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Dean vs. Kucinich - comparision in a nutshell

by repost Monday, Jun. 30, 2003 at 12:03 AM

good quick summary

The following is taken from



Kucinich v. Dean

Where broad agreement exists, I've omitted the issue to save space.
I've also omitted issues where one candidate has no stated position I could find,
even though this is a measure of a candidate's relative concern for and familiarity with issues.

The main sources are the candidates' own websites, plus a whole lot of searching via Google.
I can't promise every detail is correct; this is one guy's best effort.

Full disclosure: I have several friends on the Kucinich campaign, and I supported him when this started.
A few months ago, I was even going to join up, but since I'm in the media, decided it was better to be independent.
I was also very interested in Dean for a while, around February and March, until I decided to support Kucinich.
Make of that whatever you will.

Finally, Dean is basically a good guy, and if he's nominated I'll vote for him in a heartbeat.
It's just that it's simply not accurate to refer to him as a progressive candidate.
As he told Salon: "I don't mind being characterized as 'liberal' -- I just don't happen to think it's true."
I'm also not saying that Kucinich's positions are the "right" ones on every issue;
I just personally agree with him on most of them, and I think other progressives will, too.

PS: I had not the slightest idea how many people would visit this page.
According to Memeufacture, a link here from TalkLeft quickly spread all over the liberal blogosphere.
Thanks, cool, great -- but I'm not an expert, just a guy trying to figure this out.
I've tried to correct any mistakes brought to my attention, but I do make them.
Do your own research and thinking.

Dennis Kucinich
Howard Dean
Health care plan
Canadian-style single-payer system, extending the successes of Medicare, financed by a tax on employers lower than the current cost of private insurance

Complex 4-prong plan, extending multiple state and federal programs piecemeal, combined with tax credits and incentives, all of which Dean claims is more likely to become law, but still won't cover everyone

Death penalty
Favors for "extreme" crimes like terrorism or the killing of a police officer, although critical of Bush administration's "careless" approach to executions
Roe v. Wade
Pro-life until recently; now the only candidate pledging to make Roe v. Wade a "litmus test" for appointing federal judges
Pro-choice, but refuses to make Roe v. Wade a litmus test for federal judges
Kyoto treaty
Says we must "take another look," but has "concerns" about some provisions
Patriot Act
Only presidential candidate who personally voted against it
Would repeal "parts," but also wants to expand intelligence agencies; praises Russ Feingold as only Senator who opposed the act, ignoring Kucinich's vocal House opposition, falsely implying no other candidate opposed the Patriot Act
Full withdrawal, to replace with fair trade; opposes "fast track" treatment of any future trade legislation; personally marched in Seattle protests
Notes problems with "free" trade, suggesting the need for inclusion of human rights, environmental, and labor standards in trade agreements -- but still pro-NAFTA
"Star Wars" ballistic missile system
Would abolish; has sponsored legislation banning weapons from space
Would cut only 1/8 of the funding, transferring it to international threat-reduction programs
Pentagon waste
Would cut Pentagon programs which don't even work, like the V-22, F-22, and "Star Wars," and demand accountability for over a trillion in "lost" funds
Disagrees with any proposed Pentagon cutbacks, and advocates aggressive expansion of intelligence, police, and special forces
Balanced budget
A long-term goal, but deficits may be necessary in the short run for economic and social investment
A main priority -- even equating it with social progress: "we cannot have social justice without a sound fiscal foundation" -- describing himself as "to the right of Bush" on the issue
Gun control
Supports federal gun control legislation, and sponsored a bill calling for child safety devices on all new handguns
Supports closing the gun show loophole, but opposes other new federal regulation; considers guns a states' rights issue; an "A" rating from NRA most of his career
Medical marijuana
Supports compassionate use
Firmly opposed, although promises to abide by a proposed FDA evaluation
War on drugs
Proposes European-style treatment of addiction as a medical, not criminal problem, with attendant reductions in crime and violence
Has accepted National Governors Association position: more federal funding for all aspects of the drug war; however, also speaks of drug use as a medical problem, and has called the War on Drugs a failure; website and recent speeches simply do not clarify what policies he would pursue, as far as I can tell
Gay rights
Believes gay and straight couples should be 100% equal before the law, including Social Security and domestic-partner benefits; supports federal civil union legislation
Signed a civil union (not gay marriage) bill, but opposes similar national laws as a states' rights issue
Supports investment in solar, wind, ocean, and other clean energy; risked career to prevent a power monopoly in Cleveland, saving taxpayers over 0 million
Supports investment in alternative energy and energy efficiency; however, has sided with Vermont state utilities on most issues
Political experience

Has held local, state, and federal office for a total of 17 years. Four-term member of Congress, since 1997. Currently chair of the Progressive Caucus, largest Democratic caucus in Congress.

Vermont state legislator, 1982-86; Lt. Governor, 1986-91; Governor, 1991-2002. Former chair, National Governors Association.
Iraq war
Opposed staunchly from the beginning, has never wavered
Firmly opposed, before, although he told the L.A. Times in January that he would support unilateral action if Iraq had WMDs; softened his rhetoric again in March, once the war began, explaining in conservative South Carolina, "it's hard to criticize the President when you've got troops in the field... we all have got to support the troops;" now again firmly opposed, and highly vocal
Lifelong member of the working class. Grew up so poor that his family lived in a car more than once. Currently a vegan.
Patrician upbringing. Speaks harshly about negative environmental impact of SUVs. Drives an SUV (a Chevy Suburban).
Wellstone connections
Wellstone was a proud member of the Progressive Caucus, which Kucinich leads
Stole the "democratic wing of the democratic party" line from Wellstone after his death
Began campaign late, in part because he was busy organizing anti-war voices in Congress
Vermont newspapers had to sue to get Dean's 2002 schedule as Governor; Dean spent almost all of the year out the state, and didn't want his constituents to know
Home state
Ohio, 21 electoral votes
Vermont, 3 electoral votes

Back to this site's Kucinich page, featuring Kucinich Komix by Scott Bateman

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