December 20, 2003


Taking Exception: Out of the Mainstream? Hardly (Howard Dean, December 21, 2003, Washington Post)

The Post's Dec. 18 editorial discussing my recent foreign policy speech ["Beyond the Mainstream"] badly misrepresents both my position and the central argument in the coming election on how best to strengthen America's security.

To start: The Post repeatedly misstates my views. For example, I support missile defense efforts that make us more secure; I oppose deployment of any system not yet proven to work. I favor active talks with North Korea, backed by the threat of force, rather than a stubborn refusal to engage that has allowed the situation to become more dangerous by the day. And the role I support for the National Guard is hardly "radical"; it was endorsed by the bipartisan Hart-Rudman commission and in fact is enshrined in our Constitution (Section 8, Clause 15).

More important, The Post's editorial comes close to equating the Bush administration's foreign policy -- including its signature doctrine of "preemptive war" -- with the American foreign policy mainstream. In fact, the Bush agenda represents a radical departure from decades of bipartisan consensus on the appropriate use of U.S. power and our leadership in the world community.

From its derisive treatment of allies to its rejection of important global agreements, this administration has favored a go-it-alone approach and a determination to use force as its weapon of first resort. Its approach has alienated friends and bolstered foes. Its agenda isolates the United States, placing responsibility for all the world's problems in our hands, and runs counter to America's traditions as a republic.

By contrast, my national security policy reflects the best of our mainstream tradition. I believe the United States must exercise leadership by working with allies and partners to advance common interests, rather than advancing our power unilaterally.

The Governor's got them here. His transnationalist views are entirely in keeping with the mainstream of American post-WWII tradition and with nearly the entire foreign policy establishment, including the Posts's editorial pages. It's the American people and their time-tested Jacksonian unilateralism he's out of touch with.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2003 4:51 PM

Three months ago, Dean would have ignored the WaPo editorial. But now he's running scared.

Of course, his position is no more coherent today than last week, or the week before that, or.....

Of all the muddle, nothing is more contemptible than to say Bush has bolstered America's foes. Last time I checked, we were killing them. No hope of that under a President Dean.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 20, 2003 5:44 PM

Karl Rove's worst nightmare. This guy's going to implode well before he could win the nomination. Pity.

Posted by: NKR at December 20, 2003 6:40 PM
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