Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

December 19, 2003

by J

New Domestic Policy Speech

Dean gave a second major speech this week -- this one on domestic policy. He called it "Keeping the Promise of America: Creating a New Social Contract for America's Working Families." It's excellent. Read the whole thing.
Balanced budgets matter. They lead to economic growth. Social progressives should be fiscal conservatives, because only fiscal responsibility guarantees that the American people will have the government they need when they truly need it.

Part of the New Social Contract will be controlling spending and bringing budgets into balance. I know it can be done. I did it eleven times as governor.

Building this New Social Contract won't be easy. The interests that oppose change are deeply entrenched. They have built longstanding political relationships. Each hand has washed the other in the basin of Washington politics.

But in our nation, the people are sovereign, not the government. It is the people not the media, or the financial system, or mega-corporations, or the two political parties who have the power to create change.
In the speech, he explains the Bush Tax and what it is costing Americans. Conveniently. the Dean Team has put together a website: www.bushtax.com to explain it all.
Bush has shifted health costs to states and failed to own up to his responsibility to pay for homeland security, election reform, and education.

The Bush Tax is huge – many times greater than most people’s tax refunds. And it’ll be here for a long time to come. We’ll be paying the Bush Tax for decades, and most likely, so will our children and grandchildren.

As President, Howard Dean will repeal the Bush Tax. He will provide genuine relief to the states though his Fund to Restore America and restore sound fiscal management of the nation's finances.
[Meta: I've been way overcommitted this week w/o much time to blog... may be able to catch up this weekend, but maybe not until the New Year... ]
Posted by J at December 19, 2003 02:01 PM
Comments

I am so glad to see Dean taking on Bush directly on taxes, and to do it in a way that isn't simply a disagreement on policy issues, but is framed within a larger vision of the kind of country we want to be. We will never win the big one if all we do is stick to polite policy debates, which are easier for us to win but don't have the power to stir Americans to enthusiastically vote for us.

This was a clever speech in ways I suspect are over the heads of all the timid Democrats who have been afraid of confronting Bush and the Republicans on 'third-rail' issues because they lack the political imagination to figure out how.

While Dean appears to "dis" Clinton -- ensuring he'll grab the headlines -- he yet throws in the long-time Clinton point that with benefits comes responsibility and then deftly turns it on its head to focus on the benefits reaped by corporations, rather people on welfare.

Politics is a tug-of-war, and on taxes, we've been letting the rope go slack for too long.

P.S. Thanks for adding me to your list of good reads! Have a good holiday!

Posted by: John McCrory at December 19, 2003 03:17 PM

"While Dean appears to "dis" Clinton -- ensuring he'll grab the headlines -- he yet throws in the long-time Clinton point that with benefits comes responsibility and then deftly turns it on its head to focus on the benefits reaped by corporations, rather people on welfare."

Yes. Dean has done this sort of brilliant rhetoric shift repeatedly. I don't know if it's a very conscious, thought-through plan or if it's subconscious and he's just got a gift for finding the pressure points of an issue and releasing them to his advantage, but it is a real treat to watch.

I'm about 2/3 of the way through McCullough's _Truman_ right now, and I hope I find some time to write up some of the parallels between his campaign (dewey v. truman) and Dean's. Some of the similarities are eerie. (Obviously, I'm looking for them, but still.) Dean has also adopted a bit of Truman's rhetoric beyond the obvious 'give 'em hell..' (I know he's read this book, as he talked about it in an interview..).

Posted by: J at December 19, 2003 03:29 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir


Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush


Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror


LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right


The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling


The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow


Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars


Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative


Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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