Extract of Speech to DemocracyFest
Bedford, New Hampshire, June 10, 2007
[The following was transcribed from two YouTube videos. I don't know if the sections are in order, or if this is the whole speech - crocuta]
I suspect there were a fair amount of you who were disappointed a couple of weeks ago with the vote on Iraq in Congress.
[Noises of agreement from the audience]
But we will have another shot at doing that, and we intend to take that shot in July, and then again in September.
But let me just remind you of something. The President does have a lot of authority over military policy and so forth.
It was the Republicans that made it impossible to pass that bill. Harry Reid starts out every day, when it comes to Iraq, with 49 votes. 49 votes. We lose Joe Lieberman on every Iraq vote, and...
[boos and hisses from the audience]
[Dean gives a wry eyebrow-jump]
...And, Tim Johnson is not gonna be back probably until September. So we start with 49 votes in the Senate.
We need to get 60, because the Republicans filibuster every opportunity that we have to try to get a bill through that would set a timetable for getting out of Iraq.
But lemme just call everybody's attention to something-- not that this group didn't notice-- over the last week were two debates-- the Republican debate and the Democratic debate. The Republicans not only supported the President's war policy, I think just about every single one of them (although one claimed that it wasn't the case after the fact) every single one supported the President's idear that Iraq was like Korea.
Which means that he and they intend to keep our troops in Iraq for 50 years. We don't need a 50-year plan in Iraq!
Every single candidate on the Democratic side said we oughtta be out [inaudible] got out, very early in the next administration, [inaudible] the next administration Democrat. So there's an enormous difference between those folks that are running for President, as Republicans would like us to stay in Iraq forever, and those folks running for President on the Democratic side, who think we ought to be out as soon as possible. And the good news is that 70% of the American people agree with us, and they disagree with the President and the Republicans.
So we will try again. In July, on the Defense Authorization Bill, and we will try again in September, and we will keep pushing this until one of two things happen. Either we get out of Iraq with a set timetable, or, we made it really clear that there is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats; and it is the Republican Party and George W. Bush that are keeping us in Iraq, and the Democrats are not a part of that, nor do we support that.
Supporting our troops is not the same thing as supporting the President's failed mission in Iraq.
I'll talk about the immigration bill now. We now-- it's pretty clear who killed the immigration bill last week.
Audience member: The Republicans.
Dean: And lemme just be clear where the Democrats stand on immigration.
The Republicans are appealing as usual to people's fears. 'Folks are gonna take your job for 3 dollars an hour, and minimum wage. Folks are driving up your property taxes by using services they can't pay for so you will have to.' And [what] the Republicans don't say, that's what Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and a lot of people do, 'folks coming in are different than you are. Changing the character of your town. They don't look like you.'
Well, our position is a little different. What we say to those folks is, how'd your grandparents get here? Why'd they come? They come to make America better... you know, this nation, as everybody knows, is a nation of immigrants. The people who come here are the best of the best. They're the people who are willing to make incredible sacrifices-- leaving a country, they may not even-- they come to a new country where they can't speak the language. They know they're gonna be in trouble, they're gonna start at the bottom.
About a year and a half ago, I got a late-night taxicab to go to JFK, to fly someplace. And my cab driver was Egyptian. He was an American citizen, he was born in Egypt. He was driving a taxi because he had an engineering degree that he got from the University of Cairo, which wasn't recognized in the United States. And he tried the best he could-- I mean, the language and the... needing to take all those courses, he couldn't figure out how to do that.
He got married and had a couple of kids. A little apartment in New York. Those kids, one of them, ended up going to the science high school, and he's going to go to MIT.
There are a lot of people in this room whose grandparents or great-grandparents-- or parents-- did the same thing for them. Why wouldn't we wanna have people like that come to the United States of America, and create...
[remainder drowned out by applause]
We're not asking for amnesty, we're not asking for special privileges. We're asking to restore order to the border, to restore-- to enforce the American immigration laws, which George Bush hasn't done, except when he talks about it at election time, and to make sure that those honest, decent, hardworking people that haven't been in any trouble with the law, which is the vast majority of them, can get to the end of the line, and earn their citizenship, just like that guy who drove me to JFK who had been here for 20 years.
These folks aren't hurting America. We need to control our borders, we need to control our borders, what we don't need is a lot of racist hysteria about immigration.
And we tried to pass a bill-- we made a lot of compromises, including some that I didn't like, that were in the immigration bill. We did our best that we possibly could-- Ted Kennedy [?] went out and got one of the most conservative Senators, Senator John Kyl of Arizona, to agree with him. We did everything we could to get a decent bill passed, and once again, the right wing of the Republican Party turned its back on compromise and reason and moderation. We need to solve the immigration problem with comprehensive immigration rules. We need a non-punitive solution. We need security on our border. We're not gonna get any of those things, unless we can get rid of this stranglehold that the right wing has on the Senate of the United States, and we're gonna do that in this state next year!