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Monday, December 08, 2003

Who has Dean's ear?

On November 21, after reading a little bit about Howard Dean's plan to re-regulate some industries, I speculated that Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz might be behind them. After all, Stiglitz has just authored a book proposing much the same thing. The economist defends regulation as a measure to make up for information gaps in the economy.

Anyway, it now seems clear that I was right.

The Washington Post is reporting that Stiglitz is advising the Dean campaign.

The article also mentions some other people who are advising Dean. Since the former Vermont Governor has received more attention for his criticism of the Iraq War, and since I follow international politics, I was particularly interested in his foreign policy team.

It turns out that Dean's main foreign policy person is a volunteer he met after giving a speech for the DNC: Danny E. Sebright, who is Associate Vice President for the Cohen Group. It seems to be some sort of policy consulting shop, headed by former Defense Secretary William Cohen (who was once a Republican Senator).

It looks like Sebright started at DIA, and then spent about a decade as a civilian in the Pentagon, working on various issues including the Middle East Peace Process, arms sales, counter-proliferation, and most recently the anti-terror campaign. He took a mid-career MPA from Harvard's Kennedy School too. His BA is 1984 (George Washington), so I guess he's roughly my age ('83 Kansas).

In short, this doesn't look like the resume of an anti-establishment progressive peacenik. Indeed, in an interview with the Boston Globe, Sebright said he hooked up with the Dean campaign for reasons that sound an awful lot like the kinds of things Wes Clark is saying: the anti-terror war would be more effective with engaged allies.

Sebright says that he initially tried to convince Dean to tilt the other way on Iraq and argued that Bush shouldn't have to reveal detailed evidence about chemical and biological weapons.

How can I get a likely presidential candidate's ear?

I'd have a slightly different message.

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