Howard Dean, M.D., comes to Oregon, and I lay out my case for Dean and against Bush.
My main man for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, Howard Dean, M.D., will be in Portland on Sunday, August 24 at noon at the Portland State University Urban Studies Plaza (5th and Mill downtown). I’d encourage any and all to attend.
Some folks have asked me the pertinent question of “why Dean?” and I’d like to elaborate a little on my standard answer of “he can’t possibly be any worse than Bush.” Here’s what appeals to me about Dean:
- He’s a fiscal conservative. He balanced Vermont’s budget every year he was governorÂ—elected a record five timesÂ—and Vermont is one of few states without a balanced budget law. By contrast, Bush is running record deficits and early estimates for next year come in at $600 billion. We now pay more than $1 billion a day in interest on the debt.
- He’s a family medical doctor and understands the need for a national wide overhaul of the healthcare system. In fact, Dean would reverse Bush’s rich-get-richer tax cuts to pay for universal guaranteed health insurance, a trade I dare say that most of us would be happy to make.
- He opposes the Bush Doctrine which calls for unilateral, preemptive military strikes against any country the president thinks may be a threat in the future. The Bush Doctrine, if applied by other countries, would have us instantly at war with most of the world because presently there is no greater threat to peace than the United States.
- He opposed the war on Iraq. Now that the situation is becoming the quagmire most thinking people knew it would become, other candidates (except the soon-to-be out of the race Lieberman) are now trying to so soft pedal their previous support of the invasion. Dean, like Graham and Kucinich, opposed the war from the outset.
- He’s as angry as I am at what Bush has done to the country.
And while I’m on the topic, what has Bush done to the country?
- Spent the biggest surplus in US history to give us the biggest debt in US history
- Ran the largest deficit in US history (though next year’s projected $600 billion will take the cake)
- Set the record for most private bankruptcies in a one year period
- In the first year, vacationed more days than any president in history
- Set the record for most foreclosures in a one year period
- Presided over the worse energy scandal in US history (Enron’s Ken Lay being a huge campaign contributor)
- Entered office with the strongest economy in US history and within two years sent every economic category straight down
- Withdrew from the World Court
- Refused to allow access to prisoners of war in Guantanamo in violation of the Geneva Convention
- Helped create, with a policy of "disengagement," the most hostile Israeli-Palestinian relations in years
- Became the first US president to make the US viewed by most of Europe (86%) as the biggest threat to world peace
- Passed an education bill (the inaccurately named No Child Left Behind) based on a model from the Houston, Texas school district. Turns out that Houston lied about the number of dropouts.
Well, I could go on and on. (I mean that seriously, Bush’s underachievements and outright disasters are quite extensive.) Suffice to say that I believe we have never had a worse president. Clinton was a cad, lied under oath, and I would have impeached him, but Bush is a far worse president in virtually every regard, and even those things which he does right (and I can literally think of none off the top of my head), he does for the wrong reasons. Another four years of Bush would be intolerable.
Dean, a thinking man who’s angry about what Bush has done, is my kind of candidate. He’s a straight-shooter, and not your typical politician. You don’t get the sense in listening to Dean that he’s wondering how what he says will play to different constituencies. Somewhat like Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Dean’s gonna call it as he sees it, and happily, he sees it much the same way as me.
That’s not to say that we agree on every policy position, just that I respect his candor and willingness to stand up for what he believes. I think Dean would be a very good president. Certainly compared to the present office holder it’s inconceivable that he could be worse.