Tuesday, December 16, 2003

In Defense of Howard Dean

Here's the text of a letter I sent a few minutes ago to the Plain Dealer:

To the Editor:

Franklin Roosevelt once called upon American voters to “judge me by the enemies I’ve made.” By that yardstick, Howard Dean has some of the most deserving enemies in contemporary American politics. Check bouncing ex-Congressman Ed Feighan, a supporter of Dick Gephardt—the ultimate Washington insider—has been buying airtime in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina under the ironic name Americans for Jobs, Heathcare, and Progressive Values.

The group’s commercials have taken Dean to task for his supposed lack of military and foreign policy experience. Feighan and his lackeys should be reminded that neither Woodrow Wilson nor FDR served a day in the military (although FDR was a military administrator in World War I). As for foreign policy experience, neither Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush had any such experience on the day they took their oaths.

If Feighan’s primary concern is for jobs, healthcare and progressive values, he should support Dr. Dean. As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, a licensed physician, fought to deliver healthcare to all of Vermont’s citizens, and his programs resulted in nearly universal coverage. Jobs? Dean’s policies created jobs—Bush’s policies have cost them. Progressive values? Howard Dean signed the historic Civil Unions bill, for Vermont’s gays and lesbians, a principled move that was unpopular at the time.

Being President, as Americans have learned the hard way, is entirely about character. Howard Dean, by his record and willingness to take unpopular stands, has proven his strength of character and his intellect. That’s a lot more than Feighan and his secret group have done.

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