Howard Dean was in New Hampshire yesterday, meeting with voters in Portsmouth, Durham and Exeter. Your intrepid blogger made the trip down from Burlington to attend the events (which explains the lack of posts yesterday). Larissa Mulkern of the Portsmouth Herald reports on how voters came out en masse to see Dean at the first event of the morning:

Turnout was unexpectedly robust at an early morning reception on Friday for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean; an estimated 150 people stood elbow to elbow in the lobby at Harbour Place, punctuating points of the candidate’s speech with thunderous applause.

"This is unbelievable; this is 7:30 in the morning, never mind Good Friday morning - on any morning - I really appreciate you coming," Dean told the crowd. Later at an editorial board meeting with the Portsmouth Herald, he said he was "shocked" at the turnout. He’s been so busy pressing the flesh on the campaign trail, he said, that his hand is partly bandaged.

Mulkern gives a positive review of Dean's stump speech and then turns to a few voters for their response to the candidate:

Local supporter Barbara Tsairis described Dean as a man of courage - politics’ answer to Jimmy Stewart.

"This is a man possessed of the all-too-rare commodity political courage," she said.

One onlooker, Portsmouth City Councilor Brad Lown, a local active Republican, said he doesn’t agree with some of Dean’s ideas but praised him as a "straight talker."

"I do respect any candidate who gives us straight talk who has conviction. He seems to me to have both."



Howard Dean has written a new op-ed at Common Dreams.org. Please link to it, send it on to your listserves, tell a friend. Dean writes:

Bush: It's Not Just His Doctrine That's Wrong
by Howard Dean

[Note: After reading a recent article that called into question my opposition to the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war, I wanted to state my position clearly to set the record straight. I appreciate that the editors of Common Dreams have given me this opportunity.]

When Congress approved the President’s authorization to go to war in Iraq – no matter how well-intentioned – it was giving the green light to the President to set his Doctrine of preemptive war in motion. It now appears that Iraq was just the first step. Already, the Bush Administration is apparently eyeing Syria and Iran as the next countries on its target list. The Bush Doctrine must be stopped here.

Many in Congress who voted for this resolution should have known better. On September 23, 2002, Al Gore cautioned in his speech in San Francisco that “if the Congress approves the Iraq resolution just proposed by the Administration it is simultaneously creating the precedent for preemptive action anywhere, anytime this or any future president so decides.” And that is why it was such a big mistake for Congress to allow the president to set this dangerous precedent.

Too much is at stake. We have taken decades of consensus on the conduct of foreign policy – bipartisan consensus in the United States and consensus among our allies in the world community – and turned it on its head. It could well take decades to repair the damage this President and his cohort of right-wing ideological advisors have done to our standing in the international community.

Theirs is a radical view of our role in the world. The President who campaigned on a platform of a humble foreign policy has instead begun implementing a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance and intimidation. The tidal wave of support and goodwill that engulfed us after the tragedy of 9/11 has dried up and been replaced by undercurrents of distrust, skepticism and hostility by many who had been among our closest allies.

This unilateral approach to foreign policy is a disaster. All of the challenges facing the United States – from winning the war on terror and containing weapons of mass destruction to building an open world economy and protecting the global environment – can only be met by working with our allies. A renegade, go-it-alone approach will be doomed to failure, because these challenges know no boundaries.

The largest, most sophisticated military in the history of the world cannot eliminate the threat of sleeper terrorist cells. That task requires the highest level of intelligence cooperation with our allies.

Even the largest, most sophisticated military in the history of the world cannot be expected to go to war against every evil dictator who may possess chemical weapons. This calls for an aggressive and effective diplomatic effort, conducted in full cooperation with a united international community, and preferably with the backing of the multilateral institutions we helped to build for just this purpose. This challenge requires treaties – such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – that this Administration has sometimes treated cavalierly. In any case, war should be a last resort or an option to be used in the face of an imminent threat.

The UN Charter specifically protects the right of self-defense against armed attack, and most agree that action against imminent threat is also justified. As President – as has been the case with all previous presidents – I would not hesitate to use our military might to protect our people or our nation from an imminent threat. But you will not find a Dean Administration turning to the option of force in the first instance as this President does.

The immediate task at hand of the next president will be to begin rebuilding our relationships with our allies so that we can work in concert on tackling these challenges.

The next president will need to undo the work of this band of radicals currently controlling our foreign policy – who view the Middle East as a laboratory for their experiments in democracy-building, where no such traditions exist. Their approach will drastically change the view that the world has had of the United States.

Our nation should be viewed as a moral and just power, a power that seeks to do good, one that has led by example and with a spirit of generosity, and one that works with the world community in advancing the ideals of human dignity and rule of law across the globe.

The people of this country must understand that this Administration has a far different concept of the role of America in the world. This concept involves imposing our will on sovereign nations. This concept involves dismantling the multilateral institutions that we have spent decades building. And this concept involves distorting the rule of law to suit their narrow purposes. When did we become a nation of fear and anxiety when we were once known the world around as a land of hope and liberty?

On day one of a Dean Presidency, I will reverse this attitude. I will tear up the Bush Doctrine. And I will steer us back into the company of the community of nations where we will exercise moral leadership once again.

And not only will I seek to heal the divisions this President has caused in the world community, but I would also begin the process of healing the divisions he has exploited here at home.

This President shamelessly divides us from one another. He divides us by race – as he did when he claimed that the University of Michigan uses quotas in its law school admissions. He divides us by class by rewarding his campaign donors with enormous tax cuts while the rest of us are deprived of affordable health care, prescription drugs for our seniors, and good schools for our kids. He divides us by gender by seeking to restrict reproductive choice for women. He divides us by sexual orientation by appointing reactionary judges to the bench, and as he did in Texas by refusing to sign the Hate Crimes bill if it included gay or lesbian Americans as potential victims.

It is a Bush Doctrine of domestic division, and I want to be the President who tears that doctrine up, too. I want to restore a sense of community in this country – where it’s not enough to worry whether your own kids have health care, but whether your neighbors’ kids have health care. I want to go to the South and talk about race. White southerners have been flocking to the Republican Party in recent years, but I want to offer them hope that their children will benefit from better schools and affordable health care, too. The Republican Party has done nothing for working people, black or white, and we need to remind Southern white folks that the only hope for better schools, and better job opportunities, and health care that is affordable is a Democratic President.

I am what is commonly referred to as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I am proud of the fact that as Governor I routinely balanced the budget – which I was not required to do by Vermont’s constitution – and paid down our state debt by nearly a quarter. I had to make tough decisions, and I will admit that some of them did not make the progressive community happy. But I made those decisions because I have a guiding principle that social justice must rest upon a foundation of fiscal discipline. Because of that approach to governance, Vermont today is not cutting education and is not cutting Medicaid despite the perilous economic times brought on by the Bush fiscal policies.

One of my goals as a Presidential candidate is to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party – a line made popular by the late Paul Wellstone. Some have questioned why I would so closely align myself with a politician whose politics were considerably more liberal than mine. The fact is that I admired Paul Wellstone greatly, not only because of his politics, but because he stood up for his beliefs and fought for them until the day he died. I can only hope that someday people will say the same about me – that I, too, remained true to my core principles no matter what. I believe that the Democratic Party needs to stand for something if we want people to vote for us. And by standing against the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war and domestic division, we may yet rediscover the soul of our Party.


ABC News takes note today of Howard Dean's phenomenal online success through Meetup. Ed Hornick writes:

How did former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.... manage to find enough donors to amass a war chest of more than $2.6 million?

Part of the answer is simple: They Metup for him.

And the eight other Democratic presidential campaigns are watching closely.

Hornick quotes Meetup founder Myles Weissleder, who says he's talked to representatives from all the major Democratic candidates. Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi stresses the importance of Meetup:

"This is a big deal for us as we are doing well contribution-wise, but beyond that, we are organizationally stronger than the other candidates because of the use of the Internet and the Meetup.com site."

Michael Cornfield of George Washington University's Institute for Politics makes a cogent point that Meetup (as we know) is an important first step to winning the election for Howard Dean:

"Active volunteers can recruit more volunteers, monitor media coverage and opposition rhetoric, give money and evaluate campaign ads, all without leaving the Internet."

Or, as Joe Trippi wrote over the weekend:

Governor Dean has said "the pundits like to talk about the invisible primary, but there is another primary that is only invisible to those who are blind to seeing it." Our goal is to build a netroots and grassroots campaign that is so strong in numbers -- so powerful in collective action that no one will turn a blind eye to it again.



Some of the best political reading in the blogosphere can be found in the comment boards of Daily Kos' weekly Cattle Call. This week has a particularly lively (and long) discussion.

The Note pokes around in all the candidates' FEC filings (officially out yesterday) and, among the figures, finds a few good quips.


Long before this site appeared, Howard Dean's presence in the blogosphere was strong. Thanks to the unofficial Dean 2004 Blog, as well as other blogs such as MyDD, the online conversation about Dean's positions and his ability to win the nomination started early. (Annatopia was early on the scene, as was the (now-defunct) Left in the West and dozens of others.)

One of the interesting things to watch in the past few months has been the rapid diffusion and growth of bloggers who support Howard Dean. Carlwithak wrote a great post about discovering and supporting Dean and is now a great source of information for Dean fans. Rick Klau built another great site, and he links to some of the Dean stalwarts like Left Leaner and Noho-Missives and Matt Bailey.

The circle continues to widen. Howard Dean keeps popping up in blogs that aren't exclusively political in orientation-- like Nedia.net and Kris Bell and Trabaca and Ernie the Attorney. It's fun to watch, and a great way to find new blogs-- but it's also exactly what needs to happen. Elections aren't won because political junkies talk about and support a candidate-- elections are won because teachers and attorneys and doctors and construction workers and students talk about and support a candidate. And that's what's happening with Howard Dean.



You're invited to a "Meet the Candidate" Coffee with Howard Dean this Friday morning, April 18th, from 7:30 am until 9 am in Portsmouth, NH. Coffee and muffins will be served and the event is free and open to the public. Location: One Harbour Place, Portsmouth.


In blog years, we feel much older, but today marks the one-month birthday of the Dean Call to Action blog. On March 15th, Dean Call to Action was launched as the first presidential campaign blog. We'll admit that we started off ugly, with a standard Blogger template and posts that focused too much on raising money. Everything was new to us, however; this had never been done before. But eventually we moved from crawling to walking, and began bringing you more information, from news clips to press releases to upcoming appearances to highlights from other blogs. Governor Dean began posting directly. Joe Trippi, the campaign manager, shared his thoughts. Thanks to the feedback of many readers and supporters, a cohesive purpose behind this blog began to take shape.

We're still growing, however. In the coming weeks the official Howard Dean weblog will be going through further changes. Want a peek? The name will change, for one, to reflect the broader editorial purpose of the blog. This will still be the place to find out about and answer "Calls to Action"-- things you can do to help elect Howard Dean the next President of the United States. But it will also be a place to catch up on the latest news about Howard Dean, to read about other Dean supporters throughout the nation, to find other bloggers that are writing about the Governor, and to learn about upcoming appearances in your area and on your television. There will be guest writers as well as posts from Governor Dean and the campaign manager. And it will also be a place to discuss Howard Dean-- yes, comments are coming!

So, thanks for visiting, for providing your feedback, for returning to see what's new and for keeping the ball rolling though other blogs, Meetup, email groups, and other netroots activities. We're going to win this election. We're going to take our country back. And we're going to blog about it.



Syndication of the Dean Call to Action blog is now available. News aggregators, do your thing. Click on the link to the left to get the script or click here.


Steve Neal at the Chicago Sun-Times starts off the week with a column that analyzes one of the major reasons Howard Dean has gained significant ground in the race for the Democratic nomination. Neal writes:

He's the real deal. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean... is gaining momentum because he is more forthright about the issues than anyone in the Democratic pack.

"It's time to stand up and be Democrats again, and it's time to stand up to the president," he said last week during a stopover in Chicago.

Neal summarizes Dean's major positions, and then makes an important point about the support Dean has garnered from young people and students:

It's no accident that Dean is leading among younger voters. He is more open to new ideas and is more progressive than anyone in the Democratic field.... he is the straightest shooter in the Democratic field and just might surprise everyone.

The American Prospect, meanwhile, has a great web-exclusive summary of last week's CDF Forum, with a focus on Dean.

We know that the article by Prospect senior editor Garance Franke-Ruta went up three days ago, which, in blog years, is like citing an event from the Pleistocene. Nonetheless, some of us up here in Burlington-- and especially those of us with more than a few seven-inch singles in our record collections--- keep returning to the lead with a sense of growing admiration. Franke-Ruta wins the lead-of-the-week award:

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is the Democratic Party's indie rock star. He lacks big production values. He's individualistic. He can be sullen and defensive. Sometimes he even dresses strangely. But when he turns it on, lays into one of his riffs and flashes that heart-melting smile, he drives the girls wild. And he makes you feel like you've been waiting your whole life for someone to say what he says, even though you didn't know it.



Dana Blankenhorn over at A-Clue.com posts this week about the importance of the Internet in the 2004 election. Having attended the last Dean Meetup in Atlanta, he writes:

A few years ago I wrote that 2000 would be the last time a President was elected based on television. The Internet, I said, will revolutionize politics in the next cycle.... I'm not taking back that prediction.

Blankenhorn notes that the Internet is more than just a medium through which one communicates a message-- it's a means of interaction that enables people to be involved in political campaigns to a degree never before possible. With this ability comes responsibility, Blankenhorn argues:

An Internet campaign demands more of individuals than a media campaign. A media campaign requires just your checkbook, your vote, and your participation in an audience. An Internet campaign will require that you talk to people, that you show up to demonstrate your support.

People across the country are showing up for Howard Dean. As of this writing, we're only 5 people short of having 15,000 Meetup members-- an absolutely incredible number of netroots activists getting together to elect the best candidate, the man who will defeat George W. Bush, nine months before the first vote is even cast. And they are getting together because of the power of the Net.

So-called experts in Washington (who always fight the last war) remain skeptical about all of this. They look at the dollar figures in the money primary as key, forgetting that such Presidents as John Connally and Steve Forbes have won such primaries before and failed at the ballot box. They look for early momentum, forgetting that Presidents Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas and John McCain also had that. They look to armies on the ground, something President Pat Robertson and President Pat Buchanan both had in spades...

What I will predict, based on what I saw last week [at the Dean Meetup], and what I see online every day, is that candidates who marry a compelling message to Internet organization and discipline will do better than those who rely on the tools of the TV age....

The Internet Party will win next year.

Blankenhorn's right. And the Internet party will be the Democratic Party, led by Howard Dean.


I was sitting here at HQ, where even in Burlington it's a warm and sunny day, thinking about where our campaign is, where we need to go, and wanted to share some thoughts with you.

In January we had a staff of 6 or 7 people, most Americans had never heard of Howard Dean, we had about $150,000 in the little bank across the street (locked in a vault so we couldn't spend it), and had a small but energized group of netroots supporters reflected by activity on this blog and others, and some 432 Dean Meetup Members nationwide.

But we had something else....Govenor Howard Dean, MD -- his authentic voice, and his message that its time to take a stand and take our country back.

This election is about much more than who will win the Democratic Party nomination, or who will take the oath of office as President of the United States in January 2005. We stand at one of those unique moments in our nation's history, when what Americans decide in November of 2004 will determine what kind of country America is for decades to come.

Will we be unilateralist America? Driven by idealogues who play on the fears of the American people, with little or no regard for the fear and diplomatic damage their policies create in the world community? Or will we be a more multi-lateral America with a foreign policy that reflects the values of hope, liberty, and freedom of the American people? A foreign policy that replaces ideology with thought -- speaks the truth to the American people, and takes a principled yet pragmatic approach to working with others in the community of nations. A foreign policy that will use force if we must -- but only if we must.

At home, will we continue down the poll driven path that continues to produce two parties that are becoming so close to each other on so many issues, that it is increasingly difficult to tell the real differences between them? Govenor Dean often speaks about this when he talks about the issue of health care. The Democratic version of the Patients Bill of Rights lets you sue your HMO. The Republican version of the Patient's Bill of Rights does not let you sue your HMO. In the end neither addresses the fact that regardless of which version passes there will still be 42 million Americans with no health care and therefore no health care rights. Many of the Democrats running for the nomination have had years to do something about this problem and have failed to do much of meaning about it. Is it any wonder that it took til they were running for President (and probably some really cool poll numbers) to get them to promise once again to do what they have not done?

Which gets me to Governor Howard Dean, MD. You may not agree with him on every issue, and he will make his share of mistakes during this long campaign (everyone does), but Howard Dean says what needs to be said, challenges what needs to be challenged, stands up forcefully to those that attempt to divide us, and has a vision powered by the simple fact that as Americans we are all in this together. His message reflects the hope and promise of the America we know we are, and the even stronger nation we can be.

Faced with blurred and compromised, shades of gray candidacies, too many Americans are giving up on having a real impact and making a difference -- and each year fewer and fewer show up at the polling place in their neighborhood. How can you make a difference if there isn't much difference in the choices offered? Well Howard Dean is going to offer the American people a choice, and he is going to get people to vote, by giving people a reason to vote.

So how do we do it?

We may never have as much money as the other candidates for President, but money alone will not determine our fate. Make no mistake -- we need to garner contributions from all who support our cause, and have the means to contribute -- and as the net has proven -- every penny counts. As someone put it in the blogosphere "They have deep pockets, we have many pockets."

More than just money, we must build an unparalled grassroots and netroots campaign, the size and power of which, has never been seen before in our nation. In 90 short days we have grown from 432 Dean Meetup members to 15,000 as you read this. We are well aware of venue and other issues -- but there are only 9 meetup days remaining between today and the Iowa Caucuses. As a campaign we are determined to make everyone of those meetings count. Because of our limited resources Dean Meetups have become critical to our ability to build a 50 state organization -- that without the net and without you -- would not have been possible for us to build this early in the process. So please continue to spread the word and get others to join Dean Meetups nationwide. (That link was a first for me!)

We want to use every tool we can to reach people and spread the word so about a week ago we started the Dean Wireless Network. This will allow us to get action alerts and important information to the mobile community -- and create another means for us to mobilize for Dean. Please join the Dean Wireless Network and urge others to join.

I know our blog was an ugly thing of non-beauty -- but we are learning -- and experimenting with every tool we have available to us. So please email deanforum@deanforamerica.com to make suggestions as to how we can do better -- or tools you know of that we should put to work to build a stronger netroots/grassroots organization for Howard Dean.

Howard Dean will win the nomination, and go all the way the White House, but only if our campaign to take America back for our people, becomes a campaign of even more people. We must as a campaign reach out even further to find others to join our cause -- give of their energy as you have, contribute time and yes money be it $5 or $500 to our effort. We need to build a netroots and grassroots campaign that spreads the word to every nook and crannie of the worldwide web, and to every city and town, and precinct in our nation.

As Governor Dean has said "the pundits like to talk about the invisible primary, but there is another primary that is only invisible to those who are blind to seeing it." Our goal is to build a netroots and grassroots campaign that is so strong in numbers -- so powerful in collective action that no one will turn a blind eye to it again. And if we do that together -- we will not only win this election -- we will prove that we really do have the power to take our country back.