Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

August 2, 2003

by J

The Post Opens Its Eyes

The Washington Post opens its eyes and realizes that Howard Dean is not as easy to characterize as they'd thought. Great article in this Sunday's Post. Some quotes:
As governor, Dean preserved hundreds of thousands of acres of forests and lakes and mountains that had come under intense development pressure, passed a landmark health insurance program for children, insisted on pumping money into town centers rather than into sprawling suburbs and signed a bill that allowed gay couples to enter into civil unions.

At the same time, the former doctor resisted raising income taxes, vetoed some social spending for the elderly, and showered tens of millions of dollars in controversial tax breaks to attract businesses to Vermont, although most of the company officials acknowledged they would have relocated or expanded without subsidies. Dean poured relatively little money into state colleges and the university, where tuition costs are the highest in the nation.

"I'm a fiscal conservative, and I believe in social justice," Dean said in a recent interview. "I'm most proud of our fiscal stability -- I left the state in better shape than I found it."

Peter F. Welch, a prominent liberal state senator who once considered a primary challenge to Dean, said Dean's great strength was his ability to govern effectively. "The moral tension in politics is to have an openness to the ideal while retaining the capacity to be pragmatic and get something accomplished," Welch said. "Howard could do that."

So the question arises: If Dean was so effective leading that fight, why didn't he risk more battles on the sort of issues that are dear to the liberals? Ready, the state auditor, laughs when asked the question.

"Because Howard Dean's neither a phony nor a liar," Ready said. "He's just not a liberal."
We need Howard Dean's pragmatic, principled approach to governance to get this country headed in the right direction again. Rock on, Howard Dean!
Posted by J at August 2, 2003 11:30 PM

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