Howard Dean, Fiscal Conservative?

Posted on February 3, 2010

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I was fortunate enough to attend the ASF 2010 Working Lunch, pretty good rubber chicken with a side of CNBC’s Larry Kudlow moderating between Howard Dean and Newt Gingrich. Much to my surprise, Howard Dean appeared to show signs of fiscal conservatism and the willingness to speak with candor and criticisum about the Obama administration.

Couple of memorable points (paraphrased):
  • “You can’t have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down.” – Newt Gingrich when about about US government invention into the financial markets.
  • “I’ll let Newt save his modesty – he’s running.” – Howard Dean answering for Gingrich when Gingrich was asked if he was gearing up for a 2012 Presidential run.
  • “No way.” – Howard Dean when asked by Kudlow if Hillary Clinton was preparing to oppose Obama in the 2012 Democratic primaries.
  • “There’s a 50/50 chance that the Republicans will pick up a majority in both the House and the Senate in the 2010 mid-term elections.” – Newt Gingrich
  • “About 45 Senate seats and 30-40 House seats.” – Howard Dean’s perspective.
  • Dean & Kudlow agreed that they would not have re-appointed Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve. Gingrich said he would have.

Much to my own surprise, and maybe more to my initial disappointment, I found Dean to be lucid, intelligent, and seemingly likable. Gingrich has a knack for explaining complex issues with ease.

There was lots more said between the two throughout the 1:30 discussion, but the rest focused on the economy, unemployment, and health case. Nothing earth-shattering that you wouldn’t expect to hear from either side.
I have a hunch that these two like and respect each other in real life. TV interviews and media outlets typically showcase the animosity between any two individuals of the two parties, but it seems that these two could sit down over a bottle of scotch for a complex, civilized, philosophical conversation about the ways to approach societal, government, and economic challenges. They don’t hate each other – just mostly disagree on the basic way to approach issues. Maybe that is what I learned the most.
Posted in: economics