Governor Dean: "What I still want to know"

February 3, 2004 (excerpts)

Governor Dean made a defining speech in Seattle this morning -- here are some excerpts (says blog staffer Zephyr Teachout):

Almost exactly a year ago, when few people knew our campaign existed, I spoke before the Democratic Party leadership in Washington. I asked some fundamental questions.

I wanted to know why Democratic leaders were supporting tax giveaways for the wealthiest people and big corporations, creating enormous deficits that mortgage our children's future.

I wanted to know why Congress was talking with this President about half-hearted health care measures when the Democratic Party ought to be standing up for real health care for every man, woman and child in America.

I wanted to know why Democrats were voting for the President's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind and every property tax payer behind? We can do better than this.

And I wanted to know why the top Democratic leadership, including many of my opponents, were giving George Bush a blank check for his unilateral, preemptive, wrongheaded war in Iraq.

I am still waiting for the answers.

Over the course of this campaign, our Party seems to have found its voice again. And our soul again. Our will to fight - to raise these difficult issues directly with the people.

Change is the biggest winner to date in the Democratic Party. Even the other Democrats in the race - the very Democrats who weren't standing up to the President a year or two years ago - are beginning to adopt the message of change.

As I travel the country, there's a deep concern among Americans about the future
- about their jobs, about having a better life than their parents did, in fact, about the entire direction in which this country is headed.

Let me tell you about the America I want back. I want an America where mothers don't have to take their kids to the emergency room when they get sick because there's no health insurance to cover a visit to a family doctor.

I want an America where hard-working Americans don't live in fear of losing their jobs because that means losing their health care too. Where business people care as much about the communities that make their products and buy their goods as they do about their profits.

I want an America where the President tells us the truth about why we're going to war and how much it's going to cost.

For years, some Republicans have fed the American people a steady diet of fear.
Fear of immigrants. Fear of people with a different skin color. Fear of government.

This year, I want Democrats to be the party of hope - because a campaign based on hope will beat a campaign based on fear every time.

Our Party must tell the truth. Our Party must be tough. And our party must fight to restore the American Dream for working and middle class families. The vision that with hard work, our children and grandchildren will have better lives. . Everybody in America needs a job, it doesn't matter whether your black, or white or brown, everybody in America needs health insurance. It doesn't matte whether your gay or straight. Everybody wants their kids to have a better education, I say we fight on those issues that Democrats will always win on.

Results matter: The choice is clear.

You know we need health insurance for all Americans. Do you think we're going to get it from some folks in Washington who have been the largest receivers of special interest money over the last 15 years?

You know we need to balance the budget. Do you think we're going to get it from leadership in Washington that never once balanced a budget in their entire career?

You know we need investment in early childhood. Do you think we're going to get it from Senators in Washington who introduce 300 bills in their career and three pass?

We need fundamental leadership change this country. This isn't just about changing presidents. It's about standing up for ordinary Americans who have lost control of their country and we're going to take it back again.

We really can have a different America. When I left office, I talked about how much better America would be better if it were more like Vermont. Health insurance for everyone under 18 years old. Prescription drug help for our seniors. Balanced budgets. Do you just want more of the same in Washington? But the truth is, it will be more of the same. Listen to what they're promising you. They're saying you can have tax cuts and health care and we'll pay for no child left behind. We'll give you free college and pay for special education.

Do you believe that? Neither do the 50% of Americans who quit voting because they think all politicians promise everything.

We can do this differently in this country. It just requires courage.

Let's not just change presidents. Let's send a message to this country that we want vision, we want change, we want job opportunities. We want a Democratic Party that's not going to just play the game to get elected and elected and elected. We want a Democratic party that's going to stand up for the ordinary working and middle class people, all of whom vote republican and independent and democratic but they vote in fewer and fewer proportions because they don't believe in the American Dream anymore.

Let's take the American Dream back.

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