The new governor faced a roomful of fellow Democrats in 1992, liberal warriors eager after two years of Republican rule to right every perceived wrong in Vermont. But Howard Dean issued no call to arms.
All of your progressive ideas, Dean told his party caucus, won't amount to anything if Vermonters don't trust you with their money -- and they don't. We're seen as tax-happy liberals who spend money unwisely.
"He made us very disciplined about spending, even if we didn't really like it," said former state Senate president Dick McCormack, who sat in that caucus room in 1992. "I was a liberal Democrat, and I fought him a lot, but he made the Democrats very hard to beat."
"I find him very, very refreshing," says Joe Mathews, 53, who owns a travel agency in Manchester, Vt., and, as a Republican, has always voted against Dean "out of habit." But Mathews says he will vote for Dean for president because he admires the fiscal conservatism Dean displayed in 11 years as governor. "What the rest of the country is starting to find out," he says, "is Dean is not particularly left wing. And as far as checkbook issues, he is to the right of George Bush, because if it isn't in the bank, Dean doesn't spend it."
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.