transcript: Dean's CA Dem speech

courtesy of Carl With a K, is this transcript of Dean's speech (link above goes to a PDF).

Governor Howard Dean, MD, Speech to California Democratic Party State Convention (Saturday, March 15, 2003)

What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President’s unilateral intervention in Iraq?

What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts, which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?

What I want to know is why the Congress is fighting over the patient’s bill of rights? The patient’s bill of rights is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it’s not 5 cents cheaper.

What I want to know is why the Democrats in Congress aren’t standing up for us joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth and having health insurance for every man, woman and child in America.

What I want to know is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President’s Educations Bill “The No School Board Left Standing Bill” the largest un-funded mandate in the history of our educational system!

As Paul Wellstone said, as Sheila Kuehl said when she endorsed me…I am Howard Dean and I here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. I want a Democratic Party that will balance the budget. Bill Clinton balanced the budget and starting in 1993, without a single Republican vote, kicked off the greatest 10 years of economic growth in this nation’s history. No Republican President has balanced the budget in this country in 34 years. If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars you better elect a Democratic because the Republican’s can’t manage money. I want an economy in this country where we create jobs that don’t move offshore. I want an America that has health insurance for everybody. I want a government that stops passing un-funded mandates and starts funding the ones we’ve got, like special education. I want a government which will give us a foreign policy so when we walk down the streets of the capitals of our friends we don’t have to worry about watching our backs where ever we go as American’s.

We’ve had two fine people. United States Senators, Senator Edwards and Senator Kerry, who’ve done a lot for our country and they have served us honorably and if they win the nomination either one of them I am going to support them and do every thing I can to help them win the White House. But, I don’t think we can win The White House if we vote for the President’s unilateral attack on Iraq in Washington and then come to California and say we are against the war. And I don’t think we can win The White House if we support the President’s “No School Board Left Standing Bill” and then come to California and tell every body that we are going to do all kinds of things for education. And I don’t think we can win the White House if we skip the most important abortion vote in the last year and then come to California and talk about pro-choice.

I am not surprised that only 15% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 vote because we have not giving them a reason to vote and we are going to give them a reason to vote now. I was Governor for so long that I got to serve through not one but two Bush recessions and in Vermont I was very proud to balance the budget. We balanced the budget, we set aside money in a rainy day fund, and we paid down almost a quarter of our debt. The reason that is important is it is hard to fund social justice with out a balanced budget, which is why this President doesn’t have one. In our state our budget is still balanced and we are not cutting higher education, we are not cutting K-12 and we are not cutting health care for kids. That’s what we need in this country. I am Governor and I have done it. In our State everybody under the age
of 18 has health insurance. We have made Medicaid into a middle class entitlement. If you made $52,000 a year or less in Vermont everybody under 18 in your family is entitled to Medicaid. We charge if you are at the upper-end of that, we charge $50 a month that insures everybody in your family under the age of 18. Now, if we can do that in a small rural state which is 26 th in income in the entire country, surely the most wealthy and powerful society on the face of the earth can grant all of its citizen’s healthcare. I am a governor and I am a doctor and I have done it.

In Vermont we have conserved 100s of thousands of acres that will never be developed, and I might add Mr. President, they’re never going to be drilled on either. If I get to be President I will protect California as well as Florida. Let me tell you something else, one of Bill Clinton’s greatest legacies to this country was the promise he kept to make his cabinet look like a America. I thought one of the lowest moments of this President’s presidency was about 5 weeks ago when he used the word quota 5 times on national television in the evening news. The University of Michigan does not now and never has had a quota system and the President knows it. We need affirmative action in this country and we ought to stand up and say so and be proud of it as a society. California is a precursor for the rest of this country you have 5 big minorities and lots of small minorities. In alphabetical order you have African American, Anglos, Asian American, Latinos, and Native American. Soon all of America is going to look like California, and when it does I want to make sure that every American is included in the very best institutions that we have in this country. Because as a nation we either admit that we are all-together or we will be divided as the Republican have divided us since 1968 under the Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy. I don’t want to be divided anymore by race, I don’t want to be divided anymore by gender, and I don’t want to be divided anymore by sexual orientation.

Senator Kerry was reported to have said that he could win without the South. I do not want to win without the South. I want to go to the South and I’m going to say to white guys that drive pick up trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back of their car. We want your vote to, because your kids don’t have health insurance either. I want to end on a personal note. Three years ago next month I signed a bill into law called the Civil-Unions bill, which gives gay and lesbian Vermonters the same rights I have: visitations for their significant other in the hospital; inheritance rights; and insurance rights. Vermont clearly is a place where every American is equal in the eyes of the law. I want the President of the United States to explain to all American’s why he doesn’t believe all Americans should be equal under the law. I signed that bill 6 months before an election when it was at 35% in the polls. I never had a conversation with myself about whether or not I would sign the bill or not, because I knew if I was willing to sell out the hope and dreams of a significant portion of our people that I had wasted my life in public service. Because, I have never lost an election but my career has never been about winning elections. My career and this campaign is about changing the Democratic Party. Its about changing America. And this campaign is about taking back the White House so we can have health insurance, so we can have a balanced budget, so we can have an inclusive society where everybody believes in each other and believes in America. I want the opportunity to work with extraordinary people in California. I will work with California instead of against you. I will work with Nancy Pelosi. I will work with Diane Feinstein. I will work with Gray Davis. I will work Herb Wesson. I will work with Jon Burton. And I’ll sure work with another Democratic from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, Barbara Boxer. We are not going to beat George Bush by voting with the President 85% of the time. The only way that we’re going to beat George Bush is to say what we mean, to stand up for who we are, to lift up a Democratic agenda against the Republican agenda because if you do that the Democratic agenda wins every time.

I want my country back. We want our country back. I am tired of being divided. I don’t want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore. I want America to look like America. Where we are all included, hand in hand, walking down. We have dream. We can only reach the dream if we are all together – black and white, gay and straight, man and woman. America. The Democratic Party. We are going to
win in 2004. Thank you very, very much. Thank you very, very much. Stand up for America, Stand up for America, Stand up for America.


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