Thursday, November 13, 2003

Just came back from listening to a speech. Given by Howard Dean.

He is an assertive, if not an overly warm, speaker. He has a little bit of that classic aura of an angry, young man. Talks a lot about taking back America. About how Ashcroft does not own the US flag, the people do. Etc. Still, he's not young. And not really 'angry'. 'Driven' is maybe a better word. 'Determined' is also a good description. I am sure this tenacity proved useful while he was a practicing physician, given how over-worked they are. What was interesting about him, was that he did not seem that hollow. Especially for a politician. Like so many Democrats, I find, he was more on the facts than on the message. Which may have made for less of a show. For better or worse. No 'axes of evil' visions. More 'percentage-of-income-paid-on-student-loan-payments' facts.

Afterwards, I got to meet him. Briefly. Small hands, but a firm handshake. He said that he thought a science education was an excellent preparation for a career in politics. The reason? Well, those who are not scientifically trained are not necessarily disciplined in throwing out theories, when it turns out that the facts do not support them. Good answer. A med student asked what kind of an environment she would be working in when she graduated. Dean said it was tough, since the health-care system was not functioning as it should. Why? Because it has been 'de-personalized'. For example, it used to be – and still is the case, especially if you lived in a rural area – that you would know 'the' doctor, know where to turn to. This has changed in most other areas, Dean said, partly because of "the increasing role of Corporate America" in health care. Bad answer.

So what is this poor little libertarian to do? I should be leaning Republican. But their guy is anti-choice, pro-tariffs (e.g. steel), anti-separation of church and state, pro-military, anti-balanced budget, pro-capital punishment, anti-privacy. And he invaded Iraq! Along comes this guy, from Vermont, of all places, who is pro-choice, pro-separation of church and state, pro-fiscal responsibility, etc. And he said he would not have attacked and occupied Iraq. And I believe him.

What to do, what to do?