Dean makes a difference for Democrats who are still searching for a candidate


Everyone and their grandmother remembers Howard Dean’s “Dean Scream” – when he notoriously yelled “yeaararh!” at a concession speech after the 2004 Iowa caucus.

It was a proper ending to one of the most unconventional campaigns in history. Dean was an anomaly in the 2004 presidential election. He didn’t swerve around issues, he didn’t go to the rich for his campaign funds, and he didn’t hold anything back while speaking behind the podium. Because of this, many people thought he was too liberal even though he made several conservative statements about issues like abortion and gay marriage.

He was a rising star up until the Iowa caucus and was a favorite to win the candidacy for a while. His completely different Internet-based fund raising strategy helped raise more than any other democratic candidate. Unfortunately, Dean, even with this money, was not the prototypical presidential candidate, and people weren’t ready for him.

These days, Dean, a little quieter, is still making waves in the Democratic Party. Dean has been the DNC chair since 2005, and he has made a point during his tenure to focus on all 50 states and fundraising.

Dean raised more than any other DNC chairman in 2005 with his grassroots Internet campaigning, according to a March 2005 Boston Globe article. Dean mostly has continued this fundraising success – partially helped by the Democrats’ success in Congress – and now 2008 presidential candidates are benefiting from Dean’s innovative system.

According to the Hill, a congressional newspaper, Dean supporters, who helped him raise more than twice as much as Sen. John Kerry before the 2004 Iowa caucus, are now donating even more to 2008 candidates, especially Barack Obama.

Along with his fundraising platform, Dean also wanted to establish a party that did not leave out small states. When several larger states like Florida and Michigan announced they were moving their primaries to earlier in the year, Dean fought for Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s rights to have the initial primaries.

According to an Oct. 10 Tampa Tribune article, Dean said he would not invite Florida Democratic delegates to the national convention in August 2008 if they moved their primary before the Feb. 5 threshold set by the party.

I could understand Florida wanting more of a chance to determine the Democratic Party presidential candidate, but as we already know, Florida can have more of an effect on the elections than any state.

The thresholds are set up for a reason. After the initial small-state primaries, candidates probably would not take a second glance at these states while campaigning for eight months in California or Florida.

Every state has a right to at least see presidential candidates speak in person, and Dean is not afraid to give these states a say. He doesn’t have allegiances to bigger states who might have more money or more prominent figures – which seems to be why he always is criticized.

Dean is not afraid to make decisions that anger the traditional powers of either party. Though some Democrats – and more Republicans – classify him as a crazy liberal, he is not. He is just a politician who doesn’t act like a politician; he actually cares.

He wasn’t the right personality for the White House, but only because of a tilted precedence of the typical president. It’s sad a person that speaks his mind and can make such a difference in a party would have no chance to run a country.

It seems like a special breed from certain families are the only people capable of being president. Apparently a candidate that’s a people-person like Howard Dean makes a better joke than a president.

Scott Girard is a junior in print journalism. Please send comments to