Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dean: All politicians are "risk aversive" and "rapid adaptors".

Dean: All politicians are "risk aversive" and "rapid adaptors". That means when someone new comes in they usually try what the winner did, but that means if the winner is the opposite party they begin to look like the opposite party.

We sure do know how that happens. Very true. We have seen a lot of that lately.

On June 4 Howard Dean was on a New York Times Magazine forum with Matt Bai. It was the first Sunday With The Magazine. They finally have the audio on this appearance up. It is a very good interview, but there does not seem to be a transcript anywhere. Well worth listening.

Some of it has been transcribed in part elsewhere, but it is very long. Here is a little of it. So Howardly overall. Been a long time since we have heard him speak this candidly. And candid he is.

Matt Bai and Howard Dean interview in New York.

Download mp3 by right click for WMP. Also in Quicktime if you left click, at least that is what I get.

Matt Bai interview:

Very long welcoming ovation for Howard

Bai says this unique politician admits he sometimes says things he should not say. Transformational figure in Democratic politics.A rare bridge between the last era of Democratic politics and the next.

Bai: He is notoriously frugal...some would say cheap. (audience laughs)

This is a guy who searches for his own flights on line because he wants to save the Committee money. He is a chocoholic. He is a junky for sugar. (laughter again as people know that and worry about it)

Bai says he has confided that he has told his kids they can do anything they want in life as long as it is not journalism. (much laughter.)

Bai was traveling with him to Las Vegas, then he went with him to Anchorage, Alaska. From Alaska to Portland, OR, then to Pittsburgh. Flights were grounded in Pittburgh so Dean drove to get to NY for the interview.

Bai asked why he decided to seek the leadership of the party. Dean says he did not get his first choice (joke), a 3rd party would just not work, would be too bloody and divisive. He decided the best way to serve his country was to try to reinvigorate the Democratic Party.

Dean says he wants to put in a real long term business plan for success, win the 2006 elections so at least we can stop the hemorrhaging that is going on in the country and build a base from there.

He then says that if we succeed, which he has every intention of doing is that it is harder to change an institution which is in power than one which is out of power. But he doesn't think the American people can afford to have a weak Democratic party anymore.

The fear is they would say ok now we are back in power, things are ok. His 2nd greatest fear after not winning is that if we do we fail to get health care, we fail to raise the minimum wage, fail to start to balance the budget...

He says the Demcratic party has essentially been "non-functional as party" for about 30 years. The last race that was actually won by the "party" was in 1968.

The functions of the party have been taken over by the campaigns. (he is right about that totally.) He says he thinks Kerry's GOTV effort was terrific, but that was "John Kerry's GOTV effort" and the DNC played a secondary role.

He says the "party" has not really been driving things, but that is true on the Republican side.

Bai asked about the 50 State Strategy, mentioning that many in DC are not very happy about it.

Dean says if you want a real Democratic party that's going to be a national party, you have to be in all 50 states. This idea that you can run a presidential campaign in 20 states, and hope that the math will work out so you can win 19 of them and win by 3 electoral is nonsense.

Dean further says: "And to my friends in Washington, and they are my friends, and we do work together" he says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result. "Enough".

Dean: All politicians are "risk aversive" and "rapid adaptors". That means when someone new comes in they usually try what the winner did, but that means if the winner is the opposite party they begin to look like the opposite party.

He says the Republicans were Democratic Lite for 30 years and they never won. He mentions Gingrich, says he does not agree with what he believes. However he says Gingrich was transformational because he was not afraid to take risks.

Dean says we're gonna have a 50 state strategy no matter what the folks in Washington worry about.....because like 1994, this is an election where people really want change......people will vote for a party of change. What they will not vote for is a party of "me too."

And that's only about 24 minutes into the audio, just a little over halfway. I am going to listen to the rest tonight.

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