deanI was a bit concerned when I took the survey to discover who’s policies are closest to mine and found, like many fellow bloggers, the answer was Kucinich, not Dean. In recent weeks, the DLC and other party hacks have suggested that Dean is ‘too liberal’ to be electable. I don’t know what they’re smoking. The more I look at Dean the more worries I have that he’s too conservative, and that if I had to choose between Dean and a truly liberal Green candidate it would be agonizing.

Consider what Josh Frank has to say about Dean’s positions this week in the liberal Counterpunch:

  • Supported the unilateral invasion of Iraq
  • Supports committing more troops to Iraq now
  • Unwavering support for Sharon’s extremist policies in the Middle East
  • Supports the death penalty
  • Supported the Clinton Welfare Reform Act (reducing benefits)
  • Opposes campaign finance reform
  • Supports expansion of NAFTA and WTO globalization agendas

On his own site, Dean makes it clear he will not sign the Kyoto Accord until there are changes to accommodate American interests. And his position on gun control is wishy-washy and inconsistent.

Except for his commendable position on women’s reproductive freedom and gay rights, is he liberal? Are we so desperate to get rid of Bush that we’re willing to put a neocon in liberal clothing in power? Is it too late to find a real liberal to support, and the DLC be damned? Clark, Gore, you listening?

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  1. Rayne says:

    I have some concerns about these same issues with Dean, but then I had similar concerns about Clinton as well when he was a candidate. In hindsight, it was a LOT easier to live with my differences with Clinton than it is to live with my complete and utter disgust and rejection of Bush. My gut tells me Dean will be far more likely to build consensus and work toward a policy that the majority can support, versus building a dictatorial ideology behind which we Americans are forced to live. I took the same test, found myself to be closest to Kucinich — but Dean was right there in the number 2 slot on my list (Bush being tied with several others for dead last). I don’t see Kucinich being electable because he is too far right for the majority of the American public; I have to be pragmatic about that, cut through the acceptable losses. Kucinich simply cannot carry both the popular and the electoral vote.Sure, it would be damned nice if a majority of Americans were greener and more left, but they’re not there yet. Wishing for a Green Party candidate or way-right Dem will only serve to dilute the essential message, take us away from the urgent mission: remove Bush in 2004, period.Lucky you, though, being Canadian, you don’t have to suffer the pangs of conscience in the voting booth come primary day or election day. Pray deeply and often that we, your neighbors to the south, get rid of George and replace him with a rational, reasonable, intelligent person. Please.

  2. Sean says:

    I’m not sure that “anyone but Bush” is the right essential message. Indeed, I think that sort of thinking is what dilutes the true urgent message: that our species, and our planet, is in trouble. Thinking about a choice between a “somewhat repressive regime” and a “more repressive regime” is not an option. We need an unrepressive one.It’s true that Kucinich probably doesn’t have a snowball’s chance with the dark lord, under the current conditions. But instead of trying to convince ourselves that someone like Dean “isn’t that bad,” we should be educating the public about why Dean, Bush, et al., *are* that bad, and why social welfare and environmental stewardship are essential to our future. We need to demonstrate why someone like Kucinich is the only way to go.

  3. Rayne says:

    BTW, Kucinich is the guest blogger this week at Prof. Lawrence Lessig’s place.Sean, unfortunately the people that need to be swayed are the same people who still regularly watch the “Fair and Balanced” folks at Faux Networks, who believe blindly that surely, their government wouldn’t try to hurt them or their kids, who believe that the unemployed and poor should simply pull themselves up by the bootstraps, who still believe that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. There will be no rationalizing Kucinich with them; they simply can’t SEE him. Knock yourself out; if you can get some idiots like Coulter and O’Reilly to root for Kucinich (or at least come up witless on TV against him), you’ve succeeded.I’m looking for somebody intelligent and rational, someone who’ll listen to the reason of the sciences and history, and can think systemically, holistically. I figure somebody who’s gotten a doctorate and practiced successfully, been elected to office without blowing up their constituency during his term, shows signs of meeting those criteria. Quite a far cry from an AWOL/dry-drunk/failed-multiple-business-person.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Rayne/Sean: Thank you. You two have articulated perfectly the dilemma we face, and the opposing voices of reason whispering in each of our ears.

  5. Evan says:

    Several of those statements about Dean’s positions are false, to my knowledge.He *opposed* the unilateral invasion of Iraq–unless you’re talking about the first Gulf War, which he may have supported (I’m not sure)… but that wasn’t unilateral. Could you have meant Afghanistan? He did support that.He has advocated sending more troops to Iraq with help from the UN, but IMHO so should anyone who’s concerned about the fact that the place is in total chaos and it’s *completely our fault*.I have never heard of him unwaveringly supporting Sharon’s policies. His support for the death penalty disappoints me, but is really quite limited compared to most of the other candidates running (he used to oppose it outright, and says he’s come around to feeling it’s appropriate for people who commit acts of terrorism or murder children). He does not oppose campaign finance reform; he’s said repeatedly that he supports it. He doesn’t want to “expand” NAFTA and the WTO willy-nilly; he wants to renegotiate them to ensure the rights of workers and the importance of environmental protection.He’s certainly not as progressive as a Kucinich or a Nader, but he’s a pretty solid center-left candidate, *not* a neocon in liberal clothing.BTW, you neglected to mention universal health care in there with reproductive freedom and gay rights.(Disclosure: I’m a volunteer for his campaign, but only speaking for myself.)

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Evan. That’s good to know. I really do want to believe. And I can appreciate his need not to appear too strident when the media are so quick to want to affix unfair labels. I’m just saying that his public pronouncements worry me because they leave an enormous amount of wiggle room. I’m especially relieved to hear that he’s not pro-NAFTA/WTO — that would be a deal-breaker for me.

  7. natasha says:

    I’m contemplating getting to work in support of Dean, even though I have some of these same reservations. I agree with all of Evan’s corrections, except to note that Dean does in fact support Sharon’s policies.But here’s the thing, if we split the liberal vote, and Bush wins again, the game is over. The Democratic party will end up moving so far over to the right in response that next time we might end up weighing our choices between Lieberman and Breaux.And here’s the other thing: many of these reservations were mentioned by the very committed people at the Dean meetup. But the thing that impressed me was that they represent an organic, bottom-up political campaign that is going to be more indebted to its grassroots organizers than to big corporate donors.We need to win. We won’t get everything we want, but we’ll make it possible to get it someday. And for now, that’s good enough for me.

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Well put, Natasha. And congratulations on the seamless migration to the new site. I especially like the categories, but it’s too bad you couldn’t port everything over to the new site. Your writing is too good, and timeless, to leave so much behind.

  9. Dan Cullen says:

    I think Natasha said it quite well. I agree with her very much, and I do think the point about Dean’s strength as a candidate coming from the people–when was the last time anyone saw such an effective grassroots campaign?–is really key.For me, too, his very liberal positions on gay issues and women’s issues are very important. I like Kucinich a lot, but delectability is an ugly, but important, issue to consider. Yes, I’d rather see someone really liberal in the White House. But most important to me, I desperately want to see Bush out of power.

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