Friday, November 07, 2003

It's Business as Usual With Howard Dean: "The curtain is raised, and standing in the spotlight alone is Presidential hopeful Howard Dean. A virtual nobody turned star attraction, Dean’s ride to the top has been nothing short of remarkable. He has long held ambitions of one-day gazing out over the plush White House lawns in his royal bathrobe. And he may soon have his wish. The American Left has all but crowned this Democrat king of their Party -- buying his anti-war posture with superfluous ease. But how progressive is Dr. Dean? Is he worthy of such support?

"The following collection of articles helps to expose the doctor for what he is -- a typical politician whose record is crammed full of sleaze and controversy. These articles -- ranging from his Israel position, to his qualms with the Bill of Rights -- prove that we should not have the illusion that Dean is a liberal savior, strong enough to pry the Right hand now strangling this country.

"Like our widely read compilation of articles on that other current liberal savior, Wesley Clark, the point of this page is to emphasize that the “anybody but Bush” mentality pervading many American opposition movements is short-sighted. While Bush Inc. represents an unusually extreme segment of the American ruling class, its policies in reality fall within a very narrow political space subscribed to by both Democrats and Republicans. Neither political party questions the right of the US to overthrow governments (often democratically elected); back some of the most repressive regimes or movements on the planet when it serves elite interests (Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, Pinochet, Suharto, the death squad regimes of Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Mobutu, Jonas Savimbi, the Nicaraguan contras, and many more); or to commit unilateral acts of aggression (Iraq, Panama, Grenada, South Vietnam, and many Latin American and Caribbean nations throughout the 20th century). Both parties put the interests of the rich and powerful above the rest of us. Disagreement tends to be on narrow tactical grounds, not on the moral and fundamental level.

"Long before the first primary, there are Democratic candidates, like Dennis Kucinich, who are advocating genuine alternatives to business-as-usual politics, and yet they are largely being ignored because they are defined as “long shots.” Howard Dean was once a long shot, but now he is a Democratic front-runner because of the hard work of activists (lots of family money helps too). There is no reason the same can’t be true for the more progressive candidates. If one truly identifies him/herself as a “centrist” (in a constantly rightward moving landscape) or “conservative Democrat,” then Howard Dean (or Clark) is your man. But those seeking a real alternative will not find it in Dean. Further, fear of the Bush Administration doesn’t mean that challengers for the presidency are above criticism, whether the opponent is a Kucinich, Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky. In the end what really matters is not who the winner of a horse race every four years is, but the relentless pressure We as active participants in the political process put on the politicians, day in and day out, to make them work in the interest of the Common Good. The history of positive political change in America makes that clear. Uncritically supporting a business-as-usual candidate because he/she appears to be a lesser evil achieves nothing. Our hope is that progressives find these links and reports informative and useful."

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