Dean needs to make one fundamental change in the next week. This is critical.
He needs to talk up his electability in the General.
He needs to actively talk it up. It's time for him to move past the, "I'm the only candidate with a message," and to the, "I'm a candidate who can get to the White House and deliver on my message."
"I think it's important that people realize that the major winning issues in this campaign - health coverage for all, No Child Left Behind, standing up to George Bush, internationalizing Iraq like Bush's father did, bringing our country back together on issues that unite us - the messages other candidates have been delivering has changed in the past few weeks to resemble mine. But my major platform hasn't changed in the past year. Without much staff and a big Washington office, I defined the major Democratic positions in this election, and I did it over a year ago. I think that says something about my ability to decide what's right, and what our party and the country needs."
"I'm the most moderate of the front-running candidates. We all know what happens to Democrats with extremely liberal voting records in general elections. My positions are based on evidence and law, not ideology: liberal or conservative, I take the best of both. I can take from Bush the fiscal conservative voters who are furious with him; I have a record of being staunchly for responsible fiscal policy, without the kinds of huge spending increases we've seen with Bush. And I can deny Bush the Democrats he wins solely because of the gun issue - and there are millions of them."
"I have an ability to raise money that far exceeds the other candidates, and because I rejected FMF's, I can continue to raise money after other candidates are legally required to stop. In fact, I've already broken the FMF limit by collecting small donations from hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans. Don't vote for me because I have money, but if you're focused on factors that help win elections, this is unfortunately a big one." [Leave it to Kerry to say, "me too" on the FMF deal... put Kerry on the electability defensive].
"I'm a candidate whose family looks like America - two great kids, and a wife who I love and respect, who has her own career and works every day. I live in a rural house, mow the lawn, go to Home Depot and do my own home improvements. I don't have an enormous ranch in Texas or a luxurious lifestyle. I think I'll resonate with other Americans because in a lot of ways, I live like them. I'm a candidate that didn't chose to run for my first major office - I became Governor because our Governor died in office in 1991, and won re-election 5 times - sometimes facing strong candidates from the right AND the left - because I'm in the middle."
"People have been told a lot of lies about me, because my candidacy threatens some people in power. They were told that I'm an angry candidate without much proof, but the only anger I've expressed is that Americans are suffering; hear me speak and you'll see that I'm a candidate of hope, who proposes reasonable solutions to real problems. They were told that I'm "liberal," because I didn't support the Iraq war because I didn't think they were our biggest threat. Well I did support Gulf 1, unlike John Kerry who voted against it, and I supported Afghanistan. Looks like I was right about Iraq this time, we never found the threat and have lost hundreds of lives while losing our focus on al Queda. That doesn't make me a liberal, it makes me practical. The major other reason people say I'm a liberal is that I followed a court order to sign an equal rights law; Americans understand not only that court orders must be followed, but also that equal rights cannot be compromised. I don't know what else people would have had me do, but the ethical and legal course of action, and incidentally, the course of action even Dick Cheney said he supported in 2000." [some of the foreign policy stuff he already says, but not in this context. The civil unions stuff needs addressing because it's big on people's mind when they think Dean's ultra-liberal].
Anyway, you get the point. But I hope Dean does too! Because analysis of any poll shows that he lost people almost exclusively because they thought Kerry would be more electable - and that's certainly backwards in my mind.
Oh, and one more thing to Dean... don't ever say again that you'll break up the media conglomerates. In fact, say that you no longer think that's necessary. This is the one thing I think you HAVE to play politics with. Do what you will once in office. But so long as the media has the power to destroy you, you can't give them huge incentives to do so.