If you told me last year at this time . . .
. . . that I would be giving to, working for, and supporting wholeheartedly the campaign of Howard Dean, I would have said you were nuts. First of all, I would have said, who the heck is Howard Dean? Second of all, if he's a guy I ain't heard of, he ain't gonna win.
In fact, this time last year, I was all set to start selling my "Re-elect Gore in 2004" bumper stickers. Gore still had his beard--what better way to re-establish street cred with the granola/ Nader crowd?--and was making sense about not going to war with Iraq.
But I think we're all different people now. Now, we've been lied to and we know it. We've been denied our say in electoral politics, and we know it. We've watched our country, wrested from our hands, steered on a course that, if left uncorrected, will leave us broke, friendless, and without a hope of ever being a superpower again.
One man has restored that hope in me, and, apparently, in tens of thousands of others of you all across the country. That man? Howard Dean.
Let me give you an anecdote that may serve to explain why I feel so upbeat about this:
About six weeks ago, maybe a little more, I called Dean campaign headquarters in Burlington, to work out a snafu regarding Milwaukee's PrideFest. I was finally patched through to young intern Jen (I'm only 28, but she sounded young to me), who told me it was her first day.
I explained the problem I was having, and she asked for my name. I told her, and she immediately said, "Oh, yeah, I've seen your name around here several times today."
What other campaign (with the exception, maybe, of Kucinich's) would that be true of? That I, your humble Folkbum, a nobody coordinating in a midwestern town whose Meetup numbers don't even put us in the top 40, should call and get recognized by an intern on her first day?
That's what Dean's campaign is about: People. Empowerment. You. Me.
I'm so glad that Dean started adding the populist "you can make a difference" lines to his stump speeches. When I heard that he'd re-written his closing in the South Carolina debate minutes before go time I had two thoughts: One, that's so Clinton. Two, it had better be good. And it was. And it has been getting better.
Let me quote it for you, from his announcement a week ago:
The great lie spoken by politicians on platforms like this is the cry of "elect me and I will solve all your problems."
The truth is the future of our nation rests in your hands, and not in mine.
Abraham Lincoln said that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.
But this President has forgotten ordinary people.
You have the power to reclaim our nation's destiny.
You have the power to rid Washington of the politics of money.
You have the power to make right as important as might.
You have the power to give Americans a reason to vote again.
You have the power to restore our nation to fiscal sanity and bring jobs back to our people.
You have the power to fulfill Harry Truman's dream and bring health insurance to every American.
You have the power to give us a foreign policy consistent with American values again.
You have the power to take back the Democratic Party.
You have the power to take our country back.
And we have the power to take the White House back in 2004.
By the time I get this posted, it will be quarter three, and Dean will have broken and set all kinds of fundraising records for Q2. Maybe he will even have stunned one or two others out of the race. But Dean needs a strong Q3 showing, too. I've added a "Contribute to Dean" link on the right, and I want you to use it. Now.
People-Powered Howard. And Howard-Powered People. Together, we have the power to take our country back.
UPDATE: I did post this before Q2 was up, and Dean has done a spectacular thing: More than $800,000 in one day in on-line contributions, and over $7.1 million total for the quarter. Add to it more than 3000 joining Meetup just today . . .