Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Disappointed in Howard Dean

Recently Tom Rob, one of the more politically active DJs at WZRD Chicago, tried to get an interview with Howard Dean. Actually it never got that far; I think he only got as far as the Students for Howard Dean chapter at Northeastern Illinois University. I emailed him to get the skinny after I heard some rumors about what had happened.

To be perfectly honest I am not sold on any of the Democratic candidates. In fact the only guy I lean towards is Kerry, and it isn't even based on his political beliefs or voting record. By all accounts Kerry has waffled on more than a few issues. The only reason I want to see Kerry got the nod is because I want to see him go head to head against Bush in a debate and say "I went to Vietnam, where were you?". Rove and his henchmen can cook up any number of stupid stereotypes of the Classic "Out of Touch" Massachusetts Liberal with private prestige school education. If the fact that Bush managed to go AWOL for nearly two years while the under privileged and politically unconnected were shipped off to die fighting Charlie was ever to really reach critical mass Bush would be a'hurtin big time.

Gephart is boring, even if he does have a couple of good ideas. Sharpton is completely unqualified having never served a single elected office. I grew up in NYC area, so the first time I had ever heard of the Reverend was the Twana Brawley case. I heard a Kucinich interview on NPR and all I could do was groan and moan. I felt like I was hearing a battery of preprogrammed peacenik liberal arguments. While I am a self-identified liberal, I am sick and tired of the "US exists in a vacuum-everything is our fault" worldview. Kucinich definitely sounds that way. If he won the nomination he'd make McGovern's campaign look like a close finish.

Now I don't dislike Dean, but I'm not sold on him. After reading this little story I can’t say I feel better about it either. Now granted it's a student group, not Dean himself, but taken in context considering what happened at the AFL-CIO situation, where Dean didn't answer the question about the Israeli \ Palestinian conflict because of "insufficient time", it makes me wonder if Dean is trying to avoid the issue altogether. These little student groups take their orders from the top. I guess their modus operandi is "don’t fuck this up". They'd probably rather have Students for Dean do nothing rather than do something wrong.

Anyway, I hope this little story is worth your while. This is the email correspondence I had with one of the DJs at WZRD;

On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 14:35:48 -0700 (PDT), Palmer Haas wrote Tom Rob:

Dear Tom,

Hey, this is Palmer from the radio station. I spoke to Bob about the interview. I'd really like to get some more details about the story, even get the list of the questions you sent to his people. I'd like to write a synopsis and put it on the net. I have a group of friends who I think it might be in their interest to spread this thing across the net. I'm not big on Dean but it is conceivable that this list of q's never got to him and his people are just trying to protect him. I'd really like the opportunity to post this on the net and show some of his supporters in the chance that they can change his mind. It's a bit naive; I know but please give me the chance. Thanks!


To: palmerhaas@yahoo.com
From: "Tom Robb"
Subject: Re: Interview with Howard Dean
On Sun, 10 Aug 2003 19:38:25 -0700 (PDT)

The following are my questions and the Dean Camp's response, they were sent to the students for Dean on June 11th and I was sent their response on July 1st for a scheduled July 2nd interview.

Questions for the interview sent 6/11/03 by Tom Robb to Students For Dean

Governor Dean has stated he is running for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. What does he mean by that?

Which Democrats in the field are not part of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party and why?

What are your thoughts on the War in Iraq?

How would you shape foreign policy?

(Follow up) The Israeli Palestinian conflict is the issue in the mid east. Many presidents have tried to solve that conflict and failed. What is Governor Deans plan.

What are Governor Dean’s thoughts on The USA PATRIOT Act?

Other Democratic candidates have called for an end to NAFTA and The World Trade Organization. What is Governor Dean’s stance on these institutions and their affects both in the United States and the world?

Switching to the domestic front, what is Governor Dean’s plan to fix the economy?

Does Governor Dean have a message for the Students here at Northeastern Illinois University and other students in our listening area?

About a week later I posted another question "Dean has not spoken about the war in Iraq lately why"

This was their response on July 1st


I shared your list of questions with the press and policy departments. After careful review, they have decided that we (the "students" department) are not the rights ones to answer such difficult policy questions. For that reason, we need to cancel tomorrow's interview.

If, in the future, you would like to speak to us about our experiences as student organizers, then we will gladly accept a spot in your show. Thank you very much for your time,

Amanda Michel

I requested someone who would be able to answer the questions and requested they tell me by July 2, the date for the canceled interview, they did not call or email me to respond.

I did have a very good interview with Jeff Cohen the National Communications Director for the Kucinich camp. He answered all my questions and did not ask for questions in advance.


On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 10:09:57 -0700 (PDT), Palmer Haas wrote to Tom Robb

So let me get this straight - the interview you had lined up was with Students for Dean, not Howard Dean himself. Please correct me if I'm wrong. And the Kucinich student group gave you all the info without consulting with anyone?

I'm just going on what Bob Goode gave me and clearly there is some information that Bob wasn't clear on. I just wanted to get the story straight from the horse’s mouth.



On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 11:16:13 -0700 (PDT) Tom Robb wrote to Palmer Haas

No, I contacted the Dean for America campaign, since we were a college radio station they gave me to a rep from Students for Dean. I then gave them questions several weeks in advance so they could review the questions with their policy people. They then contacted me a day before the interview and said the questions were too difficult.

With Kucinich I contacted their campaign, they gave me to their national communications director, Mr. Jeff Cohen. Mr Cohen and I agreed on a date and time for the interview and he answered all my questions and did not require any questions in advance as Dean's people did.

At the AFL CIO Candidates forum last week I asked Dean a question directly about Israel and Palestine, which he sidestepped stating that it was, too complicated a question for a two minute answer.

Tom Robb
I have to get all the answers that Kucinich gave. I'm still not all that thrilled with him BUT the fact that they were straight forward with a simple college radio interview is a step in the right direction. This doesn't sway me in any direction, it just merely re-enforces how I already feel.

There are a lot of things I'm looking for in a candidate to run against Bush, but one thing trumps all other issues. The first Democrat who has the balls to speak up about our twisted and sickly symbiotic relationship with Saudi Arabia, the first Democrat who has the guts to call oil what it is (a drug), the first Democrat who lays it all on the line and spills the truth to the American People that we are in this mess because of cheap petroleum and SUV's, that person will get my vote. Until then I'm holding out.

So far, I got no takers.


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