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

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004


transcript: Dean's remarks at the Gridiron Club Luncheon

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, March 09, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
why the war in Iraq is an issue:

The American people will tolerate a great deal in the president. One thing they will not tolerate is misinforming the American people, particularly if it turns out to be deliberate. That is why the Iraq war will continue to be an issue in the campaign. Not because we’re at war, and people object to going to war - there have always been people who object to going to every war. But because the American people will not tolerate finding out after the fact that they were not told the truth.

on Greenspan and Social Security:

We have a chairman of the Federal Reserve who has done something, to me, which is just absolutely stunning. Alan Greenspan, who has served this country with honor and very well for a long time, in the 1990s, was part of an attempt to fix the Social Security problem and help craft a solution - perhaps it was the late 80s - help craft a solution where we would raise payroll taxes some, and Social Security would be extended. Recently he suggested we would have to cut Social Security benefits, and recommended that perhaps we ought to extend the president’s tax cuts.

The combination of those recommendations is as follows. Raise the most regressive tax in America, which is the payroll tax, on the vast majority of Americans - because you pay that tax until you make $86,000 a year - then, a few years later, cut Social Security benefits for those same people who paid in in the Eighties in order to save the system - and do it all because the deficits are so large, and then recommend extending the deficits by making permanent the president’s tax cuts - the largest deficit in the history of the United States of America.

So we have in Washington an administration, apparently backed by the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who is willing boldly to say that we ought to preside over one of the greatest shifts of wealth and redistributions of wealth in this country, in history. From middle-class people, to people like Ken Lay who ran Enron.

on the economy for middle-class small-town America:

But the economic pattern in much of rural America is this: relatively small town, some agriculture, under threat because of enormous corporate pressure, driving middle-class people off the farms because they can’t make a middle-class living any more. Small businesses in town under enormous threat because of big corporations putting stores ten miles out of town that suck all the small businesses away. And then one, or two maybe, plants from some multinational corporation that has the best-paying jobs in town, and the best benefits in town. Those plants are disappearing. All over the Midwest. I knew when I started this that the battleground in this country was going to be the Midwest, and the most important state in this election is not going to be Florida, it’s going to be Ohio. Because they have lost 275,000 of the best-paying jobs in America, and they’re never coming back.

We have an enormous problem in this country. And I’m not here to beard the Washington establishment, but I’m going to tell you -- people in this town do not get it. They don’t understand it -- and people in many places on the East Coast and the West Coast don’t get it. Because the bulk of our manufacturing is not all concentrated in the Midwest, but the economies in the Midwest are the least diversified. And they depend heavily -- the best-quality jobs in this country, between the Rockies and the Alleganies, depend on big corporations paying those good wages, much better than the local small businessperson can pay, and better than the farmer can make. And we’re losing that.

It’s not a Democratic or a Republican problem. But the solutions offered by this administration are taking us backwards; and the solutions offered by the Democrats before that were not complete. My view of globalization - I think redoing our free trade agreements are essential to the economic success of this country. And I am a big supporter of trade. We only negotiated half of the deal when we globalized. Globalization is an immovable and irresistable force and it is not going to be turned back. When we signed those trade agreements, without labor protection, without environmental protection, without human rights protection - yes, I know there were side agreements that aren’t enforced - we set the seeds for the exodus of American jobs.

This is a GREAT speech. It MUST be read in full.


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About Nation-Building

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