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Beth Broderick

Beth Broderick

Posted: July 28, 2006 06:02 PM

Knock Knock... Who's There? Howard Dean


Have you seen them? The Democrats are comin' to call! No really. They are a knockin' at your door.

Okay true story.

My husband and I were strolling with our dog Social Justice (yes that's his name, but he happily answers to Justie Monkey and on pre-bath days he is known as Stinks-laroo). Anyway there we were sweating and panting our way up Kenmore Street, when we spotted several young folks wearing DNC t-shirts knocking on doors in the neighborhood. Huh? Proud Dems out there on a slow Tuesday...chatting up the good folks of Los Feliz? Say whaaat? Two thoughts simultaneously occur to me: This is so cool! and also, Oh God we have to warn them about the house on the corner.

The three of us run toward the unsuspecting youngsters waving arms and tail and shouting, "Hey you guys!!! This is so cool!" Well okay, I was shouting and waving. My husband votes with me and sits through the Sunday shows and all, but he is not a shouting, waving Democrat ... he's kind of a head shaking, Economist reading Democrat.

At any rate, I race toward them my husband by my side, Social Justice straining on his leash. I point out the house on the corner. Good folks to be sure, fine upstanding neighbors, but they are prone to profligate flag waving with a healthy dose of yellow ribbons and support the troops bumper stickers thrown in. These folks have yet to remove the Bush Cheney swag from their very large SUV. I confess that on more than one occasion I have encouraged Social Justice to have a poo on their lawn.

"Might want to avoid that place," I say. "They love a stem cell over there. I mean they are Republican with a capital R ... Fox News-ers you know? I mean these folks are not planning to attend a gay wedding anytime soon." "Oh, that's okay," the young man replies, "We just want to tell them why we are Democrats and what we care about." "You do?" I ask ... my heart melting at the sight of such dedicated if foolhardy youth. "That is just lovely!" As if on cue Social Justice leaps on the young man tail wagging, tongue searching for lickable body parts. "Sorry about that ... he's a Yellow Dog Democrat," I laugh. Well now of course they are too young to know that expression and my dog is clearly not yellow, so this is not funny. The look on their faces tells me they have rightly concluded that I am a nutter. "You know the old expression? He'd vote for a yellow dog if it was a Democrat." I laugh again. My husband shakes his head and pulls the dog away. "Well good luck guys ... have a nice day," he says steering me in the other direction. "Bye," I shout. "You guys are so cool!"

See here's the thing.

Howard Dean has a strategy. He is stubbornly pursuing the revival of the Democratic Party nationwide. This door knocking business is going on all across the Country. He is setting up camp in red states that have not seen the likes of us in quite some time. He is bolstering activity in blue states that have been taken for granted for far too long. He is doing this without much fanfare and even less support. He is spending money in communities that are deemed hopeless, places knee deep in flags and ribbons. Howard believes there are Democrats in them thar hills and he is dead set on reaching out to those folks who have here-to-fore been written off.

This has prompted a lot of criticism and hand wringing. There are plenty of folks in Washington giving Howard the blank stare that says, "This guy is a nutter." Howard is giving Rahm Emanuel the willies. Chuck Schumer is none too pleased. These men are focused on the November election. They want to win and win big and I for one applaud them and appreciate the hard work they are doing on behalf of our candidates. They feel that spending Party cash in all fifty states is a fool's errand. They don't trust this Howard guy ... he's not one of them. Howard Dean has been elected into the heart of the party and yet he remains an outsider.

Howard is being true to his vision and so are they. So who's right? They all are. Howard is absolutely on the money with his campaign to reach out and talk about what we stand for and who the Democrats are and the importance of taking back the House is not lost on him. Rahm and Chuck and Co. are correct in insisting that taking back the House and Senate is absolutely necessary. So here is what I want to say to them: Hoho? Rahmy? Chuckles? Guys, it is time to lighten up. All of you are right and all of you are wrong. So there. I want to see you shake on it. I want to see you stand up shoulder to shoulder and lead. This is no time for inner-party bickering. This is no time for my way or the highway. This is a time for cool heads and brave hearts. These are hot times...and I am not talking about the weather, (which as we all know is freakin' hot...as in Al Gore is not kidding people hot, as in get your Grandma some ice water stat, hot!)

The World is on FIRE gentlemen and you need to slide down your poles, switch on your sirens and race to the rescue! Let me be clear. I am not asking you. I am begging you.

LEAD.

Get Hillary and Biden and Vilsack and Warner and okay, Kerry on the same page and lead my beloved Democrat Party. Throw in Feingold. I don't care if he makes you crazy. He's telling the truth and you know it. Do it for me. For this marginally sane, feverishly devoted yellow dog Democrat. Do it because I love you -every last exasperating one of you. Do it because I need you, because those folks on the corner with the flags and the ribbons? They need you too. Do it because we all do.