiefly ideological is to miss entirely what's important about his presence in this race. His appeal is mainly emotional. He is telling beleaguered party loyalists -- sick to death of counting up their party leaders' wretched misjudgments and capitulations over the last two years -- that here is one Democrat who wasn't a part of that train wreck and who just isn't afraid of Republicans. This is why Dean matters. When he says, "I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," there is, to be sure, an ideological element to it; but it's a phrase laced with far more electricity than ideology.
Pundits and experts don't see it this way because they only know how to interpret things ideologically -- Dean is positioning himself to the left of this one and the right of that one. The ideology-is-everything lens can lead to some silly assertions, such as The New Republic's recently offered opinion that Dennis Kucinich's (D-Ohio) entry into the race "leaves Howard Dean without a constituency" (because Kucinich is also anti-war and quirkily conservative here and there). This would be spot-on true -- if the two were both pieces of paper rather than human beings.
I suspect that many potential voters were first attracted to Dean because of his stance on the war and if that were all he had to offer, then that might not be enough to hold on to those voters or, indeed, remain relevant. But Dean is not a one-trick pony. He is certainly going to surprise some folks…
One last paragraph from the article—it is particularly good, I think:
My impression of Dean is that he is a liberal-leaning but pragmatic executive whose medical training has made him more of a task-oriented problem solver than a dreamer anxious to uncork the next New Deal. If he's going to get the media to take him seriously, he has to put that Dean on display alongside the fire breather, and maintaining the balance between the two will be a challenge.
Kerry Leading New Hampshire; Dean, in Second. http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=678
|Candidate||% of Vote||Favorable||Unfavorable||Unfamiliar||Could Never Vote For|
May not total 100% due to rounding (edited by Aziz using HTML Tidy)
Dr. Dean Emerges From The Pack http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/25/opinion/lynch/main541905.shtml
Candidates Gephardt, Lieberman Kerry and Edwards are counting on the war to be history by the time next year's Iowa’s caucuses roll around. But as they start out on the trail, it is Dean who not only is in sync with Democratic voters and fundraisers on an issue they care passionately about, but who is coming off as bold and authentic in comparison to the carefully scripted members of Congress.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff put out similar poll numbers last week and gleefully predicted a "Democratic Party meltdown" over the Iraq issue. The conventional wisdom is that the Democratic anti-war message is too far to the left and candidates who articulate it will be badly positioned in a general election.
But Dean isn't holding a "far left" stance, even though the Republicans are portraying it as such. The new Gallup poll out, shows just how centrist Dean's position on invading Iraq remains. The polll also shows how alienated that Bush and the other Democrats (especially) are on their pro-invasion stance. The centrist UN approach that Dean advocates for is quite different from the avid war protesting group that's against invading Iraq even with the UN's approval.
Dean, by advocating for the UN's approval, is positioned with the majority, either way:
These results underscore the pivotal role that a new United Nations vote can have in helping Americans formalize their views on the pending war. As can be seen, about two-thirds of Americans (66%) can be characterized as opposing a war without a new U.N. vote. At the same time, about the same number (70%) can be characterized as supporting the war if the United Nations does in fact authorize it. Right now, it is unclear whether the United States can get enough votes in the U.N. Security Council -- without a veto from France, Russia, or China, -- to get that authorization.
These results are very similar to those reviewed above based on an analysis of the intensity of public opinion. About 3 out of 10 Americans are on either end of the spectrum -- those who generally support war regardless of what the U.N. does and/or are unlikely to change their minds, versus those who generally oppose war regardless of what the U.N. does and/or are also unlikely to change their minds. The remainder have more mixed feelings about the situation, and can be swayed by the specific conditions under which movement toward war may come about.
In otherwords, amongst the partisans, the war is a wash of deep conviction, whereas amongst the 40% in the middle, it's just not an issue they are involved with deeply.
Dean draws fire from DeLay http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/26/politics/26DELA.html
Meeting with reporters in his Capitol office, Mr. DeLay said the Democrats were pursuing a "reckless strategy" in fighting the war and singled out Dr. Dean, a presidential candidate who last week accused President Bush of trying to wage a unilateral war.
"I saw his speech on C-Span, and I think it was outrageous," Mr. DeLay said. "He either doesn't know what he's talking about when he says we're going to take unilateral action, or he's seriously uninformed, or he's just misleading the American people and his party."
Dr. Dean disqualified himself for national leadership, Mr. DeLay said, by suggesting that the decision to go to war should be made by the United Nations. "If he wants to be president of the United States, but subject the United States to decisions by the U.N., he lacks the sound judgment needed for responsible national leadership," Mr. DeLay said.
DeLay basically says that anyone who disagrees with his hard line is disqualified from the presidency, which is a novel view of the Constitution.
Talk about a badge of honor for Dean!
Buchanan and Press: Dean is the "Bull" of the cattle calls
Craig Crawford of The Hotline called Dean "the bull of the cattle calls," correctly pointing out that Dean has done the best at every cattle call of the season from Linn County to NARAL to the DNC Winter Meeting.
There was also criticism of Dean for his foreign policy pronouncements.
I think Dean's foreign policy speech at Drake University was well-thought through and offered an inspiring vision of a tough but smart foreign policy. But Dean's critics have a point when they point out the inconsistencies in his off-the-cuff comments.
The campaign needs to direct people towards his official position.
I think Teddy's analysis is spot-on. Dean needs to explain his positions clearly, because at present they do make him look vulnerable. Here is the transcript:
PRESS: They [ABC NEWS "THE NOTE"] say the big winner was Howard Dean, followed closely by Dick Gephardt, followed closely by John Edwards, but that Dean walked away with the prize of the delegates there. Do you agree?
CRAWFORD: Yes. And that's been the case in all these cattle calls.
He is by no -- there's just no question he is the bull of the cattle calls. He has been winning them all, no matter where it is, here in Washington or out in Iowa. And we've got another one coming in New Hampshire Thursday.
The thing about Dean is, he is coming across to these Democrats -- of course, this was DNC, the platoon leaders from around the country. He is coming across as the No. 1 liberal in the race and a straight talker on the war on Iraq. And I think he has been in that free zone for insurgents, where nobody really criticizes him or challenges what they say, but that needs to happen.
PRESS: But, if I could follow up on that, the read is, from people that I have talked to, is that, because of his stance on the war -- and Iowa has a big peace -- or anti-war, let's say, delegation among Democrats there -- and because of his being a governor to Vermont, a neighbor state to New Hampshire, that Howard Dean could win Iowa and could win New Hampshire.
PRESS: Wouldn't that give him a huge leg up?
CRAWFORD: Well, of course. You ask a lot of DNC members at this thing Saturday, you think he could win Iowa and New Hampshire? Yes, sure. Do you think he could win the nomination? No, he couldn't win the nomination. I don't know how you square that one.
BUCHANAN: They better wake it up, yes. Listen...
CRAWFORD: But on the war, there are some real questions about his position. He is coming across as a straight talker. But if you look at what he said, it's all over the lot.
BUCHANAN: But, look, it seems to me, what he is doing -- there's a couple of routes to the nomination. One is the establishment route, which Kerry has taken. Lieberman has got to take it. But there is a populist liberal anti-war route. And on that track, you have got basically two guys, Kucinich and Dean.
And Dean got out there first. And is he far up that track. And that track got the nomination -- he didn't win in November -- for one George Stanley McGovern. And it seems to so me, Dean is doing -- going the one way he can go and the only way he can go and win this nomination
CRAWFORD: Well, one thing he is doing is, he's protected himself in the words for later on if he does want to moderate, because, if you look at what he is saying, guys, it's not as clear and it's certainly not as anti-war as he is given credit for.
Just last week, for example, on Thursday, he talked to one reporter who quoted him, saying that he supported war if the U.N. approved it and sent troops. He is adding that qualification. They have to send troops. The very next day, he gave an interview and said just the opposite, said under no circumstances did he support military action.
BUCHANAN: But, look, the point is that, frankly, the war has got to go badly, it seems to me, for Howard Dean to win this. In other words, people have got to be anti-war by the time the primary has got to come around next year or they're not going to go with him. If it's a big success, it's Kerry and Lieberman and these guys. And so he is betting on that.
And it seems to me, he is the only guy betting over there. And it's not a bad bet, since all the other guys are on the other horse.
CRAWFORD: He is definitely the contrarian.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Dean mailing lists http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DeanInTheNews/
Dean's foreign policy: what about Israel/Palestine? http://www.msnbc.com/news/752664.asp
Howard Dean says it wonderfully in a major foreign-policy speech he delivered in Iowa on Monday. He comes as close as I’ve heard any Democrat come to laying out some of the above; he even takes a punch at Colin Powell for the “sketchiness” of his evidence.
Dean is far and away the most serious of the Democratic candidates to this point. Of course, he benefits from the dynamic of being behind and needing to win press notices, so he has to say attention-getting things that will differentiate him from the pack. If he gains ground, will he then trim his sails and speak more cautiously? We can’t know, but we know right now that he’s the only one saying virtually all the things a Democrat ought to say. My ticket right now is Dean-Clark, as in General Wesley, profiled by moi in the current American Prospect but the story is strangely un-linkable.
However, a reader of Alterman's has some critique of Dean regarding his (lack of?) stance on the Israel/Palestinian issue. They write:
Dean recently told the Jewish newspaper, FORWARD, that when it comes to Israel, “I stand with AIPAC.” And he hired a former President of AIPAC, Steve Grossman, as his finance director. That means that he essentially shares the worldview of those who support this war. And it means that he will join AIPAC in in blocking any moves toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
AIPAC is a hawkish group which does not support negotiations as a means of resolving the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Dean's hardline on the matter is not surprising, but he certainly hasn't gone out of his way to address the issue. Personally speaking, I think AIPAC is wrong, but this isn't about my beliefes, it's about Dean. Can anyone find documentation in speeches or other media about what Dean's opinions are regarding Israel/Palestine? Given that there is no mention ofthe conflict on his campaign website, it's important that we find out. Whether or not one agrees or disagrees, knowing where he stands is important.
UPDATE: David of the NYC group clarifies the role of AIPAC:
I think it is probably unfair (and potentially harmful to Dean) to characterize AIPAC simply as "a hawkish group which does not support negotiations as a means of resolving the conflict in Israel/Palestine." AIPAC's history is a somewhat more complicated. During the `90s, under the leadership of Steve Grossman (the man who is now Dean's finance director), AIPAC supported Oslo. But, both before & after Grossman, AIPAC's leadership has definitely been more hawkish and wary of peace negotiations. (As an aside, it's worth noting that even though the vast majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, most now also are reluctant to re-engage in negotiations with the present Palestinian leadership.)
This piece in the American Prospect is critical of AIPAC, but I think it does shed light on the organization's evolution over the years. And even though AIPAC's leadership may stand to the right of many American Jews, many of the rank-and-file members do not. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to say both that you support AIPAC and that you support peace negotiations and/or the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
Joe Klein can't help himself http://www.time.com/time/columnist/klein/article/0,9565,426084,00.html
There is a certain sadness to watching both men work this time around — especially in Iowa last week, where peace is the issue, hot is the style, and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is rapidly becoming the flavor of the month. Ask an Iowa Democrat about Gephardt or Lieberman, and the most common reaction is a sigh. Meanwhile, Dean is wicked fun, a candidate who works without text and without net, excoriating his fellow Democrats for supporting President Bush on Iraq (while cleverly leaving a way to support Bush himself — if Saddam is found to be developing nukes, and if the United Nations is willing to go along). Dean speaks English, not focus group or legislatese. He sounds fresh — and last Friday, in Washington, he set the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting ablaze. "My name is Howard Dean," he said, after firing off a fusillade of examples of Democratic wimpiness, "and I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."
By contrast, Gephardt and Lieberman, and North Carolina Senator John Edwards, seem to be moving, and talking, in slow motion. All three spend a fair amount of time telling their personal stories, which are compelling. All three say they are fighting for average folks like their parents. All three voted with the President on Iraq and try to confront that issue straight on. Edwards is best at this: "I know you don't agree with me on Iraq," he told an audience in Indianola, Iowa, which seemed to be entirely composed of peace activists, "but I want to tell you directly, from my own mouth, why I feel the way I do about this." And then Edwards — Gephardt and Lieberman do almost exactly the same — said Saddam is a real threat who needs to be disarmed, but quickly moved on to the President's "cowboy mentality" and diplomatic depredations: "Your family is safer in a world where people look up to America than in a world where we are hated." At this, an elderly woman named Jane Majors scribbled a sign with Magic Marker and held it above her head: BUT WAR WILL MAKE THEM HATE US MORE.
And so there's a tortoise-and-hare quality to the campaign. Dean dashing, the others slogging along, ducking brickbats and trying to explain themselves.
I repeat, this piece is supposed to be about Richard Gephardt. But since Klein actually refers to Gephardt as "macaroni and cheese" and the best he can say about him is "Poor Gephardt: put a microphone in front of him and he sounds like he's trying to climb the down escalator." Klein argues that Gephardt's qualities of experience and plain-speaking are key to a winning strategy, but looking at Dean's record as an executive branch leader, and Klein's admitted awe of Dean's plain english, its clear that Dean fits these qualities far better. We just have to wait for Klein to wake up and realise who he really is in love with.
Monday, February 24, 2003
Text of Howard Dean's DNC speech http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/transcripts/dean_022103.html
Following is the text of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean's remarks at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting.
DEAN: First, let me thank my wonderful and loyal advance team. (And did you all like the maple syrup and the cheese and all that stuff?
What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq.
What I want to know is why are Democratic Party leaders supporting tax cuts. The question is not how the big tax should be, the question should be can we afford a tax cut at all of the largest deficit in the history of this country.
What I want to know is why we're fighting in Congress about the patients' bill of rights when the Democratic Party ought to be standing up for health care for every single American man, woman and child in this country.
What I want to know is why our folks are voting for the president's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind and every property taxpayer behind.
I'm Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.
If you want young people to vote in this country and if you want the 50 percent of adults over 30 to vote in this country that do not vote in today's election, then we had better stand for something, because that's why they're not voting.
Let me tell you what I want to do for America and what we've done in Vermont. I do want to balance the budget. There has not been one Republican president that has balanced the budget in this country in 34 years. And if you want someone who can be responsible for your money and take care of your tax dollars, you had better elect a Democrat, because the Republicans cannot manage money.
In our state, I had the privilege of serving long enough so I served through two recessions, not one recession. And when all that money was coming in, in between the recessions, between the two Bush recessions... Well, that's what they were.
When all that money was coming in during the good times, thanks to Bill Clinton's being willing to balance the budget, without a single Republican Party vote, when all that money was coming in, we did give some tax cuts, but we also saved money in the rainy day fund, we paid down a quarter of our debt. And today, not only is the budget balanced in these very difficult times, but my successor does not have to cut health care, does not have to cut higher education and does not have to cut K-12 education.
I'm the only governor running for president, and I'm the only one that's balanced a budget, including George Bush, because in Texas the lieutenant governor's in charge of balancing the budget.
In our state, virtually every child under the age of 18 has health insurance. We made Medicaid into a middle-class entitlement. If I become president with your help, the first item of business on our agenda is to do something that Harry Truman put in the Democratic platform in 1948. We're going to bring health insurance to every man, woman and child in America. I'm the only doctor in this race. And I've done it.
I want an environmental policy in this country that respects and preserves public lands, not drill in them. In our state, we've preserved hundreds of thousands of acres that will always be available for hunting and fishing and trapping and hiking and canoeing. It will never be developed. The Vermont that I left as governor in January of this year will be the same Vermont 100 years from now, because we have stewarded our natural resources. And this president would like to drill on our natural resources. We can do better than that.
Let me tell you something else I'm going to do. One of the things that I thought was terrific about Bill Clinton was that when he became president in 1992, he said that his Cabinet would look like the rest of America. And he did it. And he did it.
I want all of our institutions of higher learning, our law schools, our medical schools, our best universities to look like the rest of America. And I thought that one of the most despicable moments of this president's administration was three weeks ago, when on national prime-time television, he used the word ``quota'' seven times. The University of Michigan does not now have quotas. It has never had quotas. Quotas is a race-loaded word, designed to appeal to people's fears of losing their jobs.
I intend to talk about race during this election in the South because the Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us. And I'm going to bring us together. Because you know what? You know what? White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals in the back ought to be voting with us and not them, because their kids don't have health insurance either and their kids need better schools too.
I'm not done yet. Yeah! Most of you know that six months before my last re-election, I signed a bill into law that made Vermont the first state in America that guaranteed equal rights to every person under the law.
That bill was called the Civil Unions bill, and it said marriage is between a man and woman, but same-sex couples are entitled to exactly the same legal rights as I have, hospital visitation, insurance, inheritance rights. All Americans are equal under the law in our state.
This bill was at about 40 percent in the polls when I signed it, 60 percent against six months before the election. And I never got a chance to ask myself whether it was a good idea to sign this bill or not. Because I knew that if I were willing to sell out the rights of a whole group of people because it was politically inconvenient for some future office I might run for, then I had wasted my time in public service.
Because I looked in the mirror and I knew that if my political career were about myself that I would not have signed that bill. But my political career has never been about getting elected. I didn't even seek the governorship. I became governor because my predecessor died in office 12 years ago.
My political career is about change. And this campaign is about change. What we're going to do here is, we're first going to change this party. Because this party needs to look in the mirror and ask itself: ``Is this party about the next election or is it about changing America--about changing America?''
This party needs to be about changing America, because only by changing America will we win back the White House.
I want a party that stands unashamedly for equal rights for all Americans. I want a party that stands unashamedly for health care for single American. I want a party that stands unashamedly for balanced budgets and taking care of poor kids and voting together and healing the divides, instead of expressing the divides and exploiting them the way the Republican Party has so shamelessly done since 1968.
I need your help. I need your help. We're going to change this party. And then, we're going to change this country. And we're going to take back the White House. And we're going to balance the budget. And we're going to have health care for everybody. And we're going to have an America with its best institutions right up to the Cabinet that looks, once again, like America. We're going to bring hope to America, jobs to America, peace to America. We're going to bring pride to the Democratic Party. I need your help.
Let's go get it. Let's go do it. Let's win the White House in January of 2004.
Thank you very much.
Dean's DNC speech draws praise http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57823-2003Feb24.html
KLEIN: ...as when we make predictions, but I--I got to say I was at the--the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, meetings in Washington on Friday and Saturday--well, on Friday, and Howard Dean, the governor of Vermont came in and he just blew those people away. It was one of the most effective speeches I've ever seen a candidate give. Now he doesn't have foreign policy experience, but I think that at the very least, he is going to sharpen up the other candidates and he's going to make this a very, very interesting race.
SCHIEFFER: In every successful political contest, you will find a phrase or a one-liner that catches the public's attention, a few words that, agree or disagree, caused you to say, 'Hey, did you hear what so-and-so said the other day?' That's why I took notice when I called in from the road last week and a colleague asked, 'Did you hear what Howard Dean said the other day?' Dean, of course, is the Vermont governor and long shot presidential candidate. He had stepped to the microphone at a Democratic National Committee meeting, accused his rivals of trying to copy, rather than challenge, the Bush administration, and then electrified the crowd by saying, 'I'm Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.'
Now whether his analysis is right or wrong is not the point here. But with that one remark he has separated himself from the growing field of Democrats and won the first 'Did you hear what so-and-so said?' primary. Just ask the better-known and well-financed Dick Gephardt, who formally announced his campaign with a big rally last week. Not many Democrats, though, were asking what he said.
It is a long way from knowing who the Democrats' nominee will be, but if I were one of those other candidates, I'd start keeping an eye on Howard Dean.
In addition, the video of Dean's speech at the DNC event is now available here courtesy CSPAN:
UPDATE: LeftLeaner.com managed to ask the Washington Post's Terry Neil about Dean. Check out the transcript of the online chat to see what Neil had to say.
Clinton comments on Dean http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2003/03/clinton.htm
From the James Fallows interview in The Atlantic (in the follow-up questions asked via email)
Governors vs. senators. Mr. Clinton also spoke about the advantage governors have as candidates, based on their real-world operating knowledge. The one governor now in the race is Howard Dean, who is generally believed to be a long-shot. Does President Clinton think that the advantages that come with a governor's background could make Dean a serious contender for the presidency?
Howard Dean has been a good governor. He has done important things, and his background as a governor does bring advantages. However, because I don't plan to endorse a candidate before the party makes its choice, I don't want to 'handicap" the race.
Previously in that interview, Clinton talks about the rumor that he had called Edwards after his Meet The Press interview and told him to "hit the books before you go out in public again." Clinton says that wasn't accuracte, but had a smidgen of truth, and then goes on to give this advice in general to all the Democratic hopefuls:
I told him: John, you're great on TV. You make a great talk. You can talk an owl out of a tree. But my opinion is, presidential elections are won by the strength of the candidate, and having a network of support, and then by the mega message, having the big message. And that it's easier for a governor than a senator to have a big message. It may be easier for a senator than a governor to have the right position on all the issues seriatim.
Every presidential election is really about three things. At the bottom level it's about the specific issues. Then there's the big deal. What's this election about? What's the subject of the election, what's the meta message? And then right at the top is, How do you feel about this person to be President?
It is interesting to discuss how Dean fits these guidelines, arguably better than any other candidate.
Sunday, February 23, 2003
RSVP DC Fundraiser for Dean
Bill Karen Bates,
Pat Carolyn Fulton,
Stephanie Ridder and Dana Singiser
Invite you to a lunch honoring
Governor Howard Dean, M.D. of Vermont
Democratic Candidate for President
Tuesday, March 4, 2003
12:30 to 2:00 pm
"Top of the Hill"
319 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Host ~ $500 write or raise
Individual ~ $50
Payable to ~ Dean for America
(Please print and fill the contribution form prior to the luncheon)
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jenny Lehner at
(802) 846-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, February 21, 2003
McCain acknowledges Dean http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/local/5223310.htm
McCain, who loves causing a political stir, shrugs off any perception that he is a disloyal Republican. "I'd like to check with Howard Dean to see if he has any ideas perhaps in the medical area," he said mischievously, referring to the former Vermont governor, a physician, who also is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
Take it any way you want, but the bottom line is that Dean isn't flying under the radar anymore. For someone like McCain (whom many have compared Dean to) to even acknowledge his existence really says something about the threat Howard poses to the Republican establishment. His momentum has continued to build as more people are exposed to his message. This was evident at the DNC's winter meeting, which Aziz blogged about directly below this post. At one point, Dean took the stage to chants of "Howard, Howard!" (I've linked that in the comments section of Aziz's post)
*thanks to Christopher Curtis for the link*
UPDATE: added the direct quote. Also, check out this old post on the DeanBlog for more on Dean and McCain, as well as a truly horrendous pun :) Also see this old Slate article about the Men Who Would be McCain --Aziz
Candidates prostrate before the Party Elders http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=2268515
But Dean, an outspoken opponent of a potential Iraqi war, opened his speech by asking why Democrats have been so reluctant to challenge Bush on the war, tax cuts and health care policy.
"What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic Party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq?" asked Dean, who also questioned why Democrats have not asked tougher questions on the need for tax cuts or fought harder for universal health care.
"I am Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," Dean said to loud cheers, adding that if the party wanted to attract young people and new voters "we had better stand for something."
Mosely-Braun also got in a great soundbite, saying in reference to Bush's supposed foreign policy advantage, "Duct tape is no substitute for diplomacy." I think underestimating her is a bad idea for Dean, and suddenly I wonder if she would be interested in a VEEP position...
The Washington Post has an article on the meeting as well, with a cogent summary of each candidates' chances and outlook. The article notes that this meeting is extremely important:
Twelve years ago, Bill Clinton lit up a similar gathering in Chicago with a performance that helped propel him to the front of the Democratic ranks. The current candidates know that a strong showing before the Democratic National Committee (DNC) today and Saturday could boost their fundraising, build activist support and attract endorsements that will lend heft to their campaigns.
In addition, Sen. Harkin is reveling in his kingmaker role regarding the upcoming Iowa caucuses, having arranged the schedule for the various "town meeting" opportunities for the candidates:
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will make the first appearance in April in Polk County, the state's largest. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's representative drew June in Cerro Gordo County in northern Iowa. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean will appear in Davenport in May. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt will be in Dubuque in July. The Rev. Al Sharpton will be in Sioux City in August, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman will be in Cedar Rapids in September.
In Iowa, Dean will face a serious challenge from Gephardt, whose candidacy has been met with yawns, but should not be underestimated.
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Rob Reiner Endorses Dean http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-me-dean20feb20,1,7720821.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection
The actor-director's backing is a big boost for the little-known Democratic candidate.
By Rachel Abramowitz
Times Staff Writer
February 20, 2003
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's active opposition to an American-led war on Iraq has earned him an early boost in Hollywood's presidential sweepstakes, in the form of an endorsement by director and key Democratic activist Rob Reiner.
"Dean's the only major Democratic candidate speaking out against going to war without the support of the United Nations," said Reiner, who will be the California co-chairman of the Dean campaign. "My urgency to support him right now is to give him as big a forum as possible so that his views can be heard. It's a very dangerous time right now."
Winning Reiner's endorsement is fantastic news for Governor Dean. The endorsement not only raises his profile nationally, it should make a major difference in Dean's ability to raise money. As the article notes:
...Reiner's endorsement had been sought by several Democratic presidential candidates because of his energetic advocacy.
In the last presidential campaign, he hosted or co-hosted at least a dozen fund-raisers for former Vice President Al Gore, including one that raised $4.5 million.
Update: Here’s another article on the Reiner endorsement from Yahoo Financial News.
A particularly nice sample paragraph:
"Governor Dean embodies the absolute best of the Democratic party ideals," said Reiner. "Dean has a stellar record of accomplishment on children's health care and education. Dean delivered for the people of Vermont and I believe he will deliver for America."
On the campaign trail with the un-Bush http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/02/20/dean/index.html
Caption to the photo: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, right, answers questions at a gathering in Concord, N.H., Feb. 16. Story excerpt:
...the story Dean wants to tell me happened when he and Romer met with the Democratic House leadership, including House Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash., Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., and others. Dean, he recalls, was brash. He remembers telling Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the Democrats' leader on healthcare reform, that he "didn't know what he was talking about." Then, he told Foley that healthcare reform was an issue that needed to be tackled, and that the governors were prepared to lead the way. Foley told him to hold back, that the Democrats wanted to do it at the congressional level.
"Well, why don't you?" Dean asked. Foley told him that the Democrats, who then held more than a 100-seat advantage in the House, didn't have the votes.
"Well, then let us do it at the state level," Dean said. Foley told him that he'd prefer if they didn't.
Exasperated, Dean lashed out, saying, "Well, Mr. Speaker, if I were in charge of an organization that had a 25 percent approval rating, I might move on healthcare one way or another."
There was silence in the room. Finally, Foley smiled. "Actually, it's 27 percent," Foley joked.
Finishing the story, he smiles again. Later, over breakfast at Henry's Diner in Burlington, he says, "It's not a story that reflects well on me. I hope I've matured since those days."
But of course it's a story that reflects quite well on Howard Dean and he knows it. Dean generally uses his blunt comments like an inmate with a shiv. And already, he's used it to set himself apart not only from the bland, cautious Democratic bench of presidential wannabes, but from the bland, cautious Democratic Party in general. In an interesting contrast, when I ask Waxman about Dean's 1991 anecdote -- without telling him where I heard it - Waxman, through a spokesman, followed Washington protocol and praised Dean while denying such an incident ever occurred. Dean's brashness could prove not only refreshing but awfully successful in an era when both the media and the opposition party seem cowed into submission by the White House.
Dean to attend NYC Meetup http://dean2004.meetup.com/
Dr. Dean is scheduled to attend the March 5th Meetup in New York! The New York Meetup is the second-largest group after Washington DC, with 92 supporters, so this will be a very exciting opportunity for Dean to see for himself just how strong his netroots are.
William Finkel, who has done a lot of important legwork in getting the Dean Meetup infrastructure setup, writes:
I think the fact and manner in which Dean has embraced Meetup reflects his commitment to grassroots, community and technology. All the candidates are aware of our service, but Governor Dean, personally, understands what we can do. What we can do is exemplified by what our chapters have done; create self-organized, autonomous field units that will be prepared to support the Governor, however he needs, whenever he needs them.
True! The only difference being, that Dean has 1590 supporters signed up, whereas Kerry and Edwards have 499 and 298, respectively (as of this writing). Dean has pledged to try and attend as many Meetups as possible, so it is clear that he understands and appreciates his netroot support. Show yours by attending your regional meetups, and you just might see Dean there too :)
Also, I would like to re-iterate the call for regional Dean groups to post their URL in the sidebar coments, so I can continue to update the list. And, don't forget to get your Dean gear from the DeanShop to wear at the meetup, especially bumper stickers!
NPR Interview with Tavis Smiley: transcript
HEADLINE: Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean discusses his emphases on health care and a balanced budget
From NPR in Los Angeles, I'm Tavis Smiley.
On today's program, actress Rene Russo talks about saving Mother Nature one tree at a time. Also, Black Enterprise founder Earl Graves says his money is where his mouth is when it comes to Richard Parsons, AOL Time Warner's chairman and CEO. And I'll sit down with the talented Ben Vereen.
But first, we continue our series of discussions with announced candidates for president of the United States. Yesterday we spoke with Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. Today, physician and former Democratic Vermont Governor Howard Dean. A self-described commonsense moderate, Dean signed a law legalizing civil unions for gays, but also has the stamp of approval from the National Rifle Association for his opposition to strong federal gun control. I began by asking the Ivy League-educated former governor why he wanted to run for president instead of going back to practicing medicine.
Dr. HOWARD DEAN (Democrat, 2004 Presidential Candidate): Tavis, I think the country is fundamentally going in the wrong direction. You know, the president has run up a $350 billion deficit. We can't afford that. He keeps wanting to cut taxes more and more and make the deficit bigger and bigger. The problem with that is it means we are never going to do anything for seniors and their prescription benefits. We're never going to be able to do anything like fund special education so people's property taxes could maybe go down or we'd get more teachers and better-paid teachers. The president is borrowing money from seniors to pay tax cuts to people who don't need them, and he's borrowing money from our children so he can give tax cuts to people who don't need them. I think it's a very, very bad and dangerous direction for this country to be going in.
SMILEY: Vermont, of course, is a gorgeous state, but a small state, not one that allows you necessarily to have a national platform, so your name identity is not that of others in this race. And so you're running behind most Democrats at the moment in the polls. Most think your campaign is a long shot. How are you going to turn that around?
Dr. DEAN: I don't think it's a long shot. I'm the only person running for president that's ever balanced a budget. I'm the only person running for president that's delivered health insurance. Everybody in our state under 18 has health insurance. We can have health insurance for every American if we do it the smart way, the way we've done it in Vermont: not to have the government run it, but simply to help people like small businesses and help kids get health insurance. I have a platform that matters. I'm not interested in running this race so that I can get elected by saying anything anybody wants to hear. I'm going to say exactly what I think people need to hear. People are going to know exactly where I stand on every issue. And I think there's enormous hunger in the Democratic Party for some leadership like that, and as a governor and as a doctor, I have an ability to do that, I think.
SMILEY: As governor, you allowed passage of the first law in the nation allowing civil unions for gays and lesbians--quite controversial in certain quarters of this country. Are you concerned at all, Governor Dean, that America may not be ready for a president with an agenda that is so progressive?
Dr. DEAN: I don't see equal rights for all Americans being all that progressive. The right-wingers will call this gay marriage and all that stuff, which it's not. Our law says marriage is between a man and a woman. But it also says that gays and lesbians have equal rights, same as everybody else. This is an issue that I think the president is horribly deficient on. The president has taken us back a generation in race relations. I was totally shocked when the president of the United States said in a national speech that the University of Michigan used quotas. 'Quotas' is a racially charged buzzword that appeals to latent racism among white people who are afraid that they're going to lose their jobs because some person of color is going to get a position in a law school or a job.
For the president of the United States to use the word 'quotas' in a national speech when he knows very well that the University of Michigan does not now and has never had quotas, I think, is emblematic of what the Republican Party does in this country. They divide us by race. They divide us by sexual preference. They divide us by anything to avoid talking about the bottom-line issues, which I think are balancing the budget, health care and making sure we have a decent education.
I was horrified. The combination of that and the nomination of Charles Pickering, who was rejected once before because of his racial views, I think, has sent the message to Latino and African-American and immigrant people in this country that 'We want fewer of you in medical schools and law schools and the best colleges of this state.' I cannot imagine anything more destructive that this president could have done.
SMILEY: Governor, you just suggested that the president and the Republican Party of late are sending mixed messages on race. Where do you stand specifically on affirmative action, and what would you do to advance the conversation about race in this country?
Dr. DEAN: First of all, I think you have to talk about race. For the president to use the word 'quotas' is the way the Republicans always talk about race. They appeal to people's worst instincts, and then they run around and pretend that there's nothing really racial about what they're talking about. Let's talk about race. Race is a tough issue in this country. Diversity is critical. We don't have a majority population in California anymore. There's a series of minorities. There's African-Americans, there's Latinos, there's Caucasians--a series of minorities. The whole country is going to be a series of minorities halfway through this century. We have got to get beyond this notion that we're going to subtly appeal to each other's fears about each other and start talking bluntly about why we ought to celebrate each other's differences and the things that each one of us can bring to America, no matter what group that we come from. And the president of the United States--for him to delve back into the 1950s, appealing subtly to white fears, I think, was the greatest disservice in his presidency.
SMILEY: When it comes to gun control, Governor Dean, you don't fall in lockstep or in line with most other Democrats. Tell me why you oppose strict gun-control measures.
Dr. DEAN: I come from a very rural state, Tavis. Our homicide rate was five per year one year; the most we ever had when I was governor was 25. We have no gun control, pretty much, of any kind in Vermont. Now I think that you may need gun control in New York and Los Angeles or Washington, DC, and my attitude is, have as much as you want. But don't tell Vermont and Wyoming that they need gun control. Here's what my position is and what it would be as president. Keep the assault weapons ban. I favor that and it ought to be renewed. Keep the Brady bill, close the gun-show loophole, and then let every state decide for themselves what additional gun control they need.
SMILEY: Let me turn your attention for a moment, Governor, to the notion of foreign policy; the country on the brink of war with Iraq. Do you see a way to avoid war and at the same time ensure that Saddam Hussein doesn't have weapons of mass destruction?
Dr. DEAN: I do, and I think after the president began to listen to Secretary Powell instead of the more conservative members of his administration, things began to go right in Iraq. I think the notion of getting the Security Council to support the disarming of Saddam Hussein was the right notion, and that was a good thing to do. I think that making it clear to Saddam Hussein that inspectors are going to go back in and going to be able to have a free hand and find evidence is the right thing to do. But I prefer a diplomatic solution, and I think we can get to a diplomatic solution.
I think the problem--one of the problems with Iraq is that that is not the biggest threat. The biggest threat is al-Qaeda. Bob Graham, a senator from Florida who I admire greatly, voted no on the Iraq resolution because he did not believe it was addressing the real problem, which was Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Hamas. These are groups that really do threaten America. Saddam Hussein is not at this time a threat to America. The president has never made the case that he's a threat to America, and it's beyond me why we have 250,000 troops over there when we're not paying the kind of attention to security at home and the intelligence agencies and improving those agencies, particularly the FBI, that we ought to be paying.
SMILEY: Are Democrats in Congress showing any independence when it comes to Iraq?
Dr. DEAN: Tavis, here's what bothers me about this whole thing. I'm the only--first of all, I'm the only candidate for president that's a governor that's actually balanced a budget or delivered health care, but I'm also the only candidate for president that's said they would not support the president's Iraq resolution. But if you give somebody a choice between voting for somebody who believes in what they're doing and voting for somebody who appears to be taking positions based on polls and will say what they have to say to win, they're going to choose the person who believes in themselves every single time, and they're going to give you some slack on policy. So what I want to do is run the kind of candidacy that, perhaps, John McCain would have run, which is to talk about issues bluntly and plainly, and have a different policy alternative for the people of this country to vote for.
SMILEY: And yet you see that John McCain is in the Senate and not in the White House.
Dr. DEAN: Yeah, but John McCain had some other problems that didn't have anything to do with whether he won or not. He had some money problems. He was also a senator. He hadn't actually had the opportunity to balance budgets and deliver services, which I have.
SMILEY: How is your money? How's your fund raising?
Dr. DEAN: Well, we just started, really. I just hired a full-time fund-raising director this month, and I guess we'll find out over the next six or eight months or so.
SMILEY: Let me stay with this conversation for a moment here about the Democratic Party, because your comments kind of mirror those of one William Jefferson Clinton who, after the Democrats lost their shirts in the '02 elections, said, as I recall, when speaking to the DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, that 'It is better to be strong and wrong that weak and right.' I guess the question is, your analysis notwithstanding: Can the Democrats do that? Can the Democrats sell? Do they have anything that they are for, as opposed to being against everything?
Dr. DEAN: Here's what I'll do if I'm president, and you make up your own mind about what the answer to that question is. I want a balanced budget. I want a tax policy that rewards middle-class and working people, not only contributors to the president's campaign. I want health insurance for all Americans in a system that does not change everything and have the government run it; it simply expands the present system to cover everybody, the way we've done in Vermont. I want investment in early childhood. I want a strong defense policy and a strong military, but I want a diplomatic policy that relies on cooperating with other countries instead of confronting them and going it alone at all times. That's my vision for what America should look like.
But most importantly, what my vision is--I want a philosophy of government that says we are responsible for and to each other as a people, that we are working together in this and that we will not pit groups against each other based on our ethnic differences, our racial differences, our religious differences. That's what this president did when he talked about his position on the University of Michigan, when he renominated Charles Pickering. We have got to get away from those racial code words and start building a society where we're all respected for who we are.
SMILEY: Maybe it's too early to ask; I do not know, so I won't ask you about names, per se, but any thoughts of the kind of person, should you become the Democratic nominee, that you'd like to have as a running mate--the kind of person?
Dr. DEAN: It is too early to ask, and, you know, as you said, Tavis, right now I'm at 4 percent, although the top guy's only about 8 points ahead of me, so none of us are--you know, we all have a long way to go. But, you know, to consider choices for vice president before you've gotten pretty close to the nomination is probably a mistake. What I'm definitely going to do is pick somebody who can help negotiate the shoals in Washington. I think the mistake that governors have made in the past when they've gotten to Washington is that they think Washington works the way the state capital does, and it doesn't.
Dr. DEAN: Governors have a much more dominant role in their state capital than the president does in Washington, and that's something you have to consider.
SMILEY: Howard Dean is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2004, and has served as governor of Vermont for three terms.
Governor, thank you for your time and the conversation. I appreciate. All the best to you.
Dr. DEAN: Great to talk to you.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Text of the "We Can Do Better!" Speech from Linn County, Iowa http://www.deanforamerica.com/dean.cfm?section=about&page=speeches&drill=011803
On the divisiveness that permeates the Republican Party: "I was deeply, deeply disappointed - more so than I have been in a long series of disappointments - with the Bush Administration. The President of the United States went before a national audience last week and, in response to the question of whether the University of Michigan should be allowed to continue the program that they have to make sure that their classes look like America, he used the word "quota" seven times on national television. The University of Michigan does not have a quota system, it never did have a quota system; the word "quota" is designed to foster racial divisiveness and to encourage other people to be fearful that folks are going to take their jobs. It is disgraceful for the President of the United States to ever use that word. If this were an isolated incident, you might say it was a mistake, but it wasn't. Two weeks before that, the Bush Administration renominated Charles Pickering to the United States Court of Appeals after he was turned down by the previous Democratic Senate because of his racial insensitivities. Let us not make a mistake about which party wants inclusiveness and diversity in this country. It is not the Republican Party. If you want a diverse nation, if you want to have an opportunity for Latinos and African Americans and immigrants, then you had better support Democrats, because this country is moving forward; it is going to be the most diverse country on the face of the earth and only the Democrats can build that country the way it needs to be built."
On how the Republican Party isn't fiscally responsible: "The only person who's balanced the budget in the last thirty-five years - no Republican has balanced the budget in the last thirty-five years - is Bill Clinton. Not one Republican president. And it is not an accident - when Bill Clinton balanced the budget in 1993 without one single Republican vote it ushered in the greatest ten years of prosperity in the history of America. George Bush has thrown that away in two single years. From the largest surplus in the history of America to the largest deficit. We can do better. If you want somebody you can trust with your money you had better elect a Democrat because the Republicans cannot manage money."
On cutting taxes and education: "We need to get rid of the Bush tax cuts that have harmed the economy to subsidize health care for small business people, individuals and people who work for corporations that don't give health care. That would help the economy much more than the President's tax cuts that went to people who made more than $300,000 a year. It's not enough for Dick Gephardt and I to say it. I want to see everyone say it as well. Those tax cuts are a mistake and we should stand up and say so. If we were to get rid of the President's tax cut, which is $1.7 trillion dollars, we could afford a small pittance of that - $27 billion - to get rid of the largest unfunded mandate in the history of education. If I am elected president, in my first year's budget special education will be fully funded. Remember, I'm a fiscal conservative; what am I doing with this fat spending program? It is tiny. In a $1.2 trillion budget, two percent of that is spent on education. $27 billion is a small amount of money, but do you know who benefits? Property taxpayers benefit, because if we were to fully fund special education, school boards all across America could decide how to pay teachers more, how to have smaller class size, how to improve their buildings, and still have money left over for a property tax cut. If you want to cut taxes in this country, Mr. President, don't cut income taxes for people who make $300,000 or more; what about us middle class property tax payers who are suffering because you can't fund education because you've run up the biggest deficit in the history of the country? We can do better!"
Now go read the rest of the speech!
The Unlikely Rise of Howard Dean http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/politics/national/n_8376/index.html
For better or worse, presidential candidates are judged on their family backgrounds and they way they’ve lived their lives before they jumped into the race. They are required to be both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. They have to be simultaneously Patrician and “just folks”—those of you who remember the Al Gore “he went to St. Alban’s and lived in a hotel” meme from 2000 know what I’m talking about here.
What we are shown of Dean’s life in this article bodes well for his ability to run as an above average, average guy. The son of Park Avenue blue-bloods, he’s not going to be able to run on a “rags to riches story.” However, there’s an appeal to a person who walked away from “a Park Avenue apartment serenely decorated with small African sculptures and modernist paintings and prints” to “a much-lived-in house, with an Oriental rug, a white couch and wing chair that need reupholstering, a chess set, and framed pictures on every flat surface.”
Is any of this as important as his stands on foreign policy or domestic issue? No, but it will be treated as such by the wags of the media. It’s better to be prepared, and this article is a good start in introducing the country to the private side of a compelling candidate.
(Thanks to Jason Rothstein for the catch!)
Dean on The West Wing?
Given that Martin Sheen aka President Bartlett has endorsed Dean, I wonder if perhaps the actor could be persuaded to lobby NBC to give Dean some exposure on the show. It could be as minor as a West Wing staffer wearing a Howard Dean t-shirt, or it could be as major as having Dean himself make a cameo appearance.
Could we, the DeanBlog collective, mount a campaign to get Dean on the West Wing? Use the comment thread to chime in - if anyone can find out email addresses for the show or for Sheen that would be a great start.
Is Kucinich a threat? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22505-2003Feb17.html
The real loser in all of this has to be Howard Dean. As the Post also points out, Kucinich will be making the very same anti-Iraq case to Iowa activists that Dean has been making for months--only without Dean's tortured qualification about supporting war if there were convincing evidence that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or whatever Dean is saying these days. And Kucinich also steps on Dean's unconventional-liberal schtick. Dean supporters spend a lot of time playing up their man's fiscal conservatism and his opposition to gun control. Kucinich, it turns out, opposes abortion and has voted for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. The more you think about it, the more it seems like Dennis Kucinich leaves Howard Dean without a constituency.
The TNR blog's implacable hostility to Dean blinds them to the obvious counter-argument - Dean is still running as a progressive. Unconventional on certain issues of principle, but ultimately a progressive. Kucinich's abortion stance waffling and his flag-burning voting record are serious black marks against women's rights and free speech. How can he be taken seriously?
The only issue on which Kucinich is any kind of challenge is the war, and frankly I don't think that a single-issue candidate can survive, and while Kucinich has received some media attention, he is too one-dimensional to represent a real threat, unless annointed by the media.
Monday, February 17, 2003
"Defending American Values - Protecting America's Interests" http://www.deanforamerica.com/dean.cfm?section=about&page=speeches&drill=021703
Here is Dean's schedule for the coming week, for any of you that want to get out there and give us notes:
Mon. 2/17 – Dean makes speech at Drake University in Des Moines; attends Iowa Federation of Labor meeting in Warren County; attends Warren County off-year caucus.
Tues. 2/18 – Dean campaigns in Silicon Valley, Calif.
Wed. 2/19 – Dean speaks to ITUP, a group fighting for improved insurance in Sacramento at convention center; Campaigns with Sen. Barbara Boxer, doing fundraising for her.
Thurs. 2/20 – Dean in Los Angeles.
Fri. 2/21 – Democratic National Committee's winter meeting in Washington. Dean speaks in the morning.
Fri. 2/21 – Dean speaks to College Democrats at Hyatt Regency in Washington.
Sat. 2/22 – Dean speaks at Human Rights Campaign dinner in Los Angeles.
Sun. 2/23 – Dean meets with Democrats Abroad in Washington.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
Dean's wife Judy to remain invisible? http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030215/ap_on_el_pr/doctor_first_lady_3
SHELBURNE, Vt. - In the nearly dozen years that Howard Dean served as governor of Vermont, Judy Dean was all but invisible. No speeches. No interviews. No campaigning.
That's changing now that her husband is in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but there are still limits.
Dr. Judy Dean this month gave her first extensive interview, talking about her husband, her family and her career. But she said still has no plans to join her husband on the campaign trail, and even if he is elected, she plans to continue practicing medicine.
"Some of the public may be disappointed in that, some of the public may say that's terrific," she told The Associated Press. "In this day and age there are a lot of two career families."
Gov. Dean, also a doctor, supports her decision.
"If I win, Judy will practice medicine in Washington," he said. "That doesn't mean she will never go to a state dinner, but I don't see her job as entertainer.
"When she married me, she didn't know I was going to run for president of the United States. I didn't either."
I've got some news for both of them: As the campaign heats up and the election draws nearer, Dr. Judy will indeed have to put in a LOT of appearances and she will be subject to the same intense scrutiny that all candidate's wives have.
And if Dean were to win the election, Judy might be able to practice medicine part-time but she will be expected -- indeed required -- to be at his side for the numerous presidential functions that occur every week including dinners, funerals, entertaining heads of states, etc.
Still, it would be nice to have a First Lady who actually does something besides being a prop. And it would certainly be an inspiration to the millions of women in America who have to or want to have a career.
Quick note: My thanks to Aziz for inviting me to join the team here at Dean 2004. He knows I have mixed emotions about Dean but invited me anyway. I promise NOT to rant here -- I save that for my own blog, Alphecca. This is my first experience with Blogger so I hope this posts correctly...
Friday, February 14, 2003
Dean flyer available courtesy of New York for Dean group http://www.abde.net/images/deanblog/DeanHalfBW.pdf
Wanted to forward the flyer we just made for the national rallies on Saturday. Feel free to let people have this if you wish.
Its a double sided flyer (2 half page fronts and 2 half page backs).
We're going to be handing them out this weekend and I wanted to share the wealth with other groups that may want to use it.
Click to download the flyer in PDF format.
New Hampshire busy weekend http://www.ctnow.com/news/politics/hc-caucus0213.artfeb13,0,4035781.story?coll=hc%2Dheadlines%2Dpolitics
From PoliticsNH, is a report that Dean has hired experienced organizer Karen Hicks to run his campaign in New Hampshire:
PoliticsNH.com has learned former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has hired experienced organizer Karen Hicks to run his campaign in New Hampshire. Dean will be attending a house party on Sunday. The event will be at the home of Gary and Meg Hirshberg in Concord from 4:30-6pm
Anyone in NH who can attend the event this Sunday and send us pictures?
This will be a busy weekend in NH, with candidates Edwards, Gephardt, and Dean visiting the state, as well as potential candidates Carol Moseley-Braun and Wesley Clark.
Meanwhile, a poll of likely NH primary voters last week by University of Connecticut Center for Survey Research and Analysis showed the following results:
John Kerry - 32%
Joe Lieberman - 18%
Howard Dean - 12%
Dick Gephardt - 7%
Jon Edwards - 3%
Al Sharpton - 2%
The poll also shows Kerry and Lieberman with name recognition and favorability ratings light years ahead of the other candidates. When asked which candidate has the best chance of winning, 43 percent said Kerry followed by 16 percent for Lieberman. When asked who had the best chance of beating President Bush - again Kerry wins with 32 percent followed by Lieberman with 13 percent.
Its clear that Dean is a better challenge to Bush by simply looking at his position on the issues. Therefore, the fact that more primary voters in NH think Kerry and Lieberman are better positioned to beat Bush is more a function of Dean's lack of exposure. Hopefully as we get nearer to the primaries these dynamics will shift.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
Vermont economy "better than most" states http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/News/Story/60548.html
“As bad as this is, it could be a lot worse had we not been fiscally conservative in the past few years,” House Speaker Walter Freed, R-Dorset, said Tuesday. “I want to attribute it to our own fiscal conservatism over the last two years. … It’s important that people in the state who hear this message realize we’re here because we’ve been fiscally conservative in the past few years. Everyone’s had a piece in this.”
One of those policies was to use surpluses in flush years for onetime expenditures rather than for additional programs, said Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford, vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee. “I think you can give (former Gov.) Howard Dean and the Legislature the credit,” she said. “We learned valuable lessons from the early 1990s. We established rainy-day funds and we’ve been vigilant about filling them and keeping them filled.”
Certainly doesn't sound like fodder for "Fleecing of America", does it?
*thanks to reader Christopher Curtis for the link*
Dean courts Boston: Presidential hopeful accepts runner-up role in Bay State http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/local_regional/dean02132003.htm
Dean knows that it is almost impossible to defeat a Senator JFK (D) in Massachusetts. Pragmatically, he figures second-place is just fine:
BOSTON -- A second-place finish in Massachusetts wouldn't bother former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
In fact, when Dean's fledgling presidential campaign rolled into Boston yesterday, the Democrat said he has no designs on beating U.S. Sen. John Kerry on his home turf.
"Massachusetts is an important state," Dean said. "Obviously Senator Kerry is going to win his home state, but we're going to campaign in all 50 states, and this is one of them."
Dean visited the State House yesterday to meet with supporters. He also made a surprise appearance at a rally organized by advocates for early-childhood education.
"We're raising money in Massachusetts and we're doing a lot of work on issues," Dean said, adding, "I'm here both to learn from the activist community and also to talk about what we've done (in Vermont)."
A handful of Massachusetts lawmakers -- including Rep. Jay Kaufman, D-Lexington -- already have lined up behind Dean.
Dean's supporters include former Democratic National Committee chairman Steve Grossman, a Newton resident who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.
Grossman is helping Dean raise money in Massachusetts and beyond. Dean said he plans to return to Massachusetts in March for a major fund-raiser. Although Kerry can bank on widespread support among Massachusetts' elected officials, some lawmakers are reserving judgment.
Unless there is a brokered convention, however, it's not clear how "second place" would actually help Dean in his bid for the nomination. Should he bother to campaign there? Or spend his resources elsewhere?
Election 2008 feed
Obama 2008 - I want my country back
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.