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Off the Dean Bandwagon

To the Editor:

I used to be a Dean supporter. He was angry, and so was I. We’d spent the surplus of international goodwill left to us by President Clinton. We’d gone into a recession that cost American workers 3.3 million jobs. We’d sent American troops to die in an unwinnable war. Perhaps most tragically, we’d squandered the sympathy felt for us by the world after September 11, sympathy that could have been used by a better President to bring about planet-sweeping change. It quickly became clear that, while President Bush had to go, Howard Dean was not the man to take his place.

I was elated when Wesley Clark announced his candidacy. From Little Rock, Arkansas, he graduated first in his class at West Point. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he earned a masters degree in philosophy, politics, and economics (he cites Plato’s “The Republic” as his favorite book and discusses the finer points of David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage in his stump speeches). His exemplary service and leadership in Vietnam earned him the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in combat. He rose to the rank of four-star general and served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander during the intervention in Kosovo that saved the lives of 1.5 million ethnic Albanians without the loss of a single American soldier.

As impressive as Mr. Clark’s resume is, it’s not what won my vote and my support. I’m drawn to his contribution to his country, his principled ethics, and his genuine intelligence. He also possesses a quality which I find sorely lacking in Howard Dean: authenticity. While Dean unashamedly morphs into whichever interest group he is pandering to, Wesley Clark is unswerving in his patriotism and set on his goals. He has proposed short term plans to get the United States out of the mess that it’s in, all clearly laid out and specific in their aims and methods. His “100 Year Plan,” though, is more significant. It shows a vision and an inspiration that made him a great leader and will make him a great President.

I end by asking you two questions. When was the last time a Presidential election was won out of Burlington, Vermont? When was the last time a Presidential election was won out of Little Rock, Arkansas?

Nicholas Leiby ’07