Dean On The Scene, Sayin' What He Mean
Howard Dean isn't wasting any time in the performance of his job. Instead of taking time to build a staff and to decide what the strategy would be, he is already out stumping for support in the hinterlands:
True to his word that he would take his party's message to conservative bastions, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean rallied a crowd Thursday in Kansas, a state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964. Before his selection as DNC chairman this month, Dean said he would bolster local and state party organizations even in the nation's most conservative areas. "How do we expect those places to vote Democratic when we don't even show up?" Dean said during Thursday's speech.
Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who was elected in a 2002 race marked by tensions between moderate and conservative Republicans, hadn't planned to attend any of Dean's events.
Hadn't planned to attend? Gov. Sebelius demonstreates her lack of interest or concern - a sampling of what Dean is facing from his own party.
Dean began by presenting some of the problems facing the nation today:
Dean criticized Bush's plan to create personal investment accounts as part of Social Security, saying: "I don't believe the way to fix Social Security is to have Wall Street run it so that it can be invested in Enron and Tyco and MCI."
On another topic, Dean said that continued federal budget deficits are a problem because foreign investors, including the Chinese, hold much of the debt. "How would you like to have people you have a disagreement with holding the paper on your house?" he said.
Dean is taking one step I consider vital - planting the seeds of the solution with an eye toward the future:
The former presidential candidate and Vermont governor criticized President Bush's budget record and plans for Social Security while urging people to get involved in politics no matter what their philosophy. "Democracy will fail if it's not nurtured. I'm asking you to run for the school board, I'm asking you to run for the city council, I'm asking you to run for library trustee," Dean told a Washburn University audience of about 800. "Work in somebody's campaign, three hours a week, if that's all you can do."
This is about the only plan of action left to the Democratic Party if it expects to survive to reverse the damage caused by the GOP. I'm encouraged that Howard Dean recognizes this, and is not resting on his laurels. He is, instead, acting like a leader is supposed to act.
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