Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Live from Las Vegas: Dean Addresses YearlyKos

Day Three has begun here in Las Vegas, and what better way to kick off the festivities than with a morning keynote address from Governor Howard Dean, the great DNC Chairman?

Before we heard from Dean, we were treated with an appearance by Bush impersonator James Adomian, who did the State of the Union impression on YouTube last January.

NDN leader Simon Rosenberg followed, introducing Dean to the crowd.

Here's a rush transcript of most of Dean's remarks, courtesy of thereisnospoon.
This is not an individual effort: this is the handoff between the baby boomers and the millennial generation. This is a movement that is not so different from the movement in the 60’s. In the 60’s we fought for a bunch of things, but we lost our way in the 1980’s when the Me Party Took it Away from the We Party. They are the party of big government, of secrecy in government, and of the largest nationa debt in the history of the world.

You are a generation who knows more about the world than we do. You understand that you are citizens of the whole world; we thought we were citizens of the country, and part of the world, but because of the Internet you are citizens of the world who understand that people are people everywhere.

We are now engaged in a community that wants to restore American values. Not of Bush and Cheney’s values, but of the values of all Americans all over America. We aren’t just about beating up on the Right Wing—the president is at 30% in the polls—though they do need reminding.

But the American people want to be united again, and that’s why I think the politics of scapegoating aren’t working anymore. And that’s where you come in.

When I lost the primary in 2004, a lot of young people were disappointed. The advantage of being 50 is that you cdan look backward as well as forward; and I understood that in order to take back America for American values, it’s a daily fight. That’s what the right wing did. They did it for 30 years.

I love the Democratic Party. But this isn’t about the Democratic Party; it’s about the United States of America. And the Democratic Party is merely a vehicle.

But this is a tough fight. Those guys win elections by scapegoating. We won’t do that, because it’s not in the interests of America. And that’s the difference between us: they will put their interests before the interests of the United States of America, and we will not do that. HUGE APPLAUSE

This is the new town meeting—except this is the town meeting where everyone gets to speak, not just the people that the President wants to let in. And we have an entire department at the DNC who sits there reading you and what you have to say. This is how to take back America—working to support the people who work everyday to take back this country: by encouraging community participation—and by throwing out the trolls on your blogs who aren’t helping.

This movement is independent and self-starting. Simon Rosenberg’s organization is doing Spanish-language ads during the world cup. Pretty smart! If you trust people in their own neighborhoods to do the right thing, it generally works out, instead of having the supposed moral high ground in Washington do it all for them.

We need your help. There is more to this than just doing what you all do. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Democracy Bonds: sign up at If we have 30,000 giving us $20 a month, any time some special interest comes out and says that he would like to give us a bunch of money in exchange for a stand on a certain vote, we can say, “We don’t need your money. Look at all of these contributors.”

Most people agree with our issues, and not the Republican issues. If you just poll issues, more people believe that it is immoral to let a child go hungry at night than let two loving people get married. Most people believe that it is immoral to send our troops to a foreign country without telling them why they are there. Most people stand with us on most things.

But there is one more thing we need you to do: run for office. The more decent people there are in office, the harder it is for the sleazebags to be there. Ultimately, if your generation wants to make its mark on politics, voting is not enough; giving money is not enough; you’ve got to get engaged in helping out campaigns and running them yourselves. Become a library trustee. Get involved in your communities.

We want a different America: we want open and honest government back in our country again. We want a strong defense that tells the truth about what we’re doing with them. We want a public school system that works. We want a pension system that isn’t being raided. I want our party to stand for a living wage and a balanced budget.

We can do these things. And we’re not going to be perfect. First of all, thank you for coming to my defense every time a Washington politician said we should do it the old way: you guys are the best. And you know what? The Washington politicians are around: Harry Reid was a middleweight boxer. This guy knows how to fight. He shut down the Senate. Not all those Washington politicians are what you think they are, and you’re going to heard from a good one tonight.

The other thing I want you to do is to keep doing what you’re doing. Most people get their news from the Internet. We’re the REAL free marketeers. And by the way, I don’t think the telephone companies should be preferentially charging to let people in!

It may not always feel like this to you, but you are the vanguard of real change in America. You are the way we eliminate the corporate stranglehold. You are the way that ordinary America can talk back to us. Television changed the process in 1960, and now it’s strangling the process.

The people in this room have the responsibility for leading this revolution. But the perspective I want to leave you with is this: there will be things within the tent that we disagree with. We’re not a healthy movement if we don’t have those disagreement. But healthy movements managed to maintain their effectiveness in spite of disagreements; the unhealthy ones succumbed to personal disagreements and backbiting.

But real reform is here: the people who read your stuff every day and wants real change in America. And the goal is far larger than any egotistical or ideological framework it exists in. And that means that in the middle of our fighting, we put aside our differences and work together. Because block by block, precinct by precinct, we will take American back for the people who built it. Thank you.

QUESTIONS: What can the DNC do to leverage the politicians. When are we going to use our powder, and not keep it dry?

ANSWER: We do have to remember we’re part of a huge team trying to lead America into a better place. You need to keep doing what you’re doing. But there are tactical decisions that need to be made, and they are genuine struggles. What should the plan to get out of Iraq be? Obviously, no one agrees with the President. But there are strategic decisions, and tactical decisions. But know that you have a strong influence; what you write, people in Congress are reading. And I want you to know that.

QUESTION: What can we do to help our people get elected?

ANSWER: We’re interested in long-term. We’re interested in ground game, getting volunteers into campaigns. I think that McCain-Feingold was a good thing, all this considered. But McCain-Feingold is also very strict about what we can discuss openly. We can’t sit and strategize openly about what we’re doing. But we will be on the ground in particular races where we think we have a remote chance.

QUESTION: In your mind, how real is the danger of paperless voting?

ANSWER: Our position is that we should not have black box voting. Optical scan with a paper ballot is the only legitimate form of voting. It is very clear that you cannot trust machines—not even ones with a voter verified paper trail. What you need is a system that we have in Vermont, where you use paper ballot and optical scan, with all the ballots you can count. We have the Democratic Lawyers’ Council, and we fight ID laws that are trying to return us to Jim Crow, we fight against the sort of suppression tactics that Blackwell did in Ohio. These machines cannot be relied on, and the American people know that. We’re going to bring paper trail voting back, just as Governor Bill Richardson did in New Mexico.

QUESTION: I think that all roads lead to publicly financed elections. Is there some way to make this a sexier subject?

ANSWER: It’s not a very sexy subject. We need to get dirty money out of politics—and not just the Tom Delay type dirty money. The truth is that most politicians don’t just take a check and say I’ll vote for you. But it’s also perception: most people believe that politicians do that. The problem is like the voting machines: it’s not just the real problem, it’s also that there’s a reason to suspect. We need public financing of campaigns, and it’s already started in several states in the SouthWest.

UP NEXT: Several panels and workshops this morning, and then we'll break for lunch. Stay with the Official Blog - the fun at YearlyKos continues all day today.

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