Jerome has a great post on local reaction to Dean's tour of Western states. In Montana, the state party chair was running away until he heard Dean speak. Then he couldn't wait to get his picture taken with the chairman. In Utah, he gave a cogent and passionate defense of the Democratic Party's stance on abortion:

"I'm tired of Republicans telling us we're pro-abortion. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for five years. I don't know anybody who's pro-abortion," he said. "Most people in this country would like to see the abortion rate go down. That includes Democrats and Republicans. The difference between the parties is that we believe a woman makes that decision about her health care -- and they believe Tom Delay makes it."

But my favorite was in Idaho, where he said this:

"We didn't quite win in Idaho the last time, but we're not quitting," he said. "People say, 'Why'd you come here? This is a Republican state,' but they're wrong.

"This is a libertarian area. We're going to win on a Western platform next time."

We're not going to win Idaho next time, on any platform. But we can start chipping away. A "Western platform" is the future of the Democratic Party, and one that I embrace to my very core -- fiscal and personal responsibility, rugged individualism, freedom to live one's life without government intrusion into the doctor's office or the bedroom. The intersection of libertarianism, good government, and economic populism.

It's good that Dean is preaching that gospel, and it's awesome that it's being well received in the West.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jul 18, 2005 at 12:42 PM PDT.

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