Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Determination, even in defeat


Howard Dean dropped his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday, asserting that while he had lost the race, he and his supporters had made a difference and had begun to change the process - and the party.

Following are excerpts from the former Vermont governor's speech yesterday in Burlington, Vt., and his speech Tuesday night in Madison, Wis., after losing the

Wisconsin primary.

Vermont speech... What we did show is that by standing up and telling the truth and not worrying about polls and focus groups, you could actually get support in this country from voters. ...

One quarter of all our people who gave us money were under 30 years old in this campaign. I have not seen that happen since I was under 30 years old, and that was a long time ago.

This has been a campaign that has been extraordinarily different. The new approach, planting seeds on the Internet, strengthening grass roots, face-to-face obtaining support from hundreds of thousands of small donors, all these steps can revitalize our democracy and return power to ordinary Americans.

All of us have done these things together. We have exposed the dangerous, radical nature of George W. Bush's agenda.

We have demonstrated to other Democrats that it is a far better strategy to stand up against the right-wing agenda of George W. Bush than it is to cooperate with it. We have led this party back to considering what its heart and soul is, although there is a lot of work left to do. ...

And we are now in the process of taking our country back, thanks to you. ...

I am no longer actively pursuing the presidency. We will, however, continue to build a new organization, using our enormous grass-roots network, to continue the effort to transform the Democratic Party and to change our country. ... I have some things that I specifically want to ask of our supporters.

First, keep active in the primary. Sending delegates to the convention only continues to energize our party. Fight on in the caucuses. We are on the ballots. Use your network to send progressive delegates to the convention in Boston. We are not going away. We are staying together, unified - all of us.

Secondly, Dean for America will be converted into a new grass-roots organization. We need everybody to stay involved. We are - as we always have - going to look at what you had to say about which directions we ought to be going in, and what we ought to continue to do together.

We are determined to keep this entire organization as vibrant as it has been through this campaign. There are a lot of ways to make change. We are leaving one track, but we are going on another track that will take back America for ordinary people again. ...

Let me be clear, I will not run as an independent or third party candidate. ... The bottom line is that we must beat George W. Bush in November, whatever it takes.

I will support the nominee of our party. I will do everything I can to beat George W. Bush. I urge you to do the same. ...

Change is difficult. You cannot expect people with great privileges taken at the expense of ordinary working people to surrender them lightly. But the history of humanity is that determined people will overcome obstacles.

And we will overcome the problems that this country is facing as a result of George W. Bush and as a result of a Washington establishment that has forgotten who sent them there.

We have been here before in this country. ... In 1824, John Quincy Adams, the son of a one-term president, John Adams, beat Andrew Jackson of Tennessee in an election where Andrew Jackson received more votes.

It was decided in Congress by one vote, electing John Quincy Adams as president.

In 1828, four years later, John Quincy Adams became the one-term son of a one-term president. ...

So we will continue to fight. This is the end of phase one of this fight, but the fight will go on, and we will be together in that fight. ...

And now that the campaign is stopped, I'm going to say something that all of you have heard me say before.

But I want you to think about it now because now is the most important time that you have heard it. And this is the real message of this campaign, and you'll hear it in a different way because I am no longer a candidate.

The biggest lie that people like me tell people like you at election time is that, "If you vote for me, I'll solve your problems." The truth is the power is in your hands, not mine. ...

You have the power to take back the Democratic Party and make us stand up for what's right again. ...

You have the power to take our country back so that the flag of the United States of America no longer is the exclusive property of John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Falwell; that it belongs to all of us again.

And together we have the power to take back the White House in 2004, and that is exactly what we're going to do.

Wisconsin speech... I know that some of you are disappointed because we didn't do as well as we had hoped we would do in Wisconsin. But I also want you to think for a moment about how far we have come. ... Change is tough. And there's enormous institutional pressure in this country against change. There's enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. And you have already started to change the Democratic Party.

And we will not stop.

You have already written the platform of the Democratic Party for this election.

... A year ago, the Democrats were falling all over each other to vote for the war in Iraq. They sure don't talk like that now.

A year ago, the Democrats were accepting reckless budget deficits and huge tax cuts that mortgage our children's futures. They don't talk like that any more.

A year ago, they were adopting the president's education policies, which leave every child behind. They all voted for it, but they don't support it anymore.

Some of them even adopted the phony Medicare bill, which gives more money to HMOs and insurance companies and drug companies than it does to seniors, but they don't talk like that anymore.

Finally - finally, we've got a Democratic Party that talks about its roots again, its core issues again. Finally, Democrats in Washington have learned that they can stand up to the most right-wing president that we've had in my lifetime and that, guess what, if you stand up and you say what you believe, the voters actually like it.

We are not done. ...

We are going to fight hard for a free America, where free speech, privacy rights, freedom from indefinite detention are values that are protected by the government, instead of discarded by the government.

We are going to continue to fight for a fair America, where extreme right-wing ideologues no longer are able to divide us by race, to divide us by gender, to divide us by sexual orientation, to divide us by income, to divide us by religion. ...

We, together, have only begun our work. People will say, people have said that we have begun to transform the Democratic Party. Some people even say that we have. But the transformation that we have wrought is a transformation of convenience, not of conviction. And we have to fight and fight and fight until it becomes a transformation of conviction.

We will change the Democratic Party. We will change America. And we will change the White House.

Thank you very much for your help. Let's fight on. On Wisconsin, on Wisconsin; keep up the fight for a better America.

Never give up, never give up, never give up.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad