Sunday, 13 February 2005
The Doctor is in:
If it weren't for Howard Dean, I'd still be on the sidelines of American politics: Interested, but not involved. Dean's grassroots organizing, and his call to civic duty, galvanized millions of people around the world — myself included — and his pull-no-punches presidential campaign changed the tone of the Democratic Party. I always thought the Democrats of 2000-2003 were bringing an olive branch to a knife fight: Offering the hand of bipartisanship to an uncompromising opponent who sought their political destruction. On the national stage, Dean was the first and strongest voice to say Bush couldn't be trusted to put country ahead of party… and he recognized that you don't win elections by letting your opponent define you. You win them by standing for principles worth fighting for.
So, naturally, I'm delighted to have Dean as Chairman of the DNC — and I like this quote from his acceptance speech:
We know that we're the party for young Americans looking for a government that speaks to them… we know that we're the party for working Americans desperate for a government that looks out for them… and we know that we're the party for older Americans and veterans and members of the Armed Services expecting and deserving a government that honors them.
And we know that no matter where you live or who you are, what you look like or how you worship, ours is the diverse party that welcomes you.
But right now, as important as all of that is… it is not enough. We have to move forward. We cannot win if all we are is against the current President.
Republicans wandered around in the political wilderness for 40 years before they took back Congress. But the reason we lost control is that we forgot why we were entrusted with control to begin with.
The American people can't afford to wait for 40 years for us to put Washington back to work for them.
It can't take us that long.
And it won't take us that long… not if we stand up for what we believe in… organize at the local level… and recognize that this Party's strength doesn't come from the consultants down, it comes from grassroots up.
Amen. I don't expect miracles from Howard Dean, but I do expect him to fight the good fight more effectively: Where Terry McAuliffe was an effective fundraiser, Dean will be that and more. He'll be able to put the GOP on the defensive, to draw them out and draw their fire, and he'll give our candidates the time and money to define themselves before the GOP does it for them. For those of us who supported Dean as a presidential candidate, his second act as a DNC Chair is the best news we've had all month.