...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003
      ( 2:01 PM )
Dean Desertion

I read with interest Billmon's post yesterday about why he is un-endorsing Dean. I also read the comments there. I've heard from several other sources sentiments like Billmon has expressed. I thought I'd just comment on it briefly since I have publicly endorsed Dean on this blog.

As I have explained many times before, my endorsement of Dean isn't so much based on Dean himself, but rather the process he is using to run his campaign and the issues that are being raised because of it. I have said it before, I'll say it again, my vote is with whatever Democrat wins the candidacy. But I do read the position papers of the various candidates, I do watch the debates and I do read the press, what little of real reporting there is out there. My support of Dean also exists because while I acknowledge he is far more centrist than I ever would be personally, I do believe he has taken a stand on some pretty progressive social plans he wants to put into action. I very much like his plan for children, his healthcare plan seems to be the most realistic in terms of having success AND giving at least all children universal health care in the near future. I agree with the banning of assault weapons and closing the loopholes on the trade shows, but after that making the gun issue up to the states. That is probably the one issue I am not as "progressive" on.

But the reason Billmon and others I've spoken with have fallen out of support for Dean is his stance on foreign policy as it applies to the middle east. Dean's quasi-luke-warm response to Judy Woodruff on the Syria question was definitely not an exuberant, progressive stance. It looked and smelled like another Democrat bowing to AIPAC's power. But after a lot of thought, I've considered the broader picture. I saw, like everyone else, how Dean got beat to a pulp the last time he intimated that the US should treat Israel and Palestine as an even-handed mediator. He saw the writing on the wall, and thus his not-so-strident remarks since then. From his past comments, his stance on the war, and from his original response about Israel that he got so much heat for, I don't think that he is suddenly caving or selling out. I think he knows what he has to do to win the presidency, but I also don't think he or any democrat will allow Israel the wide berth that's been handed down from Bush.

I don't agree with all of Dean's stands on things. There isn't a candidate I DO agree with about all the issues. That would be impossible. But I do believe he can win because he's shown a populist approach and appeal, he can be both progressive in plan but centrist in speech and he has also shown an ability to look at the facts when presented to him and change his mind and move forward in his education and opinions. I admire that and I do not fault a politician for learning and growing and changing.

He does terribly in the debate formats so far. He needs to perk up his presentation with the press. I hope he will avoid going negative as the primaries approach, though I'm sure he'll get some of that advice. But I think he would fare much better if he tried to remain above the fray. I think his realistic lead is still strong enough. The press don't like him, and if they are allowed the leeway of lies they were with Gore, then he's done with. But if the popular support he and his campaign has worked so hard over the last 6 months to build proves anything, it's that word of mouth and the mobilization of people who are sick and tired of the status quo DOES mean something. And Gore never had those things, so I think Dean is still ahead of the pack in my opinion. What I most hope is that he will be able to show that a president can acheive that office without the helping hand of corporations that want to control him. Now THAT would be refreshing.

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