Thursday, July 31, 2003
By Steven Taylor

The Tough Democrat has some words of criticism/advice to Dean as well. I concur with TD that Dean did not govern in Vermont as a strict liberal, and that many of his stances (such as a balanced budget and gun rights) are moderate in nature. I would further agree, however, that Deanís image in the current campaign has been as an ultra-lib that Dean himself has done nothing to deflect the notion that he is the second coming of McGovern, and that perception will harm him in the long-run, should he win the nomination.

His biggest problem is going to be national security, where he is clearly to the left of center and that will be a huge liability in the next election. Indeed, as I have stressed before, national security is going to be as big in 2004 as it was during the Cold War for this electoral cycle (and, I believe, into the future). 1992, 1996 and 2000 were all aberrations in the sense that foreign policy was clearly less important than domestic issues.

I would also point out that on issues such as abortion and universal health care, Dean is quite liberal. And while his stance on gay marriage is more moderate than some (i.e., he is pro “civil union” and not necessarily pro-gay marriage), the fact that he signed the first civil union bill into law will place him in the far-left, at least from the general perception of the electorate.

And I also believe that his personality, though appealing to his hard-core, angry-at-Bush, supporters, will also be a liability. He isnít all that likeable. And the angry routine is a lot less likely to appeal to the swing voters.

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