[Mb-civic] We Cannot Win by Being Republican-Lite-Howard Dean
michael at michaelbutler.com
Thu Dec 9 12:02:40 PST 2004
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We Cannot Win by Being Republican-Lite
By Howard Dean
t r u t h o u t | Speech
Wednesday 08 December 2004
Governor Dean's George Washington University speech transcript.
Thank you for that introduction. It's a pleasure to be here.
Let me tell you what my plan for this Party is:
We're going to win in Mississippi,
...and South Carolina.
Four years ago, the President won 49 percent of the vote. The Republican
Party treated it like it was a mandate, and we let them get away with it.
Fifty one percent is not a mandate either. And this time we're not going
to let them get away with it.
Our challenge today is not to re-hash what has happened, but to look
forward, to make the Democratic Party a 50-state party again, and, most
importantly, to win.
To win the White House and a majority in Congress, yes. But also to do the
real work that will make these victories possible -- to put Democratic ideas
and Democratic candidates in every office -- whether it be Secretary of
State, supervisor of elections, county commissioner or school board member.
Here in Washington, it seems that after every losing election, there's a
consensus reached among decision-makers in the Democratic Party is that the
way to win is to be more like Republicans.
I suppose you could call that philosophy: if you didn't beat 'em, join
I'm not one for making predictions -- but if we accept that philosophy
this time around, another Democrat will be standing here in four years
giving this same speech. we cannot win by being "Republican-lite." We've
tried it; it doesn't work.
The question is not whether we move left or right. It's not about our
direction. What we need to start focusing on? is the destination.
There are some practical elements to the destination.
The destination of the Democratic Party requires that it be financially
viable, able to raise money not only from big donors but small contributors,
not only through dinners and telephone solicitations and direct mail, but
also through the Internet and person-to-person outreach.
The destination of the Democratic Party means making it a party that can
communicate with its supporters and with all Americans. Politics is at its
best when we create and inspire a sense of community. The tools that were
pioneered in my campaign -- like blogs, and meetups, and streaming video --
are just a start. We must use all of the power and potential of technology
as part of an aggressive outreach to meet and include voters, to work with
the state parties, and to influence media coverage.
The most practical destination is winning elective office. And we must do
that at every level of government. The way we will rebuild the Democratic
Party is not from consultants down, but from the ground up.
We have some successes to build on. We raised more money than the RNC,
and we did so by attracting thousands of new small donors. This is the first
time in my memory that the DNC is not coming out of a national campaign in
debt. We trained tens of thousands of new activists. We put together the
most sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation our Party has ever had. We
registered millions of new voters, including a record number of minority and
young voters. And we saw those new voters overwhelmingly vote Democrat.
Now we need to build on our successes while transforming the Democratic
Party into a grassroots organization that can win in 50 states.
I have seen all the doomsday predictions that the Democratic Party could
shrink to become a regional Party. A Party of the Northeast and the Pacific
We cannot be a Party that seeks the presidency by running an 18-state
campaign. We cannot be a party that cedes a single state, a single District,
a single precinct, nor should we cede a single voter.
As many of the candidates supported by my organization Democracy for
America showed -- people in places that we've too long ignored are hungry
for an alternative; they're hungry for new ideas and new candidates, and
they're willing to elect Democrats.
Since we started Dean for America last March, we raised over $5 million,
mostly from small donors. That money was given to 748 candidates in 46
states and at every level of government.
We helped a Democratic governor get elected in Montana and a Democratic
mayor get elected in Salt Lake County, Utah.
We helped Lori Saldan in San Diego. Lori, a Latina grassroots
environmental organizer was outspent in both the primary and the general,
won a seat on the state assembly.
We also helped Anita Kelly become the first African-American woman
elected to her circuit court in Montgomery Alabama.
Fifteen of the candidates who we helped win last month never ran for
elective office before.
And in Texas, a little known candidate who had been written off
completely ran the first competitive race against Tom Delay in over a
There are no red states or blue states, just American states. And if we
can compete at all levels and in the most conservative parts of the country,
we can win ... at any level and anywhere.
People will vote for Democratic candidates in Texas, and Alabama, and Utah
if we knock on their door, introduce ourselves, and tell them what we
There is another destination beyond strong finances, outreach, and
That destination is a better, stronger, smarter, safer, healthier
An America where we don't turn our back on our own people.
That's the America we can only build with conviction.
When some people say we should change direction, in essence they are
arguing that our basic or guiding principles can be altered or modified.
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