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Dean’s List

To the Editor:

Travis Durfee’s trip to New Hampshire [Will You Be My President?, Jan. 29] was a great way to see each Democratic presidential candidate through the eyes of a pretend New Hampshire voter. It was a nice, entertaining read. The piece began with these words: “It’s the electability, stupid.”

Given that the focus of Durfee’s article was voters’ concerns about electability, here are some things Metroland readers might like to consider.

On his way to the White House, Howard Dean is putting the backbone back in the Democratic party. Meanwhile, his opponents and the media have tried to convince us that Dean is “unelectable.” I don’t buy it, nor do supporters who have raised $2 million in small donations since his second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Howard Dean has a long record of leadership, and as governor of Vermont he achieved results like gangbusters. He balanced budgets even in the most difficult times, provided health care for 92 percent of the people in his state including all children, increased the minimum wage, created good paying jobs, and enlarged protected “forever wild” lands by 200 percent. He did this while lowering taxes, twice. Inspired voters kept Dean in office for 12 years, Vermont’s longest gubernatorial tenure in a century.

John Kerry has now become a kind of Dean Lite, opposing policies of the Bush administration, suddenly. Unfortunately, he and other senators lacked the courage and leadership to stand up to George Bush when it really mattered: on the Patriot Act, on the preemptive war with Iraq, on No Child Left Behind, and on Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthy. It’s true that Kerry was consistent, but he positioned himself on the wrong side of issues, voting for them all. Meanwhile, Howard Dean stood up for the right side, even when it was not popular to do so.

Howard Dean says he is out to change a government dominated by special interests. Sure, Dean is beholden to special interests, too: ordinary people, like the ones who have donated less than $100 each, thereby funding 89 percent of his campaign.

Playing hardball with George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove is not for sissies. Without a clear alternative to George Bush, a Democrat in the mold of Kerry, Edwards, or Lieberman, is certain to be defeated. Isn’t it time we voted for someone like Howard Dean, someone who not only has a terrific political record, but has the guts needed to win this thing?

Stacy Orsini

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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