Howard Dean called a ‘fiscal conservative’

Amanda Seitz Contributor
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Former presidential candidate Howard Dean showed he wasn’t opposed to being labeled a fiscal conservative at a panel held by the National Press Club on Thursday.

At the event, which aimed to address the growing burden of Medicaid, the ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee admitted his belief that Medicaid block grants can work under certain conditions.

“Many people don’t know this, [but] Gov. Dean is actually a fiscal conservative,” panel moderator Ray Scheppach said, eliciting a smile from Dean.

Dean also reiterated his less liberal tendencies in his comments on the federal government’s approach to Medicaid funding.

“I hate to say this, and sound like a real fiscal conservative, but I don’t think the federal government should do much,” Dean added. “If we keep feeding the beast it’s going to keep getting bigger,” he said, leading Scheppach to note that Dean’s values sometimes stray from those of the Democratic Party.

But Dean’s policies haven’t always resonated with fiscal conservatives. He has long been a proponent of raising taxes in certain instances and was quoted by MSNBC in April as saying the only solution to the deficit problem was to “cut spending and raise taxes.” (Howard Dean: Boehner is a ‘good Speaker’)

And despite his latent right-wing comments, Dean’s not about to jump his party’s ship: While expressing some support for block grants, Dean carefully noted, “I’m not sure I like Paul Ryan’s block grant [plan].”