Thursday, January 23, 2003

Dean speech at Linn County fundraiser

Video on C-SPAN: Dean in Iowa

C-SPAN has updated their site with a link to Dean’s speech at the Linn County Iowa Democratic Fundraising Dinner :

 CSPAN Video

posted by Aziz Poonawalla     Tuesday, January 21, 2003 []

A few things to note about the speech:

Governor Dean mentioned Bill Clinton by name repeatedly, calling attention to some clear successes of the Clinton Administration. (Interestingly, Gephardt did too.) This will be a trend to watch – how the Democratic candidates try to reinvigorate the party by relying on some of Clinton’s star power. While it’s a shrewd tactic (clearly they’re playing to the party’s loyalists), it’s a sad commentary that there aren’t any leaders in the party after two years without Clinton at the helm.

Dean’s style of laying out a framework for a Democratic party that’s defined by ideals – of identifying a path for the party’s members to be proud to be Democrats again – is a smooth leadership tactic. Become a front runner by acting like one. The purpose of a leader is to identify where we should be going. Governor Dean certainly picked his battles with President Bush – but this was not an overly negative speech. Rather, it gave him a platform to articulate clear, identifiable goals for the party. He made his platform bigger than himself – and this is most certainly a way to inspire enthusiasm and optimism among a group who’s been beaten down for a few years.

Oddly enough, the fact that he stumbled over a few words actually rounds him out as a candidate. The early primaries are all about personal connections – and Governor Dean managed to appear both articulate and down-to-earth. Contrast that with Edwards’ polish (and corresponding lack of zeal) – and I think you get favorable indications towards Dean. And let’s be clear about it – stumbling over a few words (a la Dean) is a far cry from stumbling over a few speeches (a la Bush). Dean was clear in his message, passionate in his delivery. And you walk away feeling like he honestly believes in his words, that he’s thought them through, and that he is capable of acting on them.

In a word: refreshing.

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