5/17/2003

FROM THE ROAD: DAVENPORT, IOWA (AND COLUMBUS, OHIO AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA)

Whew! Three states in 8 hours. Thank goodness for time zones! We started the day in Des Moines, Iowa at a forum sponsored by AFSCME. Seven of the nine presidential candidates were there. It was a two hour event with questions ranging from health care to homeland security. After the AFSCME forum, Gov. Dean participated in a meeting hosted by the Iowa State Education Association. Again, most of the other candidates were there. (Perhaps it's time for us to rent a big bus!)

At 3:30pm Central Time, we hopped on a plane and went to Columbus, Ohio. After an hour flight we touched down at 5:30pm Eastern Time in Columbus where the Gov. spoke at the Democratic Party's JJ dinner. There was a great crowd of people there to greet the Gov. They were waving Dean signs and chanting "What do we want? Our country back! Who do we want? Dean!" There were roughly 1,000 people at the dinner and they gave the Gov's speech an enthusiastic response. (Thank you Ohio - especially Eric and Steve - for your kind words about my postings!)

After the Columbus speech, we got back on the plane at 8:00pm Eastern Time and flew to Indianapolis, Indiana. We arrived in Indianapolis at 7:45pm Central Time. We arrived just as dinner was being served (and this time we stayed long enough to eat!) Gov. Dean gave another great speech, and like the crowd in Columbus, the people in Indianapolis gave the Gov. a warm welcome. He had them on their feet more than once!

At 10:30pm we were back on the plane this time headed to Davenport, Iowa. We arrived in Iowa at 11:15pm. Only 8 hours, 2 time zones, and 2 states later!

HOWARD DEAN TO ADDRESS GRASS-ROOTS ACTIVISTS ONLINE

Tomorrow, Sunday May 18th, Governor Howard Dean, MD will hold a live web-conference to thank the thousands of grass-roots activists across the country who are working to help him win the Democratic nomination and “take our country back.”

In response to a recent memo released by the DLC that mischaracterized Governor Dean’s record, thousands of people have logged onto Governor Dean’s website, www.DeanforAmeica.com, to send messages urging the DLC to stop their divisive tactics.

Prior to his address, supporters will be able to watch Governor Dean in a live web-cast of the “Hear it From the Heartland” town-hall meeting in Iowa hosted by Senator Tom Harkin. After the town-hall, Dean will address thousands of activists to thank them for their commitment to standing up for Democratic Unity.

There will be a live link at www.deanforamerica.com on Sunday after 2:30PM ET.

Road Trippi

Ok, so I am sitting in Des Moines, Iowa munching on my favorite Pork Tenderloin sandwich -- sorry folks that has been a habit I've had on every trip to Iowa since 1979 -- and I've made more than my share of trips -- and no need to tell you what I am washing it down with either. So my plane arrived late and I missed the morning debate and ISEA events. I am waiting for Gov Dean and Kate to make it over to the airport so we can wing our way to Ohio and then on to Indiana -- Gov. Dean is speaking at both State Party JJ dinners tonight thanks to the time zone change between the two we can pull it off (we hope) -- but its going to be hectic travel. Then later tonight we pull into Davenport to get ready for the "heartland" forum Sen Tom Harkin has made possible for each candidate to participate in --- our forum is tomorrow. I am sure Kate will give everyone a report from the road. Now back to that tenderloin sandwich....

5/16/2003

NEWSWEEK INTERVIEWS DEAN

Eleanor Clift at Newsweek has a full interview with Howard Dean available now on the web, in which she writes that "Dean.... is undoubtedly setting the agenda for his party and some of his heavyweight rivals." Some excerpts:

Did it surprise you that the DLC would come after you like this?
It was stunning. I couldn’t believe it. I only thought Republicans treated other Republicans like this … [But] I’ll tell you something. I was in Seattle last night. We had a crowd of 1,200 people. I asked at one point, “How many of you have not been involved in politics in the last 10 years,” and half of them raised their hand.

That’s the Democratic dream, to bring in new voters.
That’s right. That’s the Democratic dream, and the tired old folks from inside Washington can’t do that.

Can [your health plan] be characterized as nationalized health care?
No. We’re setting up something called the Universal Benefits Health Plan, which means there’s a consortium of private insurance companies that bid on doing that business. Everybody’s covered so it’s universal, but it’s not national in the sense that the private sector still has a major role.

What is it about you personally that you think will connect with voters?
I’m willing to say things that other people aren’t.

Are you going to do anything to head off the brewing feud with Senator Kerry so that things don’t get so personal that you alienate each other’s supporters?
Absolutely. I think both camps are doing the best we can to avoid this and make it less personal. We’re not interested in continuing a personal fight.

What do you mean when you talk about changing the Democratic Party?
I think the party’s been too accommodative to the president—the leadership has.

I want to get back to Iraq. Was it the war itself you were against, or the way the administration went about it?
I think disarming Saddam Hussein was a good thing. It needed to be done by the United Nations, not by the United States, because for the United States to attack a country that was not a threat to it, I think is a huge problem in terms of setting a policy that’s not consistent with American values. So if the United Nations had voted to disarm Iraq and asked the United States to be part of that effort, I would have supported it.

We haven’t found weapons of mass destruction, and the Bush administration says that getting rid of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein was reason enough to go to war.
I think the administration is on very, very thin ice here. I have not said anything yet, because I always believed they did have biological weapons and chemical weapons … Here’s the problem the president has with this: if they don’t find chemical or biological weapons, it’s not so much that they may not have had them, or they may have gotten rid of them, but the president’s assertion that they were giving weapons to the terrorists is going to lack credibility in its entirety.

In the postwar period in Iraq, could you estimate in round numbers how many billions of dollars, how many thousands of troops, and for how long, you would commit the United States to Iraq?
There needs to be a foreign presence in Iraq for a long time—at least 10 years. We have now gone into the swamp, and if we leave prematurely, Iraq will become a dangerous nation to the United States. Should a fundamentalist theocracy arise in the south of Iraq, in the Shia region, that will be more dangerous than Saddam to the security of the United States because the possibility of having a fundamentalist terrorist group set up shop there would be significantly greater than it was under Saddam. So we’re stuck there now.

Any Democrat who hopes to win has to have the confidence of the American people on national security. You opposed the war. How can you prove yourself to voters as a potential commander in chief?
I’m one of two candidates that’s ever had executive experience. Being a strong commander in chief means making strong, hard-nosed decisions and sticking to them. The rest of it, specifically on the defense issue, you have to have a defense policy that makes sense. Mine does. I have very clear guidelines of when you use force and when you don’t.

President Bush says Iraq is only one battle in the war on terror. How important do you think national security will be as an issue in 2004?
I think it will be an important issue, and I think there’s a case to be made that the president is not doing a very good job on homeland security. We have no oil policy of any kind other than drill in the national parks, which means that our oil money goes to countries like Saudi Arabia, which then uses it to fund fundamentalist schools to teach people to hate Christians, Jews and Americans. We are not doing anything very much to buy the plutonium stockpile in Russia. For the price of the war in Iraq, we could have bought the whole thing, and we should—immediately.

The last three Democrats elected president have been from the South. Is it a coincidence that there hasn’t been a northerner since John F. Kennedy?
I think that we’re in a different time in the Democratic Party. I think that’s partly because Southern Democrats tend to be more centrist. But now we’re in a place where the whole party has gotten so conservative.

The whole Democratic Party?
The whole Democratic Party has gotten so conservative that I think it’s more about what your position is on the issues than what region you come from. This is really going to be a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and a battle for the soul of the country.

You’ve been campaigning now for more than a year. Have you gained weight? Lost weight? Got any fitness tips?
Oh, man. I stay in shape by running through airports.

UPDATE ON LINK

The amount of interest in reading the responses from activists has slowed our server down. You can read a random sampling by clicking here. A .pdf of all the comments (which are still rapidly coming in!) will be available soon.

STATEMENT BY HOWARD DEAN ON BROWN VS. BOARD OF EDUCATION

The following is the statement of Governor Howard Dean regarding the 49th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

“On this 49th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision, I am heartened by how much progress our nation has made toward equal rights, but there is still more to do. It is the duty and responsibility of every American to continue to work for equality. As time passes, we must ensure that we never forget the meaning of this decision, and that we are vigilant in our struggle to build a better society for all.”

AROUND THE BLOGS: NURSE RATCHED'S NOTEBOOK

Nurse Ratched's Notebook has put up A Field Guide to Democratic Elites.

FORMER DNC-CHIEF STEVE GROSSMAN TO DLC: "CREATING CONFLICT IS NOT LEADERSHIP."

On Wednesday, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) released a memo in which the DLC argued that traditional Democratic values are “an aberration” and that the thousands of grassroots Democrats inspired by Governor Howard Dean’s message to “take back our party” are “activist elites” and not “real Democrats.” Former DNC chairman Steve Grossman wrote to members of the Democratic National Committee in an email sent yesterday, criticizing the DLC:

“Having served proudly as National Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I was disappointed by recent statements by the Democratic Leadership Council that disparaged Governor Howard Dean’s record of fiscal discipline and social compassion. I was particularly distressed because DLC leaders chose to label tens of thousands of grassroots Democrats who are energized by Governor Dean’s message as elitist.

“It is crucial that the Democratic Party have a frank and open discussion about the future direction of this party. It is a discussion in which Governor Dean continues to play a leadership role. The DLC should remember that such a discussion must include all members of the party, especially citizens who work hard at the grassroots to promote their candidates and their values, not because they’re elitist, but because they share the Democratic Party’s—and Howard Dean’s—vision for a better America.

“It is a vision that includes fiscal responsibility, access to health care for all Americans, a strong foreign policy that promotes multilateral cooperation, a bold, forward-thinking energy policy, environmental protection, tolerance, and economic opportunity for all citizens. It's a vision that is proudly Democratic and proudly American. It’s the right vision for the future of our country.

“The DLC should remember that creating needless conflict is not leadership. There are countless Americans across the country who are inspired by Governor Dean's message and his optimistic vision for America. The DLC would do well to listen to those Americans instead of attempting to dismiss them.”

LIBERAL OASIS ON HOWARD DEAN AND THE DLC

Liberal Oasis has a smart analysis of the motivation behind the DLC memo that "smears" Howard Dean:

The DLC memo is titled “The Real Soul of the Democratic Party.”

But it should be "Kneecapping Howard Dean."

However, it is so ludicrously ham-handed, Dean trumpeted it himself on his campaign web site. (A smart rapid response that bodes well for the future.)

[]

The telling thing about the memo is that if everything it said about Dean and his electoral prospects were true, then there would be no need for the memo.


Read the full article.

MSNBC: PARTY RECKONS WITH DEAN PHENOMENON

Tom Curry at MSNBC writes today the rapidly growing Dean phenomenon:

Under fire from the Democratic Leadership Council, a key business-friendly group, presidential contender Howard Dean is thriving on the criticism, drawing excited crowds on the campaign trial and making an unexpectedly strong bid for the 2004 Democratic nomination.

Curry notes how some-- though clearly not all-- of Dean's support is coming from progressives:

Dean, who served as governor of Vermont for 11 years, is appealing to disaffected liberal Democrats as well as to those who voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000. He told reporters he thinks he can win half of the Nader vote, which in some states was as much as 7 percent of the popular vote in 2000.

Dean’s style and substance neatly complement each other. The style: brusque, austere, sometimes indignant and scolding. The message: pragmatism, fiscal responsibility and portrayal of Republicans as out-of-touch ideologues.

“If you want social justice, you have to have a balanced budget,” Dean told the Seattle crowd, as people in the audience nodded their heads vigorously in agreement. “The very time when revenues turn down for the federal and state governments is the very time that people who depend on government need the most help.”

Dean noted the irony of his liberal audience’s applauding the idea of a balanced budget. “It warms my heart to have 1,200 people in Seattle who are progressives yelling and cheering and screaming for a balanced budget. Whoever thought we would do that?”


Curry also touches on one explanation for the DLC's unfounded attack on Dean:

Democratic strategist Pat Caddell told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews the centrist DLC is spooked by the Dean phenomenon.

“They’re panicked by it because the Democratic grass roots is in revolt right now because they’re tired of a party that doesn’t stand for anything,” Caddell said.

But outside the Beltway, Dean appears to be playing well in early primary and caucus states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and Washington.

WILL THE REAL DLC PLEASE STAND UP?

On Wednesday, May 14th, the Democratic Leadership Council released a memo that dismissed Governor Howard Dean as an elitist liberal from the ''McGovern-Mondale wing'' of the Democratic Party. It wasn’t so long ago that the DLC was praising Howard Dean as an exemplar of moderate, centrist Democratic positions. Governor Dean’s record hasn’t changed. What changed at the DLC?

10.27.00- The DLC praises Governor Dean’s prescription drug plan as the “Idea of the Week”.
“Governors Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Howard Dean (D-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) jointly announced their three states would come together to create a regional purchasing pool for prescription drugs…Best of all, the regional plan will rely on market mechanisms”

11.8.96- The DLC posts a memo on their website Claiming Dean’s re-election victory as Governor of Vermont was evidence of the success of New Democratic leaders.
“State election results provide additional evidence of Democratic resurgence under New Democratic leadership. Centrist Governors Howard Dean of Vermont…won re-election comfortably.”

11.4.96- The DLC posts a memo on their website praising Dean as a Centrist, popular Democratic Governor, and predicts he will win re-election easily.
“Democrats in state politics, regardless of their background, tend to be New Democrats by instinct, in part because they are responsible for making public institutions actually work to help citizens solve their most immediate problems. Incumbent centrist Democratic Governors Howard Dean of Vermont…popular and heavily favored for re-election.”

DEMOCRATS WITH SPINE

The Stranger has a great article on Howard Dean, titled Tough Guy:

Howard Dean is the ultimate muscular Democrat. He's not afraid to take on George W. Bush, and in the process Dean is reminding Dems what it feels like to have a spine.

VERMONTERS DEFEND DEAN'S MODERATE RECORD

Ross Sneyd has an article on the AP on Vermonter's reaction to the DLC memo:

Some of Howard Dean’s home state supporters leapt to his defense Thursday after the leaders of a national centrist Democrat organization lambasted him as an elitist liberal.

Former Sen. Nancy Chard, D-Windham, who has remained active in Democratic politics following her retirement last year, said she was stunned to read a memo written by the leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council.

“I’m just appalled at the content of this memo,” said Chard, until recently a member of the DLC’s state legislative advisory board. “They obviously haven’t done their homework. They haven’t talked to anyone I know who’ve worked with or followed Howard’s work in the state of Vermont.”

[]

Dean also won support from the state’s two U.S. senators. Sen. James Jeffords, who switched from a Republican to an independent two years ago, said he was disappointed that the Democrats were being what he described as divisive.

“Since when did it become extreme and elitist to balance the budget, extend health care coverage, offer equal educational opportunity and protect our environment?” Jeffords said in a statement released by Dean’s campaign. “I have heard such charges coming from Republicans most of my political life, but I find it incredible to hear such charges coming from Democrats.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the memo did not square with Dean’s record as governor.

“Governor Dean’s 12-year record in the Statehouse was not liberal, conservative or elitist,” Leahy said in a statement also released by Dean’s campaign. “He inherited a deficit, balanced the budget, pinched pennies, provided health care to all Vermont’s children, protected the environment and created jobs. That is a record of accomplishment, achieved with the broad support of Republicans and Democrats in Vermont.”


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DEAN VS BUSH

Alright, a little comparison.

You can hear the unedited voices of the wide spectrum of people who support Howard Dean for President by clicking here. (It takes a while to load due to the volume of responses to the DLC.)

For a comparison to the support for a certain someone currently occupying the White House, check out today's New York Times:

On Tuesday, at a speech promoting his economic plan in Indianapolis, White House aides went so far as to ask people in the crowd behind Mr. Bush to take off their ties, WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported, so they would look more like the ordinary folk the president said would benefit from his tax cut.

5/15/2003

FROM THE ROAD: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

We're in Los Angeles this evening, but we began our day in Seattle, Washington. We spen the night with Judy Dean's sister and her family who live in Seattle. When we woke up we were still in shock over the 1,200 person rally on Wednesday night. (After reading the stories in the Seattle newspapers we knew it wasn't a dream!). After a breakfast and a meeting with a labor group we headed to the airport and got on a plane bound for Los Angeles. After we were all randomly searched, we made the mad dash to grab a seat on the Southwest flight. It's open seating on Southwest, so it was fun racing a few hundred people to get a seat! We have two fundraisers in LA. In fact, we're at one right now. After this event we're going to the airport to take a red eye to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We'll arrive in Iowa at 6:00am, which means we're up for 24 hours. I beginning to think that we are the ultimate "Survivors"!

A RANDOM SAMPLING OF THE "ACTIVIST ELITE"

Below is sampling of the flood of letters written today by Dean supporters to the DLC. (You can read a larger sampling by clicking here.)

I support Howard Dean because he had the courage to challenge the President early on his horrible foreign policy and national security decisions. If the Democratic Party doesn't realize that this election will be determined by the national security issue, we will be looking at four more years of Bush, and a catastrophe for America. The DLC's attempt to muzzle Dean is as shameful as the Bush regime's attempts at muzzling dissent by declaring that "you're with us or against us." You should be promoting the diversity of views within the Democratic Party, and allow us, the citizens, the opportunity to vote for the candidate WE want. I have voted for every Democratic candidate in every election since 1984. As I imagine other Dean supporters have also. You should think about that before issuing poorly thought out and ill-advised statements about who we should and should not vote for.
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I was at the City Hall of Seattle along with 1200 of my citizens last night. I arrived a little late so I had to listen in the lobby of the over-crowded facility. We were ALL there, united as Democrats and as Americans, to listen to the next President of the United States, Dr. Howard Dean. Shame on you for trying to keep a good man down. Join the movement "of the people, for the people, and by the people." Support what your party wants. Support Howard Dean.
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The heart and soul of the Democratic Party is the people - and the people are speaking -- and like the many thousands already shouting for Governor Dean to take back the party, it's time the people - not the DLC's - voices be heard - and thus far, the people have proven Gov. Dean is the Doctor to heal the party and the country. We want our party, our voices, and our country back.
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I believe Howard Dean is the only candidate that truly has a chance to defeat George Bush. First, he is a governor and we seem to like to elect goveronors. Second, he is a Washington outsider. Finally, and most important, he is an honest, hard-working, person with concrete ideas on how to improve the United States and the world. He knows what the true issues are in the United States. If the Democratic Party wants to take back the White House, they should support Howard Dean.
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I have considered myself a "new democrat" for a long time I beleive that the far left does as much damage as the right. I don't like extremism. What I do like is someone who stands for something. David Wilhelm once told me that the only way to win an election is to very clearly define who you are. I beleive in Dean, who is by all means not a hardcore liberal, but a hardcore American.
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I'm really very confused as to what is elitist about balanced budgets, fiscal responibility, and the attempt to bring health care coverage to all americans. I'm a voting member of the Democratic party and I want a politician who tells me what he stands for instead of feeding me what he thinks will get him elected. Bush is vulnerable but only if the Democratic party focuses the debate on the domestic and economic issues he's been ignoring since he was sworn in. Believe me, Howard Dean is in touch with a broad spectrum of the democratic party, not just some ultra liberal, "elitist" wing.

THE VOICE OF THE "ACTIVIST ELITE"

In less than one day, over 1,000 people have written letters to the Democratic Leadership Council via the Dean for America website to tell the DLC what they think of the DLC's attack on Howard Dean.

These letters present an incredible portrait of the wide variety of people who have chosen to support Howard Dean.

You can read a sample of the letters by clicking here. (This will take a moment to load due to the volume of the responses.)

DEAN IN SEATTLE: PRESS

Last night's incredible 1,200-person rally for Governor Dean generated some press today. The Seattle Post Intelligencer writes:

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean found a wildly receptive audience last night for his speech to more than 1,200 faithful at Seattle's Town Hall.

The former Vermont governor received several standing ovations from the standing-room-only crowd for his attacks on President Bush.

"This president's foreign policy is not consistent with our values," Dean said.....

Rachel Jackson, who recently moved from Missouri to Seattle with her husband, said she had liked what she had heard about Dean but was won over by his speech and is now a committed supporter.

"He's the most eloquent speaker that I've seen," said Jackson, 26.


Meanwhile, the Seattle Times had this quote from the evening:

"I think the folks in Washington (D.C.) made a fundamental mistake in thinking we could beat George Bush by being 'Bush-lite,' " Dean said. "We need to stand up for what we believe. ... If you make me the Democratic nominee, I'll make you proud to be Democrats again."

DEAN DEMOGRAPHICS AT LUNAVILLE

Lunaville did a little informal poll of Daily Kos readers that support Howard Dean to determine whether they're elitist or not. The result is an interesting demographic snapshot of Howard Dean supporters.

CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS CALL ON DLC TO STOP DIVISIVE TACTICS

The following statements were issued today in response to the recent memo circulated by Al From and Bruce Reed of the Democratic Leadership Council:

Senator James Jeffords (I-VT):

“As the Independent Senator from Vermont, I have worked with Governor Howard Dean and I know his long-standing record. I am disappointed to see leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council characterize his positions as extreme and elitist, and I call on them to stop their divisive tactics. Since when did it become extreme and elitist to balance the budget, extend health care coverage, offer equal educational opportunity and protect our environment? I have heard such charges coming from Republicans most of my political life, but I find it incredible to hear such charges coming from Democrats."

Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT):

“Lumping Governor Dean with the so-called “liberal elitist” wing of our party will make Vermonters of all political stripes chuckle Governor Dean’s twelve year record in the statehouse was not liberal, conservative or elitist. He inherited a deficit, balanced the budget, pinched pennies, provided healthcare to all Vermont’s children, protected the environment and created jobs. That is a record of accomplishment, achieved with the broad support of Republicans and Democrats in Vermont.”

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA):


“When I go home every weekend, my constituents talk to me about health care, education and the economy. Dr. Howard Dean has an outstanding record of achievement in all of these areas. As governor, 96% of Vermont’s children had health coverage, and an additional 3% were eligible. He passed fiscally responsible budgets each and every year. He built a strong educational system, and as a result, Vermont’s students rank 6th in the country in overall performance. Dr. Dean’s record is one that ALL Democrats can be proud of.

Al From and Bruce Reed spend a lot of time talking about myths in Democratic nominating process. I think it is more important to focus on the facts:

Fact #1: Attacking fellow Democrats is wrong and will do nothing to help beat George W. Bush in 2004.

Fact #2: Dr. Dean is a proven leader in the Democratic Party with a broad and growing base of support.

Fact #3: Dr. Dean will be the Democratic Party’s nominee next year and will go on to beat George W. Bush.

It is disappointing that From and Reed feel the need to rip into fellow Democrats. They should stop these misguided efforts, and spend their considerable resources on beating George W. Bush.”

5/14/2003

DEMOCRATIC ELITES CHARGE GRASSROOTS DEMOCRATS WITH ELITISM

Al From, founder and CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and Bruce Reed, President of the DLC, yesterday circulated a memo to “Leading Democrats” titled “The Real Soul of the Democratic Party” in which they argue that traditional Democratic values are “an aberration” and that the thousands of grassroots Democrats inspired by Governor Dean’s message to “take back our party” are “activist elites” and not “real Democrats.”

From and Reed write:

The great myth of the current cycle is the misguided notion that the hopes and dreams of activists represent the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

The misguided notion? The misguided notion that anyone from anywhere can get involved in politics and make a difference? If the hopes and dreams of—let’s say—the nearly 24,000 people who have signed up to Meetup once a month for Howard Dean don’t represent the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, then who does? The lobbyists who go up on the Hill every Wednesday of every month of every year?

Real Democrats are real people, not activist elites… Real Democrats who champion the mainstream values, national pride, and economic aspirations of middle-class and working people are the real soul of the Democratic Party, not activists and interest groups with narrow agendas.

So let’s get this straight. The underemployed mother who attends a Dean Meetup in Omaha because she wants health care and better schools for her kids, fiscal discipline in Washington, a sane foreign policy, a balanced judiciary, a healthier environment and true homeland security—she’s not a real Democrat?

Not according to From and Reed, who know an elitist when they see one. DC’s on the line again:

Most Democrats aren’t elitists who think they know better than everyone else; they are everyone else. They don’t swoon when they hear a candidate say it’s time for Democrats to dream again.

No, they don’t swoon. But they sure think it’s cool when a candidate tells them their party can actually stand for something.

From and Reed go on to say that “there’s a good chance that more independents will vote in the 2004 New Hampshire Democratic primary than Democrats.” Since Howard Dean is now tied for the lead in New Hampshire, we’re not sure exactly what they’re trying to say by this.

Karl Rove himself couldn’t have written a memo better designed to fracture the Democratic Party.

Howard Dean has said the Democratic Party needs to stand for something. Under his leadership, it will. His executive experience, common-sense policies, and proven record on tough issues are exactly what the Democratic Party needs to come together and, with the help of independents and Republicans, defeat George W. Bush. But Democrats don’t have to stand for people who want to divide this party to advance their narrow agendas. We don’t need to take this any longer. This is our Democratic Party, and we want it back, and in 2004, Mr. From and Mr. Reed, we Democratic “elites” as you call us are going to be at the Democratic convention, and we’re going to defeat George W. Bush in November 2004 because we have brought the party back together, because we have brought the progressives back into the party and the working people who don’t have health insurance back into the party and the senior citizens who want sound Social Security and not just lip service back into the party and the Independents who would like their 4th Amendment back and the Republicans who want some fiscal responsibility back – and yes, even Third Way Democrats such as yourself will be back—because we’re the party that stands for openness and inclusiveness, we’re the party that stands for peace, prosperity, and hope instead of war, recession, and fear—we’re the Democratic Party, and we’re not going away, so shred the memos and the polls, fellas, because we’re going to win the White House in 2004 with Howard Dean as the Democratic Nominee.

TELL FROM AND REED OF THE DLC WHAT YOU THINK

Click here to sign a letter to the Democratic Leadership Council telling them that you're an active Democrat who supports Howard Dean. You can tell your friends about the link, too: www.deanforamerica.com/DLC

SEND US YOUR PICS OF SEATTLE

Please mail pictures and any links of audio or video of tonight's incredible rally in Seattle to deanforum@deanforamerica.com.

FROM THE ROAD: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

As I write this Gov. Dean is giving a speech to 1,200 people in Seattle, Washington. Yes, 1,200 people!! This is truly an amazing event. We are in the town hall where the maximum capacity is 1,200. They have had to close the doors because there is no more room. People who live in Seattle say they have never seen this room filled like this before! The Gov. has the room rocking! He's talking about health care for all Americans, rolling back the Bush tax cuts and balancing the federal budget. The crowd just went wild over the reference to balancing the budget. Who would have thought people cheering for a balanced budget! The Gov. just mentioned what he did in Vermont for kids and the crowd is now on its feet! The electricity in this room is incredible - they are on their feet again! Tonight is another turning point for the campaign and it's clear that Gov. Dean is on his way!!

CLINTON: DEMOCRATS CAN WIN IN 2004

Former President Clinton, interviewed by Will Lester at the AP, says the Democratic candidates for president "on balance [are] doing pretty well.... They need to keep making their philosophy clear":

If the current crop of candidates is judged on what they accomplished before running for president, the field is strong, Clinton said. And some of those accomplishments contradict the image candidates have earned in the presidential race, he said.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is described as very liberal by many following the presidential race, Clinton said, "but look at what he did as governor of Vermont."

Clinton described Dean's accomplishments with health care in his home state and his proposal to promote a national health care plan with a modest price tag as "New Democrat" positions. He was referring to the moniker the Democratic Leadership Council puts on Democrats who can blend moderate ideas that appeal to swing voters with traditional Democratic themes

DEAN CRITICIZES GOP PLANS TO LET ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN EXPIRE

In the wake of an announcement by Congressional Republicans that they plan to allow the federal ban on assault weapons to expire, Governor Howard Dean today called on President Bush to "keep his word" and fight to reauthorize the ban on deadly semi-automatic weapons. Dean says there is no legitimate sporting purpose for assault weapons.

"Sportsmen know they don't need an Uzi to hunt deer," said Dean. "These weapons are not favored by sportsmen. They are favored by criminals and terrorists, and we need to keep them off our streets."

Bush has stated his support for reauthorizing the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which is due to expire in September. Dean urged the President to put pressure on members of his party in Congress. "The true measure of leadership is standing up to your friends when they are wrong," said Dean. "President Bush should use the power of the presidency to urge his fellow Republicans to do the right thing, protect American lives, and extend the assault weapons ban."

RALLY FOR DEAN IN SEATTLE TONIGHT 7:30PM

Seattle area residents are invited to join Governor Howard Dean, M.D. for a rally tonight, Wednesday, May 14, 2003 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

The location is Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue, Seattle, Washington.

For more information, please contact washington@deanforamerica.com or Maria Handley with Dean for America at (866) 706-7750.

And please email your photos of the rally to deanforum@deanforamerica.com

DEAN WIRELESS MICROSITE NOW AVAILABLE



Over 580 people have now signed up for the Dean Wireless network.

You can receive text messages on your cell, directly from the campaign, advising you of upcoming appearances by Howard Dean on television and in other media.

And now that the Dean Wireless network has its own microsite, you can even receive state-specific text messages.

We'll tell you when the Governor is going to be in your area, so you won't miss an appearance.

Click here to join Dean Wireless today. (If you are already a member, follow the link, sign in with your handle and password, and then join your state group, too.)

FROM THE ROAD: NEW YORK

It's 6:00 am on Wednesday and we're sitting on an airplane in New York. We spent Tuesday in New York City. Gov. Dean unveiled the specifics of his health care plan to a packed audience at Columbia University. Columbia was a fitting place to roll out the plan because the Gov had attended night school at Columbia when he was getting the science courses required to get into medical school.

Tuesday was pretty much an all health care day. The Gov began his day with an appearance on Good Morning America. (When I was sitting in the green room I looked out the window and on the Reuters building across the street was a giant scrolling marquee that was announcing to any one who passed by that "Democrat Dean will announce health care plan.". Talk about seeing your name in lights!)

The Governor also pretaped a segment on CNN's "Inside Politics."

After the morning media hits we went to Columbia via subway to give the speech. In what has become the norm, Gov. Dean was greeted by a group of sign-waving people. This time they were Columbia students for Dean.

The Governor gave his speech to a packed and supportive crowd, which included his mother, who lives in New York and also attended Columbia.

The speech was well-received. Now we'll just have to wait and see what the critics have to say!

After the speech we left for a day of meetings including a meeting with the Rolling Stone editorial board. It was a day of lots of subways and walking. We made up for the lack of exercise lately!

5/13/2003

DOCTOR DEAN GETS AN "A" FROM THE NEW REPUBLIC

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic likes "The Good Doctor's" health care plan for America:

Because the plan targets its assistance at the uninsured and uses relatively efficient public programs to do much of the work, it costs much less than Richard Gephardt's rival plan while (apparently) achieving a substantial increase in overall coverage. That's the plan's main virtue--both as policy and as politics--since it means Dean can address the nation's health care crisis in a big way and bring the federal budget back into line.

Cohn concludes that Dean "knows what he is doing."

The Doctor vs the Spin Doctors

One of the interesting things about the campaign for the 2004 Democratic nomination is how Governor Dean is the candidate defining much of the debate.

Let's take the true timeline on health care -- not the phony timeline the other campaigns are spinning.

Nearly a full year ago Howard Dean was speaking across the country for the need to provide access to health care -- universal health care coverage for every American.

Those who were following the Governor closely during that period will recall that he often said that Washington was having a debate that in the end did not matter much. The Democrats were fighting for a Patient's Bill of Rights" that would let you sue your HMO -- the Republicans were fighting for a Patients Bill of Rights that would not let you sue your HMO -- What Democrats should be fighting for is something that Harry Truman put in our Party's platform in 1948 -- Health care for every American. The Governor then would lay out an outline of his plan -- along the lines of extending existing programs as he had done as Governor of Vermont -- with a goal of holding the costs of such a plan for the country below 1/2 of the Bush tax cuts.

I was there earlier this year --(Saturday, January 18th to be exact) when the first candidate to join Howard Dean in talking about Universal Health care actually said something -- Dick Gephardt at a Iowa State Democratic Party meeting in Des Moines gave his usual speech -- but for the first time he added a new section saying that he wanted health care for every American -- and if memory serves me -- on that day he said that we could do it for roughly 1/2 of the Bush tax cuts. This segment of his speech sounded so much like what Governor Dean had been saying for at least 6 months -- that my jaw dropped. Hours later at the Linn County Democratic Dinner Gov. Dean welcomed Dick Gephardt's move and called for every other Democratic candidate for the nomination to put forth their own Health Care plans.

Now on Thursday -- Senator John Kerry is announcing his plan. But what should be even more interesting to those who read this blog -- and are not privy to the happenings underneath the surface -- the Kerry campaign is feverishly spinning that Gov. Dean has somehow stolen Kerry's plan. How is this possible? How did we steal a plan that we have been talking about for nearly a year? And how, please tell me how, we somehow have stolen a Kerry Plan that no one has seen, least of all us? Having personally witnessed Dick Gephardt claim the mantle of leadership on universal health care after Howard Dean had championed the call for universal health care for at least 6 months -- might I suggest that if the Dean plan and the Kerry plan turn out to have many things in common --- we might want to once again look at who has been outlining his plan in public -- and who has not -- and make our own judgement as to who is doing the pilfering?

The point is not that the Governor was or was not first. The point is that no matter how you slice it -- it has been Governor Dean who has been defining the debate -- it was so back in January as it is so today on the issue of health care.

Gov. Dean does not come to this issue lightly -- he was a volunteer in an emergency room, when he decided to take courses at night to prepare for Med school. He became a doctor and went on as Governor to make sure that every child in his state had health care coverage. It was among the primary reasons he decided to run for President.



DEAN'S HEALTH CARE PLAN HITS THE PRESS


Both Reuters and CNN have great stories on the health care plan Dean unveiled this morning.

Also, the Dean for America website now has a side-by-side comparison of Dean's and Gephardt's health care plans, a full summary, and a health care survey--along with a downloadable file including the text of the speech he gave this morning.

A HEALTH CARE PLAN FOR AMERICA


Governor Dean announced his health care plan in a speech delivered today at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

“To me, health care isn’t simply a policy issue,” Dean said. “It’s a moral imperative. Here, in the richest, most advanced country in the world in the 21st century, it’s simply wrong for a sick child to go without seeing a doctor because her parents can’t afford it.”

The four point plan, which builds on pre-existing programs such as Medicaid, will offer access to health care for all Americans.

“As a physician, I’ve seen the suffering caused by this nation’s health care crisis,” said Governor Dean. “As a Governor and a doctor, I know how it can be solved. This plan is a targeted, affordable, and realistic approach to expanding access to health care now.”

Governor Dean’s four point plan will cost $88 billion annually—only one-third the cost of Congressman Dick Gephardt’s proposal. The Dean plan, which takes the innovative step of limiting tax deductions and government contracts for large companies which do not provide health insurance to their employees, also includes the following provisions:

• Extending Medicaid to every child and young adult under 25, up to three times the poverty level. It will also require employer health plans to extend coverage to dependents up to age 25.
• Expanding coverage to working families who earn up to 185% of the federal poverty level.
• Allowing those with incomes above that level, as well as small businesses, to buy into a health plan similar to the plan for government employees, while providing tax credits to keep insurance affordable.
• Limiting tax deductions and government contracts for large companies which do not extend health benefits to their employees.

“Americans deserve access to health care as a fundamental right,” said Governor Dean. “I look forward to implementing this plan as President.”

The full details of the plan on our website.

5/12/2003

DEAN NETROOTS MAKE NEWSWEEK

This week in Newsweek, Howard Fineman writes about the Dean netroots movement:

Many things in politics—soaring promises, hearty handshakes—are immutable. But the media methods for reaching voters keep evolving. In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s team overrode hostile reporting on broadcast news with irresistibly cinematic photo ops. In 1992, Bill Clinton’s battalions understood that cable and satellite uplinks—and the “rapid response” they made possible—were the next new thing. Dean’s insurgency may falter, but he’s already made history: the first Web-launched candidate to go mainstream in the era of BlackBerry and Bluetooth.

Read the full story here.

DEAN ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Howard Dean will be on ABC's Good Morning America tomorrow at 7:00 AM, talking about health care.

To receive updates like this directly to your cell phone, sign up for instant text messages from the official Dean Campaign here.

DEAN TO UNVEIL HEALTH CARE PLAN

Governor Howard Dean, M.D. will present his health care plan to a group of supporters, students and faculty at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York City this Tuesday, May 13, at 10:00 A.M. EST.

Seating for the speech is limited, but you can show Dean your support by greeting him outside! Come to 420 West 118th Street, New York, at 9:15 A.M., and the campaign will provide banners and signs.

5/11/2003

AROUND THE BLOGS: TABLING FOR DEAN

Longtime Dean supporter and blogger Nohomissives has started a new Dean blog called Tabling for Dean. "Its purpose is to provide information and resources and to establish a community for volunteers for Howard Dean for America who are interested in staffing tables at local events."