Note: this transcript is put together from posts relayed by Dean supporters onto their blog,
and may not be complete.--Crocuta
Howard Dean: I would like to talk a little about Democracy for America. We are up
and running and I will be hitting the road to campaign for grassroots candidates
across the country and we are going to do the best to give the President a long
vacation in his home state. Anyone who wants to find out more about it should check
out democracyforamerica.com and anyone who really wants to find out about it should
set up a chapter in their home state.
Wauwatosa, Wis.: Governor Dean, if (horror of horrors) John Kerry is unable to defeat
George W. Bush in the November 2004 election, will you consider running in 2008?
Howard Dean: We will worry about that in November. Right now John Kerry has to be the
next president of the United States.
Tucson, Ariz.: When will the DFA site publish strategy on how supporters can specifically
achieved the 3 action points you mention as the focus of DFA?
Howard Dean: One of the strategies in Arizona is to work for Raul Grijalva who is running
for re-election in Tucson. Very progressive congressman who is on e of the very first to
endorse us. The other thing you can do is contact Frank Constanza our Arizona campaign manager.
He is now running a large number of races for the Arizona House of Representatives. He lives
in phoenix and can use plenty of help. The third thing you can do is help for a Democracy for
America group in Arizona.
Okay, we are sunk! Dean responded to my question above, and the very person who created tons
of organization issues as our state director, not to mention some really nasty approaches to
volunteers, is now the state campaign director. This pretty much sinks any hope I had of DFA actually
learning from mistakes going forward. Plenty of help? Ask the Southern Arizona offices if they would
agree with that. Governor Dean, really can't fathom what you are thinking on this one...if we don't
do a critical analysis and learn from mistakes we do not grow.
I already did do the number 3..created a state site and working on it the group so I guess we will
have to go off on our own and be the progressive wing of the DFA party!
If I were a drinker I would be downing a gallon right now. Oh, well, I guess I will have to focus
on progressive groups because it isn't going to happen here. :(
Posted by: cheryl at March 31, 2004 06:15 PM
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I've learned that there are those who say and those that do, I'm one on those that just does.
If you have seen mistakes made, set up your own Kinda DFA and bring people around that agree with you. If you build a better mousetrap, you will catch more mice.
Posted by: Vicki upstate Ny at March 31, 2004 06:28 PM
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When I saw that post from Arizona, Cheryl, I wondered if it was you! I'm sorry that you got the worst answer possible.
I think you've done the best that you can do -- you got the URL, you've made connections, and you're creating an organization yourself.
I do think it sucks that we're all stuck doing this on our own, with the potential that there could be
"competing" organizations within a state that get divided by personality conflicts and competing priorities
and things...I think more structure and guidance from the top could help to create a framework within which
state level organizations could be more effective...
Posted by: Maura in VA at March 31, 2004 06:38 PM
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Could you clarify your post....is the guy a jerk or what. Is he working for DFA or for the democrats?
Posted by IndySteve at March 31, 2004 06:23 PM
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Put it this way, if Dean wants to criticize the media for being incompetant, he needs to look in his own
back yard. I understand this guy is a close friend of Trippis and I think Neel (not sure about Dean) so I guess
that gives him a free pass. He was the single biggest obstacle to our success during the campaign...and DFA KNEW
this because I put my a** on the line sending them email on some of the issues. Waiting for them to respond or
do something...nothing. I sent the feedback before our primaries and before he dropped out. Every time we tried
to accomplish something, it was "we can't do that, Frank won't let us...". Meanwhile, our opponents were kick
our a**es strategically and the response from our director? "Don't worry about it". Yes, good campaign manager
there. And communication was horrendous, we lost valuable time waiting for "approval". Actually, those are minor
things compared to the way he treated volunteers or anyone who objected or offered a varying viewpoint. I won't
give all the dirty laundry here, but lets just say, in this man's actions he doesn't support democracy in any way,
shape or form.
I am sorry, at this point, I really don't know if I can trust Dean's judgement. Maybe that is why the local
group no longer uses his name associated with the activities...I thought it was disloyal but maybe they just
got fed up with brick walls.
I just feel like I got punched in the gut once again. There, I said it, on the blog, for the world to see, per
Dean's instructions since I guess they don't read email.
Just another disaffected voter. :(
Posted by: cheryl at March 31, 2004 06:40 PM
Tokyo, Japan: Dr. Dean:
One does not run for office for second place, but I hope you are deeply proud of stepping
into the arena and shaping the debate for your party and your country.
Politicians have formed groups before (Concorde coalition etc.) but they never seem to move
the dial -- never seem to have teeth (perhaps the DLC is an example of a more effective one).
How will you ensure that this group will make impact?
Howard Dean: We are going to start at the grassroots which is a mistake others have made.
We will be based outside of Washington which will help and work from the bottom up.
Annville, Pa.: How are your groups actions different from a PAC?
Howard Dean: The way we raise money won’t be different but the way we spend it will. We are
putting money back into communities to fundamentally change the dialogue -- on school boards,
county commissions, state legislatures, etc.
Seattle, Wash.: Are you struck, as I am, that the excuse offered until just recently for Rice
not testifying before the 9/11 Commission amounts to a profound and disturbing unwillingness
to be held accountable? In your view, is there any credible sense in which submitting sworn
testimony under such extraordinary circumstances might serve in the future to constrain the
business of the Executive Branch being carried out in an ethical and law-abiding manner?
Howard Dean: The biggest problem the administration has right now is credibility. As you know
I did not believe their reasoning for going into Iraq a year ago, and unfortunately I was right.
Accountability is what is completely lacking in Washington, D.C. and one of the remedies is to
change presidents and the congressional leadership. 566 brave American soldiers are dead and
this president has yet to explain why in a credible way.
Houston, Tex.: Heard a rumor that folks from your group were coming down here to help us defeat
Tom Delay and company. Is that true?
Howard Dean: Yes. I will be there myself.
Howard Dean: Stay tuned to the Web site, democracyforamerica.com
Mt. Lebanon, Pa.: Thanks for running for the Presidency. I supported your campaign to the point of
sending you some bucks several times. You made me rediscover politics after having last voted in
Carter v. Reagan.
Are you going to build any bridges to Ralph Nader's campaign? You're both progressives. You're both
inspiring leaders. You're both men of substance. Isn't this a natural link?
Ultimately, the Democrats will win or lose without you and Nader. So why should both of you put your
ideas and inspirations on hold or abandon them altogether (the Democrat mantra) why they play out
the current rendition of beef or pork (Democrat or Republican)? Some of us just want a bigger variety
in our political spectrum and our visionary diets.
By the way, I've moved with my wallet over to Ralph. Give him my regards.
Howard Dean: There is a big difference between George Bush and John Kerry & a million and half
Americans with no health insurance, 100s dead in Iraq with no explanation why, environmental
damage and physical damage for pregnant women and children who eat fish. These are just a few legacies
on the Bush administration. Dean and Nader voters hold the balance.
A vote for Nader is essentially a vote for George Bush which is exactly why I am supporting John Kerry.
Pine Bluff, Ark.: Hi, Gov --
Thanks for staying in the media spotlight. We need you there and appreciate your hard work.
I'm glad to hear you will be on Air America radio on Friday night. Now that our friend Al Gore
has bought his own cable news station, would it be crazy for us to hope that you, one day, might
have your own show?
I'm slowly resolving myself to the idea of President Kerry rather than President Dean
(in '04, anyway) and it would be great to be able to look forward to seeing you every day in your own show.
I can see it now: "HOWARD DEAN: WHAT I WANNA KNOW"...every night at 7 p.m.! It might mean you
and Judy would have to get cable, but wouldn't it be worth it to improve the quality of information
and discourse on cable TV?
I know, I know, you're focused on sending Bush back to Crawford, Tex. from now until November...
but after that?
Howard Dean: Whatever it takes to deliver health insurance to all Americans, balanced budgets
and a foreign policy consistent with America. Although the idea of a cable show does hurt some.
Northfield, Minn.: Congrats on helping Democrats find their spine this year.
I wonder how long your movement will last, however.
Democrats are motivated and unified by disdain for President Bush, but by what else?
It seems that politics is motivated by grievance--people who are upset about things--and I do
not see Democratic grievance this year as equivalent to anger over taxes, abortion, cultural
tolerance that motivated the modern conservative movement over a quarter-century or more.
What is your outlook on the long term?
Howard Dean: Our long term job at Democracy for America is to hold the Democrats accountable
after they win and before they win, so they can win. We can?t win if we don?t stand for anything.
Baltimore, Md. : It seems the Democratic party still has a problem on its left flank,
since Nader is drawing enough votes in the polls to change the outcome of the election (again).
Does this mean your effort to draw progressives back into the party was not successful? What
can we do to prevent history from repeating itself?
Howard Dean: I think we need to make it clear that progressives have a home in the democratic
party and in the long run we will be far more successful within the Party working toward
environment, fiscal policy, and education policies that middle class Americans deserve.
Los Angeles, Calif.: Governor Dean-
Will the new DFA be mostly concerned with electing Democrats or will it also be an activist
organization working toward progressive reforms whether or not they're opposed by members of
the Democratic party?
Howard Dean: Both. While we clearly prefer to work within the Democratic Party progressive values
with a candidate who can win could lead us to support candidates not in the party. Dean for
America was made up of moderate Republicans, Democrats, independents and Greens. We are
interested in working for all those groups.
Howard Dean: I think we need to make it clear that progressives have a home in the democratic party
and in the long run we will be far more successful within the Party working toward environment, fiscal
policy, and education policies that middle class Americans deserve.
Dublin, Ireland: Howard,
As a non-American who watched your candidacy with great interest and hope, can I ask you whether you
think that the current domination of the American political landscape by the two main parties is serving
the people well? It seems to me that candidates like yourself, who try to introduce progressive ideas
and policies are immediately marginalised by the system itself.
Good luck in the future.
Howard Dean: I don't consider myself to have been marginalized. American political history is full of
examples of so-called mainstream politics being pulled by reformers and even third party candidates
such as Robert Lafollette and Theodore Roosevelt.
Chapel Hill, N.C.: How can we change the negative perception of the word liberal and the positive
perception of the word conservative. What the Republicans have done certainly is not conservative.
Howard Dean: In the last 34 years conservatives have consistently failed to balance budgets and have
raise taxes on middle American by shifting taxes local governments to pay for police, fire fighters
and education. Historically therefore Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and Republicans
are the party of borrow and spend. Maybe we need a liberal back in the White House so we can balance
the budget again.
Los Angeles, Calif.: Governor Dean-
Will the new DFA be mostly concerned with electing Democrats or will it also be an activist organization
working toward progressive reforms whether or not they're opposed by members of the Democratic party?
Howard Dean: Both. While we clearly prefer to work within the Democratic Party progressive values with
a candidate who can win could lead us to support candidates not in the party. Dean for America was
made up of moderate Republicans, Democrats, independents and Greens. We are interested in working for
all those groups.
Harrisburg, Pa.: What are your thoughts on other Democratic leaning groups, such as the Americans
for Democratic Action and the Democratic Leadership Council? How will your organization fit in, or in
competition, with such groups?
Howard Dean: Both those groups are think-tanks, in the case of the DLC, and advocacy groups, in the
case of the ADA. Our interest is getting people elected in the grassroots and federal level. Our
major expertise is organization and outreach so there is no direct competition. We will be allied
with groups such as 21st Century Democrats which also does grassroots organizing.
QUESTION: Can truly progressive candidates and ideas get a fair shake in the establishment news media?
Or should we be trying to create and support our own outlets the way the right-wing began doing years ago?
Howard Dean: Create and support your own outlets. I doubt there is a conspiracy but there is an enormous
amount of confusion and incompetence in the mainstream media.
New York, N.Y.: I sent an email to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was just wondering who reads those, if the emails ever reach your eyes, and if I am likely to get a reply.
Howard Dean: They are read, but not by me since we get between 1,000 and 3,000 a day at the height of
the campaign. We try to respond to all of them.
Howard Dean: Go on the blog if you really want input.
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