DNC Report: Dean's Fresh Horses & Hillary's Unknown Forces
by Fiat Lux, Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 10:51:50 AM EST
----- Per the request by Driving Votes to blog to MyDD...
"Some of you in the DNC may see us as barbarians at the gate. Some of us see ourselves as the cavalry. The truth is, we are fresh horses." --- Miles Kurland, a grassroots DFA activist speaking directly to a large group of DNC members at the DNC Western Regional Caucus, 1/22/05
"I asked a DNC member I know personally, what he thought about Dean's chances. He said there is really one main impediment and gave a very simple, direct suggestion for activists. He said, 'you need to apply tremendous pressure to Hillary.' I asked, 'Are you saying she's in the way?' He replied: "Yes!" --- EmilyD, from DailyKos account of conversation at DNC Western Regional Caucus, 1/22/05
By now, many of you probably have read several eyewitness accounts of the DNC Caucus in Sacramento on Saturday. You may also know about the rumblings behind the scenes (and now in Newsweek) that Hillary Clinton MAY make a power play to derail Howard Dean.
I attended the caucus and I'd like to make a few hopefully salient observations as well as rally Dean Democrats to action as we enter the stretch run of this campaign.
More below the fold...
RULE #1: SHOW UP!
DFA handed out promotional materials to all attendees, and the first bullet point listed explained Dean's succinct plan for turning red states blue: "Show Up!". They could have been describing how Dean's supporters will help him become DNC Chair. For example, of the 450 reported RSVP's at the breakfast hosted by the California Democratic Council, 95% appeared to be Dean supporters. While nearly every grassroots speaker (chosen by lottery) endorsed Dean, there were other impressive indicators of who "showed up"...
To contain applause, blue (supportive) and red (non-supportive) cards were handed out by the CDC to allow the breakfast crowd to express themselves during 90-second speeches by grassroots activists to a large number of DNC members in attendance (memo to NYC event: try this!). Whenever a speaker endorsed Dean, the sea of blue was absolutely overwhelming. In addition, "Howard DEAN for DNC Chair" buttons were EVERYWHERE, dominating the "flair" competition between the various candidates. The most memorable comment from a grassroots speaker came from activist Miles Kurland, from North Bay DFA, who described Dean Democrats not as "barbarians at the gate," but as "fresh horses" ready to revitalize the Democratic Party.
Marisa's pictures give you a nice feel for the event:
PRIDE (IN THE NAME OF LOVE)
After the breakfast room had emptied out so that people could register for the caucus itself, it was announced that Howard Dean would make a short speech. People streamed back into the room, and within minutes Dean had the audience's rapt attention, including several "electeds" hovering in the back of the room. Several standing ovations ensued, but the most delightful moment came when Dean started ticking off the red states Dems would win in the future... Ohio... Florida... Montana... Nevada... With each state, Dean's voice grew louder and louder until finally --- with a cheshire cat-grin on his face --- he pumped his fist and simply said, with somewhat more constraint, "Yahoo!". Laughs and smiles all around. And another standing ovation.
ZEN AND THE ART OF EMPOWERMENT
In a twist on Dean's "You Have the Power" mantra, Dean said in one of his more reflective moments: "I'm not much of a Zen guy, but I've learned that the best way to gain power is to give it away." Uproarious applause. In this one statement, Dean once again demonstrated that he knows he is NOT the savior of the Democratic Party. We are. You. Me. Us. That's right --- look in the mirror. You have the fresh horse-power.
WHAT I WANNA KNOW IS...
Who would have thought --- two years ago at the height of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq --- that this man would be on the verge of leading the party? And to think that it all began in March 2003 when he courageously called out the Democrats at a convention in Sacramento, asking "What I want to know is... what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?" (Listen here).
THE UNIVERSE WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS
Watching the caucus today, I got the feeling that this was all meant to be. Dean for America scaling unfathomable heights and then crashing and burning in an Iowa cornfield. Democracy for America rising from the ashes of that disaster and producing the sweat equity, shoe leather, mouse pads and yes... small donations... that fueled John Kerry's candidacy to 48% of the popular vote against a sitting president in a time of war.
And now, in the heap that is Kerry's failed campaign (not for OUR lack of support), Howard Dean is about to emerge triumphant from the grave consigned to him by the political and chattering classes.
Hey, let's be honest --- Dean LOST the nomination. He blew it. And rather ignominiously. And yet he still inspires thousands of people across the country to not only vote, but get INVOLVED. To put the "democracy" back in the Democratic Party. Why? Because it's not about him. It's about us.
WE WIN... NO MATTER WHAT
Whether or not Dean wins the race for DNC chair, WE still win. If he's the chair, we've got a foothold within the citadel. And, if he is elbowed out by a backroom deal, we come back stronger than ever... in 2008. What more motivation would we need?
HILLARY'S UNKNOWN FORCES?
I can corroborate the comment above attributed to an anonymous DNC member regarding Hillary's potential meddling in the race for DNC Chair. I spoke with this DNC member separately and he made the same statement in our conversation.
Howard Fineman's latest Newsweek article captures this "fear and loathing":
Democrats, meanwhile, divided into familiar warring camps: for and against Howard Dean. In Burlington, Vt., Dean and hundreds of fans gathered for an "un-Inauguration"--and in support of the former governor's quest to become the new chairman of the Democratic Party. In Georgetown that same evening, hordes of insiders partied at the stately home of Mark Penn, the Clinton family pollster, where they gripped and grinned with Bill and Hill, cheered each other up--and fretted about Dean's assault on party headquarters. "There was a ton of positive energy at the house," a guest said later, "except for the fear and loathing of Dean."
They're not scared of Dean. They're scared of us. With or without them, we ARE the future of this party. We have the power.
TAKE ACTION: HILLARY NEEDS YOUR INPUT!
The DNC member said that if we want Dean elected DNC Chair, we need to "apply tremendous pressure to Hillary."
OK, MyDD'ers, take just a few minutes and let Hillary know why we feel Howard is just what the "doctor" ordered for our ailing Democratic Party. Talk about why you got involved and why this matters to you. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, explain why Dean would actually HELP Hillary by cranking the base of the party and NOT alienating this grassroots goldmine.
Be positive. No threats. Just encouraging words from hundreds of Dean supporters demonstrating why he is the best person for the job (as opposed to issuing a screed against Hillary herself). The message: through sheer numbers, we can demonstrate that it would be STRATEGICALLY foolish for Hillary to attempt to manipulate the outcome to defeat Dean. Let's use our newfound power wisely.
Here's HILLARY'S CONTACT INFO:
http://clinton.senate.gov/offices.html (e-mail and snail mail)
(202) 224-4451 (DC offices)
(212) 688-6262 (NYC offices)
While you're at it, if you live in a state with a Democratic Governor, then please contact them and express your support for Dean. Dean actually made this explicit request on the organizer conference call last week, so this is a directive straight from the top (and it's different than flooding DNC members with mail --- as Dean does NOT want us to do --- Governors actually have staff to deal with constituent services).
And finally, for those who want to make our presence known at the DNC Eastern Regional Caucus in New York City on 1/29, you can find ride shares at Driving Votes: http://www.drivingvotes.org.
Let's get this done.
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