Howard Dean in 2004
I Want My Country Back
Help me out; I'm raising money for Howard Dean
First of all, if you know little or nothing about the good doctor, I suggest reading my endorsement or heading to an official site to get your first taste. I've got some audio from Charlie Rose that's good. There's also some very good video around the net if you have broadband. Check the links over on the right there if any of that strikes your fancy.
The latest and greatest I guess would be the blogging I did while volunteering for a week in Burlington at Dean HQ.
A recent addition here is a Dean/Kucinich rundown ala Bob Harris.
Dean Candidacy Memes
There are a number of ideas about the Dean candidacy that I like to promote. You know, the kind of thing where you say, Howard Dean is the candidate. Here are a few:
Dean is the Empowerment/Participation candidate. A constant line in Dean's stump speech is the bit about "The biggest lie people like me tell people like you is that if you vote for me I'll solve all your problems. The truth is that the future of this country is in your hands." Dean talks about "treating the voters with respect," and "like adults." He ended one speech I saw simply by repeating "you have the power." Can you imagine George Bush doing this? Dean is about community, about local solutions that meet up to national standards. He's about getting people involved rather than pandering to institutions. He's about grass-roots and personal choice. He's not just about being a strong leader, he's about inspiring strong leadership in others. Every candidate will talk about this. Dean is putting the theory into practice, and lo and behold it is working.
Dean is the Internet candidate. Not only has he organized tens of thousands of people online, his candidacy echoes the core tenants of what make the net work: transparency and participation. He was against the FCC media de-regulation and in favor of a fact-based candidacy. There's talk of endorsements from the high-end of the technorati, and I hope they come through.
Dean is the Fiscal Responsibility candidate. He's the one who's come out and said what the record supports, the Republican agenda is economically reckless in the extreme and benefits corrupt corporate cronies at the expense of working Americans. One of his central principles is that social justice rest on fiscal responsibility. Makes sense to me.
Dean is the Health Care candidate. He's a doctor for one, and he has experience making the health-care system work. Rather than another enormous bureaucracy that can get mutated and shot to hell in some congressional subcommittee, he proposes a focused extension of existing programs such that any American without coverage could easily get it, and it won't even break the bank.
Dean is the Education candidate. He was a social studies teacher for a stint in his youth, and his line on education makes the most sense: do you want Bush's tax cut or do you want to adequately fund education? Most people didn't get Bush's tax cut, so it's really a no brainer. Dean wants to make teaching an honored profession, make education a value in the home, and turn our public schools into a shining civil institution. It's the last place where everyone has to get to know everyone else, and that's the future of America.
Dean is the Youth candidate. No Democrat has more students organized around him. Also, Dean's got a lot of people like me who are post-college but still under 30 working on his side. We're the ones with the most to loose, and we're backing Dean as the leader to help put things right for our future.
Dean is the No-Bullshit candidate. He's a fighter, and not afraid of calling people out. He calls Bush's deficit-conjuring tax cuts an indirect attack on medicare and social security. He calls "No Child Left Behind" a barely concealed attack on public education, one that cuts needed funds, pushed private vouchers and sets unrealistic bars for federal aid to public schools.
Dean is the Queer candidate. While I'm sure all the Democratic nominees are gay-friendly, only one of them has signed a civil union law during a crucial campaign period, putting his re-election in danger and necessitating a kevlar vest for public appearances shortly afterward. Three guesses who this is and the first two don't count. Some people think this is a liability for Dean, but I think it's a strength: it demonstrates character and is a potential wedge issue for Bush's support. Conservative soccer moms like it that Will from Will and Grace can have a legally recognized life partner, but the Bigot wing of the GOP can't stand it. Bush needs both of those groups.
Dean is the Freak candidate. He's not a whacky pinko, but he's got the right kind of steel to rope in the freak vote once they realize that Kucinich isn't going to get their platform off the ground. His favorite book is "Sometimes a Great Notion" and he can quote passages from "Bullworth" from memory. He's gone on record as saying he'd want the FDA to do a comprehensive double-blind study on medical marijuana. He's also an essentially honest guy; freaks are mostly quite honest people, people who've gotten sick of the doubletalk and compromise which run amok in mainstream society.
Do you have other ideas as to what kind of candidate Dean is? Let me know, or better yet go out and start your own website. It's the dean thing to do.
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