After weeks of unofficial campaigning, yesterday Gov. Howard Dean announced his formal bid for DNC Chair. I know not everyone shares the same enthusiasm that I have for Dean, but I've got to say that I'm thrilled. His election could mean an end to the stale DNC thought that has been so prevalent in the last 25 years - that in order to win, we should move closer to the middle to try and get votes there. Aside from claiming one Presidency (which may have been won on pure charisma alone), this style of thought has achieved nothing. While Dems have been pushing to the middle, the GOP has been remaining firm (if not moving further right) and achieving success staying true to their roots, by co-opting Democratic rhetoric ("compassionate conservatism," "clean skies act," etc) and energizing their base. Democratic leadership has done precisely the opposite - by moving further center, they have lost the "true" left. For a vivid illustration, look at the 2000 election and the success of one Ralph Nader.
Instead, Dean offers a fresh and potent message. The Democratic Party must stay strong and proud in its position, and its message of equality and morality will shine through and take back the hearts and minds of the American public.
"The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions. We must say what we mean—and mean real change when we say it...Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party—and the vast majority of Americans—together." Source.
What type of agenda is he speaking of? (excerpted from Governor Howard Dean's remarks in New Haven, CT, Feb. 6, 2004)
* Health care for all.
* Investment in children.
* Equal rights under the law.
* Fiscal responsibility; and
* A national security policy that makes America stronger by working with allies and advancing progressive American values.