Saturday, August 30, 2003

A different view of Howard Dean:
Aside from what I had read and heard over the years, I didn't know much about Dean when I arrived in Vermont this winter to become a reporter in the state capital. And while I knew (or thought I did, anyway) what it takes for politicians to be successful, I really was quite unaware of the manual for political survival in Vermont.

I assumed, like many flatlanders (the state's not-so-affectionate name for non-natives), that Vermont was left-leaning and that Dean was its liberal standard-bearer. After all, wasn't this the state that had adopted equal rights for same-sex couples? And hadn't Dean supported that measure?

I can't claim to be an insider yet -- my grandchildren, if they're born here, probably won't be able to shed the "flatlander" label -- but I have watched with some amusement as members of the national media have come scouring the Green Mountains in search of the "real" Howard Dean. I think many have left with a distorted picture of the state and its politics.