Mary Pitt: Howard Deans' Fund Raising Woes
Howard Deans' Fund Raising Woes
by Mary Pitt
Dr. Howard Dean, whose constructive use of the internet broke all records in raising money for his political campaign in 2004, is said to be having a bit of a problem in doing the same for the national Democratic Party. There are those who are quick to condemn the man as a "flash in the pan" who is incapable of doing an adequate job for the party as a whole. They fail to recognize the difference in the circumstances.
When Dr. Dean was running for the presidential nomination, there were many of us "small people" who were willing to dig into our very shallow pockets to donate whatever we could spare to assist in the changes which he and other progressive Democrats hoped to effect. Throughout the primary campaign, the field seemed to consist of Dean, Kucinich, Edwards, and Gephardt with a smaller amount of support for Braun and Sharpton. With the assistance of the media, the "establishment Democrats" weighed in and John Kerry swept in and took home all the marbles. We witnessed a campaign in which Sen Kerry, a true war hero in his own right was instantly put on the defensive and the same media which promoted his candidacy turned against him and gave us a Bush re-run, right down to another election scandal which went largely unreported until it was too late to correct it.
The progressives among us became understandably gun-shy. We are holding our fire and keeping our little bits of money in our pockets until we are sure that it will be used on behalf of those policies which we espouse. The Democratic Party as a national organization, as well as the media, is looking no further than those politicians whom we regularly see on the Sunday morning news shows, mouthpieces for the party line, Republican-lites, and stay-the-course advocates, willing to play nice at the game of "politics -as-usual". They cannot see beyond the huge profiles of Clinton, Biden, Kerry, and Gore while the media likes to hype an all-female field headed by Hillary on one side and Condi Rice on the other. With a contest like that, most of us who truly care about our country and its well-being may just stay home in bed and cover up our heads.
The great majority of us who are at the bottom of the human food chain have had enough of the same old "kiss the rich and screw the poor" choices that we have had for the last 24 years! We are sick and tired of being required to choose "the lesser of two evils" on election day, of holding our noses as we mark our ballots. We want to support someone who can think constructively, who will restore our democracy to "one man, one vote, and actually count the votes", who will stop spending our grandchildren's money on a needless and un-winnable war, and who will concentrate on rebuilding our national economy with real jobs by restoring our neglected super-structure and salvaging whatever is left of our damaged society. We need a candidate with guts, who will speak truth to power, a real barn-burning ass-kicker who is not afraid to tell the American people the truth about the liars and manipulators who have held our very existence in their hands for much too long
This candidate should be one who could marshall and organize his/her thoughts and present them in a cogent fashion so that there is no misunderstanding of what the nation needs and the steps that will be taken to correct the devastation which has been inflicted upon us by the last few administrations. We hear our corporations complaining that the pension plans for long-term employees are crippling them financially. There is an answer to that problem and they should be made to understand what that answer is. The cap should come off the Social Security contributions to allow that program to grow as it once did and that pension expense would no longer be necessary. When they cry about the cost of maintaining employee health insurance, they should be reminded that universal health insurance, with an administrative expense of only the 2% cost of administering Medicare would relieve them of that responsibility. Those who complain about the taxes that would be necessary to pay for these programs should be presented with facts and figures on what they currently pay for private insurance compared to the taxes necessary to fund universal health care and learn that their own financial situation would actually improve.
American corporations who have moved their plants overseas should be taxed as foreign corporations and have their American tax breaks ended. We will see if cheap foreign labor benefits them more than shipping, import taxes and tariffs. We want a candidate who can tell them their free ride is over and they must start paying their fair share for the benefits of the privileges and protection of the greatest nation in the world. The "fair tax" for which the rich so ardently advocate should be introduced, not as they present it but as it would be if it were totally fair. During the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower, admittedly the greatest Republican President of the twentieth century, those in the top tax bracket paid income tax at the rate of 90%, business boomed, super-highways were built, many workers were able to buy their first home, and not a few millionaires were created. Now we have millionaires, good Republicans to a fault, who cry a river when they are asked to pay a measly 15% on their capital gains!
Yes, Dr. Dean, those who contributed to your campaign so liberally in 2004 are now keeping their hands on what little remains in their wallets. And we shall continue to do so until we are convinced that it will not be wasted like our contributions were then and in the same way our tax dollars have been mis-used ever since. When a real leader appears who is willing to stand up for us, for our aspirations, and our needs, the money will be available to launch a stem-winder of a campaign that will wash the crooks of both parties into the Potomac and put in their places true representatives of the people. True, you have been hired and are being paid by the Democratic "establishment" who are complaining about the amounts you are collecting for the purpose of electing their choices into office. I thought you might like to be prepared to give them the reasons the money is tricking in so slowly.
Tell them the American people are ready for a real change. When they are prepared to deliver it, we are prepared to support them with volunteers and with cash in amounts necessary to bring it about. Until we are convinced that they are seriously committed to effect the necessary changes rather than to continue to be Republican-Lite and "go along to get along", we will keep our money in our pockets, thank you.