Good Press for Dean
CNN gave Dean some surprisingly positive ink/airtime today
The liberal tag defies his record in Vermont, where Dean was known as a centrist, pro-business governor for 12 years.
He battled Democrats to restrain spending and balance the state budget, even pushing for cuts in human services programs such as benefits for the aged, blind and disabled.
He nominated tough-on-crime judges, most of them former prosecutors. And he imposed work requirements on welfare recipients well before former President Bill Clinton did.
As governor, some of his strongest supporters were Republican leaders of the business community. Difficult to label, Dean once called himself "an odd kind of Democrat."
Indeed, I've seen a lot of folks talk about his "liberalism" being a "liability". I laugh because I've never really seen him as a liberal. On social issues, yes he is a good bit to the left, but he is a fiscal conservative and fairly pro-biz, which is why we have a pretty strong Progressive party
in this state. Too many people felt Dean wasn't liberal enough!
Vermont is a pretty weird state politically. We seem to really dig split government. The highest Constitutional officers (Gov and Lt. Gov) are Republicans (during Dean's tenure they were Democrats), and the other offices are held by Democrats. There are 4 Progressives and 2 Independents in our House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republicans. Our Senate is run by the Dems. Our sole US Rep, Bernie Sanders, is an Independent
, and in the 80s was mayor of Burlington (succeeded by the current mayor, who was endorsed by both the Progressives and Dems). Sen. Pat Leahy's a Dem, and I'm sure many of you have heard of Jim Jeffords (I, formerly an R).
Time for an anecdote about Burlington. In 1991 the Republicans took over from the Progressives. During the winter there was, as one might expect in this area, a lot of snow. Unfortunately with budgets cut, snowplowing was unusually bad. My favorite bumpersticker from that winter read "At least the hippies plowed the roads". The Republicans now have a single member on the City Council.