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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Globe Dean Profile, Part 2

The Globe offered up part two of its deconstruction of the early life of Howard Dean on Monday. They say he wasn't that great of a doctor, barely passing medical school classes and getting average reviews from superiors:

"Dean received generally good reviews from his superiors, many noting his command of medical knowledge and caring demeanor. But he was not a star.

"'There were residents who really stand out as impressive in their clinical skills,' said Dr. John Gennari, an overseeing doctor. 'He wasn't one of those. He was just good.'

"And one doctor noted that Dean was a 'solid resident' but worried that he reacted with 'impulsive syntheses when problems are approached" and advised that Dean 'should take care to be more deliberate in making assessments and deciding upon plans.'"

When Dean first ran for state rep, a neighbor described him as "prickly" in a meeting. And then there's the civil union bill, which the Globe says Dean was very reluctant to go ahead with, belying his image as a champion of equal rights:

"Dean signed the bill, in the privacy of his office, away from a crowd of waiting reporters and camera crews. Supporters of civil unions said it suggested shame in signing the measure; Dean said he wanted to avoid inflaming the issue."

Lots of things keep popping up in his past that could be problems in the general, such as his work at Planned Parenthood, even though the facility didn't perform any abortions while he was there.

One thing I heard Dean talk about on "This Week" last Sunday that I would've liked to read more about is the episode involving the dispute with the church over a bike path that actually led to Dean changing his religious denomination. Talk about faith!

Finally, as with part one, the Globe makes Dean look like a guy with something to hide:

"His travel by 2002 had become so frequent that local media outlets demanded his private schedules, a request he refused. A battle ensued, ending at the state Supreme Court, which ordered Dean to turn over some of the records. (Dean has also refused to make public thousands of documents from his governorship, placing them under a 10-year seal because he says they could produce potentially embarrassing revelations during his presidential bid.)"

Readers can make what they will of all this. I'm of the opinion that the Globe could seize on things in any candidate's past and cast them in a negative light. The larger problem is that Dean could provide easy fodder for the negative right-wing spin machine next fall (more than the others?--still uncertain). I doubt primary voters will really consider minutiae of the candidates' backgrounds and how they might play out in the general, though, so it's a moot point.