Howard Dean: Part-Time CNBC Contributor, Part-Time MoveOn.Org Activist

Since former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean stepped down as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he has ventured into other opportunities.


One of those opportunities was to be a business pundit for the financial news channel CNBC, even though Dean’s background prior to politics was in medicine. But just over a week later, in an e-mail dated April 2 to mailing list subscribers, Dean wrote he was leaving Washington to hit the campaign trail “to help President Obama win health care for all.”


“During the election, President Obama proposed a health care plan that would give every American the freedom to choose between keeping their private insurance—if they have any—and choosing a universally available public health insurance option like Medicare,” Dean wrote. “But for-profit insurance companies and HMOs are already working hard to strip this public health insurance option from any upcoming health care bill. They don't want us to have a choice, and they'll stop at nothing to kill real reform. Trouble is, some in Congress are siding with the insurance companies—and against what's best for the rest of us.”


Dean then likened his statement to a line in the sand and insisted that government-provided health insurance was the only way to give all Americans health care.


“Today, we draw a line in the sand,” Dean continued. “A public health insurance option is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans. And to show that we mean business, we all need to tell Congress we won't settle for less.”


Dean encouraged subscribers to sign his “Stand With Dr. Dean” petition, which he claims he will hand deliver to Congress should the petition get at least 250,000 signatures.


While Dean is not traveling the country, championing liberal causes, he appears on CNBC to comment about business issues.


“You are now a commentator governor,” CNBC “Squawk Box” host Joe Kernen said on March 23 on his introduction to the network. “And, I’m not saying we want you to tone it down necessarily, but actually we don’t because this is cable, so you need to ratchet it up a little bit if you can.”


When CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report” host Larry Kudlow was in the rumor mill to be making a run for U.S. Senate in Connecticut to face Sen. Chris Dodd, CNBC and Kudlow were roundly criticized by left-wing storefronts. They suggested Kudlow was using his primetime CNBC show as a platform to promote his candidacy. However, Kudlow immediately came out and dismissed the candidacy rumors as just talk and nothing more.


It’s not yet clear whether or not this standard applies to Dean – using CNBC as a platform to champion liberal causes favored by the Obama administration.