Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says he's liberal and proud of it: anti-war, anti-Bush, and champion of socialized health care as in countries like "France and Germany."
On Iraq: "To date, the [Bush] administration has done a poor job of gathering support for its policy and made little effort to explain long-term objectives," says Dean, echoing Paris and Berlin. "The result has been a disturbing and thoroughly avoidable growth in anti-American sentiment within key allied nations."
On health care: "The press is all writing about Dean is the big liberal of the race," he told supporters in Alaska. "If being a liberal is joining Canada and Britain and France and Germany and Japan and Italy and Israel in having universal health insurance for all of its citizens, then you may call me what you want." How would the 54-year-old ex-governor pay for government-run health care? "We must repeal the president's tax cuts."
Gov. Dean draws enthusiastic applause from liberal activists by claiming to represent "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," a line made famous by the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone.
White House strategists don't fear Gov. Dean. But they are vulnerable on health care, and they know it. Thus President Bush's speech to the American Medical Association urging Congress to create new private health care and prescription drug benefit options for those on Medicare without price controls, rationing, and big government bureaucracies. But he's already getting resistance. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Wyo.) says there's little chance of Medicare reform passing this year.