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In 2002, I was one of the "dirty fucking hippies" (as Atrios' likes to refer to us) who couldn't fathom the logic that took our nation to war in Iraq.  I marched in the streets of San Francisco, wrote letters to the editor, and got more active in Democratic politics.  But for months I couldn't contain the profound disappointment I had in many in my own party for enabling this gross misuse of the unifying legacy of September 11th.

Let me establish some context here.  I was minimally involved in politics prior to 2000.  I had volunteered here and there to register voters for various campaigns, participated with some friends in the campaigns they were involved with, but for the most part my political views were limited to the audience of my immediate family and friends.

After the 2000 election was stolen by a morally and legally bankrupt Supreme Court, I was determined to work as hard as I could to beat George Bush in 2004.  I got involved, researched potential candidates.  Joe Lieberman was seen as a front-runner (remember those days?).  John Kerry, a war hero, was also seen as a possibility.  John Edwards, a promising young senator from North Carolina, was also mentioned.  Hillary Clinton was talked about, mostly by the right wing.  And of course the old war horses like Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle were talked up.  Then, came 2002.

A midterm primary election was waged on the ideological battleground of Iraq.  For months, good Democrats were beaten up by Republicans stoking the fears of terrorism to great effect, and for months Democrats stood strong.  Then something happened.  One month before an election that would decide who was right on Iraq, nearly every contender for the Democratic nomination, which is to say nearly every single putative leader of our party, voted with the President, and with the Republicans, to send us into Iraq.

I was despondent.  How could a party fight against the insidious use of fear by Republicans when, after being the victim of such vicious attacks, the leaders of that party conceded the very point?  How could we be so spineless.  And anybody who disagreed with this woefully misinformed decision was labeled a traitor, un-American, unpatriotic, a "dirty fucking hippie", and, most offensive of all, unsupportive of our brave fighting men and women.

Then a voice emerged from the wilderness.  I attended the 2003 California Democratic Party Convention hoping to parse the candidates words and find the one candidate I could support without vomiting.  I happened to be on the floor when a little-known governor of Vermont was being introduced by the Chair, Art Torres.  Some friends who were following the campaign handed me a sign and pulled me down to the front row.  After his introduction, Governor Howard Dean skipped over the pleasantries and said the words heard round the nation:

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW.....WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT IN THE WORLD SO MANY DEMOCRATS ARE DOING SUPPORTING THE PRESIDENT'S UNILATERAL INTERVENTION IN IRAQ

Howard Dean at the CDP

So, on this day, when speeches opposing the complicity of certain Democratic leaders in George Bush's blunder in Iraq are being denigrated by those whose experience wasn't worth a damn on that October day in 2003, let us remember the power of words to inspire.  Not just to make us feel good, not just to give us hope, but to urge us to ACTION to take our country back!

The time has come to remember how we got here.  Though Gov. Dean's historic people-powered campaign was destroyed by the McAuliffe's and the Shrum's and the Wolfson's of the world, a movement was born that reverberated in November of 2006, is reverberating now with the success of Sen. Obama, and will reverberate in November like an earthquake to grind into dust the corruption and the sleaze and the spinelessness that permeates Washington, DC.

Originally posted to sfyoungdem on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 05:50 PM PDT.

Poll

Do you remember that speech?

12%5 votes
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5%2 votes

| 40 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  It was and is ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

      people-powered Howard that brought me here and makes me want to stay.  Thanks for bringing that video...I know some wont find it inspiring in the way say...Obama inspires; but Howard fired me up!  What is amazing is that we are essentially still fighting for the same things..getting out of Iraq, making Democrats stop voting like Republicans (see FISA et al.) a balanced budget, health care for all.  Same problems, different election...

      Still fired up and ready to go...WE HAVE THE POWER!

    •  It was and always will be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

      Gov Howard Dean. I sit here, watch that video, and cry for our nation.

      "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left." ~ Bertrand Russell

      by Pandora on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 07:07:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Was With John Edwards At The Time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfyoungdem, churchylafemme, jlms qkw

    You understand right ?

    But , if I would have known more about Dean at the time , I would have been for him. I wasn't as active then as I am now.

    "but what I know is they come in waves, and they somehow appear magically wherever the next primary or caucus is" Barack Obama on Smear E-Mails

    by WeBetterWinThisTime on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 06:01:54 PM PDT

    •  I do understand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw

      We all had our leanings back then.  And John Edwards is to be admired for his advocacy for the poor and working class, as well as his vastly underreported stands in support of organized labor.  I hope he continues to be a forceful advocate.  

      Attorney General Edwards would be AWESOME!

  •  I beg to differ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

    Gov. Dean's historic people-powered campaign was destroyed by the McAuliffe's and the Shrum's and the Wolfson's of the world.

    I think all of these people tried and failed to destroy Dean's campaign. I think the folks around here were more on target:

    Nostalgia Diary - Why Did Dean Lose Iowa?

    I personally think that a big factor was the way that the overwhelming majority of his support collapsed after Iowa. It's the main reason I remain leery of the Obama phenomenon. Inspiration doesn't really seem to count for all that much when the going gets tough.

    Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again.
    -Gordon Lightfoot, 'Sundown'

    by Free Spirit on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 06:42:28 PM PDT

    •  a couple of observations: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

      First:
      Dean's candidacy, at the point of Iowa, was only just about to go mainstream.  He was raising lots of money from small donors, but his appeal hadn't crossed over from its activist base to the general population.  Obama has taken his campaign past that point and then some.  He is standing toe to toe right now against the DLC establishment that we were bucking back then, and now we even have Dean in the DNC driver's seat as opposed to McAuliffe back then.  (In fact, the DLCers are lucky that Dean isn't stooping to McAuliffe's old DNC playbook to boost his natural allies and sabotage his intraparty rivals.)

      Second:
      The playing field, is much more even now.  The netroots have self-organized to the point that they are a powerful counterforce to even the MSM.  It isn't just that Kos and a few other bloggers have a place at various pundit tables on the Beltway circuit; it's the resource that we provide in innovative ideas, arguments, research, fundraising and perspectives that anti-DLC candidates can and have used greatly to their advantage this cycle.  Obama is doing that even as we type, and, as the diary by his Constitutional Law colleague demonstrates, his fundamentals aren't based on hype and inspiration anyway.

      Oh, someone who worked the projects in Chicago by choice isn't someone who quits when the going gets tough.  It will take more than a little bloviating to bring this guy down.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

      by nailbender on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 07:43:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

        Whenever I talk to an Obama supporter about what happened when the going got tough for Dean, they always respond with a list of reasons why the going won't get as tough for Obama as it did for Dean.

        I don't find that at all reassuring. To me it speaks of supporters who are so emotionally wedded to the idea that Obama won't have his own Scream moment, they aren't even able to ponder it as a possibility, only deny that it could happen.

        I find this even more unsettling:

        someone who worked the projects in Chicago by choice isn't someone who quits when the going gets tough.

        I said nothing about Obama, Dean, or any other candidate quitting when the going gets tough.

        Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again.
        -Gordon Lightfoot, 'Sundown'

        by Free Spirit on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 08:19:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's most important... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfyoungdem, nailbender, jlms qkw

          ....is that Obama understands history. He saw what Dean did right and he also took a lot of notes on what Dean did wrong. And the very fact that Obama has won where he was not expected to and kept it close where he was supposed to get blown out is really a testament to his skills. Unlike Dean, Obama has reached out nationally and he has EDUCATED voters and gotten them more involved in the process. Take the caucuses, for example. Obama had no natural advantage in caucuses, which tended to support insider candidates and tended to attract real political junkie types. But a funny thing happened: Obama actually got young people to show up in large numbers and support him and, more importantly, vote for him. He put the effort in and it's paid off handsomely.

          •  Sigh (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

            I am not at all concerned about Obama.

            Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again.
            -Gordon Lightfoot, 'Sundown'

            by Free Spirit on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 08:33:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  maybe we shouldn't have taken your comment (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

              at face value:

              It's the main reason I remain leery of the Obama phenomenon. Inspiration doesn't really seem to count for all that much when the going gets tough.

              So you're leery of the Obama phenomenon, but not the guy who engendered it?  The Obama phenomenon, without Obama, doesn't exist, does it?  And if he loses the enthusiasm that that "phenomenon" implies, doesn't he lose his support base?

              And as to inspiration not counting for much, look at the current rec list on this, the most frequented political blog on the web.  The going is as tough right now for the Obama camp as it has ever been, and the support for him is as strong as it has ever been - perhaps even more so.

              "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

              by nailbender on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 08:57:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't say the going wouldn't get as tough (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sfyoungdem, metal prophet, jlms qkw

            for Obama as it did for Dean, I said he has more resources and more allies.

            And as to "Scream moments", he's already had several: Michele's "first time I've been proud of my country" statement; the current Wright onslaught (and this is the closest he has come to being pancaked like Dean was, so far); and the Rezko thing.

            He is proactive, forceful and media-savvy in his ad hoc responses to these dustups, and he is getting concerted backup from sites like this and a myriad of other sources, even some in the MSM (due in large part to his masterful handling of difficult situations).

            And as to his followers being blinded by devotion, well that's true of any campaign to some extent or other.  Otoh, you won't see many campaigns with the reserves in their ranks for gotv, fundraising, message distribution, and ongoing enthusiasm in the face of fierce opposition as you will in the Obama campaign.  

            And what's the use of fretting that a scream moment is about to befall us?  That's not what this movement is about (and I'm talking now of the taking back of the party in general from the DLC, not the Obama portion of that movement).  We've been slogging away at this for 8 years.  Why should we stop now when the goal, so often pushed out of our reach, is actually in sight, just because a little adversity might confront us?

            "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

            by nailbender on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 08:47:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dean had several too... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

              There was the comment about the guys in pickups and the Confederate flag. There was the comment about us not being safe after Saddam was captured. The difference was, his supporters stuck with him after those moments.

              That's not what this movement is about (and I'm talking now of the taking back of the party in general from the DLC, not the Obama portion of that movement). We've been slogging away at this for 8 years. Why should we stop now when the goal, so often pushed out of our reach, is actually in sight, just because a little adversity might confront us?

              I don't know. I wasn't talking about the movement to take back the party. I was talking about the Obama movement.

              Sometimes I think it's a sin, when I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again.
              -Gordon Lightfoot, 'Sundown'

              by Free Spirit on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 09:49:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the flashback (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

    "It is not sexism at all, it is Clintonism" (Vera Lofaro; Daily KOS 25FEB2008) (Censor me if you must, but my vote will be against Hillary)

    by jamaicanblood on Sat Mar 15, 2008 at 06:53:26 PM PDT

  •  The saddest speech.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

    I was at Dean's concession speech in Vermont when his run ended. It brought tears to my eyes, but I'm so proud of the legacy he's left us - a grass roots party!

  •  I was present for the "other" speech... (5+ / 0-)

    in Des Moines, heartbroken that our party had missed a huge opportunity.

    I remember talking to rural Iowa "progressive" Democrats at that time who were taking Kerry and Edwards' line hook line and sinker that Democrats would not elect an anti-war candidate.  Two years later, we took over Congress with voters demanding exactly that... and four years later???  

    We owe Howard Dean a hug.

    Excellent diary, btw.  Ahh, memory lane...

    •  missing an ingredient: .00159 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

      Just doesn't have the same flavor without it.  

      Besides...  We DID gain elected offices in "New Hampshire, [...] South Carolina and [I think] Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and [...] California and Texas and New York.  And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House."  YEEARGH!

      Dean is the FDR of the 21st c.  

  •  Let us hope... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfyoungdem, jlms qkw

    ....that Obama is Reagan to Dean's Goldwater. Though, opposite ideologically, of course.  

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