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Guest column
Woe is Dean

Andy Obermann
December 28, 2003

Howard Dean

For months, Howard Dean has berated President Bush for any number of supposed failures. From the economy to the War on Terror, Dr. Dean seems to find fault with nearly all of the President's policies. Dean's angry rhetoric is grasping the attention of the extreme left — positioning him well for early victories in the Democratic primary season. Recent events, however, seem to be sucking the steam from the Dean machine.

Let's start with the economy. Dean claims that Bush's policies directed toward re-establishing the American economy have been failures. According to Dean, the Administration has created a "financial disaster…the likes of which has not been seen since the Great Depression." His imaginary indicators have evidently led him away from reality.

Coming off the strongest quarter of growth in the past two decades (8.2% in the third quarter), the economy seems to be maintaining a strong up swing. The President's tax cuts have been successful. Jobs, slowly but surely, are recovering. Each week, the number of unemployment claims drop, by a small margin, yes, but it adds up. The stock market is booming. The Dow has topped 10,000 for the first time in 18 months — and continues to show staying power for the long haul. The manufacturing sector is also showing signs of growth. In the September through November period, the sector's annual rate of growth topped 5.9%. Housing costs are dropping and inflation is at nonexistent levels. Interest rates are low and continue to maintain their record rock bottom levels. All of this just doesn't add up well for the Dean camp.

Adding to the tally is the success of the War on Terror. If one only listens to Dean, we are fighting a losing battle. Iraqi militants and Saddam loyalists are overtaking our troops, killing them in record numbers. This simply is not fact. In our nine-month engagement we've lost less than 500 men. Every loss is terrible, don't get me wrong, but it must be kept in perspective. We lost this many men weekly at the height of the Vietnam War. Our soldiers have captured or killed every member of the Iraqi 52 most wanted, the vaunted "Deck of Cards." This includes the ace of spades, Saddam himself. Concerning that capture, who can forget Dean's infamous statement, "America is no safer after the capture of Saddam Hussein."

Well Governor, that just isn't so. How can Dean stand in front of the American people, with a straight face, and claim we are no safer after the capture of Hussein? What is this man thinking? Even Democratic Party loyalists shudder at this assertion. Number one, Saddam's embarrassing capture was a demoralizing blow to those seeking to kill our troops in Iraq. Secondly, it may also have been a blow to terrorists across the Middle East. For example, Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, only a few short days after the capture of Saddam Hussein, announced his intention to give up all weapons programs his government has pursued over the past three decades. It seems this will lead to the end of his support of international terrorists, as well.

The leftist response is that our intelligence agencies had been conferring with Qaddafi for months in order to reach such an announcement. These meetings had been taking place since February. This is true. The rebuttal that I give is this: If all of this bargaining and negotiating had been going on for months, why is it that it took Saddam's capture to force Qaddafi into going public with these revelations. Maybe the scene of the deposed Iraqi dictator checked and scrubbed for lice sent quivers down Qaddafi's spine. Perhaps Saddam's capture the final straw for the Libyan dictator. Who knows what's going on in his head, but I can assert Saddam's apprehension caused Qaddafi some major soul searching.

How does this make Americans safe? Easy. Our intelligence agencies have shown that for years, Qaddafi has funded terror organizations, bent on destroying the west. If his weapons programs were to come to fruition, they could have been funneled into such organizations that would use these weapons to launch major assaults on our troops in Iraq. And, quite possibly, Americans here at home. Simply put, Qaddafi's concessions have made us safer. The capture of Hussein could not have acted as a deterrent in these revelations.

Every day I hope Dean will be the Democratic nominee in '04. It will be fun to watch President Bush beat him like a drum.

Andy Obermann is a 21-year-old college senior, attending a small private college in Missouri. He is majoring in both history and secondary education at Missouri Valley College.

© Copyright 2003 by Andy Obermann

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