Howard Dean, (Democrat) Former Governor of Vermont
Dean is a physician who previously shared a medical practice with his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg. He's the father of two nearly grown children. Dean was born into a wealthy New York family in 1948. The oldest of four brothers and the son of a wealthy, conservative stockbroker, he grew up in the Hamptons and the Upper-East side where he attended elite private schools. (His grandmother was a bridesmaid to President Bush's grandmother). In 1967, he entered Yale University. While at Yale, Dean discovered that he had an innate sympathy for the civil rights movement and the plight of the poor. He steered clear of radical protests and student demonstrations, later saying that he instinctively distrusted ideologues, but he also came to oppose the escalating Vietnam War.
Taxes & Spending:
"I am a true fiscal conservative though," said Dean. "I cut taxes in Vermont, taking the highest municipal income tax (in New England), and making it the lowest." "The biggest problem with our economy right now is that Republicans don’t know how to manage money," started Dean, later saying the opposing party has the habit of borrowing, spending, borrowing, spending." "In a Dean Administration, the Democratic Party would reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility."
"Social justice can only be achieved through a balanced budget", Dean said. He thinks he will appeal to fiscal conservatives, because he is the only Democrat in the field who has balanced a budget:
From his campaign site: "To help finance this effort (Universal Health Care) , we must repeal the President's tax cuts -- which have thrown America back into the huge deficits of the 1980s -- and balance the federal budget. We cannot build crucial social programs without a solid financial foundation."
"The first round of (Bush) tax cuts (with some exceptions in the estate and retirement areas) should be repealed."
Social Services Funding: Dean "Supports some faith-based initiatives because he believes that charities do very good work. However, he does not support giving tax money to organizations that do not abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. He stated that if elected, he would try and ensure that organizations that discriminate would not receive federal funding."
Welfare: Promotes "welfare reform" "...we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our ... welfare programs..." He condemned the Bush administration's welfare reform proposal, or more formally the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization bill, as "a step backwards for everyone who believes in welfare reform." "We are particularly concerned about the extraordinary rigidity of the 40-hour work week [requirement]," Vermont was the first state in the nation to reform welfare on a statewide basis. Then-Governor Dean's initiative requires work and limits the amount of time a welfare recipient can receive assistance, but supports children and their working parents with health care, child care, and job training.
The bulk of those tax cuts went to those in the top 2 percent of income earners - people like Ken Lay and other corporate plunderers of the American economy. Left behind are middle class and working people, many of whom, in exchange for their tiny tax cuts, have lost their jobs or their health insurance - casualties of an economy limping along under the weight of Bush's economic policies. Our children will pay the bills for all this financial recklessness.
Security & Terrorism: "I would repeal that part and any other part of the PATRIOT Act that violates our Constitution."
Foreign Affairs: Dean said that he's the only candidate with previous experience in government who has opposed the war with Iraq from the start. "I have serious concerns about the increasingly unilateralist approach to foreign policy we have seen from the current Administration, particularly in the President's posture toward Iraq."
The Washington Post reported: Former Vermont governor Howard Dean has taken a consistently hard line against Bush's policy, telling Democratic audiences around the country that, unlike his rivals for the nomination, he would have opposed the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to go to war. But his vociferous opposition comes with a caveat.
"If the evidence is there [that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction]," Dean said yesterday, "we would go to the Security Council, and if they refused to act, we would have to do so in 60 days."
Dean opined that by enunciating pre-emption as a doctrine, Bush had inadvertently encouraged the Chinese to claim a "clear and present danger" in Taiwan.
In a "The Nation" magazine interview, he stated that he favors the formation of a Palestinian state, but believes that terrorism must end before that happens.
Education: Warned against "harebrained" ideas like school vouchers. Dean criticized the president's education plan, called the "no child left behind" act, by calling it the "no school board left standing" act.
"Everybody running for president except for me and the Republicans got together on this wonderful bipartisan bill that is the second largest unfunded mandate in the history of education," he said.
"As President, I will also work to strengthen our schools with improved student health centers, a focus on parental involvement, recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers and administrators, and resources to fund key mandates."
"The federal government must recognize that an enormous number of our teachers are retiring in the coming years and provide incentives to inspire a new generation of great teachers."
The New York TImes reported that "Taking a page from philanthropists who adopt
elementary school classes and promise to pay tuition for those who
make it to college, Howard Dean proposed a $7.1 billion program
on Thursday to guarantee eighth graders who commit to higher education
$10,000 a year in grants and loans."
Dean said he would also use tax credits so college graduates
would never owe more than 10 percent of their annual income in loan
payments and would retire their debt within 10 years. For students who
become nurses, teachers, police officers or firefighters or otherwise
pursue public service, the loan repayments would be capped at 7 percent of
Dean said he would quadruple AmeriCorps, the program
that enlists young people for two years of domestic service, to 250,000 slots
From his campaign site: "As a doctor, I understand the fear facing families without health insurance. As a Governor, I am proud that virtually every child under 18 and more than 90 percent of adults in Vermont are eligible for health coverage. But as a country, the United States can do better on this front."
Said his plan of providing universal health insurance through expanding Medicaid and added it could be paid for with half of the president's tax cut.
The country needs health insurance, says the doctor, yet Congress is arguing about the wrong thing, the patients' bill of rights, which would not make the slightest difference because "it would not bring health insurance to a single American."
Social Security: Dean criticized the idea of allowing private individuals to invest their Social Security savings in the stock market. "Allowing individuals to invest money in the stock market is foolish," he said. "Social Security is not a retirement program; it is a safety net for people so they don't starve."
Dean linked the tax cuts to homeland security, saying, "The enormous tax cuts are not only undercutting Medicaid and Social Security, Mr. President. The enormous tax cuts that you have passed are actually undercutting our ability to defend ourselves."
Illicit Drugs: We need to treat drugs as a public health problem.. That's difficult to do. We actually don't have a lot of drug users in our jails; the ones we have in there are drug users who are also dealers. Jails not a particularly effective way to get people to stop using drugs; treatment is.
In an interview with "The Nation" magazine, Dr. Dean--who believes in a scientific fact based approach--would direct the FDA to evaluate medical marijuana. Whatever the conclusion, he'd accept their findings.
As Governor, Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy, which in part said, "The nation’s Governors urge the President and Congress to fully fund drug and alcohol abuse education, drug courts, treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts, including the initiative to combat and clean up methamphetamine production laboratories, at the state and local levels of government."
Trade: "I do not agree that we ought to get rid of NAFTA and the WTO. But you can't get into the European Union unless you have exactly the same labor and environmental and human rights standards that you do in all those countries. We ought not to be in the business of having free and open borders with countries that don't have the same environmental, labor and human rights standards. And if you do that, we're going to be able to create manufacturing jobs in America again and they'll stay in America."
Ex-felons' Voting Rights: During a Miami Beach NACCP forum in July 2003, this candidate expressed support for restoration of voting rights of felons who served their sentences.
Gun Policy: Dean received an "A" grade from the NRA. However, N.R.A.. executive director Wayne LaPierre says Dean today is "totally trying to have it both ways." Yes, Vermont has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation. But Dean opposes a federal bill that would grant gunmakers immunity from lawsuits and supports background checks for buyers at gun shows—two positions that put him at odds with the N.R.A.. He agrees with most positions of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
Abortion Policy: Dean explained that in his opinion, the government should have no say in what a woman should choose.
"It’s none of the government’s business."
Environmental Policy: Dean received was not rated by the
League of Conservation Voters. He is courting the environmental vote. He was the keynote speaker at the California League of Conservation Voters lunch. "As President, I would bring my commitment to our environment to the White House."
He would not sign the Kyoto global warming treaty as it stands, but negotiate to eliminate the current exemptions for under-developed countries' production of greenhouse gases.
Regarding Bush's environmental policy Dean said, "It's appalling. Essentially what he's done is try to undo most of the environmental policy in the last 50 years. Drilling in the national parks is essentially his solution to the energy dilemma. Gutting the Clean Air Act and daring to call it Clear Skies. Opening wilderness to more logging under the guise of Healthy Forests. He's even threatening our national monuments. The assaults are sweeping."
Minority Issues: In her Profile in Courage Essay Contest Prize Winning Essay, Stephanie Dziczek of Holmes High School, Covington, Kentucky, wrote "Minority champions like Dean, with the courage to hold principle and respect for all people above common opinion, are the reasons that today women can vote, African Americans are legally protected from discrimination, and homosexuals can engage in civil unions." Increased the number minorities in judgeships and other prominent positions.
Civil Liberties: Dean has not been scored by The American Civil Liberties Union. Dean, who is running on his civil rights record as governor, is well-known for signing Vermont's law legalizing gay civil unions.
The Vermont Civil Liberties Union was alarmed by then Gov. Howard Dean's call for a "re-evaluation" of some of America's civil liberties following this week's terrorist attacks.
Dean said "I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street."
Later Dean backed away when asked about them later. He pointed out that he was not advocating for such restrictions, merely predicting what he believed would be the salient issues in the debate. When asked what, if any, impingement he supported, Dean had no answer.
"Right now (Sept 23, 2001) we have to let things cool off. Proposed changes in the Constitution ought to be served cold."