Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In defeat, Liberals have found a leader, and their testicles

Well, better late than never I guess.

Dr. Howard Dean asked the Dems to cough, and he found their balls. That's twice in the last 14 months.

I see his strong to resistance to the Iraq war as being the key to the change in the Democrats starting with the tone of John Kerry's presidential campaign, and continuing through the unexpected resistance to the appointments of Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales. Anyone calling this a race issue is seriously misjudging that resistance. It's also to call that opposition baseless, which it isn't, if you are listening to it. Historically, some of the Republicans' greatest victories have come not at their own accomplishments but at the defeat of Democratic initiatives (such as Clinton's attempt at healthcare reform in 1994); the Dems have finally figured out what it means to be an opposition party. The Dems rolled over for Bush for three years. Thank god they finally understand "opposition."

By the way, speaking of trying to call the opposition to Gonzales' and Rice's appointments racist, chew on this. Rice had to go out and answer for her boss, who seems to have no compunctions about not answering questions directed right at him, leaving the opposition party to go and find proxies to answer for him. That's some leader. That's not even a MAN. I hope Truman's famous sign is nowhere in sight. Please try to tell me that isn't the height of chickenshit!

Howard Dean stands poised to become the leader of the Democratic National Commitee on Saturday. Dean taught the political world how to use the internet to raise grassroots support, both funding and volunteers. He's also responsible for handing a set of balls to John Kerry, to use to challenge Bush's administration of the war on terror, and especially in Iraq. Kerry would have needed a lot more than 70,000 more votes in Ohio to become President last November without them.

But, to me, the most important aspect of Dean's chairmanship of the DNC is something no one else has suggested. It may never be suggested, I just may be turning into Pollyanna over here. Dean can take his knowledge of raising the volunteers and the cash of the grassroots to eliminate the need for any other donations. It could be a party TRULY for the people because it will be put into office ENTIRELY by the people. Can you even imagine a party that owes NOTHING to corporate interests, or isn't beholden to trial lawyers (we need them, god love 'em), or unions? THIS prospect is the reason I supported Nader in 1996 and 2000. A Democratic party true to the needs of the people would be able to bring about historic reform in our country especially as regards the power of corporations. Think on this. If you agree, let's help Dr. Dean out! Also, he needs to hear this idea from a lot of people.

I see Dean as a Liberal answer to Karl Rove. And don't they need one! John Kerry has already pledged a million of his campaign dollars to support Dean's efforts. May not be the last time, because I could get behind Kerry again. I am not saying that's exactly what will happen, but it would not be hard for me to get behind a Kerry candidacy in 2008. polled its members for a series of questions to pose to the candidates for chair of the DNC. Dean's support coalesced so quickly behind him that they never got to ask the questions of the other potential candidates. I include the questions and his answers here for your perusal.

Top 5 questions from MoveOn members
and Howard Dean's responses

1) What will you do to insure that all voters, in each state, have access to a universally transparent, accountable voting system?
-- Sylvia S Pinyan, retired teacher 
  (January 27, 2005; Winston Salem, NC)

If elected Chair of the DNC, I intend to work with Members of Congress, the state Democratic parties, secretaries of state, the Democratic Governors' Association, other stakeholders, and the grassroots to ensure that every legitimate voter -- regardless of their political affiliation -- is able to vote and have their vote counted. We must address the obstacles that some voters in some locations faced this past November, like inadequate numbers of voting machines at certain polling locations, faulty electronic voting machines, and voting rolls that failed to include some properly registered voters' names. And critically, we must take steps to ensure the verifiability of all electronic voting. For instance, we need to use the referendum process (in states that allow this) to ban unverifiable voting machines and to protect voters from partisan secretaries of state.

2) What would be your list of 'ideals,' things the Democratic Party stands for and will fight for?
-- Tom Peters, commercial fisherman
  (January 26, 2005; Eureka, CA)

Whether you call them ideals or moral values, there are a number of basic principles that I believe the Democratic Party should stand up and fight for. Here are a few: a livable wage is a moral value. Affordable health care is a moral value. A decent education is a moral value. A common sense foreign policy is a moral value. A healthy environment is a moral value. The feeling of community that comes from full participation in our democracy is a moral value. It is a moral value to make sure that we do not saddle our children and grandchildren with our debt.

3) What will be your strategy for sending the message that a progressive agenda is as much about "moral values" as is the Republican agenda, ie: that economic justice and equality, tolerance, civil rights and environmental protection are ethical and moral matters?
-- Anna Schwartz, physician
  (January 26, 2005; Hastings-on-Hudson, NY)

I believe that there are no red states or blue states, just American states. And I am confident that Americans will vote for Democrats in Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Montana and all over the Untied States if we show up, knock on their doors, introduce ourselves, and tell them what we stand for. But we will not win by being "Republican-lite" -- Democrats must have the courage of our convictions. Every chance we get, Democrats need to stand up for what we believe in, frame the debate, and call for reform. Each time that we do this we drive home the point that our progressive agenda is right where the majority of Americans are. Because Democrats -- not Republicans -- are the party of fiscal responsibility, economic responsibility, social responsibility, civic responsibility, personal responsibility, and moral responsibility.

4) What is your plan for creating an effective Democratic message machine to clearly and powerfully present our point of view?
-- Lynn O'Connell, advertising
  (January 26, 2005; Alexandria, VA)

I am running for DNC Chair because I want to reform the Democratic Party and make it a truly national party. Improving the Democrat's message machine will be critical to our success. To drive home the point that we are where the majority of Americans are on the issues, we have to better integrate national and state party operations -- the success of the former depends directly on the success of the latter. Two, taking a bottom-up approach to the development of the Party's message, we need to set core principles that define the Democratic Party and what we stand for. Three, the Party must take advantage of cutting-edge Internet technology to fundraise, organize, and communicate with our supporters. And four, we must strengthen our political institutions and leadership institutes to promote our leaders and our ideas. All of this won't be easy and it won't happen overnight. It will require exceptional cooperation between the National Party and the State Parties, unprecedented use of the grassroots, unparalleled message discipline, and significant financial support. But taking the White House and Congress and every other office back from George Bush and the Republicans will make all of our time and effort worth it.

5) Many people like myself were energized during the 2004 presidential election. I volunteered to canvas neighborhoods and I made phone calls for democratic candidates. I made my first financial contributions for a political cause. How are you going to keep people like me involved? Do you want to keep people like me involved?
-- Lisa Scerbo, photographer
  (January 26, 2005; Mechanicville, NY)

It was new supporters like you that were one of the bright spots in the last election cycle. If I am elected DNC Chair, we intend to make the Democratic Party a truly national party by becoming competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory. We need you and other grassroots volunteers to stay involved -- our vision won't become a reality without your help. And we will keep you involved by building on our grassroots successes, expanding community-building initiatives like Meetup, and getting ordinary people to run for office. It is time we support all Democrats carrying the message of reform.