In the Sept. 15 issue of the Yale Daily News, Roger Low ’07 asserted that most Americans do not know much about Howard Dean (“What you don’t know about Dean,” 9/15).
I have been watching Dean ever since he declared his candidacy for the presidency, and I still have no idea who Howard Dean is.
Several months ago, Dean seemed to be telling America that he was going to raise the eligibility age of Social Security, but recently he denied ever considering such a change. Back in January when he was just becoming popular, Dean asserted that he was going to make all countries adopt American labor standards, a proposal that would cost the U.S. economy millions of jobs. But at the Sept. 4 debate in New Mexico, he changed his tone when Sen. Joe Lieberman pointed out the potential consequences of his position, concluding brilliantly, “Either way is fine with me.”
In the past, Dean argued that we should lift the trade embargo on Cuba, but now he has abruptly reversed his position in order to appeal to voters in Florida. Also, now that Dean has seen his fund-raising totals surge, he has hinted that he will opt out of his support for campaign finance limits. Oddly enough, five months ago, he chastised Bush for doing the same thing.
While Dean has said the United States should not “take sides” in the Middle East — a sudden and sharp departure from 50 years of U.S. policy in support of Israel — he recently said that “We have to get the Israelis out of the West Bank,” and that “an enormous number of settlements” would have to be disbanded.
Quite frankly, I still have yet to figure out which Howard Dean is running for president: the liberal supporter of civil unions and abortions or the man who boasts to having an “A” approval rating from the National Rifle Association. I’m not even sure if he knows himself.
Though it is normal for candidates to play the game of politics, Dean has been running his campaign on the platform that he is a “straight-talker.” For a nation that prides itself on the questioning of its political leaders, it is odd that much of America is falling for Howard Dean, the latest version of a straight-talk express that will prove to be nothing but a Trojan horse.
Maybe the problem is that Dr. Dean hasn’t practiced medicine in a while because he’s constantly changing his prescription for what ails our country.
What the Democratic party needs is a candidate with wide appeal, extensive experience, and concrete policies. Fortunately, one candidate possesses all of these qualities — Joe Lieberman.
Here’s why Lieberman can win. He has widespread support among all types of voters, not just liberals. Lieberman leads the other Democrats in all five of the latest national polls, including the Gallup and Quinnipiac, and because of his widespread popularity has the best chance of winning the national election next November. He is a moderate, but unlike other moderate Democrats who often vacillate on important issues for fear of alienating voters, Lieberman has outlined firm domestic and foreign policies.
People who pay attention to Lieberman’s policies will find him to be surprisingly progressive on many issues that matter most to Democratic voters. Lieberman is the one of the highest-rated senators in the country on the issue of the environment, and he has been given a perfect rating of 100 percent nine times by the League of Conservation Voters. He has repeatedly fought for increased clean air and clean water standards and has formed plans to curtail global warming. Never once since he entered politics in the 1970s as the attorney general for Connecticut has he change his policies to gain the votes of big businesses.
He has extensive foreign policy experience, having served on the Senate Armed Services Committee for more than a decade. Dean, on the other hand, has little foreign policy experience — the Vermont National Guard is not quite the U.S. Armed Services.
Although many fear that his religion will create a bias on the issues of the Middle East, Lieberman has pushed for the creation of a democratic Palestinian state, which he believes will help to build peace in the region. In 1989, he cosponsored the PLO Commitments Compliance Act, which asked the PLO to abandon its terrorism in Israel.
As Lieberman said, “I want to be remembered as the candidate who said to the American people what he sincerely believed was right for our country’s future, regardless of whether it was politically popular at a given moment.”
We need a leader who cares more about the well-being of this nation than about bringing in the political spotlight. Such individuals are rare, and when they emerge and show true leadership, we should look to them to lead.
Marshall Shaffer is a freshman in Berkeley College.