Dean — From Dynamo to Destruction
What is Howard Dean's view of the Bush Administration, himself and the presidential race?
February 3, 2004
Howard Dean burst on the U.S. political scene by giving a clear voice to Democratic frustrations about the Bush Administration. But his meteoric rise was followed by an equally fast fall from his once unassailable front-runner position in the crowded Democratic field. Our Read My Lips feature brings you Howard Dean in his own words.
Why do you criticize the economic policies of the current administration?
“On this president’s watch, the federal debt has grown by over $1 trillion. That’s the rough equivalent of putting $3,500 on the charge card of every American.”
Are there any parallels internationally?
“This president is using Argentina as his model for fiscal policy — it’s borrow and spend, borrow and spend.”
What are your own economic policy goals?
“I will give tax reform a top priority. But unlike the tax initiatives of the current president, my program of tax reform and relief will be targeted to the average Americans who are struggling to make ends meet — not those whose needs are well provided for.”
How would you compare your fiscal policy with that of President Bush?
“I balanced every budget during my 11 years as governor — despite the fact that Vermont is the only state with a constitution that doesn’t require a balanced budget.”
Do you have a golden rule for domestic policymaking?
“Social justice must rest upon a foundation of fiscal discipline.”
Does that mean you are a liberal?
“I don’t mind being characterized as a ‘liberal’ — I just don’t happen to think it’s true.”
Why do you also criticize President Bush's foreign policy?
“The president who campaigned on a platform of a humble foreign policy has instead begun implementing a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance — and intimidation.”
What's your view of the essence of U.S. leadership?
“Our foreign and military policy must be about the notion of America leading the world — not America against the world.”
How does the situation look from your perspective?
“There are not very many countries, after three years of George W. Bush’s presidency, where people want to be like us anymore.”
Where did the Bush Administration fail the most in Iraq?
“Our country should be always aiming to be a force for law around the world — not a law unto itself.”
What challenge will the next president face in the Middle East?
“The next president will need to undo the work of this band of radicals currently controlling our foreign policy — who view the Middle East as a laboratory for their experiments in democracy-building.”
What would be the best U.S. defense policy?
“The best defense policy we can develop for the United States is to help bring about middle-class based countries around the world with a high degree of economic participation of women. That’s why our trade policy is so crucial.”
How do you define the limits of power for the U.S. president?
“The biggest lie people like me tell people like you is that we have the power to change this country. The truth is, the power to change this country is in your hands — not mine.”
Why hasn't anyone told people yet?
“A gaffe in Washington is when you tell the truth — and the Washington establishment thinks you shouldn’t have.”