Howard Dean, ultra-liberal?

July 31, 2003

Dear editors:

I would like to respond to Mr. Stafford's July 12 letter attacking Presidential candidate Gov. Howard Dean.

Mr. Stafford first brands Dean as an ultra-liberal, which clearly indicates how little Stafford knows about Gov. Dean. While Gov. Dean battled his legislature to address the inherited legacy of huge deficits and the highest marginal tax rates in the country, Democrats (the liberals) were his strongest opponents during his successful drive:

  • -to lower taxes across the board twice during his terms as governor,

  • -reduce government spending while paying down the debt, reversing Vermont's lowest bond rating in New England to the highest,

  • -balanced the budget without being required to by state law,

  • -get 95% of its population covered by health insurance, including 99% of all children 18 and under,

  • -produce a public education system that is ranked 6th in the nation,

  • -cut the state's unemployment rate in half, and

  • -see the state show a robust $100 million budget surplus in 2001.

    Is this the work of an ultra-liberal tax-and-spend classic Democrat? Hardly.

    And, I challenge Mr. Stafford to name one ultra-liberal politician of national prominence besides Dean who is given an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.

    Today President Bush humbly asserts that we're all sinners while confessing that he's concocting legislation to divide and punish the bad sinners among us, conversely Gov. Dean proudly maintains that we're all Americans first, and declares that we shall not be divided along the lines of our defining differences.

    If telling the truth, engaging in free will fiscal responsibility, generating quality healthcare and education, and treating all Americans with equal respect, opportunity and justice is considered ultra-liberal, just what would Mr. Stafford define as ultra-conservative?

    Chris Coggins
    Macon, GA