ON NOV. 13, 2003, then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean filed to run in the 2004 New Hampshire primary. At the time, he claimed to believe in the tradition the primary upheld.
“I am absolutely committed to New Hampshire having the first primary and Iowa having the first caucus,” he said. “The reason I’m committed is that candidates like me would never have a chance without being able to look people in the eye and shake their hands and let them say what they think.
“I’m very pleased that South Carolina has an early primary. It’s more a diverse state and that’s important. And I urge other states to have early primaries. But I think we’ve got to continue the tradition of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary because it’s the only way candidates with no money — but with strong backing and who are willing to put backbone and spine back into the Democratic Party — have any chance at all.”
That was Howard Dean the outsider. Howard Dean the insider has a different view of the tradition New Hampshire’s primary has long upheld. Howard Dean the insider views the New Hampshire primary and its “people-powered” ability to upend the establishment and “put backbone and spine back into the Democratic Party” as a threat.
In 2003, Howard Dean spoke a great deal about taking back the Democratic Party. Now the DNC, with Dean the insider’s blessing, is trying to take it back from the grassroots activists trying to complete what Dean the outsider started.
The New Hampshire primary has not changed since Dean praised it in 2003. It is as it always has been: the greatest opportunity for average voters to influence the Presidential nominating process. It is Howard Dean who has changed — assuming he meant a word of what he said three years ago.
Read background on Dean’s new position here.
In related news, some anti-war groups are pushing to get Lieberman’s name taken off the CT ballot.
Hmmm, wasn’t it just a week or so ago that Democrats were accusing Lieberman of ‘subverting the democratic process‘? I wonder what they’ll have to say about this – if anything? My guess is that if they respond, it’ll sound something like this “these people are exercising their Constitutional rights to [blah blah blah]” or some other such ‘patriotic’ talk.