Nation-Building

"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about." -- Barack Obama, DNC keynote address, July 2004

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Monday, June 30, 2003

 

WP on the Deanathon http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A54865-2003Jun30?language=printer

posted by G at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Washington Post Tuesday:
Thanks to a wide-open field and the power of the Internet, Dean has gone from dark horse to serious contender at a time when many Americans are only vaguely aware that a nomination battle is underway.
....
Dean's online gold mine -- he also has signed up 45,000 supporters to attend "meet-ups" across the country Wednesday night -- stunned his rivals.

An adviser to another candidate said: "Ever since 1996, people have been talking about the potential of the Internet to organize and raise money, but no one figured out how to do it. Not even Al Gore. The thing about Dean is, not only is he using it, he is building an organization through it and he is raising money through that organization."

The last hours of Dean's effort bore a faint resemblance to the woozy end of a Jerry Lewis telethon. Dean's Web site -- DeanforAmerica.com -- featured a running total of contributions received. Every half-hour, the number rolled a little closer to $7 million. Online donors were offered the chance to chat on the phone with the candidate himself -- normally a privilege reserved for the rich. Dean said he would call five contributors chosen at random from the virtual pool.

"What this campaign and the Internet is about is putting the grass roots and the community back into politics," said Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. "It puts back what television took out."

 

$7 Million Monday: We are the Champions

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've paid my dues, time after time
I've done my sentence, but committed no crime
And bad mistakes, I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions
Of the World

I've taken my bows, and my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune
And everything that goes with it
I thank you all But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before
The whole human race, and I ain't gonna lose

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions
Of the World

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions
Of the World

 

The Home Stretch http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Bat is at $6.95 Million !!! Just $50k to go! The Dean Nation Team tally is at $1900!



Let's bring this baby home! SUH-WING BATTUH BATTUH BATTUH!

 

transcript: CNN Inside Politics http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0306/30/ip.00.html

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
CNN Inside Politics today featured an extensive segment of how $7 Million Monday is redefining this race. Hat tip to Scott on the ZonkBoard for te link to the transcript, excerpts:

SNOW: ... Judy, Moseley Braun's campaign treasurer says, "I'd like to steal some of Dean's fund-raisers, if I could." In fact, every campaign aide I spoke with today, all the other eight campaigns, most of them said they were watching Dean's Internet Web site, they had it up on their computers, Judy, and they wanted to how he was doing. They all said they were amazed by it. But they wonder whether it will hold -- Judy.


I find the thought that all the other campaigns are glued to DeanForAmerica.com, hilarious! But Woodruff goes on to put all this in perspective - George Bush has raised $30 million in just six weeks. Bush raised $1.8 million during Monday lunch hour in Miami alone.

But Woodruff is wrong that these insane sums demoralize Bush's opponents. It should energize us. It gives us a clear view of what we are facing - a small pool of the moneyed elite. But we have the vast base, the netroots and the grassroots, who Meet Up and Move On and who collectively have made their voices heard today.

Join the chorus. Donate NOW. Let's break the cap on $7 Million Monday and show Bush Corp, Inc. that it's not money, it's men, and women, united to reclaim democracy. Let's take our country back.

TODAY!

 

audio: Howard Dean thanks the netroots http://www.audblog.com/media/5612/18169.mp3

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Governor Dean has some special words of thanks for all his netroot supporters - click the link to hear his words! (MP3 format) Transcript:

I'm Governor Howard Dean. I'm amazed by the incredible outpouring of support we've seen on the Internet today. We have 7 hours left until the midnight filing deadline. Thank you so much for all the help; thank you so much for making this history. This campaign is really moving, and I appreciate it.


There are only 6 hours left until the deadline - so there's still time for you to donate to the campaign! $7 Million Monday is almost over and we have only $250k left to go! That's only $40k an hour - we can do this!

 

open thread: $7 Million Monday http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Got something to say? Share your thoughts about this historic day with the rest of us. This is $7 Million Monday and the netroots will not be silenced!

 

rampage! http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean is mentioned in two segments on NPR's Morning Edition. Dean is featured in Doonesbury. Andrew Sullivan - of all people - says Dean would be better than Bush for the country's fiscal health. Josh Marshall's attention has been drawn away from the Texas redistricting by a "thunderclap" over the head of the Democratic Party.

And the Bat rises - acknowledging at long last that today is $7 Million Monday!

Quickly - we only have until midnight - get your donation in and be counted! The Dean Nation All-Star team has raised $1,105.42 out of our pledge goal of $10,000 and I know that we can do better! Just click the link above and you'll see our Dean Nation contribute page where you can add your voice to the growing chorus - the roar of the netroots, taking back America!

UPDATE: Howard Dean will personally phone 5 randomly-elected contributors today! Join us and donate NOW!

 

It's $7 Million Monday! http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Kos of The Daily Kos succinctly summarizes the New Reality:

Ooh. It's time for all the anti-Deanies to rise up in anger. Really, you guys should be angry at your chosen candidates for running thus-far inept campaigns, poking fun at Dean for "wasting his time" talking to "obscure bloggers" and dismissing meetups as something out of the Star Wars cantina. Oops, turns out that all those things were important after all.

Who would've thunk it?

It's a new world, and Dean was the only one to catch on.


(and Mighty Joe, too, of course). TODAY is $7 Million Monday. Let's get that bat to pop its cork and break 7 Million Dollars by midnight tonight.

We are the netroots. We are not "obscure bloggers" and our Meetups are not the pretensions of an elite caste. We are the American People. And we want our country back. We want it back TODAY - on $7 Million Monday.

Join us and show the world that it's the power of the common man that makes America an inspiration to the rest of the world. Join us TODAY and make a statement that political power resides with We the People, not K-Street.

This is the campaign to Take Back America - TODAY.

 

Why it is so critical to contribute NOW! http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by G at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Let's not get too giddy and think Dean's nomination is now inevitable. Read what Hotline's Republican analyst Mike Murphy has to say:
Dean is the only candidate rising meaningfully in early state polls. He is raising decent money. He has the heat in the race; love him or hate him he is the candidate people are talking about. His anger shtick is selling; Democrat primary voters want a Bush-Fighter. The others are lagging behind. Sure, they can tell you how they are going to win, but they aren't doing it. Show me any triple, let alone home run, hit to date in this race by The Official Invincible Front-Runner Kerry. Explain to me how Graham gets nominated. Is Edwards still in the race? Where is Gephardt getting stronger? Where is Lieberman's money?

I think this race will boil down to a two-man contest of Dean versus one of the others. . . . a snarling Stop Howard movement is now well afoot, with means, motive and plenty of murderous intent.
With your help, they won't be able to stop us. Let's Take Back America, Today.

 

History will be made today (YES! GOING FOR $7 MIL) http://www.blogforamerica.com/

posted by Adam F. at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Just got the mailing from Joe Trippi...

"Today will be historic and we will be posting reports every half-hour on our progress, as we make this one day push towards $7 million by midnight tonight. Check our progress regularly throughout the day at:

http://www.blogforamerica.com

(as well as right here! stay tuned!)



 

Dr. Dean Treats Patient on Campaign Trail http://www.notgeniuses.com/archives/000140.html

posted by Joe at Monday, June 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Matt mentioned it in passing in his post below, and we're featuring the story over at Not Geniuses.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

 

Back from NH http://www.grassrootsfordean.com

posted by Editor at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This weekend a bus load of Dean supporters left NYC for New Hampshire to volunteer for the campaign. Below is a portion of my reflection on this experience, the rest can be found on my website:

I decided to start writing this blog out on paper long hand (yes, I am a revolutionary) on the bus back from New Hampshire with New York for Dean and to transcribe it when I get home (only after showering). I think we had a very successful weekend. While the other campaign offices we saw appeared empty and closed (except one young gentleman in the Lieberman office in Manchester who did a full body double take when he saw a bus plastered with Dean for America signs drive past), we were out knocking on door after door after door. We were told that we hit over 5,000 in two days (3,300 the first day in Manchester and the rest the next in Nashua).

No, the trip was not glamorous. We slept on short, thin, and probably less than clean exercise mats at the Manchester YMCA. All we ate was pizza. We were thrown out of the Y 1/2 hour after they woke us up - that's right, no shower time!!! Oh, and the bathroom on the bus smelled like... well, you know. Also, we never got to a destination without getting lost and turning around three times.

There were, however, many upsides... Follow link above to continue

 

Fund-Raising Puts Dean in Top Tier http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/30/national/30DEAN.html?ei=5062&en=8bca433c557f1d41&ex=1057550400&partner=GOOGLE&pagewanted=print&position=

posted by G at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Monday's NY Times:
Howard Dean announced yesterday that he had raised close to $9 million this year, establishing himself as a top-tier candidate in the Democratic presidential field. The figure stunned his rivals and transformed Dr. Dean from a maverick into a more traditional contender.

Much of the money was collected over the Internet, his aides said, leaving little doubt there are now ways to solicit contributions other than the telephone calls and elaborate fund-raisers that are the stock and trade for most mainstream candidates.

Dr. Dean's aides said he would report raising at least $6.2 million in the three-month period that ends at midnight, on top of $2.6 million he raised over the first three months of the year. Dr. Dean announced the figure 36 hours before the filing period ends, timing the release for a slow-news Sunday afternoon.

"We are thrilled," Dr. Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi, said. "Right now our new goal is $6.5 million by midnight tomorrow."

The other campaigns said yesterday that they would wait until the fund-raising period was over before releasing their results.

"He'll beat everybody," Steve Elmendorf, a senior adviser to Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, said of Dr. Dean.

Dr. Dean's strong showing seems certain to cause a problem for some congressmen who are running for president — in particular, Mr. Gephardt and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who had weak financial showings in the first quarter. Mr. Gephardt and Mr. Lieberman were looking to strong showings in the next report to erase any concerns among Democrats about their viability.

Several Democrats said that Dr. Dean's success posed a particular problem to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, since the men have been competing for many of the same voters and since it could undercut Mr. Kerry's effort to present himself as the front-runner.

Mr. Kerry's campaign manager, Jim Jordan, disputed that analysis.

"If their fund-raising projections are accurate, then perhaps it makes it a two-candidate race," Mr. Jordan said. "If so, it makes it clarifying and helpful to us."

Dr. Dean's advisers said that as of a week ago, he had raised just $3.2 million. They said contributions had increased sharply over the last week because of his announcement speech on Monday and the online vote by the organization Moveon.org, which served to enlisted a lot of new supporters, many of whom made contributions.

Mr. Trippi also said that Dr. Dean had been helped by his appearance on the NBC interview program "Meet the Press" on June 22.

Dr. Dean's appearance on that show, in which he was unable to answer some questions and appeared to change his position on some issues, drew widespread criticism among Democrats. But his aides suggested that as far as Dr. Dean's supporters were concerned, it might have proved an old show business nostrum: There is no such thing as bad publicity.

"My own theory of it is when Howard Dean says things like, `I don't know the answer to that,' the echo chamber in Washington says: `Oh my God; he doesn't know the answer!' " Mr. Trippi said. "But the guy at home says, `Hey, someone who admits he doesn't know the answer. We haven't seen that before!' "

 

Dennis Miller attacks Dean http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=638&ncid=579&e=2&u=/nm/20030628/en_nm/politics_bush_miller_dc

posted by G at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
W's new sidekick at a Bush fundraiser in LA, according to Reuters:
He had a special barb for one candidate, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who has questioned the Iraq war, comparing him to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who followed a policy of appeasement of Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.

"He can roll up his sleeves all he wants at public events, but as long as we see that heart tattoo with Neville Chamberlain's name on his right forearms, he's never going anywhere," Miller said.
This is the sort of ridiculous comparison that can only help Dean, by drawing more attention to him and getting people to see what he really has to say. I can just imagine W listening to Miller and thinking, "Neville who?"

 

momentum

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
in 7 days:

The vast, untapped potential of the grassroots should be clear the money collected so far represents an average of $130 per person, from only 7% of his potential donor base!

Already we've raised $100,000 in just a few hours Sunday morning! If we work together we can make the 7 Million Monday a reality.

 

goal: 7 Million Monday http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/000520.html

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Yup, that's right. The bat reads $6 million dollars. Note that this is the total for the quarter, not just the amount raised since Friday. Joe Trippi posted to the official blog about this jaw-dropping figure, but didn't post here, so I'll excerpt:

That is a surge in contributions of $2.8 million in just eight days. Of the $2.8 million over $2 million has come from Internet contributions -- including our first $500,000 day on Friday June 27th.

To put this in perspective the McCain for President campaign had a surge of $2 million in Internet contrbutions -- but that happend in the days after Sen. McCain's victory in New Hampshire in January 2000.

The bat only goes to $6.5m as a goal, but we can and we must help Dean reach the $7 million mark by Monday. Sunday and Monday need to be $500,000 days.

Already the Dean Nation all-star Team has raised almost $800 towards our own $10,000 pledge goal - and we can do better.

We need to make June 30th "7 Million Monday" ! So please, dig in and do what you can - donate to Dean today!

 

Q2 Predictions - Who will raise what?

posted by Karl at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think the big story of Q2 will be Dean. The second story could very well be why the others (Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, Lieberman) didn't break their Q1 numbers. Candidates unable to show momentum from Q1 to Q2 are in serious financial trouble. Traditionally Q1 leads to a larger Q2 followed by a smaller Q3 where the frontrunner continues to grow and most opposition tapper down signifigantly because of the dry summer months. Let's see what the others say.

Post a comment with your predictions on the field.

 

Dean tops $6million... let's keep at it!

posted by Karl at Sunday, June 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the official Dean Blog, "As of last Sunday morning, June 22, the Dean for America campaign had raised $3.2 million in this quarter. Since that morning--beginning with the Sunday Meet The Press interview, through our announcement of candidacy, continuing with our victory in the MoveOn primary and through Saturday June 28th--we have experienced an unprecedented surge in contributions, and have now crossed the $6 million dollar mark."

Let's get Dean to the $6.5 million mark! We have just under 2 days left before the reporting period ends at midnight on June 30th. Do your part!

1. Make a contribution yourself - CLICK HERE
2. Email everyone you know and ask them to give $25.
3. If you run a blog or a Dean support group website, join Dean Nation's All-Star Team and link to our donation page!

Why not shock the world and hit the $7,000,000 mark? Kerry, Edwards and Gephardt better hope they reach what they raised last quarter... a candidate unable to build on past successes is a candidate with no momentum. Governor Dean has big mo and is certain to capture an even brighter spotlight with these kinds of numbers!

Saturday, June 28, 2003

 

clarification regarding federal matching funds

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Several people have been posting in the comments and the Zonk Board that the federal matching funds are for each donation, up to $250, so that you should donate in increments. This is false. Zephyr from the campaign clarifies:

The FEC doesn't care how you give it--the sum total of contributions is all that matters. Every dollar, however, given, up to $250 is matched.


An individual may donate up to $2000, but only the first $250 is matched dollar for dollar.

Secondly, and more importantly, the donations must be accompanied by your occupation and employer information. These fields are included in both the online contribution form and the printable form (.pdf format). This information is required by the FEC, and the donation is matched by the FEC only if that info is included.

As of this writing, Dean Nation has met $498 of our $10,000 pledge goal . There are only two days left in June before the FEC deadline, so please donate now!

 

Democrats raise $1.7 million http://wvgazette.com/section/APNews/News/ap0869n

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
from the story:


Seven of the nine Democratic presidential candidates attended the fund-raiser at a Washington hotel, with 750 people who paid at least $1,000 apiece; comedian and author Al Franken was the host. Another 750 young Democrats met at a nearby restaurant later in the evening at a cost of $50 apiece.

Candidate Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, poked fun at his own tendency to shoot from the hip and apologize to his rivals later.

"I am delighted to have all the candidates in one room so I can issue a blanket apology should one be needed later in the campaign,'' Dean said, as the crowd burst into laughter.
...
Democrats are trying to remain competitive under the new rules of the campaign finance law that bans the unlimited soft money the party used to receive from corporations, unions and wealthy donors, said Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"It's a challenge, there's no question,'' said McAuliffe, a veteran fund-raiser who has worked at updating DNC donor files and improving direct-mail fund raising. "We're going to have the biggest six-month direct mail effort in the party's history.''

McAuliffe said the party is "in the best financial shape we've ever been in,'' with $6 million.

Republicans already have a huge early advantage, with the Republican National Committee outraising the DNC by more than 3-to-1 in the first three months of the year. Bush's re-election campaign is halfway toward raising $20 million in a two-week push intended to intimidate Democrats; the goal is $200 million or more. In a single night Monday in New York, Bush raised $4 million.


Funding the DNC is a critical issue that has largely been overlooked. Note that the candidates, including Dean, all do recognize that the DNC fundraising is critical to defeating Bush, regardless of who is nominated.

Friday, June 27, 2003

 

Dean says Bush's policies leaving nation, troops at risk http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/06/27/state1959EDT0129.DTL

posted by Adam F. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean said Friday that the Bush administration's energy and fiscal policies were putting U.S. soldiers and the nation's security at risk.

"This president, because of his economic policies, is a threat to the security of the United States of America," Dean said during a campaign stop in San Diego. He said Bush's economic policy was driving the nation deeper in debt and weakening crucial programs.

"Not only will we undercut Medicare and Social Security, ultimately we will undercut our ability to adequately defend ourselves if this president's fiscal policies continue the way they are," he said.

Speaking before 500 people at a City Club of San Diego luncheon, Dean said that the American people may have been misled by the president into going to war. He said either the U.S. intelligence community were mistaken about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, senior White House advisers withheld information from the president or Bush himself "did not tell us the truth."

"The truth is it's a good thing to have Saddam gone. But the other truth is that we went to war without knowing the facts, that our service people are dying now because we went to war without knowing the facts," Dean said before a largely partisan crowd.

The former Vermont governor said the lack of evidence that Saddam's regime possessed deadly weapons proves he was right to doubt Defense Secretary's Donald Rumsfeld earlier assertions about Iraq's weapons program.

"Where are those weapons, Mr. Secretary?" Dean asked during remarks that lasted about 15 minutes...."

UPDATE (Aziz): It's even worse than that - see Daily Kos for more information on how Bush and the GOP are putting the screws to soldiers andtheir families on the home front. Dean needs to incorporate these facts into his rhetoric, because there's a solid chance to appeal to military voters.

 

June 30th http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions


The Q2 deadline is June 30th, and all donations up to $250 are matched, dollar for dollar, by the federal government. Dean desperately needs to build on the incredible momentum of the past week - we have won the MoveOn primary, broken the 40,000 mark on MeetUp, and seen more coverage of our candidate in the major media than in the entire previous year combined!

The Million Dollar Challenge is only $100,000 shy of the ultimate goal. And we here in Dean Nation can do our part - by contributing through the Dean Nation All-Star team, we can meet our pledge goal of $10,000. Please donate whatever you can afford - and add a penny for the internet.

Imagine - if Dean breaks the million dollar mark in two days. Imagine - if we in Dean Nation can raise $10,000 dollars collectively for Dean. Imagine - if we, at the nexus of Dean's netroot support, are able to make such a powerful statement! 10,000 powerful statements, in fact...

We have over 2,000 daily visitors a day. If only half of those visiting donate $10 each, we will meet our All-Star pledge and move Dean $20,000 closer to the Million Dollar Challenge (including federal matching funds).

We can do this. We must do this. Please, donate now, donate tomorrow, donate before June 30th. We are making a difference. We are taking our country back!

UPDATE: Dean for America has raised $600,000 in just 24 hours!! The new goal at-bat is 2 million - and Dean Nation has already raised $500 towards our own pledge goal of $10,000. June 30th is now only two days away - please, join in our collective effort and let's show the campaign the real power of the netroots!

 

The Man to Beat http://www.msnbc.com/news/932201.asp?0cl=c1

posted by G at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Eleanor Clift gets it:
IT'S NEARING THE end of the second quarter filing period, and Democrats will measure who's up and who's not by how much money they raised in the last three months. The buzz is that Howard Dean will post over $4 million. Two rival camps privately predict that Dean will come close to $6 million.

There is panic in the air. Democrats on Capitol Hill see Dean and his anti-war populist campaign as "McGovern Redux." They worry he'll lead the party into a repeat of Democrat George McGovern's 49-state loss to Richard Nixon in 1972. It's not that the war in Iraq was that popular with Democrats. If the congressional resolution empowering President Bush to invade Iraq had been a secret vote, many more Democrats would have voted no. But lawmakers fear the unknown, and they don't know Dean the way they know the other contenders in the race. Plus he's running a campaign against them, and the way they have accommodated a popular president.

Democrats have won the White House only twice in the last thirty years. Both times it was by somebody who was not part of Washington. Governors don't speak Washingtonese. Whatever you think about Dean and his cranky assault on the Establishment, you can't avoid the fact that he fits the pattern. Thanks to a little strategic thinking and a lot of luck, the former Vermont governor is positioned as the only outsider in the race at a time when Democrats have given up on insider politicians. Dean says that when he travels around the country, he finds that Democratic voters are almost as angry at Democrats in Washington as they are at Bush.

Dean appeals to the idealism in the party. His theme -- "Let's take back the country" --echoes Jimmy Carter's campaign call a quarter-century ago for a government as good as its people. Like Carter, Dean is not someone you would immediately peg as charismatic. But his edgy personality is reminiscent of John McCain, and his blunt talk gives him a Trumanesque appeal of the little guy who fights back. When Dean first spoke out against the war in Iraq, he did so in a political climate of 70 percent support for the war. Analysts saw it as political suicide. "How many electoral votes are there in Iraq?" Dean was asked at one political gathering. "None," he fired back. "They're in Iowa."

The centrist wing of the Democratic Party is fighting hard to head off Dean. In the upcoming issue of the "New Democrat" magazine, an editorial headlined "Why we fight" lays out the case against a Dean candidacy. Without having read the piece, which is embargoed, I presume it rests on Dean's opposition to the war as exposing the party's longstanding weakness on national security. Not long ago, the Democratic Leadership Council, the Vatican of the New Democrat movement, pointed to Dean, a fiscal conservative, as an example of a successful governor in the DLC model. The DLC's change of heart appears principally based on differences over the war with Iraq. After siding with Bush, the DLC and the pro-war Democrats have a lot at stake in defending that position regardless of the deteriorating situation on the ground in Iraq and the growing concerns about whether Bush misled the country in the run-up to the war.

What Dean's critics find especially galling is how he is weathering his poor showing on "Meet the Press," the premiere Sunday talk show. Host Tim Russert quizzed him on U.S. troop strength around the world, caught him in Gore-style exaggeration on an anecdote about a teenage girl seeking an abortion, and questioned whether he had the "temperament" to be president. Dean appeared uncertain even when his facts were OK, and he seemed annoyed at being grilled. By all accounts, it was a terrible performance. "If he was Gephardt, he'd be out of the race," says a Democratic strategist. But the next day Dean presided over a hokey official announcement of his candidacy, which drew a large press contingent and got him on all the news shows. "The rules don't apply to him," says the strategist. "He operates in a different universe. His supporters say, 'That mean Tim Russert,' and they send him another $200 on the Internet."

The terrible logic of the Democratic nomination is that anybody who runs left enough to get the activists can't win a general election. Dean has the centrist credentials to maneuver his way back to the center, where he's probably more comfortable anyway. His health care plan is relatively modest, and he supported the carrying of concealed weapons in Vermont. But Democratic officeholders have a fear of the unknown, and when they look at Dean, they see an angry liberal who will send them into the wilderness for another 25 years. Savior or spoiler, Dean has gone from a second tier candidate to the man to beat.

 

bumper stickers back in stock http://www.cafeshops.com/deanforamerica/

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've received an avalanche of email asking about this, so here's a public anouncement. Bumper stickers are now back in stock (general Dean stickers, regional, and crossovers).

Bulk discounts on merchandise is available for meetup organizers, please email azizhp at yahoo dot com for more details.

 

IssueWatch - Fair Trade http://www.cfr.org/publication_print.php?id=6072&content=

posted by Adam F. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The media has been guilty of misrepresenting the discussion about globalization for a long time. Very few parties involved in the discussion support a viewpoint that could be considered “anti-globalization.” Almost all the participants in the global trade debate recognize that greater trade around the world is not only a reality, but it can benefit everyone involved. However, those who promote “fair trade” policies recognize both sides of global trade transactions must benefit for a healthy world economy to be the end result.

Gov. Dean discussed fair trade in his speech this week at the Council of Foreign Relations…

“…We must recognize the importance of spreading the benefits of economic growth as widely as possible. The growth of multinational corporations and the globalization of the economy have helped create wealth and economic growth. But we must make certain that people in the developing world are full and equal beneficiaries in this growth and are not marginalized by it.

As long as half the world's population subsists on less than $2/day, the U.S. will not be secure. Poor states and failed states provide breeding grounds for disease as well as recruits and safe havens for terrorists. A world populated by "hostile have-nots" is not one in which U.S. leadership can be sustained without coercion.

We want a trade and development policy that does not enrich the minority but will empower the majority.

In addition to supporting the growth of fair global trade we must use our foreign assistance monies strategically to support the rule of law, combat corruption, help the most needy and assist governments in creating democracies and developing infrastructure and human resources in their countries. We must bring still more energy to the cooperative battle against HIV/AIDS, which in too many countries is undermining security and tearing the heart out of economies, communities, and entire generations….”


Share your thoughts on globalization and fair trade. Also, how do you feel about the mass media distorting this discussion?

 

Jake Tapper defends Dean's MTP perfomance in NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/27/opinion/27TAPP.html?pagewanted=print&position=

posted by G at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Have you ever been pleasantly if mildly surprised by a movie the critics have panned? I had just such a feeling when I watched, two days late, a recording of Howard Dean's now infamous appearance last Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Dr. Dean, the Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont governor, has gotten notice for bringing some energy to the dismal Democratic ranks. But after his appearance his candidacy was immediately suffused with bad buzz. "If Dean wants to have any chance of getting into the White House, he needs to learn some basic facts about our country," said Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. Even The Associated Press reported that Dr. Dean "did not help himself with an uneven performance."

But many of Dr. Dean's answers seemed perfectly reasonable. His response to Tim Russert's pop quiz about the number of soldiers on active duty — he said one million to two million; the answer is 1.4 million — seems acceptable, especially at a time when the number is in flux. His answers about the solvency of Social Security were glib. But they were no more dishonest than any other candidate's.

Dr. Dean did seem perturbed during some of the program, and many of his answers — especially an evasive response about whether Canadian same-sex marriages should be accepted in the United States — showed he is all too aware of the political consequences of his self-proclaimed boldness. But his appearance was no disaster.

 

video: message from Joe Trippi http://svr29.edns1.com/~pickle29/media2/TrippiThanks_100k.mov

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A message of thanks from Joe Trippi to all of us - link above goes to high-bandwidth version, click here for dial-up.

(via Heath of DeanTV.org)

 

Governor Howard Dean M.D. Statement on Passage of Medicare Prescription Bills http://www.deanforamerica.com

posted by Editor at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the Dean Campaign...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2003

Governor Howard Dean M.D. Statement on Passage of Medicare Prescription Bills


“I am disappointed that attempts by Democrats to improve legislation to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare have been defeated.

“The bills that have emerged from the House and Senate are flawed, driven by Republican ideology intent on privatizing Medicare. The Senate bill, though better, will only get worse in conference with the House, where Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas has made clear that the real Republican agenda is to ‘end Medicare as we know it.’

“America’s seniors like Medicare as they know it. They want it improved not drastically altered and left to whims of the healthcare marketplace.

“Both bills fragment the buying power of the 40 million seniors on Medicare and relinquish the leverage that would force drug companies to reduce their costs.

“They reflect a false premise that private health plans are better and more cost effective at delivering health insurance to seniors. History shows that privatizing Medicare forces seniors to face increased out-of-pocket costs, limited choices of plans and doctors, and a confusing, complicated benefit structure.

“Private plans provided coverage to seniors before Medicare – and only the healthiest and wealthiest seniors were insured. Republicans seem determined to return America to that same flawed system.

“It is essential to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. I appreciate that this desire has led many Democrats in the Senate to support the bill. Creating this benefit must be a top priority for our elected officials.

“However, because these bills move Medicare towards privatization, I cannot support them. We can and must do better.”

 

Nader might run as a Republican http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20030619/ts_alt_afp/us_politics_nader_030619140209

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
It is critical that Dean makes the case to supporters of Nader and the Green party. Only united can the common agenda be achieved - and the bitterness must be left behind. Dean's performance in the MoveOn primary has demonstrated his broad appeal, but there is a lot of work yet to be done.

Complicating matters is Nader himself, who has been notoriously coy about his plans for 2004:

For 2004, a second Green Party presidential candidacy may be in the works.

"It's too early to say," commented Nader.

Green party official John Strawn confirmed that Nader is among several potential candidates for the next election.

"Many folks are actively promoting particular candidates, Ralph being one of them," he said.

Nader says that if the Greens reject him, he might choose to run as an independent, or possibly even as a Republican, which would pit him against George W. Bush in the primary.


It's a measure of Nader's detachment from reality that he would even consider running as a Republican - and proof that it's the campaign, not the policy, he seeks to influence. The best scenario is that the Greens endorse Dean. So, make the case - how do we convince a Green that Dean and not Nader is their man on the issues? Comments from actual Greens - both supporting and against Dean - are especially welcome. Let the dialouge begin.

 

Dean Wins MoveOn.org Primary in Landslide http://www.deanforamerica.com

posted by Zephyr Teachout at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
SAN DIEGO—While campaigning in California today, Governor Howard Dean, M.D. released the following statement regarding his victory in the Moveon.org primary:

“On Monday, I stood in Burlington, Vermont and said that my campaign—our campaign—was built on ‘mouse pads, shoe leather, and hope.’ Today, we see just how far that combination can go: We have won the Moveon.org primary by a landslide.

“We want to thank everyone who helped make this victory possible. To the volunteers and Dean supporters across the country, thanks for all of your work. To the 139,360 who supported me, thanks for casting the first votes to take our country back. You have demonstrated that you really do have the power.

“This primary was participatory democracy at its finest. This week’s vote was not about money—other campaigns devoted far more resources to this primary than ours did—and it was not about special interest groups buying access to government. This primary, the first online primary of the modern age, was about individual Americans influencing the process directly. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans researched this race, voted, and told their friends to vote.

“This is a milestone that will be remembered. It is moments like this that will help restore American democracy to the ideals upon which it was founded—ones that make the processes of government accessible to every American.

“We are excited to move on bolstered by the many thousands this process has brought to our campaign. We are taking the country back—one voter at a time.”

 

Dean wins MoveOn poll, but not endorsement http://moveonpac.org/moveonpac/report.html

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean won the MoveOn poll, earning 43.9% of the vote. Kucinich earned 23.9% and Kerry 15.7%. Tis means that Dean doesn;t get the official endorsement - but we are very close. It looks like Kucinich is playing a spolier role to Dean for the progressive vote, which in unsurprising but still a major problem (and Dean certainly can't make any "electability" appeals to Kucinich voters!).

It is also interesting to look at the results from the multiple-choice poll:

BRAUN15562850.54%
DEAN 26486686.02%
EDWARDS17207655.88%
GRAHAM 15304549.70%
KERRY 23183075.29%
KUCINICH21016468.25%
GEPHARDT16311052.97%
LIEBERMAN13244742.01%
SHARPTON10924935.48%


This is actually the more important number - 86% of those who voted in the MoveOn primary would also support Dean. It's very probable that there will be more MoveOn primaries in the future and it's clear that Dean has demonstrated that he has the ability to win. Even without MoveOn's official endorsement, the exposure to the broader audience has strengthened him at teh expense of virtually every other candidate... except Kucinich.

 

Stepford Democrats http://www.chronwatch.com/featured/contentDisplay.asp?aid=3266

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, June 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
An intriguing article from ChronWatch.com observes how Dean dominates the debate, and has reversed the pundits:

There is some amusing role reversal going on in the press. ABC.com describes Dean’s recent Meet the Press appearance, ''Besides being evasive, Dean left himself vulnerable from the left, right, or both on the military, gay marriage, Social Security, and more. He looked thin-skinned, unprepared, stuttering.''

More conservative voices, The New York Post’s Deborah Orin for instance, praise him. ''If you think Dean won’t sell down south, he is sort of pro-gun and the NRA likes him. Yet that doesn’t seem to irk his liberal backers. He’s become the Teflon Dean among liberals.''

Look for this to change if Dean gets the Democrat nod. Old-line liberal outfits like ABC, who would like to see a more traditional (John F. Kerry) candidate, will reverse field faster than Roger Staubach. Quirks now observed with amusing contempt will become statesmanlike virtues. Conservatives will find fault with his diversity of viewpoints. This promises a fine donnybrook for political observers.
...
Nothing can be taken away from Howard Dean. Through sheer force of will, he dominates the debate. The others are like puppets. They hop to and fro, puffing out their medals, shaking their wattles at the television cameras. They are his Stepford shadows.

Republicans love anything that moves their opponents left. The premature clinking of champagne glasses could prove distracting. No doubt such premature celebration will vanish if Dean begins to surge. Republicans know how to run scared. They have had a lot of practice.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

 

Join the "Dean Team All Stars!"

posted by Karl at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There is now another way to help Governor Dean's campaign raise money in your sleep.  You can now join the "Dean Team All Stars" and raise money online for the campaign.

I've created the image in this blog entry for those who'd like to add a link to their Dean Team All Star page on their website or blog.  Every Dean supporter or regional Dean group with a site should sign up for this option.  If you'd like help adding this image to your site as a link once you've joined the Dean Team All Stars just let me know.



UPDATE (Aziz) : I've registered Dean Nation as a donation "group" to the Dean campaign. By donating money to the campaign through this link, we DeanBloggers collectively get (symbolic) credit for raising funds. I've set a pledge of $10,000 for the Dean Nation Team to meet - so we have a long way to go!

If the Dean campaign offers any tangible prizes to groups that raise the most money. we will hold an auction on this blog for those prizes to raise even MORE money :)

 

RNC Attacks Dean http://gop.com/Newsroom/Releases/June03/Gillespie062603.htm

posted by G at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Good news! The top story on the Republican National Committee website is the following:
Ed Gillespie, Senior Advisor to the Republican National Committee (RNC), today issued the following statement:

“Democratic presidential candidates continue to find political expedience in appealing to the anti-war activists in their party. Howard Dean positions his opposition to the war as an act of ‘political courage’ and says he was ‘right all along,’ and other presidential contenders are following his lead.

“But what are they ‘right all along’ about? Their policy is this: when presented with the widely shared conclusion that a dictator with a history of using weapons of mass destruction is developing more, in defiance of an international order, the United States will not act until after such weapons have been used - perhaps, even, against us.

“That is a policy destined for failure, or worse, tragedy.”
Pair this with Rush Limbaugh's near obsession with Dean and you might start to think the Republicons are scared of having to run their frat boy against the Doctor.

 

former McCain advisor looking to join a campaign... http://www.tnr.com/etc.mhtml?pid=503

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The New Republic magazine backed McCain strongly during the Republican primaries. So it's with nostalgia that they report that McCain is definitely not running in 2004. However, their misery might well translate into Dean's fortune - when it comes to McCain's campaign advisor, John Weaver:

But while McCain may be sitting out the '04 race, the same probably won't go for Weaver. Although he has been waylaid from politics for a few months due to illness, Weaver is working almost full-time again, and sounded eager to work on another presidential campaign. (For a Democrat, that is: Weaver changed parties last year.) Weaver hasn't signed up with any campaign yet, but it sounds as if he will. For that we're glad. We just wish his candidate could be McCain.


we all know there's only one candidate in the field that can invoke the legacy of McCain's campaign... there are some interesting quotes from Weaver in an attack piece published in NRO last year that really are tantalizing:

If John Weaver really thinks Big Money politics is corrupt, one would think he'd go out of his way to avoid becoming a Big Money Washington consultant. It is on this principle that, say, televangelists don't cavort with strippers, or when they're caught doing it, at least act really embarrassed.

Weaver, however, is not embarrassed. His excuse is that he's the only honest man in Washington. "It's the difference between people who are in Washington to get something done and people who are in Washington who want to be someone," Weaver told Roll Call.


stripped of Lowry's highly-selective moralizing about Big Money, Weaver sounds like the kind of advisor who's looking for more Straight Talk. Let's see whether he can recognize it in Vermont.

 

Statement of Governor Howard Dean on Justice Scalia’s Dissent in Texas Sodomy Case http://www.deanforamerica.com

posted by Editor at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the campaign...
For Immediate Release
June 26, 2003
Statement of Governor Howard Dean on Justice Scalia’s Dissent in Texas Sodomy Case

“In today’s landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down the Texas sodomy law, six Justices understood that private consensual sexual conduct is just that – private. It is none of the government’s business, and it was unconstitutional for the State of Texas to make it a crime.

Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist opposed the civil rights of homosexuals. Scalia wrote a harsh dissent filled with words that will be hateful to many Americans. He spoke darkly of “the homosexual agenda” and echoed Senator Rick Santorum by writing that laws against homosexuality further “the same interest” as laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity.

As a former Governor who appointed many judges to the Vermont bench, I value the quality of judicial temperament. Scalia’s intemperate dissent in this case shows why he should never have been appointed to the Supreme Court in the first place and why he is not fit to serve as Chief Justice should a vacancy occur. His increasingly shrill opinions have become an embarrassment to the Supreme Court.

President Bush says we need more Justices like Scalia. I say we cannot afford more Justices like Scalia, and we cannot afford four more years of the President who would appoint such Justices. “


- (30) -

 

Celebrate the Supreme Court ruling

posted by G at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Supreme Court today struck down anti-sodomy laws. There will be events this afternoon all over the country to celebrate. Show up and hand out flyers for Dean! Here are two flyers you can use:

UPDATED FLYER: We have two updated versions of the one-page PDF of a flyer posted earlier. These versions include Dean's statement today (see below) plus the quotes from Dean on civil unions on the earlier flyer. Thanks to Jennifer for putting her graphic design skills to use on short notice! Here are version one and version two.

A more detailed two-page PDF of his views on equal rights for all.

Here's Dean's statement from the official blog:

WASHINGTON, DC - "I applaud the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Lawrence v. Texas overturning the Texas anti-sodomy law. This decision marks a significant advance toward achieving equal rights for all Americans. For too long, laws like this have divided us by race, by gender and by sexual orientation. As a Governor who worked hard to protect the rights of gay and lesbian couples, I am extremely pleased with the Supreme Court's ruling.

"Every American, regardless of sexual orientation, should be afforded the right to privacy. The Texas anti-sodomy law was nothing less than government-sanctioned intolerance and discrimination. The fact that President Bush defended the law while he was Governor shows that he is not the uniter he claims to be."
UPDATE 2:
These flyers may get even wider use than we expected. This weekend there are also eight major Pride events where Dean volunteers will be out in force this weekend. Click on the city name for more information.

Twin Cities, which is the 4th largest Pride in the nation with an expected 400,000 people. MN volunteers will have a booth & will be marching in the parade!

Atlanta, which is expecting 300,000 people. GA volunteers are having a fundraiser on Thursday, they are sharing a booth with another group during pride, & are having a post-pride party.

Other cities: Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, New York City (all week long), Seattle, St. Louis

 

Dean supporters at Apple WWDC http://www.mikesilverman.com/2003_06_22_log_archive.html#105647219089293734

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Mike Silverman writes:

Apple's new g5 computers are incredible machines. Physically beautiful, and capable of sustained 150 FPS at 1024x768 playing Unreal Tourney 2003. In other news, Howard Dean supporters were politicking outside the main entrance to the convention hall. They were quite creative in using Mac-themes in their signs: "Re-boot America" and "Does Bush give you a kernel panic?" were two I can remember.


How cool is that? Hey you Deaniacs out there who were at eth WWDC, please send us photos to share!

It occurs to me that Apple is a natural target for Dean supporters - after all, Al Gore is on the board of directors. Wouldn't it be interesting if Dean were to feature in an Apple "Switch" ad?

use the open thread to share your suggestions on cross-brand marketing between Apple and Dean for America!

 

Latest Meetup Stats http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~gabriel/dean2004blog/worldwide_meetup_figure.pdf

posted by G at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Click for a full-page PDF.

 

Republicans for Dean

posted by Ezra at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Is anyone here a Republican or Conservative who has grown disillusioned with Bush and is interested in Dean (possibly because of his state's right or gun right's stances)? If so, I'd like to talk to you and would appreciate it if you could drop me a line at eklein@ucsc.edu. Thanks.

UPDATE (Aziz): BTW, here are the requested bumper stickers ... we now have Libertarian, Green, and Republican for Dean.

 

Gallup Mapping Dean's March http://www.mydd.com/archives/000631.html

posted by B at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In the latest Gallup Poll of registered Democratic voters, there's still a wide-open primary, but a few trends are developing. Dean & Graham are at 7% for the first time. Lieberman got a bounce, but has been flat for a few months, as has Edwards. Gephardt and Kerry are not showing any signs of momentum or growth.

For Dean, it's not just the movement in national recognition, Graham has about the same trajectory. It's this in combination with his netroots & grassroots base, his fundraising, and his strong polling in the first two primaries.

Dean has arrived. He's a top-tier candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the words of the WaPost CW:



Dean has improved his position greatly in recent weeks and months. Once considered a second-tier candidate, down there with the Sharpton, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Bob Graham and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Dean now must be considered a first-tier candidate.

He is polling second in New Hampshire and third in Iowa, where he has just launched a risky and bold advertising strategy aimed at shoring up his status as a front-runner.

No doubt about it, Dean is legit. Whether he will stay legit remains to be seen.


It's only just begun. In the coming few months, Dean will hit double-digits in the national polling. Dean's come a long way since a few of us here were arguing about Dean's chances in early 2002; but now he's on the cusp and it's time to step it up-- to do the real work.

 

How Dean could win - and lose http://www.dailykos.com/archives/003180.html#003180

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
DailyKos has been running a series of analyses on the major candidates and how they could win the Democratic nomination. Today he has posted his analysis of how Dean could win, and it's notable because he also throws in an alternate scenario of how Dean could lose. This is an essential post and comparing the two scenarios only underlies how important the fund-raising effort will be.

Kos goes into a chronological detailed list of each state's primary dates. For brevoty, I'll just excerpt the summaries. Here is Scenario 1, a Dean win:


Dean wins the nomination if he takes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Mass, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii and Washington. He could lose Georgia, North Dakota, and Texas, and still sew up the nomination. The "moderate's" task will be to steal at least two of those states.

Bottom line: My scenario is fairly CW, not too controversial. It assumes that the NH loser in the Dean/Kerry battle will be forced to drop out because of waning media attention. Remember, the media has every interest in culling the field as quickly as possible in order to save money. It's expensive to cover so many candidates.


Scenario 2 is where Dean loses New Hampshire, and cannot raise funds. In that case the campaign remains competitive but operating a a sever disadvantage. It would all boil down to Super Tuesday:

Super Tuesday is a money day, and it's hard to see how Dean could pull it off. His candidacy would probably die in a flood of Kerry money.

But here's the kicker -- as Kerry and Dean split the lefty vote, the "moderate" candidate has an undivided share of the centrist vote. He wins the election right here and now.

 

Service cuts http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/06/tomasky-m-06-25.html

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This insightful article by Michael Tomasky (one of my favorite writers at The American Prospect) addresses the change in rhetoric needed by Democrats in order to address why the tax cuts are bad for America. The strategy usually pursued by Democrats is to argue that tax cuts are not "fair" - the average guy only gets $400 and the rich guys walk off with $17,000. This is, in essence, a selfish argument, and is usually accompanied by countering tax plans that are also tax-cut oriented but tilt the cuts toward the middle class instead of the rich. In doing so, philosophical ground is actually ceded to the GOP because tax cuts in and of themselves are not being portrayed as harmful, just the distribution. Unfortunately, all the major Democratic candidates (including Dean) have presented variants of this strategy.

Tomasky proposes instead a strategy based on self-interest, which is not intrinsically negative the way that selfishness is:

Again, 20 years of right-wing rhetoric has persuaded many people that "government spending" is evil -- it's welfare, food stamps, aid to foreigners, grants for degenerate art. The tax-cut argument will always win as long as people hold government spending in such low regard.

In fact, the vast majority of government spending goes toward things that bring direct or eventual benefits to the lives of middle Americans, and that most Americans say they support: defense, homeland security, Social Security, investment in the country's infrastructure, school lunches, clean air and water, scientific and medical research, highways, local law enforcement, and so on. Of the vast majority of these initiatives, three things can be said: The states can't fund them because they don't have the money; the private sector won't do them because they're not the private sector's responsibility; and individual people cannot take their $400 rebate checks, band together, and decide to go clean up the local lake or hire more airport screeners or fund Alzheimer's research. Like it or not, only the federal government can do, and does, these things.


This is truly principled rhetoric, because it addresses the real need for government spending that states and the private sector simply are unable to assume. Without an argument founded in self-interest, any argument that "tax cuts = service cuts" is left vulnerable to the same conservative arguments against government spending and the inherent evils of the social safety net that have dominated political discourse for twenty years.

Tomasky admits that this is a risky path, but it is certainly better than the flawed selfish argument which has been proven to fail repeatedly. That failure is directly correlated to how principled the argument is.

However, I disagree with Tomasky that this shift towards self-interest might be sufficient - I agree with Jerome below that we also need to see a cut in the payroll tax as an accompaniment. Taken together, then , the main points for an ideal economic platform become:


  1. Constantly discuss and emphasize the self-interest inherent in government spending

  2. Push for a payroll tax cut in the lower brackets

  3. Increase government revenue by increasing the taxable income of all groups, not the tax rate

 

The Digital Insurgency http://technologyreports.net/nextinnovator/index.html?articleID=1861

posted by G at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There's a long and great article on the Technology Reports website about Dean. Excerpt:
Campaign 2004 is quickly shaping up to be our very first digital presidential showdown since the birth of our republic - and the next resident of the 1600 Pennsylvania Ave could well be America’s first Digital President.
....
While many of us are asleep at night, deep within the vast expanse of cyberspace, there is a bona fide digital insurgency going on – being led by candidate Howard Dean, onetime governor of one of America’s smallest states, Vermont – lightyears, it seems, from the techno-dynamos of Silicon Valley or Alley. Dean, a physician, is running an insurgent campaign modeled somewhat on that of Jimmy Carter, himself a governor of another state not well known technological prowess, who managed to built a grassroots insurgency that took him all the way to the White House.

 

Clark defends Dean on Crossfire http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0306/25/cf.00.html

posted by G at Thursday, June 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
CARLSON: General Clark, you went up to Capitol Hill last week, and apparently were very warmly received by Democrats, a measure of how weak the current field is. I want to give you one example. Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont, on NBC this weekend, admitted he had no idea how many military personnel there are in the United States. That's embarrassing, isn't it, that he didn't know that?

CLARK: No, I don't think that's necessarily embarrassing. He gave an answer, as I recall. He said 1 to 2 million. So, I mean, when you count the active and the reservists, he's certainly in the ballpark.

CARLSON: Do you think he has the experience to be president? CLARK: I'm not going to pass judgment on that. I think that's for the American people to decide after they hear the issues and compare the candidates.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

 

Council on Foreign Relations speech summary

posted by Editor at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The campaign released a memo to reporters on the speech that Gov. Dean gave to the CFR today. In it, they summarized the message's key points as well as the foreign policy of a Dean Administration. The key points:
- Our foreign and military policy must restore American leadership in the world. We need to turn back to policies that have America leading the world rather than pitting America against the world.

- We should not be dividing the world into us versus them, but rallying the world around fundamental principles of decency, responsibility, freedom and mutual respect.

- We must lead by example, not by force; we must continue to be the light unto the nations - setting a moral example through our behavior.

- While we must be prepared and ready to use force, it must be to defend against actual or imminent threat to ourselves or our friends and allies and, in concert with others, to deal with grave humanitarian crises.

- The Bush administration has abandoned a principle that has guided us for 225 years: that preemptive force should be used only against an imminent threat. This administration has changed that policy and made the world a more dangerous - not a safer - place.

The Dean foreign policy:
In restoring principled and multilateral American leadership, Dean's foreign policy would seek to achieve four goals:

(1) Defeat the threat posed by terrorists, tyrants and technologies of mass destruction - but by working with others, not alone.

(2) Strengthen bonds with other countries - conducting foreign policy by posse is short-sighted; our destinies are all intertwined

(3) Spread the benefits of economic growth - middle class democracies don't produce terrorists - fair trade: open up markets but ensuring protections for workers, the environment

(4) Deal with crises threatening sustainability of life on the planet - global warming and pollution, diseases like AIDS, population growth

 

Council on Foreign Relations speech http://www.cfr.org/publication_print.php?id=6072&content=

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sometimes, the Right Thing to Do cannot be described by a soundbite. This puts any attempt by Democrats to reclaim the title of Foreign Policy mastery from the GOP at a disadvantage, given that the media is not designed to convey ideas larger than soundbite size accurately to the American public.

However, Howard Dean recognizes that an articulate vision of foreign policy is essential - not just for politics, but for America's own sake. His speech to the Council on Foreign Relations is a boldly comprehensive and exhaustive vision, laid out with the attention to detail that demonstrates his knowledge that foreign policy demands more than mere disagreement with President Bush.

It's a long speech but it's essential reading in full. Here is the very core of his vision, however:

America is not Rome. We do not dream of empire. We dream of liberty for all.

In November 2004, the American people will seek a President who is prepared to use our brave and remarkable armed forces -- as I would -- to defend against any actual or imminent threat to ourselves or our friends and allies and, in concert with others to deal with grave humanitarian crises.

They will seek a President skilled at garnering the support of allies, but willing to act -- as I would -- when it is necessary to protect and defend our country.

They will seek a President focused -- as I would be -- on the dismantling of terrorist organizations, the disruption of terrorist operations, the apprehension of terrorist planners and the prevention of terrorist efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

But they will also seek a President who would strive -- as I would -- not to divide the world into us versus them, but rather to rally the world around fundamental principles of decency, responsibility, freedom and mutual respect. Our foreign and military policy must be about the notion of America leading the world not America against the world.

Presidents such as Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy built and strengthened international institutions, rather than dismissing and disparaging the concerns of allies. They inspired and mobilized other countries because they believed there was no more powerful force on earth than that of free people working together.

They helped build global platforms such as the UN, NATO, and the World Bank on which free people everywhere could stand. Our greatest leaders built America's reputation as the world's leading democracy by never resting until they had given life to American ideals.

That is why I do not accept that a candidate's national security credentials should be considered suspect for opposing the war in Iraq at the time it was initiated with the limited level of international support we had, the lack of postwar planning that had been undertaken, and the failure to make the case that the threat was imminent enough to justify preventive action.

 

Setting the agenda, Dean won't cede an inch to the GOP http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/06/franke-ruta-g-06-24.html

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Getting back to the subject of language which I addressed in my earlier post, I'd like to direct everyone to this article from the American Prospect. For the past two years, we've been told that we're unpatriotic because we've questioned the wisdom behind the Iraq intervention or the wisdom behind tax cuts for the wealthy. We've been (in some cases) spat upon, berated, shouted down, and branded as traitors or communists by the GOP Fedayeen. For too long, many of us have walked in fear, afraid to stand up and make our case against the rabid nationalism that permeates the GOP leadership. The GOP has shamelessly co-opted patriotism, our flag, and religion to further their radical agenda. Folks, it's time to remove the star-spangled blinders.

Howard Dean has been slowly but surely working his way towards reclaiming patriotism and morality for the Democratic Party. Take - for example - his speech and actions at the Wisconsin Democratic convention. (I actually wrote up a huge post for my personal blog that covered this, and of course my box crashed before I saved it - grrr! But it's more relevant than ever so here goes) By all accounts, Dean gave a rousing speech that ended with him him waving a giant American flag. This took place on the weekend we celebrate Flag Day in the state where the holiday originated. Coincidence? I'm sure Dean's flag-waving was fueled by passion, and the symbolism of his action and the location meshed perfectly.

Over at the official blog, many people have posted personal accounts of the singing of the Star Spangled Banner before the Declaration Celebration began on Monday. This is summed up in the Prospect article:

During the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," before Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) spoke, the young singer's solo was joined by an at-first quiet harmony about halfway through the song. Voice then added onto voice until much of the crowd was singing with her, softly but intently. At "the land of the free," a small wave of applause and cheers rippled across the crowd. After "home of the brave," loud applause and enthusiastic shouts burst out, as if those clapping and yelling could now feel in the words of that most familiar of songs new meaning. It wasn't just their national anthem; it was their personal anthem, too, telling them, as Dean often urges, to "stand up and fight."


Then came the GAR speech. Dean is clearly not going to cede patriotism to the GOP. Take these excerpts, where Dean draws a line in the sand and firmly states that the GOP isn't the only patriotic party in America.

"The Americans I have met love their country. They believe deeply in its promise, our values and our principles. But they know something is wrong and they want to take action." Message: Republicans aren't the only people who love America.

"The tax cuts that are the radicals’ weapon are not about tax cuts for working people. They are not even about tax cuts for millionaires. Instead, the tax cuts are designed to destroy Social Security, Medicare, our public schools and our public services through starvation and privatization." Message: the GOP pretends to care about middle America (ooo shades of the so-called "compassionate conservatism"), but it's actions contradict this. The Democrats will continue to protect the social programs which help middle and lower class Americans.

"An America where it is not enough for me to want health care for my family – but the obligation, and responsibility of every one of us as American citizens to insure that each one of us has health care for our families." Message: It takes a villiage. The GOP thinks it takes a corporation.

Notice that he uses the words "duty" and "responsibility" multiple times. For too long, the GOP has played the "responsibility" card, yet their actions demonstrate that they don't understand the meaning of those words.

"The idea of America using its power solely for its own ends is not consistent with the idealistic moral force the world has known for over two centuries. We must rejoin the world community. America is far stronger as the moral and military leader of the world than we will ever be by relying solely on military power." Message: the GOP isn't providing moral leadership. The Democrats will. Dean plays the morality card quite well here. He reclaims the mantle of morality for all of us who are concerned with more than what happens in our own back yard. Dean sends a message that he'll provide moral leadership by inspiring other countries to strive for greatness, and he sends a message that he'll lead by example rather than intimidation and aggression.

Many people are scared to face down the GOP because they employ tactics of intimidation, and because the GOP has successfully laid a claim to patriotism. Howard Dean (and his supporters) is not scared to confront the GOP and reclaim the high moral ground. We know we're good, concerned, patriotic Americans. We also know that moral clarity is not reserved for the radicals in the White House. What, after all, could be more moral than wanting a brighter, more secure future for our children to inherit? What could be more patriotic than wanting to see America as a beacon of hope, rather than a threat? If you're looking for a candidate who's willing to stand up for ALL Americans - rather than the chosen few - Howard Dean is your man. If you're looking for a candidate who isn't scared to call the GOP exactly what it is, then Howard Dean is your man. And most of all, if you are looking for a candidate who won't let the GOP define the issues, then Howard Dean is your man.

We need a Democratic candidate who's willing to reclaim the rhetorical ground we've lost during the last two election cycles. Nobody will do a better job of staking that claim than Howard Dean.

 

Dean and FICA wages

posted by B at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In the recent RNC/MTP mugging of Howard Dean by Tim Russert, Dean seemed halfway to the seeing the sweet spot of the swing for 2004:



MR. RUSSERT: But you would consider increasing the payroll tax?

DR. DEAN: Absolutely. You don't have to increase the amount of the payroll tax, you increase the salary that it's applied to. You see what I mean?

MR. RUSSERT: Yes.

DR. DEAN: You’ve got to look at expanding the amount of money that gets taxed for Social Security. You know, if you make $100,000 a year, the last $15,000 doesn’t have to pay Social Security tax for it.... $85,000, maybe you raise it to $100,000 or whatever the numbers are. We've got to look at the numbers to figure out what you do. You get the Social Security problem off the table first by fixing it...



First off, Dean eludes to something that makes his idea a bit of a non-starter. The cap on FICA wages are tied to the rise of inflation, so they are raised every year. The cap for 2002, which Dean eludes to, is $84,900. For 2003, it will $89,400. By the time of 2005, the first possible budget that Dean would have control over, it'd probably already be at $100,000 (assuming Bush II doesn't drag us into a deflationary economy).

But that's just a sidenote. The problem with this is that it is going to be shaped as Dean raising taxes to save SS; similar to how Russert and the RNC frame Dean's choice of reversing the Bush tax-cuts in order to deliver national health-care and a balanced budget.

What's missing is any argument of a stimulus to the economy. Sure, you could argue that restoring fiscal responsibility will turn the corner, eventually, but not in the short-term. Facing a $500B year deficit, and decreased revenues due to the Bush tax-cuts, Dean, and the Democratic Party as a whole are going to have to offer a short-term economic stimulus package that is not deficit-producing.

Dean's already argued for the tough medicine, in raising the cap on FICA wages. Why have a cap at all? Make FICA applicable to all wages, and further, eliminate the first 15-20K from having to pay any FICA payments at all. That's right, a tax-cut.

In essence, everyone making under ~$110k (and this is single wage earners, for married couples both working, it'd be ~$220k) would recieve a tax break, with those at ~$20k annually seeing their payroll taxes eliminated, and those individuals above ~$90k (effectively ~$110k, because the first ~$20k is eliminated) and couples above $220k seeing their taxes raised.

This would stimulate the economy, as anyone's first $20K goes right into spending; and at the same time, ensure the long-term stability of social security, by raising the taxes of the top ~10% wage-earners.

This economic agenda doesn't have to be that complicated:

Candidate A, a Democrat, pledges to cut the payroll taxes of all individuals earning under $110k, and all married couples both working and earning under $220k.

Candidate B, a Republican, claims that 90% of the people don't deserve a tax-cut, defends the elite, the rich, and... loses.

I confess, I've taken Reich's idea and dumbed it down (heaven forbid), but that doesn't matter, you get the point.

 

TNR gives Dean an "A" on Iraq - so much for weakness in foreign policy http://www.tnr.com/primary/index.mhtml?pid=504

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sure, we've all got our gripes with TNR's grading system sometimes, so we've got to give them props when we believe they get it right. John Judis searched the websites of all the Democratic candidates with the intention of finding foreign policy statements. He notes that only Dean, Lieberman, and Edwards have foreign policy sections on their websites. He observes that the Democrats would be better served if they all brushed up on foreign policy, and offers this reasoning:

Why is it, one must ask, that in a recent Washington Post/ABC poll a quarter of Americans think that Iraq used WMD against American troops in the war? It's because in the absence of any discussion by the Democrats, the Republicans and the Bush administration are able to operate in an informational cocoon of prejudice, myth, and plain nonsense that they have spun. And as the Democrats should have learned in November 2002, foreign policy issues are not going to go away. They can either make their positions clear, or leave the issue to the Republicans to define.


I couldn't agree more, John. Thank you for the fair review. I'd also like to direct everyone to Dean's statements on national security, homeland security, and his June 17 statement about Iraq.

 

Bush vs Dean, or empty rhetoric vs substance http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030630&c=2&s=brooks

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In this Nation article, clinical psychologist Dr Renana Brooks analyzes Bush's use of emotional language as a political tool. She's meticulously poured through Bush's speeches and has outlined a few techniques that Bush successfully employs. This article is extemely interesting, as it exposes Bush's language for what it is:

President Bush, like many dominant personality types, uses dependency-creating language. He employs language of contempt and intimidation to shame others into submission and desperate admiration. While we tend to think of the dominator as using physical force, in fact most dominators use verbal abuse to control others.


I'd like to contrast Bush's techniques with some text from Dean's Great American Restoration speech.

The first technique Brooks analyzes is the use of empty language. Empty language is the use of broad and abstract statements that contain so little substance that the listener is distracted and unable to examine the content of the rhetoric. Empty language is used to attribute negative connotations to other ideas, to conceal faulty logic, and reframe an arguement. She cites a few examples from Bush's SOTU speech earlier this year. One example of Bush's empty rhetoric regarding taxes is, "The best and fairest way to make sure Americans have that money is not to tax it away in the first place."

While this sentence may contain an emotional appeal, the phrase doesn't mean anything. It simply states the obvious: we'd all like lower taxes. Okay - and??? Contrast this with Dean's statement on taxes in his speech: "Companies are leaving the country to avoid paying taxes, or to avoid paying people livable wages. And corporations are doing this with the support of the government and a political process in Washington that they rent -- if not own." Dean clearly states that there's a serious problem with our tax code: companies are incorporating offshore to avoid paying income taxes and our government is explicitly supporting it. This is more specific than the ambiguous language used by Bush.

Bush also uses a technique (that he probably learned in all those business speech classes at Yale) called personalisation. This is used to focus the listener's attention on the speaker's personality. While this isn't always a bad thing, it's terrible when employed as a distraction. Bush uses it to project an image that he'll solve all our problems. "I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people." This also allows the listener to abdicate responsiblity for a problem to the speaker. Contrast this with Howard Dean, who firmly states that, "The great lie spoken by politicians on platforms like this is the cry of 'elect me and I will solve all your problems'. The truth is the future of our nation rests in your hands, and not in mine."

Brooks also hilights Bush's use of repetition, which I'm sure you're all familiar with. "Repeat it until everyone believes it."

In an article in the January 16 New York Review of Books, Joan Didion highlighted Bush's high degree of personalization and contempt for argumentation in presenting his case for going to war in Iraq. As Didion writes: 'I made up my mind,' he had said in April, 'that Saddam needs to go.' This was one of many curious, almost petulant statements offered in lieu of actually presenting a case. I've made up my mind, I've said in speech after speech, I've made myself clear. The repeated statements became their own reason."


Brooks saves the best for last, as she explains why the public is succeptible to Bush's lies due to his proficiency in employing empty rhetoric and personalisation:

To create a dependency dynamic between him and the electorate, Bush describes the nation as being in a perpetual state of crisis and then attempts to convince the electorate that it is powerless and that he is the only one with the strength to deal with it. He attempts to persuade people they must transfer power to him, thus crushing the power of the citizen, the Congress, the Democratic Party, even constitutional liberties, to concentrate all power in the imperial presidency and the Republican Party.


It's called negative framework. I call it the language of fear, and it's backed up by other actions, such as the "terror alert system". In his speech of 9/20/01, Bush chose to scare the bejesus out of all of us, rather than sooth our fears and alleviate our concerns. "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen." An in a policy speech from October of 2002, he stated, "Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time.... Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists." He implies that this is a neverending crisis which we the people are powerless against. He insinuates that we must entrust him to protect us, rather than empowering us to protect ourselves.

Contrast this with this snippet from Dean's speech: "Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth. But this President has forgotten ordinary people. You have the power to reclaim our nation’s destiny. You have the power to rid Washington of the politics of money. You have the power to make right as important as might. You have the power to give Americans a reason to vote again. You have the power to restore our nation to fiscal sanity and bring jobs back to our people. You have the power to fulfill Harry Truman’s dream and bring health insurance to every American. You have the power to give us a foreign policy consistent with American values again." If that's not empowering, then I'll eat this web page.

Brooks concludes that the way to break through to the electorate is to employ a positive vision for America:

Bush's political opponents are caught in a fantasy that they can win against him simply by proving the superiority of their ideas. However, people do not support Bush for the power of his ideas, but out of the despair and desperation in their hearts. Whenever people are in the grip of a desperate dependency, they won't respond to rational criticisms of the people they are dependent on. They will respond to plausible and forceful statements and alternatives that put the American electorate back in touch with their core optimism. Bush's opponents must combat his dark imagery with hope and restore American vigor and optimism in the coming years.


With this in mind, the theme of a "great American restoration" is certainly positive. Some choice quotes:

"If September 11, 2001 taught America anything it is that we are stronger when we are beholden to each other as a national community, and weaker when we act only as individuals. That tragedy gave us an enormous opportunity to focus not only on our common peril, but also on our common dreams. The peril remains, but the dreams must be resurrected -- and they will be in a new American century."

And finally: "This campaign is about more than issue differences on health care, tax cuts, national security, jobs, the environment and our economy. It is about something as important as our children. It’s about who we are as Americans.

Here are the words of John Winthrop: 'We shall be as one. We must delight in each other, make other’s conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always living before our eyes our Commission and Community in our work.' It is that ideal, the ideal of the American community, that we seek to restore."

 

Only 5 More Days http://www.deanforamerica.com/slides/

posted by Zephyr Teachout at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Thank you for all your amazing work on getting out the MoveOn vote! Thank you for all your incredible work getting together the 30,000 person national rally on June 23rd (see some beautiful slides from the rally, along with excerpts from the speech, here). Now, we are almost to the end of this critical month of June. There are only 5 more days until the end of the second quarter fundraising filing deadline.

In the last two days, over 5,000 NEW contributors donated to Dean for America. Meetup members have started to max out--people who have never given to any political campaign are now donating hundreds of dollars to Dean for America. People who have never talked to their friends about political candidates are asking their friends to join them and donate to Dean. We have five days to take the momentum from the June 23rd event and transform it into an incredible fundraising quarter--but we need the help of every person who cares deeply about this campaign. This is your campaign. Please donate what you can now--for the first, second, or fourth time--and send an email to all your friends, asking them to join us. Thank you again.

 

The Great American Restoration

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is the full text of Dean's "Great American Restoration" speech, delivered at the Declaration Celebration:


30,000 Americans in over 400 cities and towns gathered today to listen to Howard Dean announce his candidacy for President of the United States

Burlington, Vermont -- Today I announce that I am running for President of the United States of America. I speak not only for my candidacy. I speak for a new American century and a new generation of Americans -- both young people and the young at heart. We seek the great restoration of American values and the restoration of our nation's traditional purpose in the world.

This is a campaign to unite and empower people everywhere.

It is a call to every American, regardless of party, to join together in common purpose and for the common good to save and restore all that it means to be an American.

Over a year ago I began to travel the country in the usual way one does when seeking the Presidency.

I believed that, by running for President, I could raise the issues of health care for every American and the need to focus on early childhood development. I wanted to bring those issues to the forefront of the national debate. And I wanted to balance the budget to bring financial stability and jobs back to America.

Most importantly, I have wanted my party to stand up for what we believe in again.

But something changed along the way as I listened to Americans around this country. On my first trip to Iowa I heard people speak of a profound fear and distrust of multi-national corporations. From New Hampshire to Texas I met Americans doubting the words of our leaders and our government in Washington. Every where I go people are asking fundamental questions: Who can we trust? Is the media reporting the truth? What is happening to our country?

The Americans I have met love their country. They believe deeply in its promise, our values and our principles. But they know something is wrong and they want to take action. They want to do something to right our path. But they feel Washington isn't listening. And as individuals, they lack the power to change the course those in Washington have put us on.

What they know is that somehow 7 trillion dollars of our country's wealth disappeared. Nearly 1 in 10 retired people have had to return to the workforce because they have lost their pensions. Young people are returning to live at home after graduating because they cannot find work.

Companies are leaving the country to avoid paying taxes, or to avoid paying people livable wages. And corporations are doing this with the support of the government and a political process in Washington that they rent -- if not own.

This was the fear that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of -- the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best, "Every special interest is entitled to justice full, fair and complete....but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench or to representation in any public office."

Today, our nation is in crisis. At home, this crisis manifests itself in this President's destruction of the idea of community. This President pushes forward an agenda and policies which divide us. He advocates economic polices which beggar the middle class and raise property taxes so that income taxes may be cut for those who ran Enron.

He divides us by race by using the word quota, which appeals to the worst in us by instilling fear that people of color might take our jobs or our places in the nation's best universities. Even the most conservative Supreme Court since the Dred Scott decision did not completely agree with the President's attack on diversity and community that includes all Americans.

He divides us by gender by attacking a woman's right to make her own health care decisions. And even by attacking young women's right to have the same athletic opportunities that young men do. He divides us by sexual orientation by supporting senators who have slandered gay Americans, and he appeals once again to the worst instincts within us, instead of that which is good in all Americans.

The tax cuts that are the radicals' weapon are not about tax cuts for working people. They are not even about tax cuts for millionaires. Instead, the tax cuts are designed to destroy Social Security, Medicare, our public schools and our public services through starvation and privatization.

Our President and too many in Washington are giving away our future so that we pass to our children not a flickering flame of freedom but the chain of insurmountable debt.

No parent would do this and America must not do this.

And so for me the long journey of a Presidential campaign has begun with the people I have met affecting me far more than any affect I may have had on them. And because of that, the reasons why I seek the Presidency have changed.

This campaign is about more than issue differences on health care, tax cuts, national security, jobs, the environment and our economy. It is about something as important as our children. It's about who we are as Americans.

Here are the words of John Winthrop: "We shall be as one. We must delight in each other, make other's conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always living before our eyes our Commission and Community in our work."

It is that ideal, the ideal of the American community, that we seek to restore.

An America where it is not enough for me to want health care for my family but the obligation, and responsibility of every one of us as American citizens to insure that each one of us has health care for our families.

An America where it is not enough for me to want good public schools and a better life for my children but an obligation, and a responsibility as citizens to insure that every child in America may go to a good public school and have the opportunity of a better life.

An America where it is not enough to protect my rights under the law but where it is a duty and an obligation for each of us as Americans to make sure every American is equal under the law.

An America where it is not enough to proclaim the words freedom, self-government, and democracy, but where it is a duty and a responsibility to participate together in common purpose with the sacrifice required of each of us to give those words meaning.

If September 11, 2001 taught America anything it is that we are stronger when we are beholden to each other as a national community, and weaker when we act only as individuals. That tragedy gave us an enormous opportunity to focus not only on our common peril, but also on our common dreams. The peril remains, but the dreams must be resurrected -- and they will be in a new American century.

President Kennedy challenged us to "pass the torch to a new generation of Americans." And so, we must issue that challenge again.

So too must we restore the deepest belief of our people that each generation has a responsibility to pass to our children a nation and a world that is better and stronger than the one that was passed to us.

As we experience the crisis of community at home, we are witnessing the effort to repudiate 225 years of American consensus on what our nation's place should be in the world.

Since the time of Thomas Paine and John Adams, our founders implored that we were not to be the new Rome. We are not to conquer and suppress other nations to submit to our will. We were to inspire them.

The idea of America using its power solely for its own ends is not consistent with the idealistic moral force the world has known for over two centuries.

We must rejoin the world community. America is far stronger as the moral and military leader of the world than we will ever be by relying solely on military power. We destroyed repressive communist regimes without firing a shot, not simply by having a strong military, but because we had a better ideal to show the world.

Every American President must and will take up arms in the defense of our nation. It is a solemn oath that cannot -- and will not -- be compromised.

But there is a fundamental difference between the defense of our nation and the doctrine of preemptive war espoused by this administration. The President's group of narrow-minded ideological advisors are undermining our nation's greatness in the world. They have embraced a form of unilateralism that is even more dangerous than isolationism.

This administration has shown disdain for allies, treaties, and international organizations alike.

In doing so they would throw aside our nation's role as the inspirational leader of the world the beacon of hope and justice in the interests of humankind. And instead, they would present our face to the world as a dominant power prepared to push aside any nation with which we do not agree.

Our foreign and military policies must be about America leading the world, not America against the world.

So how did we come to this point?

How is it that our leaders have abandoned our communities and repudiated our idealism and principles?

When confronted with a dedicated band of right wing ideologues, too many Americans have stopped participating, stopped voting, and stopped believing that they can change America.

And we in politics have not given our people a reason to vote or a reason to participate. We have slavishly spewed sound bites, copying each other while saying little. We raise millions of dollars and each year make lofty promises, while every year the struggles of ordinary Americans increase and fewer Americans vote. Our politicians, many of them good people, have been paralyzed by their fear of losing office. Our leaders have developed a vocabulary which has become meaningless to the American people.

There is no greater example of this than a self-described conservative Republican president who creates the greatest deficits in history of America. Or a President who boasts of a Clear Skies Initiative which allows far more pollution into our air. Or a President who co-opts from an advocacy organization the phrase "No Child Left Behind," while paying for irresponsible tax cuts by cutting children's health care.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

The history of our nation is clear: At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people.

And so, while the President raises $4 million more tonight to maintain his agenda, we will not be silent.

He calls his biggest fundraisers Rangers and Pioneers.

But today, we stand together with thousands in Burlington, Vermont and tens of thousands more, standing with us right now in every state in this nation. And we call ourselves, simply, Americans.

And we stand today in common purpose to take our country back.

I am a doctor and I was proud to be Governor of Vermont:

* where we balanced our budgets
* where we made sure that nearly every child in our state had health care coverage
* where we are stewards of our land and natural resources
* where, on the first Tuesday of March every year, Vermonters gather to make decisions on matters vital to our communities
* where we hold these truths to be self evident: that all are created equal and are endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

And, where we, like all Americans, love our country and want to see her flag stand for freedom and justice for all. That flag is not the property of the either party, it belongs to all of us.

It is from this place that the rest of the journey of this campaign continues. We will ask the American people to participate again in our common future. I ask all Americans, regardless of party, to meet with me across the nation to come together in common cause to forge a new American century. Help us in this quest to return greatness, and return high moral purpose to the United States of America.

We are the great grassroots campaign of the modern era, built from mouse pads, shoe leather and hope.

Like MoveOn.org we seek to build a community of millions and strengthen the voice of the people.

And like the founders of our republic, we seek change.

The great lie spoken by politicians on platforms like this is the cry of "elect me and I will solve all your problems."

The truth is the future of our nation rests in your hands, and not in mine.

Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.

But this President has forgotten ordinary people.

You have the power to reclaim our nation's destiny.

You have the power to rid Washington of the politics of money.

You have the power to make right as important as might.

You have the power to give Americans a reason to vote again.

You have the power to restore our nation to fiscal sanity and bring jobs back to our people.

You have the power to fulfill Harry Truman's dream and bring health insurance to every American.

You have the power to give us a foreign policy consistent with American values again.

You have the power to take back the Democratic Party.

You have the power to take our country back.

And we have the power to take the White House back in 2004.


(see this prior post for links to video)

Election 2008 feed

Nation-Building feed

Archives

View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

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.