Here's the story, let's see what's in it.

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton forced Dean to acknowledge Sunday that no blacks or Hispanics served in his cabinet during 12 years as governor.
First off, it isn't surprising to me that Howard Dean didn't have any blacks or Hispanics in his cabinet during the 12 years he was governor of Vermont. According to the US Census Bureau QuickFacts on Vermont, only 1.4% of Vermonters are black or Hispanic; non-Hispanic whites make up 96.2% of the state's population. Considering blacks and Hispanics combine to make up 24.8% of the US population, this disparity is obviously due to racism and the national government should start an expensive program to relocate persons-of-color to Vermont as soon as possible. Dean, however, doesn't take advantage of this obvious angle and instead offers a tangentially-related defense:
Dean responded, "I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to civil rights in the United States of America."
I'm not exactly sure how supporting civil rights relates to appointing minorities to cabinet positions, and I'm not aware of any mainstream politicians who are not committed to civil rights. It's interesting to note that when politicians want to make a vague throw-away answer sound more impressive they tend to use the full name of our country, rather than simply "America" or "the US".

Meanwhile, Senator John Edwards appears to be a bit confused, mistaking the Iowa Democratic caucuses or the general election.

"We're past all this preliminary stuff. It's time to choose a president," Edwards said.
Not quite yet -- let's get some nominees first. But I like your enthusiasm!

Dean's got some conflicting budget ideas.

Dean revealed some clues to his plan to redistribute the burden for paying taxes away from the middle class. He said he examining a way to increase corporate taxes and perhaps cut payroll - or Social Security - taxes.
Dean thinks he's got a winning strategy here: most voters are middle class, and they're likely to want to vote all the tax burden onto other people. Like, uh, corporations! Which are... owned (through stock) by the middle class, and which are patronized primarily by the middle class. I've said it before, corporate taxes are smoke and mirrors, and every dime a corporation pays in taxes comes from a real human being's pocket.

Cutting payroll taxes seems like a Bad Idea, considering that the Social Security system is already set to go bankrupt long before people my age retire. Reducing the inflow of money would obviously dry up the well even sooner. But not in Dean-land, the Wackiest Place on Earth.

He said his first priority would be to balance the budget, which will require repealing all of President Bush's tax cuts. Gephardt challenged him about whether he could cut payroll taxes without harming Social Security.

"I think cutting payroll taxes is not a bad idea," Dean said. "It's certainly something we're going to look at. Under no circumstances will we take the money to cut payroll taxes out of the Social Security trust fund. That would be absurd."
My understanding of the payroll taxes is that all that money goes to Social Security. The only way to cut payroll taxes without hurting Social Security would be to divert money from the federal treasury into the trust fund... thereby destroying the myth that Social Security and Medicare payments are not taxes. I also like payroll taxes because they're the flattest tax we've got, hitting everyone's first ~$80,000 of income at the same rate.

Then there's this colorful line from the article.

Racial politics have not been prominent in the snow-white confines of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Why do I doubt that anyone will be writing about "coal-black" or "sand-yellow" voters?



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