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The year 2003 was not even over when former Vermont Gov. Dr. Howard Dean complained that the Democratic Party leadership had not anointed him as the party's 2004 Presidential Nominee.
On December 29, the New York Times published an article reporting that Dean criticized Democratic Party National Chairman Terry McAuliffe for not getting the other Democratic candidates to tone down their criticisms of him. Dean was quoted as telling reporters in Iowa that "If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, 'Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here.'" It sounds as if Dean wanted his nomination to be a foregone conclusion even before the first caucuses (Iowa and primary (New Hampshire). Is that democracy?
Democrats who wish to see a true change in direction for United States and not merely a change in party labels at the White House, would do well to question whether Dean is really a change from what we have now.
Yes, Dean was against the war in Iraq. But, at a debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, he said, "We cannot lose the peace in Iraq. If we leave Iraq … al-Qaida may move in. If we leave Iraq to a fundamentalist Shiite regime with Iranian influence, we will in both circumstances be worse off than we were when Saddam Hussein was president." Can we count on President Dean to quickly withdraw the troops and to stop the hemorrhaging of the Treasury this war is causing?
Dean supports the war in Afghanistan and like Bush, he believes in the so-called "War on Terror." Can we count on President Dean to call for the repeal of the Bush-Ashcroft destruction of our civil liberties in the name of security? Go to his lengthy statement on civil liberties at the deanforamerica.com web site, and you will see concern about provisions the Patriot Act and the Victory Act, (a.k.a. Patriot II, parts of which were quietly signed into law by George W. Bush on the Saturday Saddam Hussein was captured)) but no outright calls for repeal. The statement also includes the following:
"Rather than expanding the Patriot Act, we should reconsider the wisdom of the original bill.
The September 11 terrorists sought to disrupt the American way of life, including our constitutional freedoms. They must not succeed. As President, I will lead the war on terror in a way that protects civil rights and civil liberties while protecting our safety."
A candidate who says that "As President, I will lead the war on terror…" doesn't understand that war IS terror. We will not have true change in America's direction until we abandon the war metaphor for dealing with our problems (e.g. War on Poverty, War on Cancer, War on Drugs, War on Terror). Despite these wars, actually, because of them, we have more poverty, more cancer, more drugs and, as I write this under Orange Alert, more terror.
George W. Bush, the "President" most obsessed with secrecy since Nixon, ordered that Presidential papers from the Administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush that were eligible for public release remain sealed. Dean has admitted that, on leaving the governorship of Vermont, he ordered 145 boxes of his gubernatorial papers sealed for ten years.
Dick Cheney's energy task force met in secret and Cheney is going to great lengths to avoid divulging with whom he met. On December 28, the Associated Press reported thatat in 1999, Gov. Howard Dean's energy task force also held many closed-door sessions, and Dean's rationale for keeping mum on those meetings is the same as Cheney's: "The governor needs to receive advice from time to time in closed session. As every person in government knows, sometimes you get more open discussion when it's not public."
I have been criticized by a fellow journalist for raising these issues, on the ground that Dean has been raked over the coals for deeds similar to Bush's, while the press has given Bush a free ride. II respond by saying that the issue is not the press giving Bush a free ride (though they shouldn't), but that Dean has been doing what Bush has done. Would a President Dean substantially change politics as usual at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
Two days after formally declaring for the White House, Dean addressed the highly influential Council on Foreign Relations. Have the real powers that be in the New World Order, many of whom are or have been CFR members, picked Howard Dean as the figurehead to replace Bush if they decide they need a change in public demeanor but not substance?
P.S. January 14, 2004, Yellow Alert - A Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released yesterday shows that Dean is leading Rep. Richard Gephardt by 5 percentage points but that 12 percent of likely caucus voters are still undecided. AP is reporting that private polls by the campaigns of Dean and retired General Wesley Clark show that Clark has narrowed Dean's lead from 25 percentage points to single digits in the state next door to Dean's Vermont. Could it be that the voters want a race, not a coronation?
Radio journalist Kéllia Ramares runs the web site R.I.S.E. - Radio Internet Story Exchange.
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