Dean's Not the Only Liberal

As the fight for the Democratic nomination has worn on, Americans have been told many things about the men running for the Left’s vote — particularly about Howard Dean. We’ve been told, by those all along the political spectrum, that Howard Dean is, among several other not-so-wonderful characteristics, a liberal’s liberal. All of us have heard that his anger and politics are an attempt to appeal to the Leftist base of the Democratic Party in order to garner the votes needed for the nomination. Apparently, we are to believe that his McGovern-like liberalism is unique in this race and that, perhaps, that liberalism is why he came in a distant third in the Iowa caucus and second in the New Hapshire primary, behind two men perceived to be more moderate. But is he really alone in his liberalism? Or is it just his shrillness and anger that set him apart? Maybe his willingness actually to admit his liberalism is what stands out? Here’s a quick look at where he stands on a few issues known to separate (for the most part) liberals and conservatives compared to the other three leading Democratic contenders — John Kerry, John Edwards, and Wesley Clark. Amazingly, they’re all quite similar in their beliefs. Abortion

  • Dean: Pro-abortion; opposed ban on Partial-Birth Abortion, stating on his website that “[o]ne of the most outrageous attacks on a woman’s right to choose is the so-called Partial Birth Abortion bill. As a physician, I know that there is no such thing in the medical literature as ‘partial birth abortion'” and that the PBA ban was “one more step in the right wing’s relentless campaign to deprive women of their constitutional right to reproductive freedom.”
  • Kerry: Pro-abortion; voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion ban.
  • Edwards: Pro-abortion; voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion ban (though he conveniently missed the two votes on passage of the PBA ban last year, he did vote against it in prior years).
  • Clark: Pro-abortion, believes, according to the Manchester Union-Leader, that “until the moment of birth, the government has no right to influence a mother’s decision on whether to have an abortion.”


  • Dean: Favors a repeal of the Bush tax cuts.
  • Kerry: Wants a rollback of the Bush tax cuts for the “wealthiest Americans” and claims to support further middle class tax cuts (Bill Clinton promised the same thing, but instead gave the country the largest tax hike in history).
  • Edwards: Like Kerry wants to “eliminate George Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest” and to provide more tax relief for “working Americans.”
  • Clark: Would repeal tax relief for families making over $200,000.

War in Iraq

  • Dean: Opposed the war in Iraq “from the beginning;” says that Saddam’s regime “did not present an immediate threat to U.S. security that would justify going to war” though he did, as Larry Elder noted, appearing on “Face the Nation” in September 2002, say, “There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies.”
  • Kerry: Voted in favor of the use of force against Iraq, then claimed he voted “to threaten the use of force to make Saddam” comply with several U.N. resolutions, then voted against the emergency supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan security and reconstruction.
  • Edwards: Voted in favor of the use of force against Iraq, but voted against the emergency supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan security and reconstruction.
  • Clark: Favored it, sort of favored it, sort of opposed it, opposed it

Homosexual Marriage

  • Dean: Signed Vermont’s civil unions legislation into law granting homosexual couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples; told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that “in terms of legal rights” there is no difference between civil unions and marriage.
  • Kerry: “Believes that same-sex couples should be granted rights, including access to pensions, health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits, and other basic legal protections” and “supports same-sex civil unions so that gay couples can benefit from the health benefits, inheritance rights, or Social Security survivor benefits guaranteed for heterosexual couples” according to his official campaign website.
  • Edwards: Wanting to play to all sides, is quoted on his website as saying, “As I have long said, I believe gay and lesbian Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws. While I personally do not support gay marriage, I recognize that different states will address this in different ways, and I will oppose any effort to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution in response to the Massachusetts decision.”
  • Clark: Campaign website says, “Gay Americans want the same rights that all Americans enjoy — rights to form personal, legal relationships that confer benefits and obligations. It is high time for the LGBT community to enjoy these rights as well. . . . Whether we call civil unions ‘marriage’ is a decision best left to churches and state legislatures.”

Pro-Abortion Litmus Test

  • Dean: Claims to oppose litmus tests for judicial nominations, but according to his website, he “would ensure that they share” his “basic view of the Constitution,” including the “right to privacy.”
  • Kerry: Has said he will impose a pro-abortion litmus test on all Supreme Court nominees, telling a DNC conference, “I am not appointing anyone to the Supreme Court of the United States who doesn’t understand and respect the right of privacy and who will guarantee we will not undo Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose in America. And you can call it a litmus test if you want, but I will explain to America what it really is. It’s defending constitutional liberties in the United States.”
  • Edwards: On his campaign website, boasts about his opposition to “anti-choice nominations” and that as “a member of the Judiciary Committee voted against the nominations of John Ashcroft, Priscilla Owen, and Bill Pryor each strongly opposed by pro-choice groups such as NOW, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood.”
  • Clark: From the Manchester Union-Leader on January 8, 2004: “Democrat Wesley Clark said yesterday he would never appoint a pro-life judge to the federal bench because the judge’s anti-abortion views would render him unable to follow the established judicial precedent of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.”