Rusty, For the most part, i agree with you. It all comes down to what your expectations are for the tractor. If all you want to do is mow your lawn, then a new Craftsman will do that nicely for about 10 years or so. But if your needs go beyond that and things such as rototilling, blowing snow, using ground engaging attachments are in the picture, then only a true garden tractor will do the work.
Caution when buying used is the order of the day and no one should allow shiny paint to fool them.