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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Text of the "We Can Do Better!" Speech from Linn County, Iowa

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 19, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The good folks over at have finally added a section for Dean's speeches. Here's a few highlights from Howard's speech in Linn County, Iowa in January:

On the divisiveness that permeates the Republican Party: "I was deeply, deeply disappointed - more so than I have been in a long series of disappointments - with the Bush Administration. The President of the United States went before a national audience last week and, in response to the question of whether the University of Michigan should be allowed to continue the program that they have to make sure that their classes look like America, he used the word "quota" seven times on national television. The University of Michigan does not have a quota system, it never did have a quota system; the word "quota" is designed to foster racial divisiveness and to encourage other people to be fearful that folks are going to take their jobs. It is disgraceful for the President of the United States to ever use that word. If this were an isolated incident, you might say it was a mistake, but it wasn't. Two weeks before that, the Bush Administration renominated Charles Pickering to the United States Court of Appeals after he was turned down by the previous Democratic Senate because of his racial insensitivities. Let us not make a mistake about which party wants inclusiveness and diversity in this country. It is not the Republican Party. If you want a diverse nation, if you want to have an opportunity for Latinos and African Americans and immigrants, then you had better support Democrats, because this country is moving forward; it is going to be the most diverse country on the face of the earth and only the Democrats can build that country the way it needs to be built."

On how the Republican Party isn't fiscally responsible: "The only person who's balanced the budget in the last thirty-five years - no Republican has balanced the budget in the last thirty-five years - is Bill Clinton. Not one Republican president. And it is not an accident - when Bill Clinton balanced the budget in 1993 without one single Republican vote it ushered in the greatest ten years of prosperity in the history of America. George Bush has thrown that away in two single years. From the largest surplus in the history of America to the largest deficit. We can do better. If you want somebody you can trust with your money you had better elect a Democrat because the Republicans cannot manage money."

On cutting taxes and education: "We need to get rid of the Bush tax cuts that have harmed the economy to subsidize health care for small business people, individuals and people who work for corporations that don't give health care. That would help the economy much more than the President's tax cuts that went to people who made more than $300,000 a year. It's not enough for Dick Gephardt and I to say it. I want to see everyone say it as well. Those tax cuts are a mistake and we should stand up and say so. If we were to get rid of the President's tax cut, which is $1.7 trillion dollars, we could afford a small pittance of that - $27 billion - to get rid of the largest unfunded mandate in the history of education. If I am elected president, in my first year's budget special education will be fully funded. Remember, I'm a fiscal conservative; what am I doing with this fat spending program? It is tiny. In a $1.2 trillion budget, two percent of that is spent on education. $27 billion is a small amount of money, but do you know who benefits? Property taxpayers benefit, because if we were to fully fund special education, school boards all across America could decide how to pay teachers more, how to have smaller class size, how to improve their buildings, and still have money left over for a property tax cut. If you want to cut taxes in this country, Mr. President, don't cut income taxes for people who make $300,000 or more; what about us middle class property tax payers who are suffering because you can't fund education because you've run up the biggest deficit in the history of the country? We can do better!"

Now go read the rest of the speech!


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.