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Howard Dean Says GOP Best Propagandists since Lenin (posted Sept.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean had strong words
for the GOP during his speech yesterday at Brown University to an overflow
audience of 850 people. Complaining about the party's attacks on Democrats,
he said "Republicans are essentially the best propaganda machine since
Lenin." According to Dean, "Republicans want to run every election on
guns, God, gays, and abortion. I want to run it on public education,
health care, and job opportunities."
Dean made his remarks as part of the Noah Krieger Memorial Lecture organized
by the Taubman Center for Public Policy. The lecture is an annual event
that brings distinguished visitors to campus for a public lecture. Since
his presidential campaign ended, Dean has put together a new organization
called Democracy for America that encourages people to get involved
in politics. Dean said the country needed permanent change and complained
that the country now was "led by a radical gang of extremists."
Dean also has a new book coming out at the end of September. For the
lecture, he recounted the story of a private conversation he had several
years ago with then Texas Governor George W. Bush. Bush had become embroiled
in a controversy with Christian Right organizations within his state.
They thought he was going to appoint members of their group to the state
school board and were upset when he instead named members of the business
community. Christian Right leaders proceeded to criticize Bush publicly
for failing to follow through on his commitments to them.
Seeing Bush as a holiday party at the White House, Dean approached the
Texas governor and joked about Bush's unpopularity with the Christian
Right. Seething with anger, Bush told Dean "I hate those people" and
complained about their attacks on him. However, Dean pointed out that
as president, Bush has made appeals to the Christian Right the centerpiece
of his presidency. The lesson, according to Dean, is that Bush "knows
politics but doesn't give a damn about policy."
When asked about the general election, Dean indicated he thought Kerry
had sharpened his message in recent days and was going to come on strong
in the end. "I think the pensive part of this campaign is behind us
and you're going to start to see some bare knuckles," he said. And in
terms of his future political plans, Dean told the audience that for
2008 "I wouldn't rule that out, but I'd think about it more carefully."