Why I Gave $50 to Howard Dean

Because I’m involved in local elections administration work here and, before that, was contracted to the Province of PEI, I’ve made a point of refraining from political commentary here in the weblog and in public otherwise, so as to avoid problems of real or perceived bias.

But there’s another half of me, the half born in the USA that remains a dual citizen, that can freely participate, without problems of perception or bias, in the American political process.

And today, for the first time, that half of me donated to a Presidential campaign: I made a $50 donation to Howard Dean’s campaign.


Well, the immediate impetus was this email from Gov. Dean this morning (which I received because I’d subscribed to the Dean for America mailing list before heading down to New Hampshire last week):

The entire race has come down to this: we must win Wisconsin. We must launch our new television advertisement on Monday in the major markets in Wisconsin. To do that, I need your help to raise $700,000 by Sunday…
…We will get a boost this weekend in Washington, Michigan and Maine, but our true test will be the Wisconsin primary. A win there will carry us to the big states of March 2-and narrow the field to two candidates. Anything less will put us out of this race.

I was impressed with the directness of that request: give us money and we’ll try to win Wisconsin; if we don’t, it’s over.

I wasn’t prepared to see Dean lose in Wisconsin without contributing at least something myself.

More generally, after a week in the eye of the New Hampshire Primary storm, I came away actually believing that Dean’s approach to the Presidency is different than Kerry, Edwards and Clark.

Not because of the Internet, or blogs, or bringing new electors into the process (although those are all impressive).

But because he has convinced me that he’s not a bullshit artist.

I watched John Edwards’ victory speech on Tuesday night in South Carolina: it was brilliantly executed, and should go down in the annals of speechcraft as one of the best.

I spent a week in and around the Kerry campaign, and came away having absolutely no grasp of the man or his ideas, save the fact that he can skate.

I sat in the 5th row in Nashua while Wes Clark tried to convince me of his humble beginnings, his military service, his three religions, checking off a demographic scorecard as he proceeded.

But what America needs is not a motivational coach.

We need a doer.

And when you strip away the talking points, and the position papers and the TV ads, Howard Dean has convinced me that’s the primary skill he brings to the job: focused, deliberate, results-oriented leadership with an eye on achievable goals.

I wouldn’t mind working for a company where Howard Dean was the boss.

Combine that with his approach to the issues, most of which I agree with, and you get my vote.

I don’t think Dean’s a revolutionary.

I don’t think the Dean campaign is a quantum leap foward, and that politics has been “changed forever.”

I simply think that, of the candidates in the field that have a chance of beating George W. Bush in November, Dean will do the best job. Both for America and, ultimately, for the world.

If that’s not worth $50, I don’t know what is.


Dave Hyndman's picture
Dave Hyndman on February 6, 2004 - 00:08 Permalink

Great thing to do Peter. You’re not alone: as of 6pm (Atlantic time) this evening, Dean for America has raised $475,000 … TODAY! This is already the secong biggest fundraising day for them, and may end up being the biggest.

Johnny's picture
Johnny on February 6, 2004 - 00:30 Permalink

Most of my sense of the race is based on various profiles I’ve read of the candidates in The New Yorker and, based on that, I’d go with Kerry over Dean. There is a nice folder of the magazine’s 2004 Presidential Race coverage here.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on February 6, 2004 - 01:06 Permalink

You just pissed away $50.00.

Ken's picture
Ken on February 6, 2004 - 02:32 Permalink

After spending six week in the states (I’m a dualie too!) there’s ben a lot of time listening to the results of each step of the democratic primary/caucus process. I choose Kucinich, he has the best punches, but unfortunately headwork doesn’t make much impact and his hobbit like physical looks — he would have won before the dawn of televised politics. I think JFKerry will be outvoted and also Dean will take delegates that JFK would have gotten. Clark wil have the same affect on Edwards delegates, but I don’t think Clark will be in it as long as Dean. Edwards will be a strong second next Tuesday, and then rise to the top when California votes — because they vote on looks and Kerry is the least Californian. This is my twisted theory.

That said, what the hell do I know anyway?

Peter, wanted to vote in the presidential election as a non resident citizen, do you know how I can do that. I’ve Googled it but no luck.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 6, 2004 - 05:38 Permalink

Ken, you need to contact the Board of Elections in the state where you were last resident in the USA. You need to request an “Absentee Ballot.” Look at this page for details.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on February 11, 2004 - 21:55 Permalink

What significance is (or is not) the slightly manic presentation early in the primaries from Mr Dean?

Is it to be that a man (presidential candidate) is permitted the occasional “carried away” in pursuit of more motivation for troups, or is it perhaps that Dean, like many people, will have a very hard time restraining himself to his most rationally balanced self in highly charged situations?

It’s hardly anything to go on, and I confess a certain propensity myself, but without a background of many other characteristics it looked loopie to me.

FWIW, at 20 miles high my impressions of Kerry are similar to yours (substance withheld, rhetoric played like a violin…) but seeing him skate and play hockey has me wishing I’d dove-tailed off my mom’s dualie a few years back so I could perhaps see someone in the White House during my lifetime who can fire a slap-shot.

And talk about Glastnost, what’s with Libya?