Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Anybody but Bush

I could say it myself, but I’ll let someone with more experience covering politics than any other living human being say it. Helen Thomas has covered the White House longer than Mac and I have been alive, put together. When asked her thoughts on Bush, she put it simply: “This is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in all of American history.”

With that thought in mind, I attended the Howard Dean rally Sunday.

It was a beautiful day, absolutely gorgeous. I arrived with my girlfriend and two friends a little early, which was nice because we were right up front.


My girlfriend has been a Dean supporter for a long time, and her infectious enthusiasm for Dean had me interested. As far as I could tell, there were a few real outliers running (Sharpton, Mosley ? Braun, Kucinich), a few old political hacks (Graham, Lieberman) and a few media darlings (Edwards, Kerry, Clark, Dean).

I liked Dean from the get-go, but thought I’d give every candidate a chance before I made up my mind. Well, it was made up for me Sunday.

Dean should definitely be a Democratic candidate in 2004.

Reasons why Dean is far better than Bush.

Dean is a fiscal conservative while being a social liberal.

This plays well to the soccer-mom demographic, but forget them. It plays well to anyone with a head for numbers, which is presumably most people. Ironically, it was the Republicans who picked up on this last election and came up with the cockamamie term “compassionate conservative.” They realized that killing off social programs makes you look like a meanie, so they promised they would help the children and the elderly while still cutting your taxes.

They did cut taxes, but they cannot, in absolutely any way, continue to aid the elderly or children. Cannot be done. So they lied. I hope the soccer moms, heck, everyone who voted for Bush, remember that when they have no Social Security or Medicaid.

Dean advocates a foreign policy based on “cooperation not confrontation.”

First of all, Dean gets the gold star for being (besides Kucinich) one of the more adamant opponents to the war in Iraq. Dean wasn’t compromised by having to vote for it in the Senate like many of his colleagues. However, he stuck to his guns, held out on an unpopular position, and now it seems to be delivering in spades.

$87 billion, anyone? Anyone have that lying around? Since the rest of the planet seems less than eager to help us in our romp through Mesopotamia, Bush is going to have to scrounge to find it. Maybe it’s the 17 attacks a day on U.S. soldiers. Maybe it’s the heightened tensions Israel has created by attacking Syria. Maybe, just maybe, Mr. President, all your rich cronies would be willing to help you. You just gave them an average of $40,000 a year in tax cuts, so why not hit them up for change?

Dean appeals to our generation.

This statement was clearly illustrated for me by the crowd at the Kohl Center. There were plenty of college students, high school students and youth of all types. It was quite the crowd, and it was mixed in with a healthy dose of older liberals (the Tyson strike galvanized a lot of the visitors to the rally). It looked like a group of people who were truly animated and enthusiastic.

According to the Dean campaign, 30 percent of their contributions come from people between 18 and 30 years old. Given that his campaign has raised millions, it’s impressive that it is getting 18- to 30-year-olds to hand over their income in a Republican-created recession.

Dean isn’t a mush-mouthed half-wit.

That’s sort of an ad-hominem attack. I’ll let Bush say it.

“What’s not fine is, rarely is the question asked, are, is our children learning?” ? President Bush, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 14, 2000

Dean started off his speech by ripping the microphone off the podium when the crowd complained it couldn’t hear him. Granted, he gave a stump speech, but he did it in a clear, concise voice. There were note cards, sure, but at least we didn’t see the strings dancing in the air above him.

And then — get this — he went off topic! When a guy in the audience began hollering about medical marijuana, Dean improvised a balanced answer (one year of FDA study, then follow its mandates, which would probably allow HIV and cancer patients to smoke it), and he didn’t look flustered.

Imagine Bush handling this. You can’t! When Bush speaks extemporaneously about anything except his dogs, he looks like a deer in headlights. Honestly, for someone who attended Yale (granted he got a C average, a 76.9 if you must know), you’d think he’d be able to think on his feet.

To sum up, Dean is a thoughtful, middle-of-the-road candidate with a ton of grassroots support, a reasonable message and an honest-to-God real candidate. I don’t care if he is on the top of the ticket (I like Sen. Kerry, for some reason), but he absolutely needs to be a part of it.

After all, the guy with the funny hat outside the rally said it best: “Anyone but Bush!”

Rob Deters ([email protected]) is a second-year law student.

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