"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

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Thursday, January 30, 2003


President Endorses Howard Dean for President,0,5293453.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire

posted by B at Thursday, January 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean, while being covered by People Magazine for the day, dropped by the set of "West Wing", and was endorsed by Martin Sheen; the AP's Ross Sneyd breaks the story.

Sheen was not available for comment Thursday, but Liberty said he'd told her Dean is "the best possible hope for the Democrats because he's not afraid to lose.

"He is determined to create a viable national debate on the real issues," said Liberty of Dean.
But if former Vice President Al Gore were running for the Democratic nomination, Sheen would support Gore, she added.

This is exactly the type of national (non-politically overt) exposure that Dean needs. Hopefully, People Magazine got some nice pictures on the West Wing set of President Josiah Bartlet and Howard Dean together, that will be in the magazine article on Dean this coming week.


Tavis Smiley talks to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Video of Dean's interview with Tavis Smiley on NPR:

 Tavis Smiley Interviews Dean

Wednesday, January 29, 2003


Dean responds to Bush's SOTU address

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, January 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Governor Dean seems to have seriously refined his stump speeches. Tuesday he issued a stinging criticism of Bush's SOTU speech while addressing a group of Marines in South Carolina.

Specifically addressing the Iraq issue, he stated that while "every president must be prepared to use military force in defense of the United States...every president must first strive to exhaust all other means of American power at our disposal, including diplomacy with friends and allies." Dean's stated in the past that if a case for war is made, then he has no problem using our military might to ensure our security. However, he reiterated that at this point Bush has yet to make a solid case for war. "These are the young men and women who will be asked to risk their lives for freedom. We certainly deserve more information before sending them off to war."

Governor Dean also reiterated his belief that North Korea is more of a threat to Americans than Iraq. "President Bush continues his single-minded drive to go to war with Iraq, a country that all agree likely does not yet have nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, North Korea openly claims to have a number of nuclear weapons and has declared its intent to make more." This issue has troubled many people who see Bush's actions as inconsistent at best and reckless at worst.

He also offered a few choice quotes that are consistent with his ideals and his message to America.

Regarding Bush's health care proposals, Dean stated, "Not only does he have the wrong answer, he doesn't even understand the question." And Dr. Dean should know, having made health care a top priority during his tenure in Vermont.

With the economy remaining a top priority in the eyes of most Americans, Dean attacked the Bush tax cut once again, hammering home the point that it is irresponsible fiscal policy. "The best way to stimulate the economy is to balance the federal budget." This is consistent with Dean's message from the get-go. By now most Americans are aware that the Bush tax cut only benefits the wealthiest of Americans while doing nothing to help our economy recover. Anyone remember the deficits of the eighties, and the skyrocketing debt? Let us not forget that in 1980, we were the greatest lender nation, and by 1988, Reagan's borrow-and-spend economics resulted in America becoming the greatest debtor. Dean reminded his audience that "The Bush administration's borrow-and-spend fiscal policy does nothing to bolster a shaky economy."

My favorite quote from the speech is the following, which I think sums up the Bush domestic economic policy quite well: "You can't spend the same dollar on a tax cut, a war against Iraq, a fight against terrorism at home, expanding health care, and improving schools and roads. President Bush wants to borrow to pay for it all."

::many thanks to Matt for the link::

Tuesday, January 28, 2003


Here's Governor Dean's message on

posted by B at Tuesday, January 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean in 2004 Meetup

I want to thank for creating a platform for people to organize around the issues we all care about.

I hope to attend Meetups of my supporters as I travel the nation, and my campaign will provide suggested issues that need to be discussed, as well as ask for organizational help to build our campaign at future Meetups.

One issue that I think is appropriate for the February 5th Meetup is the pending war with Iraq. I hope that those who attend will look at positions of all the Democratic candidates for President on the war, and square it with the vote they cast on the Iraqi Resolution that gave President Bush a blank check to prosecute the war when he decides to do so. I opposed the Iraqi Resolution and believe the President must make his case to the American people before sending our armed forces in harms way.

Please visit my website at and I hope to see you at a future Meetup!

Thank You
Howard Dean


Dean on the Confederate Flag in South Carolina

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

The flag of the Confederacy, emblem of the Southern Strategy but not much else, is a trap for Democrats. The Charlotte Observer has a story about how the issue was addressed by the various Democratic candidates:

So far, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, a New York civil rights activist, all have spoken out against the flag.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has said in interviews that the flag is a divisive symbol and that he opposes it on the State House grounds. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has said he doesn't personally support the flag, but he believes it's a local issue.

The controversy had quieted until earlier this month. Newly elected Gov. Mark Sanford irritated some fellow Republicans by asking Darby, who supports the boycott, to give the inaugural invocation.

The same week, Gephardt was asked his position on the flag. In an interview with The (Columbia) State, he declined to take sides. Then he quickly revised his position in a news release saying South Carolina should remove the Confederate flag from any official display anywhere in the state.

Note that only Dean has taken the states' rights position, which is intellectually consistent with his attitudes towards civil unions and gun control (especially since the President has absolutely no authority on the matter, only the SC legislature).


Dean Defense Forces: RNC talking points

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

by way of Hesiod, this is a link to the Republican National Committee's talking points on Dean. Essential reading for the Dean Defense Forces. Note the resurgence of the "ultra liberal" theme that I mentioned in my earlier post. Here are some of the major points:

If Elected President, Dean Would Honor Civil Unions As A Matter Of National Policy

"'As president of the United States, I will recognize civil unions, which will then allow full equality under the law as far as the federal government is concerned,' Dean said in a speech to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Philadelphia." (Ross Sneyd, "Dean Would Recognize Civil Unions As President," [Barre-Montpelier] Times Argus, September 14, 2002)

Note how the implication is that Dean would force civil unions on et rest of the country, when Dean's actual quote was that this is an issue for states and that the federal government would not interfere (as the quote clearly attests!)


The Centerpiece Of Governor Dean's Presidential Platform Is Budget-Busting Universal Health Care.

Dean Has Said He Would Repeal Most Of President Bush's Tax Cut In Order To Fund His National Health Insurance Program. "Dean not only advocates universal health insurance but also tells audiences that Vermont already has moved in that direction. . . . How to pay for this? Simple, says Dean. Roll back virtually all of President Bush's tax cut of 2001 . . . ." (David S. Broder, "For '04 Run, A Walk In Carter's Shoes," The Washington Post, July 12, 2002)

Here they are equating Dean's incremental approach to health care with the Hillary Plan, and ignoring all mention of the success of teh Dr. Dynasaur plan upon which Dean's proposed plan would be modeled. Also, they claim that Bush's tax cut is "mainstream" - synonymous with "richest 5%" in their usage.

There is much more detail on these and other issues (including his critique of teh education billo, which has even been attacked by other conservatives).

Dean MUST find a clear way to articulate his defense from these charges in tiny soundbites, or he is absolutely toast. This is a mortal threat. And that's where we, the Dean Defense Forces, come in. DDF regulars, please respond in the comments thread below with your suggestions for Deanbites.

Hilariously, one of their points is that Dean is "at odds with fellow Democrats".

Monday, January 27, 2003


Presidency beckons for a Yale prankster

posted by B at Monday, January 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Yale Daily News presents a glimpse at Dean's background at Yale, graduating in 1971, and identifying with the Beatle's Walrus:

"He loved the album, ran around singing it all the time, and seemed to land on 'I am the Walrus,'" Bill Kerns '71 said. "When you ran into him singing 'I am the Walrus' you knew he was identifying with it and laughing at himself in the same breath. We all sang along with Howard, buzzed by his phenomenal energy."

Now, the former Beatles-belting Yalie and longtime governor of the nation's 49th-most populous state is trying to harness this energy in his campaign for the presidency....

Robson, an Iowa native and resident, said he has been following Dean's progress in the state, which holds the nation's first caucus and has traditionally played a key role in the presidential nomination process. Robson said politicians often think the race comes down to "who can pump the most money into the media machine."

But Robson added that the American populace is "not that stupid."

"He's going to surprise a lot of people," Robson said. "I've had a dozen different people in Iowa come back to me after meeting him and say they were very impressed with him, with how he relates to people. I think people are underestimating how well he'll do, especially in Iowa."


Working hard... for you!

posted by annatopia at Monday, January 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
By popular demand, Aziz has created a bumper sticker which prominently features the official Dean campaign website address!
Click on the link to see the new sticker, then take a few moments to browse the rest of the products. Buy now and buy often!

UPDATE (by Aziz) : I'd just like to make a note, that merchandise from the Dean store is NOT the best way to contribute financially to the Dean campaign. If you want to support Dean, the best way is to contribute money directly to Dean, not to cafepress. The Dean merchandise is important, in that it helps raise Dean's profile and gets the word out - which is essential to Dean's campaign (because it broadens the pool of potential contributors!). And items like Dean 2004 bumper stickers are critical in helping to build that critical mass which Dean will need to conquer Iowa and NH and ultimately, the nomination.

But, if you have a fixed budget, and have to choose between buying a bumper sticker or sending three bucks to Dean's campaign, donate, don't buy. Dean will benefit more from the direct donation than he will from the sticker show of support. Right now it's crunch time for his campaign.

Of course, if you can afford it, please do buy Dean merchandise (especially Dean 2004 bumper stickers). Dean needs all the help he can get, and the stickers are a powerful way to build his "brand". I just wanted to clarify the priorities, however, not scare you away from buying Deanstuff :)


Is Howard Dean for real?

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

A scathing article in Roll Call insinuates that Dean's critique of Kerry is hypocritical:

Is Howard Dean For Real? Well, Not Entirely
By Morton M. Kondracke
Roll Call Contributing Writer
January 27, 2003

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean ought to do well in the Iowa Democratic caucuses — unless the anti-war folks out there find out where he really stands on Iraq.

Unfortunately, the full text of teh article is available to subscribers only. If anyone can provide a transcript, please email!

Sunday, January 26, 2003


Dean rips Kerry for two-sided policy on Iraq

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the Boston Herald, more about Dean's criticism of Kerry's inconsistency about war with Iraq:

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Dean noted tartly that Kerry (D-Mass.) and other Democratic White House hopefuls voted last fall to give President Bush authority to use military force against Iraq.

``Now they're trying to say, ``We tried to constrain the president,' '' Dean told reporters in the leadoff primary state. ``Nonsense. They all voted to give the president a blank check.''
Dean's sharp words came as Kerry delivered a major foreign policy address at Georgetown University, ripping into Bush for failing to build international support as he pushes toward a risky war with Iraq.

``I say to the president, show respect for the process of international diplomacy because it is not only right, it can make America stronger - and show the world some appropriate patience in building a genuine coalition,'' Kerry said. ``Mr. President, do not rush to war.''

After his speech, Kerry took heat from a student questioner who asked him to explain how he could have voted to approve the use of force against Iraq in his Senate vote last fall while now criticizing Bush's push toward war.

``I don't see any inconsistency at all,'' said Kerry, noting that at the time of his Senate vote, he called on Bush to work with the U.N. before going to war.

``I believe leaving this man (Saddam Hussein) unfettered with nuclear weapons is unacceptable,'' added Kerry.

Kerry contradicts himself with his last statement, by basically endorsing Bush's characterization of the Iraq war as all about WMD. Kerry is trying to have it both ways. His comment that he "called on Bush" to work with the UN is irrelevant - after all, Bush technically DID consult with the UN. And if he really wanted to "call on" Bush to do anything, he should have voted no.

Reading to the end of the article, Kerry tried to critique Bush, but is unable to do so with the same clarity as Dean, given that he is hamstrung by his own record:

Kerry sketched a broad vision urging enlightened American engagement with nations and cultures that are the breeding grounds for terrorism such as the Arab world.

``I am here today to reject the narrow vision of those who would build walls to keep the world out - or who would prefer to strike out on our own instead of forging coalitions,'' said Kerry. ``As much as some in the White House may desire it, America can't opt out of a networked world.''

The United States, Kerry said, should work with Arab nations to build democracies and encourage economic development. ``What America needs today is a smarter, more comprehensive and far-sighted policy for modernizing the Middle East,'' said Kerry.

Does any of this make any sense? "enlightened American engagement" ? "work with" Arab nations? "more comprehensive" policy? These are empty words that sound like critiqe but have absolutely no meaning. Unlike Dean, who has invoked the Marshall Plan and has been very specific, Kerry is floundering with empty rhetoric, the kind that conservatives will have absolutely no problem tearing apart into the empty shreds that they are.

Saturday, January 25, 2003


"We're not going to beat Bush with Bush lite"

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, January 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

The Christian Science Monitor has a report from a Dean interview with the press in Concord. Excellent story, with great soundbites of Dean in full I-am-different mode. It reveals that Dean has taken to referring to his primary opponents as "the four guys from Congress" which is a brilliant catchphrase. Excerpts follow:

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean accused his Democratic presidential primary opponents yesterday of trying to run against the very Republican policies they'd supported in Congress.

"I think our party is suffering because we keep nominating people who will say anything they have to say to get elected," he said.
"Our candidates think the best way to get elected is to talk to everybody about voting for things like the leave-every-school board-behind education bill, which is going to cost the New Hampshire taxpayers $109 million," he said. ". . . . I can't wait for those four guys from Congress to come up here and explain to us why they wanted to raise your property taxes after they supported a tax cut for the wealthiest people in America," he said.

Dean also criticized his opponents for voting to give Bush a "blank check" on military intervention in Iraq - and, now, changing their tune on the issue.

"Today, they're running around telling you folks they're all anti-war," he said. (Later, he acknowledged that Lieberman's vote was consistent with the senator's comparatively "hawkish" position on Iraq.) "We're never going to elect a president that does those things. If I voted for the Iraq resolution, I'd be standing in favor, supporting it right now in front of you."
Al Qaida is a far greater menace than Saddam at the moment, Dean said, and Bush has not done enough to deprive such fundamentalist terrorist networks of the American oil money that helps fund their organizations.

"We can do better, but it requires a renewable energy policy and an oil conservation policy that makes sense," Dean said. "We are not going to change that unless we change presidents."

So Democrats, he concluded, must nominate a candidate who can win.

"Remember," he said, "we're not going to beat Bush with Bush lite."

Dean didn't spare Bush in thesed remarks, but it's good to note that he is spending equal time bashing Bush and differentiating himself from his opponents - in the context of bashing Bush!


Dean Defense Forces

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, January 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As Dean's star rises, he has started to draw fire from the GOP infrastructure. This is a good thing in that Dean is lent legitimacy by their attacks - after all, it proves he is a threat. But at the same time it is important to address these nascent talking points, still in their draft forms, before they can balloon out of control and do serious damage during the real election. Remember that Gore never really recovered from the "I invented the Internet" smear, nor did Clinton ever escape the "definition of "is" is" attack - even though both of these were ultimately defensible statements which were twisted into hostile conventional wisdom. And Dean's habit of being open and saying what he thinks is fuel for these fires. Below are two examples of these "attack bites".

Attack Bite #1: "Bush is the Taliban"

During Dean's NARAL speech, Yahoo reports Dean to have said:

Dean's medical background gave him an aura of credibility, but it may have been undercut by some jarring rhetoric. One example: Criticizing the Bush administration for steps to curb abortion, he said that if they continued on that path, soon U.S. women wouldn't be able to go to school. The implicit comparison was to the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

This was interpreted by Glenn Reynolds as equivalent to "Bush is the Taliban". The best response to this mischaracterization is to point out that Dean was criticizing the Administration, not Bush personally. Second, that while there may be an implicit comparison, that is not the same as a direct one. Third, the point was an analogy, not a literal equating of the two. The main point to repeat is that the Administration's policies towards women demonstrate little concern for women as sovereign entities capable of making their own decisions.

AttackBite #2: "Dean is a hyperliberal"

Dean has many conservative positions on his issues pages, including a pragmatic and localized approach to gun control, and policies of tight fiscal responsibility. This gives him crossover appeal, which makes him dangerous to conservative opponents in ways that the other contenders (Kerry, Edwards) are not. Thus there is a growing attempt to paint Dean as a "Kennedy" liberal (which is also unfair to Senator Kennedy, but Kennedy supporters can run their own blog in his defense). The standard ammunition for this attack is Dean's historic and courageous stand on gay unions while serving as Governor.

Stanley Kurtz, neoconservative warrior, wrote an attack piece on Dean's stand during the wane of the 200 election. In certain ways, it is remarkably prescient (though not in the way that Kurtz would prefer). Prior to that, there were dire predictions of disaster as outcome of Dean's decision. And conservative bloggers have already experimented with the "Dean is so liberal, he has no chance" dismissal.

The meme is spreading - Howard Fineman (noted for his vacous approach to commentary) has recently penned an article that leads with, "Sharpton aside, [Dean] is the most left-leaning of the candidates." and is generally dismissive in the "another outsider trying to make a splash" vein.

Fineman also mischaracterizes Dean's support of universal health care as akin to Hillary Clinton's enormous plan. This is likewise grossly false, and plays right into the GOP talking points. Dean actually favors an incremental approach, outlined by Charles in the coments:

[Dean's approach] expands medicaid to all people under 23 (who are cheapest to insure), add a prescription benefit to medicare and subsidize small businesses and the self-employed between 23 and 65. Dean says that he favors this method because it will win the support of, among other groups, small businesses.

The best response to these attacks is to be aware of and strongly emphasize Dean's actual positions on the issues. Since he has no legislative record, watch for any conservative successes to be ascribed to the Vermont legislature than credited to him, but liberal decisions hanged upon his peg. This is a tricky meme to combat because it requires detailed knowledge of Dean's record as Governor as well as all of his positions on the issues.

Friday, January 24, 2003


Jeffords on Dean: "The next President"

posted by Chuckie at Friday, January 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords (I) announced his support for the candidacy of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean at a Washington fundraiser today.

“I came here for one reason,” said Jeffords, who arrived in the middle of Dean’s speech, “I wanted to be with the next President of the United States.”

The event, which took place in the house of a supporter in Washington’s Seward Square, was unexpectedly well attended. As many as 150 people crowded the house, each donating between $25 and $250 towards Dean’s efforts to qualify for federal matching funds. People were pressed up against one another from the front to the back door, with people looking down from the second-floor balcony, unable to make it down the stairs due to the size of the gathering.

In what was perhaps the most memorable line of his speech to the packed house, Dean said, “anyone who embraces supply-side economics has a serious cognitive problem.” Also covered at the event were Dean’s views on missile defense (Dean supports boost-phase missile defense instead of what he termed Bush’s “intergalactic” system) and the death penalty (Dean supports it in cases where a child or a police officer is murdered but does not consider it to be a deterrent. Vermont does not have the death penalty).


Dean a hit at north Texas fundraiser

posted by annatopia at Friday, January 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
update: Texans (and everyone else, of course ::smile::), click here to donate online and help the Dean campaign reach the $5000 goal!

Wednesday night I attended a Dean fundraiser in Dallas, Texas, hosted by Dr Adam Starr and his wife Heidi. First I'd like to say a big thank you to the Starrs for opening their home to us, and for being incredibly gracious and enthusiastic Dean supporters. Now onward with the update...

The fundraiser was a small but successful event. Everyone who attended ended up writing checks, and some were so charged up after hearing Dean speak that they have promised to help organise future fundraisers. Dr Starr created a very informative handout which explained how the federal matching funds work. Essentially, Dean must raise $5000 in twenty states (these contributions must be made in increments of $250 or less) in order to be eligible for federal matching funds. This is why it's so important to raise this money now: the sooner Dean gets the funding, the better chance he has to become the Democratic nominee. We fell slightly short of reaching the $5000 goal, so I'd strongly encourage my fellow Texans to please contribute to the campaign. Every dollar counts! If you make a donation, please notify me so I can notify Dr Starr and the Dean headquarters. I'd love to report that we reached our goal here in Texas!

The hilight of the evening was a phone call from our candidate, which Dr Starr kindly took the time to arrange. Dr Dean called us from his son's hockey game ("I'm on a cellphone and it's fifteen degrees here, so if I get cut off I'll call you right back!") and spoke for about fifteen minutes before taking questions. While he was speaking, you could hear the passion in his voice. Clearly this is a man who believes in what he's saying. He'll also talk your ear off if you give him the chance (::smile::). He was articulate and honest, and didn't dance around any questions (how refreshing!). He radiated enthusiasm, and by the end of the night I had no doubt in my mind that Howard is the candidate I'll be supporting.

Here is a brief summary of the questions which were asked:

Dr Adam Starr: "When are you coming to Dallas?"
Dean: "February or March."
Dr Starr: "How are you going to convince an oil rich state like Texas to move to renewable sources of energy?"
Dean: "I'm not going to do anything to hurt Texas. What I'd like to see is better standards for fuel efficiency, to cut emissions and to lower fuel consumption by cars and SUVs".

Me: "Hello Howard! It's so nice to finally speak to you. My name is Anna and I help run the Dean blog..."
Dean: (interrupting me) "Oh, are you one of the people from the site that's been sending people our way to make donations?"
Me: "Yes sir, that's us."
Dean: "I love you guys! You're great!" (serious enthusiasm in his voice here)
Me: "You just made my day, sir! Now seeing as I'm on the internet, I've had the opportunity to get a list of questions from some friends, and most of them focus on privacy. First I'd like to ask you about the Total Information Awareness Office. Do you feel the intelligence community has all the information it needs to keep Americans safe, and if so how do you feel about the TIA?"
Dean: "Well, since I'm not privy to the information the intelligence community has, I'm not sure whether they have what they need. However, I am troubled by the privacy issues raised by the creation of the TIA. And if I am elected, I'll be more informed and better able to make this judgement."
Me: "Okay, let's keep talking about privacy. Would you support repealing the PATRIOT Act?"
Dean: "I would support repealing parts of the PATRIOT Act."
Me: "Well for example, the PATRIOT Act lets law enforcement come into our homes and conduct searches without a warrant, and they don't even have to tell us they were there. How do you feel about that?"
Dean: "That is completely unconstitutional! I would repeal that part and any other part of the PATRIOT Act that violates our Constitution."
Me: "Excellent. With this being the thirtieth anniversary of Roe V Wade, I have one more question. Would you support a litmus test (meaning a pro-choice stance) for Supreme Court judges?"
Dean: "Now I hope you all know my stance on abortion. I am pro-choice. However, I would not support a litmus test because I think it's unfair. Just as it is unfair for Republicans to support litmus tests for the Supreme Court, it would be unfair for me to do that. But I would take that issue into consideration when picking a nominee. I would nominate judges who are balanced, but in all fairness I couldn't support a litmus test."

Paul: "How do feel about Bush's faith-based initiatives?" At this point I'm going to paraphrase because I can't recall -exactly- how he said this. Regardless, the gist of his response was that he supports some faith-based initiatives because he believes that charities do very good work. However, he does not support giving tax money to organisations who do not abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. He stated that if elected, he would try and ensure that organisations that discriminate would not receive federal funding.

As you can see, Dr Dean doesn't dodge the hard issues, and he doesn't say something he doesn't believe just because his audience wants to hear it. He speaks his mind and believes passionately that the country is "going in the wrong direction." He is a compelling figure... a real idea man who doesn't seem to have a problem with the "vision thing". It seems to me that once Dean is given an opportunity to present his message, he converts people on the spot.

It's not hard to support a candidate who is willing to fight for the good of the country instead of on behalf of corporate interests and campaign contributors. And it's obvious that Dean is not going to be your typical scripted, poll-chasing candidate. He is a true man of honor, and he deserves your support.


Dean for America .com redesigned

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The official campaign website for the Dean campaign has had a very nice overhaul. Not much new content yet, but the site is far more professional. One minor gripe is that (IMHO) there should be links to Dean netroot support websites (particularly this one :) on the front page, perhaps in the left column below "We Need Your Support". The Dean Meetup site icon: should also be featured prominently on the sidebar.

I've actually spoken with Joe Trippi, Dean's media consultant, via email and he has mentioned that this redesign is going to encompass much more than mere layout changes. I've asked for an archive of Dean speeches and video, and transcripts, I hope they are able to deliver. Joe also promises that Dean will send the DeanBlog a personal message shortly, so keep tuned right here :)

The main advantages of fervent netroot support are communities. The Dean Forum is one, Dean Meetup is another, as are the considerable number of readers on this site who frequent the comments section and send us email about new content. Unlike email lists, these foster an interactive atmosphere without the intrusion and clutter in a mailbox. I hope the Dean campaign can effectively leverage these resources, because after all we share the same goals.


Dean speech to NARAL - video, analysis

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
C-SPAN has updated their site with a link to Dean's speech to NARAL this week (link via LiberalOasis) :

 CSPAN Video: NARAL speeches

In addition, TNR has an analysis of the speech up. The article analyses each of the candidates speeches to the powerful pro-choice group, and unsurprisingly, Dean gets the best reviews

Edwards's NARAL speech was another unexpected dud. Edwards is still better at retail politics than he is at wholesale politics. The charm he exudes in small groups rarely comes across before large audiences.
Joe Lieberman's speech was short and mono-thematic. Here it is in digest form: "We value women's health. ... Those are our values. ... American values. ... Constitutional values. ... Constitutional and American values. ... Neither side has a monopoly of values ... an American value ... an American value ... an American value. ... I am pro-values."
The candidate who most needed to reassure NARAL, though, was Gephardt. For his first decade in the House, Gephardt was staunchly pro-life. ... For a politician who is known for being emotionally restrained, or even inert, Gephardt gave a deeply personal and eloquent speech about his journey from young prolife Baptist to seasoned pro-choice presidential candidate. He was insistent that he had endured a long personal struggle with his conscience over this issue.
While most of the candidates wrapped their pro-choice beliefs in the soft glow of moral language and studiously ignored the most difficult issues of abortion policy, Dean did the opposite. His style is to grab the political live wire that everyone else is terrified of touching. And so Dean took partial-birth abortion, NARAL's most controversial and difficult-to-defend position, and made it the centerpiece of his speech, insisting that the term itself was an artifice manufactured by the right. "This is an issue about nothing," he proclaimed to the most boisterous applause of the evening. He then moved on to the next most divisive issue: parental notification. One of his twelve-year-old patients became pregnant after she was raped by her father, the Vermont physician said. "You explain that to the American people who think that parental notification is a good idea."
Next to Edwards's speech, Kerry's was the least memorable of the evening. It was a serviceable restatement of Kerry's commitment to all the issues NARAL cares about. There was even a sort of checklist at the end of it: "No overturning Roe v. Wade. No packing of the courts with judges hostile to choice. No denial of choice to poor women. No outlawing of a procedure necessary to save a woman's life or physical health. No more cutbacks on population-control efforts around the world." Kerry probably had the least need to impress this audience. His first Senate speech in 1985 was about abortion rights, and he's been a reliable ally to groups like NARAL ever since.

The article also mentions that just as Dean has inherited most of Bradley's campaign infrastructure, so has Kerry inherited Gore's.

However, a Yahoo report on the same event has a less flattering view:

Dean's medical background gave him an aura of credibility, but it may have been undercut by some jarring rhetoric. One example: Criticizing the Bush administration for steps to curb abortion, he said that if they continued on that path, soon U.S. women wouldn't be able to go to school. The implicit comparison was to the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Glenn picked up on this report, characterizing it as "Dean says Bush is the Taliban" - which I think is unfair. The Yahoo story clearly says that the analogy was implicit. Dean never mentioned the Taliban, and he critiqued the Administration, not Bush.

Thursday, January 23, 2003


Get more on Dean

posted by B at Thursday, January 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Here are some of the bloggers commenting on Dean's recent performance, or otherwise: Liberal Oaisis, MyDD, Political Parrhesia, Left in the West, Pleasant, Backup Brain, Into the Breach,

Dean's now led the straw vote poll for the Democratic nominee for three weeks in a row, out-polling the second place finisher Kerry by nearly a 2:1 margin.

From Vermont, here's Seven Days VT's snippet on Dean in DC:

Deanwatch 2004 — No shortage of glowing reviews of Howard Dean’s fiery performance Saturday at the Lind County Democratic Dinner in Marion, Iowa. Ho-Ho shared the podium with Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. John Kerry. C-Span ran the speeches twice on Sunday evening. The contrast between the new guy and the established veterans was like that between two lighted matches flickering in the wind and a bonfire of political sanity.

Dr. Dean opened his 25-minute speech by taking on the issue of the day — Bush’s announced opposition to the affirmative-action program at the University of Michigan School of Law.

“I was deeply, deeply disappointed,” said Dean, “more so than I’ve ever been after a long series of disappointments with President Bush’s administration, when the President last week went before a national television audience.”

Bush “used the word ‘quota’ seven times on national television. The University of Michigan does not have a quota system,” noted Dean, his voice rising with passion. “It never did have a quota system. The word ‘quota’ is designed to foster racial divisiveness and to encourage people to be fearful that other folks are going to take their jobs. That is a disgrace,” shouted Ho-Ho, “for the president of the United States to ever use that word!”

The audience roared. He had them eating out his hand as he strode though a litany of George Bush’s failures, from the economy and foreign policy to health care and education. “We can do better,” was his ringing refrain.

He ridiculed Bush’s “No Student Left Behind” Bill, as the “No Teacher Left Standing” Bill. Members of the audience leapt from their seats when Dean declared himself the only presidential hopeful who opposed the Iraq resolution. He was on fire!

On energy policy, Dean joked that he’d noticed the cars in the parking lot. “I’m not asking you to get out of your SUVs and trucks,” said the Vermonter, “but I want mileage standards for SUVs and trucks that are the same for the rest of the fleet.”

More applause. And a standing ovation when he got to civil unions. Ho-Ho learned forward, rested one elbow on the podium and told the hushed crowd, “I did not do this for gays and lesbians. I did this for America,” said Dean. “I want to be the president where everyone in America has equal rights under the law.”

Should he be the Democratic nominee, said Dr. Dean, “I can’t wait to stand next to George Bush in the debates and have him explain to Americans why everybody, even though they’re willing to go to Afghanistan and die for this country, shouldn’t have equal rights under the law when they get back. I can’t wait to see the President of the United States explain that.”

Tuesday’s ABC News “Political Note” put it best: “If you saw the reaction to Dean’s Saturday night speech and you still don’t think he can be a serious player in the Iowa caucuses (and maybe win them), you need to recalibrate your brain.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


Video on C-SPAN: Dean in Iowa

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
C-SPAN has updated their site with a link to Dean's speech at the Linn County Iowa Democratic Fundraising Dinner :

 CSPAN Video

If anyone can send in a transcript, please let us know! This speech is fantastic...

Monday, January 20, 2003


Fiery Dean draw cheers over Kerry, Gephardt in Iowa

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Reuters has a report about the Iowa event this Saturday where Dean, Gephardt, and Kerry all presented themselves to Iowa democrats. By all accounts, Dean came across strong:

The standing-room-only dinner gave the candidates their first major showcase in Iowa, and they used it to take turns bashing Bush and offering their vision for the nation.
The fiery Dean earned the night's biggest cheers, drawing a huge roar when he hammered Bush for characterizing Michigan's college admissions policy a quota system and when he said Democrats have failed to stand up for their principles.

He won a partial standing ovation when he said he was the only Democrat in the presidential field to oppose the congressional resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. Kerry and Gephardt, who both voted for the resolution, sat quietly.

"I came here leaning toward Kerry and I still am," Genie Oster, a student at the University of Iowa, said after the speeches. "But I was really, really impressed with Dean. I didn't know anything about him before tonight."

Nick Maybanks, a prosecutor in Iowa City and head of the local Sierra Club (news - web sites) chapter, said he was inspired by the evening to "go out and spread the word about John Kerry." But he said he had not completely made up his mind, adding he would "leave a little space open for Howard Dean."

"I really enjoyed him, he got everyone psyched up," he said. "I'm going to have more chances to talk to him and I'm going to hear a lot more speeches. We have plenty of time."

If any readers of the DeanBlog can provide us a transcript of the event, we would be grateful. CSPAN carried Dean's speech but they do not yet have a video link up on their website. We will post more information as soon as we get any.


A Doctor's Certainty

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

This is a weekend Washimngton Post story on Dean - another first-person narrative from someone attending Dean's speech at the National Press Club (Charles has previously blogged extensive coverage and photos of that event). Fairly straight forward coverage, cautiously optimistic, draws all teh usual historical parallels. The meat of the article is Dean's focus on his potential base of support:

"I intend to win," Dean says, which is what they all say -- except he lists his constituencies. One, of course, is gays, who are grateful for his signing of Vermont's civil unions law.

This could make white southerners see red, but Dean says those alienated could be balanced out by a showing by blacks, who he says "respond to my message that I want everyone to be free." One of his African American Yale roommates is organizing for the South Carolina primary.

He thinks he will appeal to fiscal conservatives, because he is the only Democrat in the field who has balanced a budget: He was governor of Vermont. He'll have doctors, he says. They would obviously like one of their own to preside in the overhaul of the health insurance situation.

A less defined constituency, and one that would not mind his deficits of fame and fortune, is that group of people who have a low threshold for guff in their political candidates. So far Dean is the class of the field in that respect. "They're looking for authenticity," he said.

I also liked the clever question, "Will he just provide therapy for liberals whose only comfort is derived from "The West Wing's" lefty Yankee president, Josiah Bartlet?" Guilty as charged, perhaps.


Dean's farewell address to the Vermont Legislature

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 20, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm not sure if the link will work, but this is a link to C-SPAN's video of Dean's farewell address to the Vermont Legislature, on Jan. 12th 2003. You can also access it by going to the CSPAN webpage and searching for "Howard Dean" in the search box. CSPAN says that video may be pulled from eth archive after 15 days, so this may not be up for much longer.

 CSPAN Video

Sunday, January 19, 2003


Gary Hart in the race?

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 19, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Gary Hart has announced his deliberations regarding a run for President in 2004 (Can't these guys just say, "I'm running", and be done with it?) By all accounts, Hart is an intelligent man, but given that he has been off the stage for 20 years, his stance on the various issues is almost totally unknown. They have set up a campaign website, however, and he is attracting attention. How this factors into Dean's candidacy is anyone's guess (feel free to speculate wildly on the Dean Forum! :)

The Washington POst has a short piece on Hart's decision, revealing him to have a sense of humor:

Hart's Web site describes him as "a new elder statesman" and his Web biography lists his background as a "prolific author, lecturer, teacher, scholar and attorney." But the event that ended Hart's 1988 presidential run is not mentioned – his romantic involvement with a young model named Donna Rice.

Hart, who practices international law in Denver, has been married for 44 years.

When Hart was asked earlier this month how he would answer questions about the Rice episode, he laughed and said: "Maybe it won't come up."

Saturday, January 18, 2003


Dean: GOP "Full of liars"

posted by Chuckie at Saturday, January 18, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The New York Times Magazine ran an article by Tucker Carlson (the guy with the bowtie on "Crossfire") about how the Democratic party can rejuvinate itself. Carlson called Dean, who came out swinging:

Will the Democrats get one in 2004? To find out, I called Howard Dean, the former longtime governor of Vermont and newly announced candidate for the White House. Parties are often revived by insurgents from within them -- Reagan, Gingrich -- and Dean is nothing if not an insurgent. Plus, I'd heard that he's a straight-shooter.

He is. While other candidates divulge their positions on uncomfortable social issues almost parenthetically, Dean leads with his. He is for needle exchanges, unrestricted abortion and civil unions between homosexuals, and he's happy to tell you about it. Most politicians squirm at the mention of partial-birth abortion. Not Dean. ''Partial-birth abortion is a manufactured issue,'' he says. ''It's [expletive]. Partial-birth abortion essentially doesn't exist.'' And even if it does, ''it isn't any of Congress's business.''

Dean isn't surprised by the Trent Lott scandal. The Republican Party is fundamentally hostile to blacks and Hispanics, he says, riddled as it is with ''institutional racism.'' It's also full of liars. ''I find the Republican Party pretty bankrupt intellectually,'' Dean says, adding that he doesn't read anything written by conservatives. Nothing? ''No.'' Are there any conservatives who are intellectually honest? ''I don't think so. I can't think of any.'' He sounds cheery as he says this.

Does this come off as a little too harsh? Just because you're a straight-shooter doesn't mean that you can't hold your fire now and then.

Friday, January 17, 2003


Mosely-Braun may enter presidential race

posted by annatopia at Friday, January 17, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I realise this isn't Dean-specific, but felt it would be of interest. Apparently former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun is considering entering the race for the Presidency. She is expected to attend the Democrat's annual winter gathering, and may annouce her candidacy before the event. Mosely-Braun has the distinction of being the first black female elected to the Senate, but was unseated after serving only one term.

If she enters the race, Mosely-Braun isn't expected to be a major contender. However, her presense may lead to a more expansive debate. It would also be an historic event, marking the first time a black American female has ever run for the highest office in the land.

As an aside, I was happy to see that the article listed Governor Dean first among the Democratic contenders. Is this a sign that the press is beginning to take him more seriously?

Thursday, January 16, 2003


Howard Dean fundraiser in north Texas

posted by annatopia at Thursday, January 16, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If anyone in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area would like to attend a cocktail party fundraiser in support of Howard Dean, please visit the link above. The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise $5000 in contributions of $250 or less so that the campaign will be eligible for federal matching funds.

The fundraiser will be held next Wednesday, January 22 at 6:30pm. If you can make it, we'd love to have you. For more information, including address and phone number, please visit that link. Thank you!

Disclaimer: The link above leads to my own blog. Opinions expressed do not neccessarily reflect those of the Dean blog contributors or the candidate.


Clarification: Dean quotes on the issues

posted by annatopia at Thursday, January 16, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Prompted by a comment left by Ariella, I found some direct statements which clarify Dean's stance on some "hot-button" issues.

Dean on gun control: "If you say "gun control" in Vermont or Tennessee, or Colorado, people think you want to take away their hunting rifle. If you say "gun control" in New York or L.A., people are happy to see Uzi's or illegal handguns taken off the streets. I think Vermont ought to be able to have a different set of laws than California. Let's keep and enforce the federal gun laws we have, close the gun show loophole using Insta-check, and then let the states decide for themselves what if any gun control laws they want. We need to get guns off the national radar screen if Democrats are ever going to win again in the South and the West, and if we can't win in the South and the West, we can't win national elections. In 2000, guns cost us at least West Virginia, Tennessee, and Montana, and with them the Presidency of the United States. Just as we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our school systems and what kind of welfare programs to have, we need to resist attempts to tell states how to deal with guns beyond existing Federal law."

Dean on the environment: "There are few things we in public office can leave to our children and their children more important than the spectacular wilderness, clean waters and healthy forests that we now enjoy. One hundred years from now, long after my governorship has ended, Vermonters will continue to hike, camp, hunt, fish, farm and log lands that will be forever undeveloped. Vermont's population may triple in that time, yet our essential character as a state will remain unchanged because we have protected more than one million acres of land from development... We have to make practical trade offs. We need houses, jobs and opportunities for growth. But we don't need to poison ourselves and our heritage in order to have growth."

Dean on fiscal policy: "Ask most Americans if they would rather have a tax cut or better health coverage, roads and bridges, and schools for their children, they will choose the latter. They also understand - despite hollow Republican promises - that we cannot do both. The budget must be balanced; we must build the Social Security Trust Fund; and we must invest in Health and Education once again."

Dean on children: "If this nation wants healthy adults and less expensive social programs, we need to cut back on the empty rhetoric so prevalent in Washington and make a serious investment in our children. Talking about children is not the same as nurturing children, and the American people know the difference."

Dean on health care: "As a doctor, I understand the fear facing families without health insurance. As a Governor, I am proud that virtually every child under 18 and more than 90 percent of adults in Vermont are eligible for health coverage. But as a country, the United States can do better on this front... Guaranteeing coverage to all Americans will involve a mix of state and federal programs, as well as the existing private sector. Similar to our program in Vermont, states should be required to guarantee coverage for all children under age 23. In return, the federal government should assume responsibility for drug and acute medical care for Americans over age 65."

Dean on foreign policy/defense/trade: "Our long range foreign policy ought to embrace nation building, not run from it... Defense is not just about building better bombs and intelligence capacity, although these are important. Good defense policy is also about long range vision, and that means engagement with the world."

These are simply a few snippets. Please visit the links and read the full quotes, as they are much more extensive than what I've posted. I also realise some of this may be a rehash to our return visitors, but with all the attention this site has been getting lately, I felt it was important to revisit these positions.


Doonesbury mentions Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 16, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
BY way of referrals from Eric, I noticed that Doonesbury has noticed Dean as well:

(January 8th, 2003 strip)

With Dean's recent media appearances and now this, there has been an enormous tidal wave of hits on the DeanBlog. I'd like to welcome Jeff and Charles to the blog team as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003


Dean news roundup

posted by Chuckie at Wednesday, January 15, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has exploded onto the pages of America's major newspapers today, partly because of his NPC speech and partly because of a new poll showing him in second place in New Hampshire. Here are some of the more important articles:

Vermont's Dean finds pace quickening on presidential run

From The Boston Globe:

At this point, Dean appears to have modeled his campaigning on Jimmy Carter's early start that led to the relatively unknown governor of Georgia winning the 1976 election, a strategy that has not worked as well for any presidential candidate since then.

''He'd like to play Jimmy Carter in the movie,'' said Democratic consultant Peter Fenn. ''But I'm not sure the movie script is the same as it was in 1976.''

Garrison Nelson, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, said that Dean has ''got three problems: demographics, strategy, and temperament.'' Dean has little experience reaching out to African-Americans, lacks a fund-raising or strong regional advantage, and has an abrupt manner that can be offputting, Nelson said.

Democrats Claim Niche Roles To Survive National Selection

From The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required):

Best to claim is the "governor" slot, since Americans in both parties demonstrably prefer executive to legislative experience in their potential presidents. Moreover, governors -- see Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- get the double benefit of being Washington outsiders.

In a field stacked with Washington legislators, former Gov. Howard Dean has grabbed both the "governor" and "outsider" slots. As a liberal physician calling for universal health coverage, he has a valuable added calling card with the sort of upscale suburban voters who backed candidates such as Gary Hart and Bill Bradley in past campaigns. But he is weakened by his small base in Vermont, which is far from ideal as a Democratic launch pad.

Democratic candidates called short on stature

From The Washington Times (who else?):

A rising dark horse is Mr. Dean, who appeals to his party's liberal wing. "Howard Dean has been here a lot, dozens of times, and I think he has had an impact among voters here," said New Hampshire Democratic state Chairman Kathleen Sullivan.

Hopeful Relishes His Outsider Role

From the Associated Press via the Los Angeles Times (login required, use laexaminer/laexaminer):

The 54-year-old physician told a packed room at the National Press Club on Tuesday that he's willing to challenge President Bush on his policies ranging from Iraq, to the administration's education plan, to its tax cuts. He argues that he is the outsider Democratic candidate free of any congressional entanglements and willing to take on the president on a variety of issues. Most others currently in the race are in Congress. The debate in Washington over whether to pass a $670-billion tax cut or a smaller version is missing the point, Dean said.

"I call this the Argentine fiscal policy," he said at the event sponsored by Atlantic Monthly and the New America Foundation. "We are headed down a path in this country of borrow and spend, borrow and spend....

"George Bush 41 had it right," Dean said, referring to the president's father. "It is voodoo economics, and Democrats ought to stand up to the president and say, 'The right thing to do is repeal your tax cut because it did nothing to stimulate the economy and not talk any more about tax cuts until we've found, Mr. President, how we're going to pay our bills.' " Dean said people in his party are "so afraid to talk about that because they see the president's popularity and think, 'Boy, people want tax cuts.' "

Dean criticized Bush's education plan, the No Child Left Behind Act, by calling it the "no school board left standing" act.


Kerry and Dean favored in latest new Hampshire poll

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, January 15, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
One of our alert readers (Thanks, Scott!) sent us a note with the following message: "I'm sure many will note that Dean has better name recognition in NH than in much of the rest of the country, but what the hell - name recognition in NH means a good showing in the primary, media attention... "

The poll showed Kerry at 27% and Dean at 15%. All other candidates (even Lieberman and Edwards) polled in single digits. According to the research firm conducting the poll, "With Gore out of the race, preference for Kerry has increased 17 percentage points and preference for Dean has increased 13 percentage points." Now granted, a majority of voters were still undecided, but a favorable showing in New Hampshire could add serious momentum to Dean's candidacy.

We'll continue to watch the polls as the campaign season draws near.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003


Dean speaks at National Press Club

posted by Chuckie at Tuesday, January 14, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This morning, presidential candidate and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean spoke at the National Press Club, where he drew sharp contrasts with President Bush on taxes, healthcare, education and Iraq and delved into specific policy proposals.

Dean’s speech was part of a “media briefing and national policy forum” entitled “What is the Real State of the Union?” held jointly by The Atlantic Monthly and the New America Foundation.

Dean was introduced by James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly, who introduced him in the context of what he called “the simultaneous opportunity and burden [Dean] has” as filling “the slot for the ‘interesting candidate.’” Dean opened the speech, which was significantly longer than the remarks he made to the AFL-CIO last Friday, with a not-so-subtle reminder that he is the only candidate with executive experience in the race for the Democratic nomination. Playing on the title of the event, Dean said, “I’m the only person in the room to have given a state of the State address.”

After the opening remarks, Dean launched into what is becoming the portion of his stump speech on the budget and tax policy, echoing statements he made on Friday that he served as governor through two recessions, balanced the budget, cut marginal income tax rates and improved Vermont’s bond rating from the worst in New England to the best. Dean then went on the offensive, noting that no Republican President has balanced the budget in 34 years and saying of the Bush economic policy, “I call this the Argentine Fiscal Policy” to muffled chuckles from the audience.

After calling for the repeal of Bush’s 2001 tax cut, Dean spoke about his plan to improve access to health care. The plan calls for expanding Medicare to cover everyone under 23 using Medicare, expanding Medicaid to cover prescription drugs for those over 65 and subsidizing private insurance for small businesses, the self-employed and others between 23 and 65. Dean said that the under-23 provisions of his plan, which have been implemented to a lesser extent in Vermont during his term as Governor, would be “dirt cheap” and could be accomplished by having states cover young people under Medicare in exchange for the federal government assuming responsibility for so-called “dual-eligibles,” or people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Dean said that this piecemeal approach is most feasible because it would not draw the ire of many of the interest groups (such as small businesses and insurance companies) that President Clinton’s health insurance scheme did. According to Dean, his plan would cost half as much as Bush’s tax cut.

Dean then went on to discuss education, referring to the No Child Left Behind Act as the “No School Board Left Standing Act” and calling the Act “bipartisan feel-good nonsense.” Dean savaged the Act as a large under-funded mandate that increases property taxes, classifies many good schools as failing, encourages states to lower their standards and forces schools to permit “constitutionally protected” school prayer and Boy Scout meetings.

Despite the pronouncement of Atlantic Monthly Managing Editor Cullen Murphy that today’s forum would focus on domestic affairs, Dean launched into an attack on Administration foreign policy. Asserting that Bush’s unilateralism and dismissive attitude toward cooperation was threatening economic “encirclement” from Europe and Asia, Dean drew a contrast between himself and former Vice President Al Gore, saying, “we can’t sign Kyoto” but rebuking Bush by asserting that “the tone could have been so much different.” On Iraq, Dean repeated his familiar mantra that “the President has not made his case.”

Closing his statements, Dean said, “Following is only part of leadership, the rest is leading.”

Following the speech, Dean took questions from the audience. When asked about trade, Dean took a somewhat different tack then he did at the AFL-CIO event, where he said simply that he would not sign a free trade agreement that did not include labor and environmental protections. Today, he elaborated for the decidedly different audience. Dean said that while labor organizations may favor labor and environmental protections as a way to restrict trade, he believes that trade was mutually beneficial and democracy-promoting only when it served to create a global middle class and that in the United States, that large middle class emerged only with the help of the labor movement.

On the issue of Social Security, Dean said that he opposed President Bush’s privatization plan because “unless you’re willing to say that you’ll let seniors starve” if they make bad investment choices, there would be large bailouts for retirees who lost a large portion of their investments. Instead, Dean said that he was in favor of having a government board invest a portion of the trust fund in non-Treasury securities.

In response to a question on drug policy, Dean said, “I am in favor if really hammering on dealers” and went on to say that in the case of users, drugs should be considered a public health problem.

The event, which ran all day, aired on C-SPAN 3.

I have additional commentary on my blog here.

Monday, January 13, 2003


It's official: Lieberman's in the race

posted by annatopia at Monday, January 13, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Senator Joseph Liberman has announced his intent to seek the Presidency in 2004:

"We must rise above politics and restore independence to the White House, not compromise our economic or environmental or health security for political contributors or extreme ideologues. We must rise above partisan politics and stand up for our values here at home, because family and faith and responsibility matter more than power and partisanship and privilege."

Personally, I do not believe that Senator Lieberman can beat George W Bush. Lieberman is one of those Democrats that makes me vote Green. What I mean by that is that Lieberman isn't distinguishable from many of his Republican counterparts. His voting record is very conservative, and like many congressional Democrats, he's caved in to almost every bad piece of legislation the Republicans have offered since 9/11. I don't believe this will be an attractive thing to the average Democrat on the street.

Overall, Lieberman's entry into the race should be a plus for Governor Dean. After all, it won't be very difficult for Dean to distinguish himself from a conservative like Lieberman. Lieberman may also push the traditionally independent New England voters toward the governor, and historically Lieberman has not played well in the "liberal west".

Overall I'm not quite sure why he's chosen to run. After all, it was the draw of Al Gore that led the majority of voters to the Democrats during the 2000 election - not Lieberman. Your thoughts?


Dean campaign website is back online

posted by annatopia at Monday, January 13, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I wanted to make sure that everyone is aware that as of this morning, the official Dean campaign website is back online. The site has not been updated yet (my earlier assumptions was incorrect), however, you may once again offer donations online.

Sunday, January 12, 2003


Netroots are still more organized than the campaign

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The official Dean For America campaign website is offline as of this writing, most likely to failure to renew the DNS registration. The campaign has made an effort to recognize its netroot support recently, for example Joe Trippi (Dean's media consultant) has actually contacted the admins of this blog indicating that Governor Dean may want to send us a message soon (we are extremely eager and await further reply). Hopefully it won't be the same text as the boilerplate fundraising email sent out last week:

Subject: Governor Dean needs your help...

Dear Supporter,

About a year ago, I started traveling across the United States to share my vision for our country with the American people.

I believed that the Governor of a small state with little national reputation could impact the nation by discussing the issues that directly impact the lives of all Americans.

We must have health care for every American. We must balance the budget. Our economic policies must benefit all our citizens, not those who need help the least. Our foreign policy must be consistent, coherent and done in partnership with our Allies, not in spite of them. And our nation must have a common sense leader who puts getting things done ahead of partisan ideology.

After visits to 21 states, including 15 trips to Iowa and 20 to New Hampshire, I have gone from "little known Governor" to presidential contender. My campaign has received tremendous press coverage including profiles in the New York Times and the Boston Globe as well as appearances on "Meet the Press", "This Week" and "Face the Nation" among others.

Now I really need your help. The last hurdle I have to clear is a credible fund raising effort. I know I will not be the candidate with the most money, but I am committed to being the candidate with the strongest grassroots support.

You can help by sending your contribution today. Doing so will not only infuse the campaign with much needed cash, it will help us become eligible for public financing. Once we have done so, the first $250 of each contribution will be matched dollar for dollar.

You can print out a contribution form or make a contribution directly at or mail your contribution to Dean for America at PO Box 1228, Burlington, VT 05402.

In addition, we need your help spreading the word about my campaign and our grassroots fundraising effort. Send this e-mail to all your family, friends and colleagues. Together, we can give our country a different kind of candidate with a different kind of campaign.

Thank you for your early support. Without your help, this campaign would not be possible.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Paid for by Dean for America, PO Box 1228, Burlington, VT 05402

Public Relations, Dean for America
P.O. Box 1228 - Burlington, VT 05402
(802)846-6600, (802)846-6606 Fax

Still, despite clear leadership from the campaign to the grassroots level, the netroots are self-organizing. For example, has a meetup page devoted to Howard Dean, which will be enormously useful to Dean supporters who want to organize. William Finkel, who works for the site, has these comments about

I think that our service can be a great asset to Governor Dean's campaign, in that we can allow for grassroots organizers to meet with other local supporters to coordinate and plan. We are currently in 477 US cities with over 100,000 memberes (in just 6 months), allowing us to have meetings in many cities where your supporters do not have an established structure. You can see what the page for this Meetup looks like at .

It's really up to the campaign whether it wants to give an official blessing to these kinds of netroot efforts or not - but they will likely happen regardless. Still, with some explicit outreach, the campaign can reap far greater rewards.

Saturday, January 11, 2003 down for maintenance?

posted by annatopia at Saturday, January 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I noticed that sometime during the past few days, Howard Dean's official campaign website has gone offline. Officials from the campaign recently stated that they intended to update the website sometime soon. I'm not 100% sure, but I assuming that this downtime is related to the planned upgrade.
Unfortunately, since the domain is defaulting to the homepage, the campaign is unable to accept online donations at the moment. If you'd like to contribute to the campaign, you may do so by emailing the following address:

Dean for America
P.O. Box 1228
Burlington, VT 05402

Friday, January 10, 2003


Dean accepts Wellstone Award

posted by B at Friday, January 10, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
By Charles D, guest blogger from We’re Left, They’re Wrong

This evening, former Vermont Governor and current presidential hopeful Howard Dean, MD appeared at the Capitol Hilton, blocks away from the White House, to accept the AFL-CIO’s first annual Paul Wellstone award.

During the reception that preceded the dinner and awards ceremony, the former Governor worked the crowd, which was full of the bud-light swilling, “NASCAR Democrats” to which Senator John Edwards hopes to lay claim. While schmoozing with AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and other labor bigwigs, Dean, who unlike the archetypal candidate, did not have anyone whispering in his ear, was followed by only one video camera and precious few still photographers. In fact, Dean did not have much of an audience at all, as witnessed by the fact that I physically bumped into him by accident on more than one occasion. One wonders if many of the attendees even recognized him.

At the dinner, your loyal correspondent was unmasked as a gatecrasher but still more or less tolerated. The shrimp was rubbery and the steak was a little on the cold side, but one can’t expect much better from hotel ballrooms. I sat next to the Director of Affiliations and Organizing of an education-related union and I asked him what he thought of Governor Dean. The most I could get out of him was that he believed that Dean had a dark horse, Carter-like quality.

Interrupting the assembled steelworkers, carpenters, teachers, electricians and their brethren from their white chocolate cheesecake was a video montage/tribute to the late Senator Wellstone, a man whose ability to rouse a crowd should be the envy of any aspiring Democratic presidential candidate.

Following the video presentation, Sweeney took the stage and introduced the awards. Contrary to the impression given by The Note and other sources, Dean was not the sole recipient of the Wellstone award. The Good Doctor shared the honor with California State Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, who recently shepherded the new labor relations law for migrant agricultural workers in California to passage. Burton’s speech was unremarkable until the conclusion, when he serenaded the delegates with a William Shatner-style spoken-word rendition of Pete Seeger’s “Talkin’ Union.”

After Burton finished his acceptance speech, the crowd learned from a procession of labor leaders that Dean had earned the Wellstone award for his support of collective bargaining for RN’s at the Fletcher Allen hospital, where Dean himself worked for 13 years. Executive Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers Nate LaCour quoted Dean as saying that if he were a nurse, he would support unionization.

Dean’s speech was rather short, which is to say that it was over before I knew it, but it packed a mid-size wallop. He wasn’t afraid to raise his voice, if only intermittently. There were no veins popping on Dean’s forehead, but then again, there were no yawns from the audience either.

During the body of the speech, Dean received two standing ovations. The first, for promising not to sign free trade agreements with out environmental or labor protections, was a attempt to draw the labor movement away from former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, who enjoyed strong union support when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988.

The other ovation for Dean (aside from the finale) was when he announced his commitment to universal health insurance “like every other industrialized country” and denounced the patient’s bill of rights as too much moderation and not enough actual progress. Once again the ovation was no surprise coming from this crowd.

To strong applause but no ovation, Dean said that “I personally believe [President Bush] hasn’t made his case” on Iraq.

Dean’s signing of Vermont’s civil unions law was not mentioned – Dean instead chose to speak entirely on the bread-and-butter economic issues that sustain the labor movement.

It has often been said of Dean that his record of fiscal conservatism is one of his greatest assets, a fact that he stressed. In what sounded like the seeds of a stump speech, Dean said that he is the only Democratic Governor to have served through two recessions. Of the Republicans responsibility for the current budget deficit, he said “they sure can’t handle money on the other side of the aisle.”

Perhaps most appealing to the liberal base that delivers primary victories, Dean said that the Democratic party has decided to “go along” with President Bush and that “we have forgotten what we stand for.”

In a veiled reference to Senator Trent Lott’s recent “slip of the tongue,” Dean said that “only the Democrats have endorsed diversity” and himself endorsed affirmative action as a remedy for the common (and understandable) phenomenon of hiring people with whom the person doing the hiring is familiar.

Overall, Dean seemed loose, animated, and generally able to hold the attention of the just-fed unionists, (a surprisingly large number of whom were vegetarian). It has occasionally been noted that Dean is rather short and thus might face the same “stature” problems that fellow former New England Governor Mike Dukakis faced. Given the way he projects his voice and his strong eye contact, he should be fine as long as no one takes a picture of him sitting in a tank.

Charles has more pictures here.

(UPDATE - added link to C-SPAN video. --Aziz)

Thursday, January 09, 2003


Dean will be awarded the AFL-CIO's First Annual Paul Wellstone Award

posted by B at Thursday, January 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
On Friday, Dean will be awarded the AFL-CIO's First Annual Paul Wellstone Award, for his support of nurses on strike in VT. Here are some excerpts from the AP filing:

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Gov. Howard Dean will be honored Friday by the national AFL-CIO with an award bound to boost his image among labor as competition for the labor vote among Democratic contenders intensifies.

Dean will receive the inaugural AFL-CIO Senator Paul Wellstone Award for his support of a successful effort by nurses to unionize Vermont's largest hospital.

Stewart Acuff, the union's organizing director, said the award did not signal labor's endorsement of Dean.

``There is no message connected with the presidential campaign,'' he said. ``The labor movement appreciates greatly political leaders who go out of their way to help workers.''

But political ramifications remain.

``The symbolic nature of this is very important,'' said Roy Vestrich, president of the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, which includes Vermont's nurses and health professionals. ``There is not an endorsement here, but there is a signal here for those running for president that labor and labor issues are important.''

Nurses at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington voted in October to unionize. A month earlier, Dean, a physician who practiced at the hospital before becoming governor, strongly endorsed the union effort.

Rep. Dick Gephardt filed papers Monday to create an exploratory campaign for the White House. Labor strongly backed Gephardt when he ran for president in 1988, but it is not yet clear which candidate labor will back in the crowded 2004 race.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003


Daschle won't run

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Tom Daschle has announced that he won't run for the Democratic nomination in 2004. This plays to Dean's benefit. It seems doubtful that Lieberman or Gephardt will run either (and even if they do, they will fizzle out quickly). This really leaves only three names in the race: Dean, Kerry, and Edwards.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle announced Tuesday he won't seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 but will stay in his current job to help his party enact alternatives to President Bush's "failed economic policy."

The announcement surprised even some of his closest aides, one of whom told CNN plans were being made for Daschle to announce his candidacy Saturday in his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota The aide said he made up his mind after taking one last "gut check" Monday night.
"The country is about to begin a series of defining debates about the future -- on economic policy, homeland security, and many other critical priorities," he said.

"Those debates will take place here in the U.S. Congress. And the U.S. Senate is the institution that can have the most influence on behalf of the values that Democrats believe in, and that I care about most.

"The United States Senate has the opportunity to shape the nation's priorities -- not just over the next two years, but for a generation and more," he said. "This afternoon, President Bush is proposing an economic plan that not only continues a failed economic policy that is wrong for the country now, but weakens our ability to meet America's great national challenges for years to come."


The Best Medicine

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
An interesting piece in the New York Times Magazine, which looks at the rise of doctors in politics (as opposed to the current domination of the field by lawyers). It wistfully wonders how Dean and Frist might enrich the public debate:

There are a lot of issues right now that I would like to hear Frist and Dean discuss. After all, more and more of policy is tied to medicine: AIDS, stem-cell research, health insurance and H.M.O.'s, Medicare, prescription drug benefits, drug use and mental illness. It would be thrilling to have these issues considered as science instead of as politics and morality. And there's no reason to think that they would have to stop at medicine. Good doctors understand how affordable housing, a good education and secure jobs actually contribute to our physical health. I would rather trust a doctor to make a decision about war than I would a businessman or a lawyer; a doctor is more likely to remember the value of the lives he would be sacrificing.

No one says that doctors are infallible or even capable of across-the-board good judgment. The story of the surgeon who left the operating room in the middle of a case to deposit his paycheck springs to mind. Still, I think a healthy dose of doctoring may be what our government needs. Then we can add a sentence to the bottom of the presidential seal: First do no harm.

Monday, January 06, 2003


Howard Dean on CBS's Face the Nation

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean appeared on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday (January 5th). The transcript follows, and Liberal Oasis has a nice comparison of Dean's performance in comparison with John Edwards' appearance on ABC's This Week.

CBS Face the Nation transcript follows:

SCHIEFFER: When we come back, we'll talk a little politics with Governor Howard Dean, in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: And now from Burlington, Vermont, Governor Howard Dean.

Governor, I believe you were the first of the Democrats to say that you would seek the presidential nomination this year.

This is your second appearance on Face the Nation. We hope to have you back again, as well as all of the other candidates who are seeking the nomination.

Let's start right in on some specifics. You just heard what Senator McCain said. He said we should tell the Japanese that they should start a nuclear weapons program of their own because North Korea now poses a threat to them. What would be your response to that?

GOV. HOWARD DEAN, D-VT: Well, first of all, let me say that I admire Senator McCain greatly. And he's one of the people we model our campaign on because he is very direct, very blunt and nobody has to guess at what he is thinking, which, I think, is people would like to see a lot more of that in politicians around this country.

I do not come to the same conclusion that Senator McCain does about the Japanese. I believe that North Korea is a crisis. There is a real problem there. I believe it actually represents a greater danger to the United States than Iraq does, because there's no evidence at this point that Iraq possesses nuclear weapons or is about to develop them, which is one of the reasons that would I not have supported the president's resolution on Iraq, which sets me apart from all the other people running for the Democratic nomination.

But I do not think that we ought to encourage any nation to develop nuclear arms. I think that nuclear proliferation is a very serious problem. We need to use all the economic, political and diplomatic muscle we possibly can to stop the North Koreans from developing programs like that. I would draw the line at trying to encourage additional countries to develop nuclear weapons.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, let me ask you about the proposal that apparently South Korea is going to put forth now, and it basically is this. They would like to see a letter from the United States, written assurance from the United States, that they will not attack North Korea.

And they believe if they can take that kind of letter to North Korea, or present that to the North Koreans, then the North Koreans would desist in starting up this nuclear production again.

Do you favor that? Do you think that would work?

DEAN: Well, I think the -- I concur with most the president's policy on North Korea. We have substantial differences on Iraq. But I like the idea and I believe in the idea of multilaterals and the president's pursuing a policy in cooperation with the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans and the Japanese, which we ought to see bear fruition.

The one criticism I have of the president's policy is that we have to directly negotiate with the North Koreans. This idea that the South Koreans are putting forward may be a good idea and it may not. We're not going to know that until we have direct conversations with the North Koreans about whether such a deal would make any sense at all.

And I concur with Senator McCain. Right now, as the South Koreans propose it, it's wishful thinking. We're only going to know if that's going to work if we have direct discussions with the North Koreans. And that's the one problem in this president's policy.

BORGER: Well, if we have direct discussions with the North Koreans, would you then argue that we should have direct discussions with Saddam Hussein?

DEAN: I do not believe the president has made the case to send American kids and grandkids to die in Iraq. And until he does that, I don't think we ought to be going into Iraq.

So I think the two situations are fairly different. Iraq does not possess nuclear weapons. The best intelligence that anybody can find, certainly that I can find, is that it will be at least a year before he does so and maybe five years.

So I think putting enormous pressure on Iraq is a good thing, because we can't permit them ever to develop nuclear weapons. But I think we have a much more serious and immediate crisis with North Korea.

BORGER: But would you negotiate with Saddam if you would negotiate with North Korea?

DEAN: I would do exactly what we're doing with Saddam. I would leave it to the United Nations. Saddam has a long history of having his word be absolutely no good whatsoever. Now, the North Koreans have not exactly distinguished themselves in their level of honesty, either.

But for the United States to negotiate directly with Saddam Hussein, I suspect, is a waste of time. I'd leave that to the United Nations, leave it to the community of nations, not simply the United States, to police what's going on in Iraq.

SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little domestic politics. The president unveils his tax proposals on Tuesday. We're told they're going to be some incentives for business. He'll ask for an extension to speed up the long-term tax cuts that he proposed last year, or the year before last.

And now we're told that me may propose eliminating the tax on stock dividends entirely. Do you think that is a good idea?

DEAN: Well, you know, it's interesting, I saw the president complain that the Democrats were talking about class warfare. But I really think it's the president that's practicing class warfare, because all of his tax cuts are aimed at the class of people that don't need that kind of help.

And there's very little relief for middle-class people and working people in any of the president's tax legislation, including what I read that he's now about to propose.

The problem with the elimination of the tax on dividends, which in and of itself is not a bad idea, but the problem is, first of all, half of all stocks in this country that pay dividends are held in 401(k)s and retirement plans which are not subject to tax anyway. And those are the stocks that are held by middle-class people.

The people who live on the dividends, by and large, are people who are in the upper-income brackets, which are always the folks that get favored when the president has any kind of tax proposal whatsoever. So I would not start with double taxation of dividends.

I think Senator McCain's exactly right. The last tax cut was skewed toward the upper regions of income. It did not help the economy at all. It looks like this tax cut's going to be doing the same.

There's a more important part of this argument. The president wants to now -- we need to take on North Korea. He wants to make war in Iraq. We have not even talked about Al Qaida, which is the most serious threat of the three to the American people.

How is the president going to pay for this if he keeps running up enormous deficits? We haven't heard anything about that.

BORGER: Well, Senator McCain here talked about a payroll tax holiday as one way to give tax relief to middle-income people in this country. Is that something that you would support?

DEAN: Let me tell you what I think the best possible economic relief to middle-class people, small-business people and working people are in this country. I want health insurance for every American. I want to do it by subsidizing people who work for themselves, small businesses and working people to help them buy health insurance.

If you could help people with their health insurance, that affects 40 million people directly and nearly every small business in the country. Why not do that instead of running up these enormous deficits with tax cuts that don't help average Americans?

SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, speaking of costs, if you had a national health care program, wouldn't the cost of that be enormous?

DEAN: It actually would not. The cost is about half of the president's tax cut that he passed last time, and the benefit goes to working people and middle-class people.

Furthermore, it would actually reduce insurance premiums for most Americans, because the reason your insurance premiums are so high is because of the enormous cost shift. When you go to the emergency room, you get care, and then the bill gets sent to somebody else, one of the insurance companies. We all pay that in our premiums. If you can't pay for your own care, somebody else has to pay for it, and that's us.

That alone would be the single biggest stimulus to the economy, particularly to small businesses, that you could possibly think of.

BORGER: Well, Governor, you are also a doctor. And as long as we're talking about insurance, I want to ask about something that happened in West Virginia last week, which is that all the surgeons walked out because they were protesting these high malpractice insurance rates.

What would you do about that problem?

DEAN: Well, actually, I think that's a problem for the legislature in West Virginia to deal with. In Vermont, we don't have a problem like that. In some states there's a very severe problem.

What happened in Mississippi, where they had one of the worst problems, is that the legislature enacted tort reform. And I don't see that as a federal problem. I see that as a state problem.

So, I think it's up to the governor of West Virginia and the governor of Pennsylvania, which are two states that have a very serious problem, to enact the necessary reforms needed for their states. But I don't think this is a nationwide problem.

BORGER: Well, generally, do you think malpractice awards should be capped at some particular level?

DEAN: I think that depends on the state. In our state, we don't have a problem with runaway juries. It would not be appropriate. It might be appropriate in other states, and I think each state has to figure that out for themselves.

BORGER: Well, the president's also working up a plan for prescription drug benefits, but he's going to make it part of a revamping of the entire Medicare system and he wants to do it in a way that promotes competition. Is that something you could buy into?

DEAN: It won't work. We tried that here. The truth is -- and I'm not a single-payer person, and my health care reform simply relies on expanding the existing systems, Medicaid, Medicare and the employer-based system.

But the truth is that the private sector does not run health care plans as cheaply as the public sector. That's just the truth. I know that Republicans have made their political careers beating up on government, but one thing that government does is run health care plans more efficiently.

So, I'm not in favor of privatizing Medicare which seems to be what the president is suggesting. I think he ought to lay off that stuff, because I think it's going to hurt a lot of seniors.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Governor, we want to thank you very much. Our new year's resolution is to get as many candidates on this year as we possibly can and to get specific on what they're for and what they're against. I think we got a good start with you this morning.

I want to thank you very much.

DEAN: Thanks, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: We'll be back in a minute with a final word.

DEAN: And thanks, Gloria.

BORGER: Thanks.


Sunday, January 05, 2003


Sunday Afternoon at the Three Tomatoes With Howard Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

This is a standard first-person perspective piece from a correspondent who heard Dean speak and came away impressed. It's reminiscent of the West Wing episode where Josh decides to work for Bartlett instead of whats-his-name. This analogy will probably please the Dean campaign :) but hey, if life imitates art, grab on. Excerpt:

The smallish room is packed. Then Dean starts to speak. I've heard my share of forgettable stump speeches with lots of rhetoric, feel-good lines, winks and little substance. But Dean, as he gets going, has a lot to say. Renewable energy is a national security issue. We need to free ourselves from Middle Eastern oil. "If we had a renewable energy policy we would not be sending our kids to Iraq." A prerequisite for peace in the Middle East is for the United States to seriously pressure the Saudis, Syrians and Iranians to stop support for terrorism.

Dean evokes Harry Truman. "We have to have a party that believes in our message." Dean says what he thinks. He wouldn't have permitted the delivery of the North Korean missiles to Yemen. He would have paid for them and kept them. Dean hasn't seen a smoking gun that would justify war with Iraq. He's much more concerned about how federal money is spent and balancing the budget than about tax cuts for the rich.

And, of course, as a doctor, he has an effective outline for bringing heath insurance to all Americans, modeled after an expansion of Vermont's success. On his controversial support for gay civil unions, Dean says, "Never deny human rights because it is politically inconvenient." A standup guy.

Suddenly there's a warm feeling in the room. He's saying things of real substance that make sense. Not just what people want to hear. Dean's obviously a very smart man. That couldn't hurt. It feels like this guy has a real chance.
Howard Dean is talking common sense in an age of willful delusion and imperial nightmares. My friend Jan, who's been known to shake things up, is organizing a house party for Howard in my town of Warner. There's a buzz: "Have you heard about Howard Dean?"

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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.