Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Last January, I discussed the Dem nominees with a local storeowner. He favored Kerry; I wanted Dean. I stopped in there Tuesday, and he was eager to tell me that I had been right. He saw Dean on the Stephanopoulos program Sunday, and had this to say: "The media sold us a bunch of bull about Dean last winter. They painted him as loopy and angry. Well, when I saw him Sunday, I was very impressed. Why didn't I ever see interviews that showed how intelligent and reasonable he was?" Right on, Bud.
Unfortunately, I missed ABC's This Week, but here's a segment of it and a link to the whole interview. I understand why Bud was so impressed. I'm impressed by what Dean said...always...and again.

Stephanopoulos: You know, we heard from a DNC member who loves what you're doing with that organization, he also says he expects you're going to bring a lot of energy to the party. In the email he also raises some concerns about you, I want to show them. He said, "1) He's worried that you're going to perform the role of a punching bag for the right as the embodiment of Democratic detachment and 2) That your candidacy is enforcing the press' view the Democrats are lost and dispirited by turning to a madman to lead us." You're talking to all of these delegates, and I assume that many are raising similar questions. How do you answer them?
Dean: [Laughs] Well actually, many aren't raising similar questions. Many believe that the way to win races is to run a 50-state strategy and build grassroots efforts and put money into all 50 states and the territories. The other thing that they believe is that we need a clear message.
Look, Newt Gingrich-who I'd agree with almost nothing about in terms of policy-but Newt Gingrich decided that he was going to try to take back the Congress by drawing a clear distinction between Democrats and Republicans. And he succeeded. Before that, the minority in the House-Republicans-were really kind of around the edges of what the Democrats were doing and they weren't getting anywhere. I think we've got to draw a clear distinction.
We have different moral values than what the Republicans say they have. They say their moral values are about making sure gay people don't get ahead and making sure that women can't make up their mind about their own kind of health care. I say our moral values are feeding hungry children, having job opportunities and educational opportunities for every single American, and restoring a foreign policy which is not just based on a very strong military-which I'm very proud of-but also strong moral authority, which this president has abdicated in the world.
Stephanopoulos: In the short term, does that mean opposing the President's agenda?
Dean: It means opposing the President when he's wrong, and the President is frequently wrong. The President says nice words, but there's little follow up or the follow up is inconsistent with what Americans want. Which, as I said, is job opportunities and better opportunities for their children in education. And we need to do something serious about health care. We are the last industrialized country on the face of the earth that does not have some sort of health insurance for all of its people. There's no reason we shouldn't join the rest of the civilized world in that area.
Stephanopoulos: You mention the President's nice words. What did you think of the Inaugural?
Dean: I thought it was nice words. Who could possibly disagree with "freedom" and "liberty"? Of course we want freedom and liberty around the world. I didn't hear anything about the mess he's created in Iraq, I didn't hear anything about health care, I didn't hear anything about jobs. You know, the stock market is doing okay, but ordinary people are not doing okay in this country and I think the Democrats are the ones that can fix that.


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